An all-new Jeep Wrangler is set to debut in 2017 as a 2018 model-year vehicle and there is already plenty of information out there about the new model.
Redesigning an iconic vehicle like the Wrangler can be tricky business. A balance must be found between nostalgia and future technology so that the new Wrangler can meet performance goals while not alienating its strong fan base.
More than one set of spy photos has already shown us the new Wrangler, codenamed JL, and Jeep’s parent company FCA hasn’t exactly been shy with all of the details, announcing many of them during a five-year business plan.
Here is everything we know about the new Wrangler.
Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel is Coming
Jeep has already confirmed this bit of info: the new Wrangler will offer a diesel engine. Specifics haven’t been divulged yet, but it almost certainly will be the same 3.0-liter EcoDiesel found in the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee, hooked to an eight-speed automatic.
A different eight-speed transmission will also likely be paired to the gasoline engine option as well.
One of the greatest downfalls of today’s Wrangler is fuel economy, something that must be changed if Jeep ever hopes to meet stringent government-imposed fuel economy standards. Many of the Wrangler’s design changes will focus on this aspect, and the addition of a diesel is a great start.
There’s Going to be a Hybrid Wrangler Too
Along with the diesel announcement, FCA confirmed that a hybrid Wrangler is coming. In 2018 when the Wrangler launches, a mild-hybrid system is supposed to be offered, though the details are still unknown. By 2022, FCA says that the Wrangler will be sold with a full hybrid setup.
A Turbo Four-Banger is Possible
While we’re still talking powerplants, how about the possibility of a turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood? An inside source confirmed to Automotive News back in May of this year that a new direct-injected inline four-cylinder engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger and aluminum block that makes about 300 horsepower is currently under development. It would be a great candidate for the new Wrangler, once again considering that increased fuel economy is the name of the game.
It would probably be offered as the base engine and it could also be hooked to an eight-speed automatic.
The Manual Lives On
A recent set of spy photos show that Jeep has installed a new six-speed manual into the Wrangler, which is currently undergoing testing. While the current Wrangler also has a six-speed, we can tell it is a new unit because the reverse gear has been moved to the top left position from the bottom right.
We expect the manual to be paired with the gasoline-powered V6 engine offering, though it may also be paired with the new turbo four-banger.
There Will be a Wrangler Pickup Truck
Many have waited years for Jeep to get back into the pickup truck business and it is finally happening. A timeline for when the pickup will arrive hasn’t been announced, but the move makes sense considering that Jeep wants to hit 2 million sales per year. This will help leverage the Wrangler platform into more sales.
The small Jeep pickup will also get FCA back into the midsize truck market after the Dodge Dakota was discontinued years ago.
Pictured above is the Jeep Crew Chief 715 Concept, built as part of the 2016 Easter Jeep Safari. It could offer some hints on what a Wrangler-based pickup could look like, though the production version certainly won’t get those massive 20-inch beadlock wheels and 40-inch military tires.
Aluminum is Coming
Shedding weight will also be a key goal of the new Wrangler, which will use plenty of new materials to help it do so. The ladder frame is expected to be built from high-strength steel while many of the Wrangler’s body panels will be aluminum and plastic.
Styling Won’t Change Much
Why fix what isn’t broken? Considering the current Wrangler is such a strong seller, Jeep would be crazy to change up the styling, especially considering the heritage and nostalgia it banks on. If Jeep works to improve aerodynamics then the new Wrangler could be sleeker than today’s model, but don’t expect big changes.
Same goes for the interior. Recent spy photos showed a Jeep prototype with an identical interior to today’s model, with the photographer suggesting that the interior might not be changed at all in the new model.
While this seems unlikely, a massive departure from what is seen inside the Wrangler today probably isn’t coming either.
It Will Keep Solid Axles
Though rumors of a fully independent suspension took over the Internet last year, a report from Automotive News confirms that the Wrangler will stick with solid front and rear axles. This will keep the Jeep faithful happy, as solid axles are the better choice for heading off road. The aftermarket community will also appreciate this news, as tons of parts already exist for the Jeep’s solid axles, many of which may be transferable to the new model with some minor adjustments.
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