The Environmental Protection Agency has released the official fuel efficiency rating of the 2012 Jeep Wrangler. It has been confirmed that the new model’s Pentastar V-6 is more fuel efficient than its predecessor, certainly better than the ratings for those of the outgoing six-cylinder engine.
The EPA determined that the two-door 2012 Wrangler has achieved a rating of 17 mpg city and 21 mpg highway with both the five-speed automatic and the six-speed manual transmissions.
The manual four-door Unlimited model offers one mile per gallon lower in city driving (16/21 mpg), while the auto has a rating of 16/20 mpg (city/highway). A couple of months ago, it was reported that the Pentastar is rated at 16/23 mpg, which actually isn’t that far off.
The 2011 Jeep Wrangler that is powered by the outgoing, V-6 has a rating of 15/19 mpg. The EPA also confirmed that the old four-speed automatic will be giving way to a five-speed gearbox, which is expected to be a good match to the Pentastar engine.
While the official figures have yet to be announced, it’s believed that the gains will be more significant than the improved fuel figures.
They’re expected to come close or actually equal the output of the Grand Cherokee, which is rated at 290 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The current, minivan-sourced 3.8-liter engine has an output of 202 hp and 237 lb-ft.
For the new Wrangler, Jeep is offering customers the option of either the automatic 5-speed gearbox or the manual 6-speed transmission. Given its renowned 4-wheel drive and the fact that it has more than 70 years of knowledge in 4x4 engineering, the Wrangler has off-road capability unlike any other. It continues to have the electronic lockers, live axles, the five-link suspension for the front and the rear, and even the body-on frame design.
The shock absorbers have not only been retuned but were also designed to make sure they give the optimum balance when it comes to off-road capability and on-road handling. To make sure that customers are able to get the optimum vehicle capability, or fuel economy, the company is offering more axle gear ratios for the Wrangler.
Depending on the model, the ratios are either 3.21, 3.73, or 4.10. Towing capability on the other hand is now at a maximum of 2,500 kg. For the Sahara and the Sport version, they will have an efficient driveline that has the Dana 30 axle on the front and a Dana 44 axle for the rear. There is also the two-speed part-time Command-Trac NV241 transfer case that makes use of a low-range gear ration of 2.72:1.
Meanwhile the Rubicon variant will have the Dana 44 axle for both the front and the rear with the two-speed Rock-Trac NV241 transfer case having gear ratio of 4.0:1. This version will also have locking differentials, for its front and rear, and are electronically controlled. With the disconnecting front sway bar, it allows the Wrangler to reach the highest level of capability. While the powertrain is indeed new, engineers at the company made sure that its body-on frame design would optimize not just the quality of the ride but that of the sound as well.
Whether the Wrangler is running on the highway or off-road, the effect of the overall improvements is clear considering that a new motor is fitted to it, a new transmission adapted, and even the calibration of its suspension modified.
Proof that the sound has been optimized is that even when outside, the noise of the engine, when the vehicle is idle, is barely heard. One reason for this is that the 3.6-liter V6 engine, as well as its accessories, has been mounted to the engine directly and thus removing any need for accessory brackets. Since all the accessories have been securely attached, which includes the compressor for the air conditioning, the alternator, and power steering pump, to name a few, it makes them less vulnerable to vibration and hence less noise.
In addition to the mounting system utilized for the powertrain, the use of noise damping for the firewall results in the improvement of the sound quality in the interior. The noise coming from the road surfaces and the engine are isolated through the first ever engine cover.