Next-generation Wrangler is a hard mission for the company and according to Jeep brand head Mike Manley, the upcoming car will need to compete with “soft SUVs” but still maintain its off-road capabilities. As a result, Chrysler Group is working hard on improving Wrangler’s fuel economy by using lightweight materials, new transmissions and perhaps a smaller engine.
Jeep’s new Wrangler is expected to arrive in 2017 and by the time it will arrive it needs to meet tougher economy standards. The 2014 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited models are currently rated at 18 mpg combined city and highway and use a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.
If fitted with the new eight-speed transmission that was introduced on the 2014 Cherokee, the new Wrangler will definitely improve its fuel consumption. Moreover, a smaller petrol engine than the current 3.6-liter V6 also means an improvement in fuel consumption.
Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne said in May that the Wrangler might use an aluminum body, but Manley declined to make any comments on this.
"You can't sell 19,000-plus retail Wranglers [as the brand did in May] to people who just want to go off-roading," Manley said. "Why would, for example, somebody else's SUV that's really an on-road 'soft' SUV not be for me a genuine target for Wrangler?"