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?"
The new Wrangler is designed and developed to deliver the vaunted Jeep with a whole new degree of off-road capability and legendary four-wheel drive that Jeep has been known for. Building on over seven decades of 4x4 engineering experience, the new Jeep Wrangler offers a body-on-frame design, live axles, electronic lockers as well as front and rear five-link suspension system.
Now, the new Jeep Wrangler could be specified with either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic gearbox. In addition, the ride and sound attributes of the Wrangler's body-on-frame design has been optimized. The overall performance of the new Wrangler has also been improved thanks to new motor and transmission adaptations as well as revised suspension calibrations.
Furthermore, refinements in the powertrain mounting system and noise damping in the firewall helped improve the sound quality inside the cabin, as also made possible by the first Jeep Wrangler engine cover that could completely isolate the interior from noises coming from the engine and road surfaces.
In addition, the noise of the new 3.6-liter V-6 engine is hardly heard outside the Wrangler, thanks to the fact that all accessories have been mounted directly to the mill sans any accessory bracket. This configuration allows all accessories – like the power steering pump, air conditioning compressor and alternator – to be anchored firmly, making them less vulnerable to both vibration and noise.