Next-gen Jeep Wrangler: 7 things we expect to see
The Jeep Wrangler’s successor is getting ready to have the curtain pulled on its new bodywork at the LA Auto Show. While at first glance it might not look too different from the current JK-coded Wrangler or many of the Wranglers in the past, there is a lot going on underneath the so-called JL Wrangler’s new sheetmetal.
What exactly are we expecting? Read on.
1. Jeep Trucks
The next-gen Jeep Wrangler will bring back a full-fledged pickup version. Expected to be called the Scrambler, the Wrangler pickup will have a longer frame than the regular four-door Unlimited Wrangler. According to a leaked CAD file, the frame is supposed to be 33 inches longer than that model, which should be long enough to support a proper truck bed.
2. Diesel power
We don’t have confirmation on the engines that’ll move the new Wrangler, but it’s safe to assume the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 will live on, and there’s evidence of a turbocharged gasoline I4 too. The new Wrangler, at least in its Scrambler truck form, will also get the 3.0-liter V6 Ecodiesel under the hood. We’re still not sure what transmission will be mated to the diesel, but we’re guessing it’ll have the same eight-speed automatic the diesel gets in its Ram application.
3. Aluminum body panels
The new Wrangler was expected to be an all-aluminum affair, but that was dashed when word got out that only selected body panels would use the lightweight material. Still, the hood and the doors are expected to be stamped out of aluminum sheets to help curb the new Jeep’s final weight.
4. Full-time four-wheel drive
According to some leaked option lists, it looks like the next-generation Wrangler will use a version of Jeep’s Selec-Trac full-time all-wheel-drive system. Don’t worry — you should still have a transfer case and select your own drive configuration on the standard Jeep.
5. Hybrid power
Electrification is coming, according to Jeep insiders. While not confirmed, the idea of a hybrid Wrangler hitting the trails is something to get excited about. Of course, there will have to be some way to protect batteries and sensitive electronics from waist-deep mud, but the torque of an electric motor would be welcomed when covering obstacles.
6. There’s still a manual transmission
From what we’ve seen, the next Wrangler will harness Chrysler’s eight-speed transmission. While that’s probably the best transmission to use when wheeling, it’s safe to say that the manual gearbox is sticking around. We expect the next-gen Wrangler to have a six-speed stick with throws as long as the manual trans you’d find on the currently available Wrangler — or your grandfather’s tractor.
7. Same great shape
The design team at Jeep will do as little as possible to change the appearance of its winning formula while updating aerodynamics and safety features. A droppable windshield appears to be on the new design, and thankfully we haven’t seen any indication of rectangular headlights.
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