The current Jeep Wrangler JK generation came online in 2007. It’s been over eight years since the major redesign. In regular car terms this is a very long time without a major update, but not for a specialized off-road vehicle like the Wrangler. Still, rumors and reports about the next generation continue to increase.
The latest is a report by Autoblog that sites an anonymous FCA insider saying that the next Wrangler will use the 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel and the 8-speed automatic transmission combination. Many have been asking for a diesel Wrangler in the US for many years. Jeep Wrangler can be configured with a 2.8-liter CRD diesel in Europe. However, there are many trade-offs to consider.
The end-game goal is better fuel economy for the Wrangler. That’s just the reality of the business. The average fleet MPGs need to continue to improve. The turbo-diesel and the 8-speed automatic can deliver better fuel economy. The Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel 4×4 is rated at 21 MPG city, 28 MPG highway, and 24 MPG combined. However, the diesel power plant poses a weight penalty. The 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 is around 390 pounds heavier than the 3.6L V6 if you compare the engines in the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Most of this extra weight is sitting over the front axle, which is not great for hopping over off-road obstacles.
There is another report that says that the next Wrangler will keep solid axles front and rear. This is good to hear, but the axles and the would-be diesel engine add a lot of weight. The only way to get rid of weight would be to go with an aluminum body construction.
Our sources at Jeep say using a diesel engine also poses packaging challenges for the Wrangler. The footprint is not very big, and you need to add DEF (urea) tank and emissions controlling equipment. This is also where additional weight is coming from. And there is not that much room under the Wrangler to put all this stuff.
Let us know in the comments below what you think on the subject of putting the 3.0L EcoDiesel and the 8-speed Automatic into the next Wrangler?
Check out the 2015 Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock tackle the wet snow and ice of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.