By on May 24, 2013

2008_Wrangler_JK_Unlimited_Sahara

Is the next Jeep Wrangler getting a diesel? What about an air suspension? It’s looking that way, at least according to Automotive News.

Larry Vellequette, who covers Chrysler for the publication, looked at a number of job ads and theorized that based on the skills required and the upcoming product timeline, they are related to work on the next generation Jeep Wrangler.

 

Vellequette seems to think that the Wrangler, like the Ram, will get a big weight reduction thanks to high strength steel in its frame. A diesel engine, an air suspension and an 8-speed automatic transmission also seem to be in the cards.

Some of the Wrangler’s idiosyncratic trademarks are also being examined too

Engineers also will look at the Wrangler’s unique closure systems — the clip-down hood, for example, or its somewhat-inviting-to-thieves exterior door hinges.

What’s not clear is whether the next Wrangler might include a permanently fixed wind screen. Only a small percentage of Wrangler owners ever go through the trouble of dropping their wind screen, but eliminating the ability to do so would allow engineers to increase its rake and with it, the Wrangler’s fuel economy.

Vellequette notes that Jeep engineers have an unenviable task; balancing the need to maintain the Wrangler’s signature design cues and off-road capabilities with the realities of CAFE. In many ways it is Chrysler’s most important product launch, both from a marketing standpoint and from a sales one too (try finding a Wrangler Unlimited on a dealer lot – it’s not easy).

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40 Comments on “Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: Chrysler Job Ads Point To Next Wrangler Details...”


  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    A diesel in a wrangler… I just got goose bumps. But an 8 speed auto is about as usful in a vehicle like the wrangler as 2WD…

    • 0 avatar
      ToxicSludge

      ??? Ever run a jeep off road? An 8 spd auto is manna from heaven.

      • 0 avatar

        I dunno, I always lock in 1st when I go 4L. I don’t want the box shifting on me when I least expect. Now an 8-speed could be working in 4H but then why don’t they give Wrangler a normal full-time t-case like the one Defender had back in 1970s? Make it come together with the 8-speed auto, retain part-fime with manual, everyone’s happy.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          Good call. I think the FJ Cruiser did this, although in reverse (manual was full time, auto part time). If they get the diesel right though I am excited about this rig.

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        Auto box in off road use is for people who are unfamiliar with engine breaking downhill or maintaining absolute wheel / engine speed control in slippery and or rough conditions. Also an 8 speed auto is going to be a liability when in remote places. If it breaks you are done for.
        If it was a manual with 8 high and 8 low then that would be OK with me but I think the Wrangler should be kept simple because it is a very good vehicle and simplicity is part of the secret.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      A diesel motor would be awesome, since bad fuel mileage is what kept me from buying a Wrangler back in 2003- And also, why not offer a “classic” version, much like the original military Jeep? You know: 4 cylinder, no interior carpeting, basic seats- kinda like the Icon CJ, only mass produced (and without the ugly, long hood on the “new” Jeeps)… http://icon4x4.com/overview/cj/gallery/in-the-wild

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Agreed.

        I secretly like Jeeps, especially the Wrangler Unlimited…. But just standing next to that big heavy truck reminds me why I drive a minivan. The minivan is optimized for what I actually do.

        But, I’ve owned a diesel car and loved it, and Chrysler would be an upgrade from VW in terms of reliability – so I can see a diesel Jeep as something I wouldn’t mind having as a backup vehicle for those times when an EV won’t do. :-)

        • 0 avatar
          hifi

          Man you sound boring.

          • 0 avatar
            Lynchenstein

            Yep, but I respect that. Most car owners (I would assume) ARE boring, but visit car sites to live vicariously through the lies of others.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            Hey, I resemble that remark! :-)

            I’m OK with being boring. Seriously, I’m a minivan dad and I like it that way. I live in a small city in the Midwest and I work a computer-related job. It looks as boring as it sounds, but I find that living this way agrees with me better than all of the other things I’ve tried!

            Jeeps look like they’d be a lot of fun tinker with in the driveway. Also, a primitive machine like a Jeep, with enough modern safety gear to keep Mom happy, might be a perfect way teach some old-school driving knowledge to my son when he’s ready to start driving in 2025.

          • 0 avatar
            Willyam

            Me too Luke42! My first Wrangler was a 1989. As I recall it was the last carbuerated passenger vehicle in the US. Not only was the mileage awful, but it stalled a lot. I didn’t care. The soft top was an exercise in futility, and blew off on the highway. Still didn’t care. Sold it as my first non-mechanic office job, complete with A/C and “business casual” clothes required highway driving. A few years later (ok a LOT of years later) I bought a 2004 Unlimited, which was quite a bit easier to live with but still got 14 on the highway, unloaded, with a tailwind. Still loved it. Divorce soon forced me to live cheaper. I think of my little beater CR-V as Honda’s attempt at a fun but useful Jeep-like vehicle, with capabilities much more limited but designed for the less Do-the-Dew!-folks out there. It’s cheap, doesn’t break, uses little gas, and gets me and kids to places we have to be with little drama. Would I own a Wrangler? Oh yeah, and a diesel and four-doors make that just a tiny bit closer to my grasp. Would I be less boring in reality? Probably not, but I do live within driving distance of Disney, Oklahoma, where axles snap like toothpicks, so one never knows.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        I’ve always thought they should sell the Wrangler as kit since the doors, roof, hood and windshield are just bolted on “as needed”. However I’ve never understood this vehicle at all due to its large price, terrible interior, noise, bad mileage, rough ride, fabric roof, etc, etc. Yet they sell like hotcakes so clearly I’m the one in the wrong. Thus a diesel seems like a nonbrainer because then they can charge even more for it.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      If any car benefits from an 8 speed, it’s an on/off road going one (and towing one). You want silly low 1st for crawling, and a tall top for getting from the gas station to the trail head.

      Try the Grand Cherokee with the old 5 speed and then the new 8 speed for a pretty darned good display of the advantages of the 8 off road. Or the Ram 1500 (I just returned from the Ram dealer after test driving a V6 8speed….. Still WANT the HD with the 6mt and Cummins, but every ounce and inch of rationality tells me a 1 ton diesel for personal use and camping is on the far side of silly….)

      • 0 avatar
        TW4

      • 0 avatar
        Kinosh

        Do they still make the MTs? I love my stick-shifts, but who is the target market for a 1 ton diesel stick shift?

        • 0 avatar
          RaptorConner

          People who tow who like to have full engine braking and control over what gear their truck is in. People who don’t trust Chrysler/Fiat automatic transmissions or want to pay for trans maintenance. People who use power takeoff provisions. People who enjoy having more efficient direct power delivery than a torque converter offers…

          Plenty of reasons.

  • avatar
    ToxicSludge

    Getting the cafe standards (mpg’s) up is relatively easy,especially for Jeep,put the VM Motori 2.8L CRD in it for the US.Mpg’s will greatly improve especially with the 8 spd auto.I’ve owned 3 jeeps,my last one being an 08 Wrangler JK.IMPROVE QUALITY while your at it.I got rid of my jk in only a year and a half because it was poorly built,and the bean counters took care of the low quality parts,insuring there were plenty.I would love another JK,especially with a diesel but Jeep has to really step up their game.Question is…..will they?

    • 0 avatar
      Good ole dayz

      I feel your pain. I have a 2006 Liberty CRD. The engine is great, but the component failure(s) must make a 4Runner owner laugh with pity — so far multiple window regulators, steering rack at 50,000, rear end at 75,000, peeling seat vinyl (on one side only of the driver’s seat only, go figure).

      I love diesels, and the Grand Cherokee would be tempting, except the thought of urea injection and diesel particulate filter (inherently trouble-prone from all manufacturers) with Chrysler quality levels and only a 3/36 warranty scares the bejeezus out of me.

      • 0 avatar
        AMC_CJ

        I have a 06′ Liberty CRD too. 76k miles as of now. The only problems I’ve had is the 2 window regulators (the last one was apparently an updated park, and had metal where the old plastic broke). The 2nd was an alternator clutch.

        The EGR sometimes flashes the engine light, but I ignore it. Great vehicle, the drivetrain being the real gem, but the rest of it hasn’t been too bad either.

        • 0 avatar
          Good ole dayz

          I’m glad that your experience has been better than mine. I’ve always maintained mine better than by the book, and don’t offroad, abuse it, which is why the premature failures of so many items is disappointing (btw, when I first got it the wiring harness wasn’t installed correctly, and it left me stranded on the side of the road in a February New England snow event). I now find myself worrying “what goes next?” so have lost faith in the long-term viability of the vehicle (which is a major reason I wanted a diesel in the first place).

          I’ve read that the UAW manufacturers (Chrysler, Ford, GM) spec lower quality / lower cost components from suppliers, and otherwise cut quality corners, in order to help offset the higher costs imposed by having the UAW on the premises. Don’t know if it’s true, or if those companies just don’t prize quality and durability the way the Asians do, but the UAW explanation sounds plausible.

  • avatar
    andreroy55

    Shouldn’t be any problem raking the windshield as much as you want and still let it fold down. What would be more difficult is curving the windshield and getting it to fold down. The centre would be farther forward than the edges, and it would look goofy, too, with the edges higher than the centre. :)

    If the windshield is curved, what would work to fold it down, is to have it first move up a bit, then the bottom moves forward while the top comes down. The wiper mechanism would probably have to be integrated into the bottom of the assembly, but it could work.

    I can’t see a problem with moving the hood release to the inside, probably cheaper, and then those ‘hooks’ wouldn’t be on the outside to catch unwary pedestrians.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      The winshield of the current Wrangler is curved – there is a single hinge in the middle vs. the 2 hinges at the left and right ends like it was in 2006 and prior.

  • avatar
    TW4

    Yes, using jobs descriptions to make a guess about Wrangler is a bit wild, but the deductions are sober and practical.

    According to CAFE regs, Wrangler will have to reach 37mpg combined in its current form. Diesel is almost a given. A steeply raked windshield and interior hinges seem like a given. The side mirrors will almost certainly be reworked. I’m not sure about airbag suspension, but the benefit of variable ride height is relatively obvious. The wheelbase might be stretched to increase the footprint, which will kill offroad capability, but reduce the mpg requirement.

    I hope the government is smart and they rework the CAFE requirements for light trucks in 2017. CUVs and small SUV’s are being unnecessarily targeted, and fullsize trucks and SUVs will probably be the benefactors. By gutting the fullsize sedan market, CAFE 1978 made F-150 the number one selling vehicle in only 4 years. If we are not careful, CAFE 2025 will actually cause our fleet economy to dip by eliminating popular vehicles in the small-light-truck segment.

    • 0 avatar
      jetcal1

      TW4,
      I check competitors career sections frequently. You would be amazed at what you can infer.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      TW4: that’s why the footprint thing should have never been implemented. But that was a bone for the pickup business, and vehicles like the Jeep will pay they price.

      I hope most of those iconic Jeep trademarks survive. Don’t care so much about the hood latches but the windshield and the doors are key features. And yes, some of the interior bits need to be of better materials. But pulling a few hundred pounds out of any vehicle can’t help but improve it provided it does not lose stiffness.

      • 0 avatar
        TW4

        Yeah, footprint problems are starting to show, particularly with small-light-trucks and full-size sedans.

        If they don’t rework CAFE they should at least make an exception: BoF = fullsize-truck. Cars are not going to move back to BoF, well, maybe fullsize muscle sedans :) CUVs are often based on cars so they will not go BoF. However, Wrangler will stay BoF and so will many capable off-roaders and utility vehicles. The BoF exception might revive small trucks as well.

        Basically all BoF vehicles on the market, including Wrangler, make about 17-18mpg combined. There is no reason a Wrangler owner or Xterra owner should be forced to purchase a Toyota Tundra or a Chevy Suburban, when the Wrangler and Xterra can be made to achieve 23mpg combined. Yes, 23mpg combined is a bit pathetic in this era, but it’s still a 30% improvement, and it will help increase fleet economy without killing consumer choice.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Government and smart….. fat chance. If they were not dumber than a bed rug, there would be no such thing as CAFE to begin with.

      Smart people (or not even smart. Just not retardely stupid) looking to reduce fuel consumption, would make up regulation that charges buyers per gallon consumed. Only dumb people looking to fool dumber people that they’re about reducing fuel use, while in reality they are about handing out privileges to, and reducing competition for, other dumb people too incompetent to compete sans such help, dreams up CAFE. Relying on 100 years of publicly funded indoctrination furnishing them with an ever greatest number of the absolute dumbest people falling over themselves making up dumb, dumber, dumbest excuses for why all the dumb things the dumber people say and do, is really, really necessary. ‘Cause the dumb man on TV said that those who aren’t dumb enough to believe such dumb stuff, is, like boooosh and baaad and stuff….

      • 0 avatar
        TW4

        Gasoline tax isn’t smart, either. The US is a widely dispersed population that relies heavily on labor mobility to maintain growth. Gasoline taxes are heavily reliant upon two assumptions. First, oil demand is relatively elastic. Second, people will purchase more fuel efficient cars, rather than driving less. The last two decades have shown that demand for oil is relatively inelastic, while supply has proven to be elastic. During the last decade, Americans purchased increasingly more SUVs and trucks despite a 300% rise in oil prices (prior to the 2008 shock), and Americans trimmed vehicle miles traveled per capita after 2005. The “smart” gasoline tax would likely have accelerated the economic slow down.

        Gasoline taxes are also generally regressive as a proportion of income, and lower-income individuals cannot afford to buy new equipment to avoid the tax. Gasoline/diesel is often a major input in the price of any good or service so the tax would cause systemic inflation for industries where fuel-savings are difficult to achieve. Inflation would require major COLA to welfare, unemployment, and social security.

        In theory, CAFE forces the populace to increase its ability to travel to hedge against instability. We all know the unintended consequences of CAFE by now.

        The best solution is to pay citizens or manufacturers to build a more efficient fleet. Presumably, improving the US fleet economy is worth hundreds of billions in reduced trade deficits and higher discretionary income for American citizens. A portion of the future economic benefits should be focused on the individuals who do the work in the present.

  • avatar
    AJ

    I’m not so sure about an air suspension? Sure it would be nice on a stock Wrangler, assuming it’s reliable longterm, like it’s offered on the WK2 (Grand Cherokee). But whatever the case, Wranglers need to be kept on the basic side. Especially when it comes to the suspension so that they’re easy enough to modify by a guy on a weekend (or many weekends as it usually is).

    What is great about Wranglers is how many modifications one can make. I have upwards of 20 different manufacture’s parts on my ’06 TJ from armor, bumpers, recovery, suspension parts… you name it. A Wrangler is like Legos, one can make it about anything they want, and change it again and again until it it causes a divorce. :)

  • avatar
    wmba

    Vellequette joins the vast throng of people, mostly marketing wallahs, who think that high strength steel is stiffer than regular steel. It’s not. HSS will deform further in its elastic range, absorbing much more energy before yielding than regular steel. Hence it’s use in crash structures.

    Luckily, the engineers designing the new Wrangler know this.

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    Huh, it seems the world is very must against me; I’m catching Jeep fever and living in San Diego REALLY doesn’t help with that either!

    Being serious though, if indeed the Wrangler does indeed gain a diesel engine and they offer it with the 6 speed manual, I really will bite on this one…. Hell I already want a Wrangler and if they build it, I’ll get one.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    What I really wanted to say is… Think of all that wonderful diesel low rev torque. That jeep will “walk” the stuff in that photo.

  • avatar
    Mikein08

    An 8 speed auto tranny for offroading? Silly. 5 speeds is plenty.
    A diesel would be great. (And why would you want a manual tranny in
    an off-road vehicle? It’s silly. An automatic lets you spend your
    time and energy driving instead of clutching and shifting).

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      Exactly. I like a manual for a sports car and twisty roads, but an auto is the way to go for off-road driving. When I was a youth, the first time I experienced an auto 4×4 was my grandpa’s “retirement” Wagoneer and how much fun it was to drive it off-road instead of his manual pickup truck which had one hell of a stiff clutch.

    • 0 avatar
      TW4

      A Wrangler TJ with the 4.0L I-6 and the 3.73 will walk up a 12% grade in 2nd gear. On flat ground, the driver can shift from 1st to 5th without touching the gas. In 4-low the old 4.0L I-6 can practically climb a tree in 1st gear.

      There is no strenuous shifting or clutch work on properly designed cars (the old Tacoma PreRunner V6 manuals are also excellent imo), but more importantly, there is no unnecessary throttle-work to figure out what the torque-converter is willing to give you.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Clutching and shifting is half the fun. If I wanted to do it the easy way I would go around the obstacle instead of over it.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Are there any images of a new Wrangler with the windshield folded down? It might not have been so bad in the pre-roll-bar days but I’m curious as to the reason why it’s still there and why anyone would do it, give the complexity and difficulty involved.


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