By on July 7, 2014

5-2013-wrangler-rubicon-10th-anniversary-anvil

With more SUVs preferring the high street over muddy, rocky trails, Jeep boss Mike Manley plans for the next-generation Wrangler to better compete against these soft-roaders while still maintaining its Rubicon cred.

Automotive News reports Manley’s plan to include “continued improvements of the powertrain package,” which may mean being fitted with Chrysler’s eight-speed automatic and either a smaller gasoline engine than the current 3.6-liter V6 or a diesel like that found in Ram’s 1500 EcoDiesel.

Regarding weight, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne believes aluminium would be another key ingredient in not only bringing down weight, but improving fuel economy on top of the aforementioned powertrain upgrades.

As for the solid front and rear axles that give the Wrangler its off-road prowess to compensate for increased weight and rougher highway travel, Manley didn’t say whether or not they would stay for the next generation of the iconic vehicle — due sometime in 2017 at the earliest — though he vowed Jeep would not “dilute what Wrangler stands for,” citing his killing of the two-wheel-drive Wrangler upon taking the brand’s reins.

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81 Comments on “Next-Generation Jeep Wrangler To Take Fight To Soft-Roaders, Hold Rubicon...”


  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    there was a time when this type of press release would be heresy of the highest order.

    that time is long gone.

    the number one reason to get a hard top on a wrangler these days is becuase sorority letters stick better to the glass window than the plastic one on the soft top.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      I’m okay with this. I like the idea of a simpler homogenized Wrangler than that misshapen Renegade they are going to come out with.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Diagree. If they screw it up for off-roaders, the brand is dead.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        what choice do off-roaders have? it’s either Jeep or nothing.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          Pickups. If Jeeps screws the off-roaders, they will go to pickups and Wrangler is dead. If Wrangler dies, Jeep dies. Careful, Manley. Stay Manley my friend.

          Once again, CAFE sucks and is totally counterproductive. Gas prices, need and personal preference should determine what people buy. The government busybody do-gooders should, again, fk off. We actually pay these people to limit our choices. Unreal.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            There are some things a short wheelbase Jeep can do that a pickup truck can’t–especially a crew-cab pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Agreed Vulpine, but the question was: what choice to off-roaders have? The Tacoma is the answer. No it is not a Jeep. That’s why the Jeep sells. The question assumes the Jeep is no longer a highly capable off-road vehicle. In that case, there is a choice. It is not ideal, but it exists. Tacomas rule in Hawaii, for example, where there is plenty of nasty off-road terrain. They do very well. If Jeep screws its core customers, they will walk. There is no reason to pay all that money and put up with traditionally sh*tty Jeep quality if the damned thing has its heart ripped out.

          • 0 avatar
            TheyBeRollin

            Vulpine: Aside from a tiny number of applications (none involving a lift), a crew cab truck is generally a really dumb choice. Guys that buy them want “big” as a sort of automotive penis extender.

            What I’d love to see is a new single-cab, short-bed truck. The Ford Raptor was amazing back when they lifted a middle finger to the “bigger is better” crowd by not allowing a crew cab. Then they sold out to the flatbillers.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @TBR: Unfortunately, everything I’ve read lately says that the regular cab will be gone soon, with the extended cab being the new “standard” cab. Doesn’t bother me as I really need the room behind the seat–more than I need 8′ of bed behind me. I’m perfectly happy with a measured ‘6 of real load floor with the tailgate closed and 18″ of storage behind the seats.

        • 0 avatar
          kkt

          Most off-roaders don’t buy new. They buy used, from first owners who discovered they didn’t like the rough ride on-road and the repair bills. The vehicle is a starting point for modifications, and if Jeep takes out the solid axles that’s just one more modification they need for off-road use.

          I’d be more concerned with extensive use of aluminum in the body. It’s hard to do-it-yourself or to repair dents.

          • 0 avatar
            cronus

            Dents add character and a Jeep without rust is what dreams are made of. DIY products for aluminum will be created when there is demand for them, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      I had a soft top Wrangler for a couple of years in Michigan. Loved the Jeep, but when the temperature drops below freezing the mythological purity of the canvas top does not keep your hands and feet from turning a nice shade of blue.

      For 6 months of the year the canvas top (or no top) is great, but in February the cold and the noise are not quite as fun.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I would disagree. The Wind Rider top that comes factory-equipped actually does a good job of helping to keep out the cold when properly sealed. I’ve been running a factory soft top now for 7 years (actually sold the hard top after only one winter) and really can’t notice that much difference from a hard top despite driving through and after several blizzards and even this past winter’s Polar Vortex.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    The formula for the Wrangler is nearly perfect. Ditching the stick axles for some fancy fully independent suspension would probably mean that the next Wrangler would be a Grand Cherokee with a soft top.

    Loyal Wrangler buyers would balk at this and wouldn’t buy one. CJD isn’t that stupid. It’ll have solid axles, front and rear.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Tell that to Rover, grzydj; they seem to be doing quite well with fully-independent suspensions. They’re proving at least as capable off-road as any factory stock Jeep. (They just don’t have the same level of reliability.)

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    What some of these so-called Jeep “purists” forget is that the JK model is FAR superior to the older models right off the showroom floor. They’re capable of handling trails factory stock that required a minimum 2″ lift on a TJ and by all means remember the old CJs that weren’t even THAT good.

    The point is that what has made the JK so different is that it is both bigger than previous models AND now comes in a 4-door version that is as capable as the 2-door model. The only thing the “purists” can argue about is that their Jeeps–TJ, YJ, CJ–are no longer Factory Stock; the vast majority of them are lifted a minimum of 3″ and the most noticeable ones are lifted 5″ or more with huge tires that look like they should be under a tractor than a short wheelbase passenger car.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      True about the 4 door. The UL has really been the root of the explosion in popularity of the Wrangler. Without the 4 door model, sales would be dismal. The popularity has little to nothing to do with the off-road capability of the vehicle, even though it is good. That being said, many are sold on the credibility of being authentic go anywhere vehicles. If they lose that, they lose the cred and sales.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Rover is regaining some of its old cred as an ‘expedition’ vehicle and it’s a fully-independent suspension now. I don’t think losing the solid axle will really hurt the Wrangler.

        • 0 avatar

          A stock LR or RR can’t go where a stock Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited can go.

          Furthermore, modifications for hard-core stuff are infinitely harder on IFS/IRS vehicles. The first thing to come out on an independent suspension Wrangler would be a solid axle swap kit.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            “Modifications for hard-core stuff are infinitely harder on IFS/IRS vehicles.”

            Exactly.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Furthermore, modifications for hard-core stuff are infinitely harder on IFS/IRS vehicles.”

            Tell that to the people who are already modding the new Cherokee.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I actually looked up the Cherokee yesterday, your giving a pretty hideous example from what I’ve found, very few people talking of mods and a entire forum dedicated to problems. Prospects of an availible lift kit have been shot down as the cost was seen as astronomic.
            It’s an offroad dud, by every account I could find. No amount of buttons can do what clearance, good tires, and lockers can do.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Look again, Hummer; Jeep themselves had a ‘lifted’ Cherokee at Mojave for Easter this year. Granted, the parts were prototype, but they did remark that it was easier than they expected.

            Not Mojave… the usual Easter weekend in Utah–Moab.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      JK is not far superior or bigger than TJ. The JK has a slightly wider track and slightly larger wheelbase, but the JK is shorter. By changing the engine block from I6 to V6, Jeep was able to add both interior volume and reduce the overall length of the vehicle.

      Most of JK’s superiority is derived from electronic updates to the Command Trac system. The metal is not making the difference, and as more electronics are added to make up for the shortcomings of the mechanical pieces, the Wrangler becomes less accessible, and more difficult to maintain/modify.

      If the Wrangler continues getting larger, Jeep will be compromising the off-road capability to satisfy CAFE footprint demands. It won’t matter how much they hype new Wranglers, enthusiasts will receive them as well as the new KL Cherokee, and the Jeep brand will start its descent into obscurity.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I’m questioning the “Command Trac” system you mentioned. I’m driving an ’08 Sahara that has the old manual transfer case and haven’t had any trouble with it in over 60K miles. I will NOT credit the JKU’s “superiority” to something that’s not on ALL Wrangler models. The only issues I’ve had is with the Daimler transmission (wants to kick out of gear) and Daimler soft brake lines (rotted out in less than 50K miles.)

        I doubt they’ll make the Wrangler even bigger “just to satisfy CAFE”, but they do need to improve aerodynamics and lighten the body.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      And many of the CJs were basically tractors that could go “fast”.

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      I have a TJ, my sister has a 2dr JK (both manual tranny, both stock suspension) so I’m quite familiar with both. I love my TJ, but faced with a choice I’ll take the JK over any previous generation in a NY minute. The JK feels like a tank with at least the same capability as the TJ, and probably better. The wider track makes it feel much more stable and planted. The JK has a more refined feel overall that actually takes some getting used to – which I think is why some of the “purists” remain skeptical of it (as they are of every new iteration of the Wrangler).

      As to the next generation, they’re going to try to make everyone happy – a Wrangler “lite” for the pavement/poser crowd that has better on-road manners, and the fully trail-rated version likely priced about where the current Sahara is, to start with. You’ll of course be able to option either one up to north of $40-50K with the inevitable Rubicon/Moab/TrailGod editions.

      If they’re “killing” the 2wd version, then it sounds like they’re plenty aware of the danger of losing the Wrangler rep as king of off-roaders, so I’m not at all worried about that.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It would seem to my eyes that competing with other soft roaders would be made easier by the availability of a -nice- interior. If the nicest one was the Sahara (I think)(always did like those hardtop ones); got to step it up.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    Notice he says “won’t dilute what Wrangler stands for,” but doesn’t say won’t dilute the Wrangler. I don’t understand the need to compete with CUVs, in its current form the Wrangler is wildy popular, sells for ridiculous prices, and has a near monopoly on the off-road SUV market.

    Chrysler sells 75 different variations of soft-roaders and CUVs including ever other Jeep model in production. With the Renegade it will have a CUV with an open top that looks like a Jeep but performs like a car. Do they really need another?

    I’m all for more efficient engines in the Wrangler but once Jeep starts talking independent suspension and car-based unibodies I’m out.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’m a solid axle fan myself, but they are just plain bad for what most people use Wranglers for. If they make even an IFS version (but keep solid front axle for Rubicon), that would improve the dynamics of the vehicle significantly while not reducing capability in any significant way for those users. People like their Wranglers, but hate the death wobble.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I keep hearing about this “death wobble”. I’ve been driving my JK for 7 years now and have never experienced it… not once! My JKU has been a very stable platform at 8 mph to 80. Why are people having so much trouble with it?

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          They’re fine as long as everything is kept in check. The wobble happens under the right conditions when things like the track bar joints, steering damper, tie rods, tires and shocks wear out causing steering oscillations. There’s always a cause, but it’s not always easy to find and that frustrates a lot of customers.

          It’s not unique to the Wrangler, Ford has wrestled with the problem on 4×4 Super Duty trucks and just about any other manufacturer that makes a vehicle with a solid front axle has experienced some degree of the problem as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I don’t think they’re quite talking car-type unibodies for the Wrangler; not yet, anyway. Aluminum body wouldn’t be that much of an issue as long as it still has a steel frame for the roll bars to anchor onto. Sure, it will show the trail rash more readily, but at the same time it shouldn’t be all that hard to hammer out the dents; just lay the panel on a hard, flat surface like a sheet of ¾” plywood and use a broad-faced sheet-metal hammer. I don’t see any problem at all with an independent suspension; it’s already been proven they can be lifted fairly easily.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      The Hummer H1 seems to do fine with independent suspension; it’s not exactly a new technology on or off road. Military tanks have used independently suspended bogie wheels for decades and those wheels aren’t falling off. If Jeep designs and executes a competent independent front and rear suspension system it would probably INCREASE sales since most new vehicle buyers would appreciate the improved handling.

      The number of people who would not buy a Jeep for lack of solid axles is probably about the same as the number of new car buyers looking for a brown diesel manual station wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        You can’t design an H1 independent suspension for a jeep price, its not doable in any way. I don’t think it would even be profitable if you doubled the price of the jeep.

        Don’t even think about a budget lift, your stuck with either the stock 37s or 38s unless you want to spend some big money.

        Edit: apologies entire last paragraph is H1/humvee specific got redirected. It would probably be smaller sizes for smaller vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          azmtbkr81

          Exactly, solid axles are tough, simple, and easy to lift, perfect for the weekend off-roader who doesn’t have a motor pool to provide maintenance and repairs.

          Attempting to engineer a complex independent suspension to gain a modicum of on-road comfort without losing off-road capability doesn’t make a lot of sense – especially since there are so many CUVs on the market that provide the SUV look with a car ride.

          The damage to Jeep’s reputation would quickly erode any sales gained by the few swayed to purchase a Wrangler by subtle improvements in on-road ride and handling.

          Although Fiat/Jeep may try to pass it off as something else the only real reason for moving to independent suspension would be platform consolidation, which given Fiat’s track record is a very real possibility.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I still say you need to tell that to Rover; they seem to be doing quite well on independent suspensions.

          • 0 avatar
            azmtbkr81

            Can you be more specific? The Defender, as far as I know, has always had solid axles and was the last vehicle Land Rover sold in the US that was comparable to the Wrangler.

            The LR4, which I would consider LR’s only current off-road capable vehicle, is too large, heavy, and overhung to be a serious competitor, independent suspension or not. It isn’t terrible off-road but it isn’t really in the same league as the Wrangler.

            The FJ has independent front suspension and is probably the closest in capability to the Wrangler. Still, the FJ’s IFS is considered one of its primary downsides when comparing the two.

            I own a ’96 Bronco with the infamous TTB IFS, and while it is fine for light-medium duty off-roading anyone serious quickly swaps it for a solid front axle. With independent suspension the difficulty and expense of lifting, suspension bushing wear, and alignment problems make it a huge PITA for anything but a stock configuration.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          The counter to your argument Hummer, is that if I remember correctly, the H1’s drive system was hydraulic, not mechanical drive shafts. That alone makes it near impossible to ‘lift’ a Hummer.

          The Wrangler comes stock on 32″ tires–except maybe for the Rubi on 35″s.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Negative, driveshaft to rear transaxle which hold the disk brakes, then a drive shaft down to a geared hub.

            And yes they can be lifted, look it up.

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      “I don’t understand the need to compete with CUVs, in its current form the Wrangler is wildy popular, sells for ridiculous prices, and has a near monopoly on the off-road SUV market.”

      Many people buy them for purely image reasons, and later decide the austere interior and trail-tuned suspension are too high a price to pay for looking cool. Having a lot of unsatisfied buyers is never good for future sales, regardless of the underlying reason.
      Sure they could continue to sell them in fairly decent numbers, but CEOs and shareholders want to see growth – simply maintaining current sales levels of anything is unacceptable in a publicly owned / publicly traded corporation.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        They sell every one they can produce, all at fat ptofits. The factory is running flat out. They cannot increase sales.

        • 0 avatar
          hybridkiller

          Given that, has it occurred to you that maybe they plan on increasing output capacity by MY2017? Because that’s precisely what a large corporation would do when they have a hot seller?

          But if you’re an FCA hater you’re going to tell me they’re too stupid to do that.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        It’s not a, “need to compete with CUVs,” that has FCA changing the Wrangler, it’s the need to get better fuel mileage. At its best, a skillful driver may be able to “wrangle” 25mpg out of the current model while most will be lucky to reach its rated 21mpg. For its size, it should be attaining at least 5mpg over that and I’d expect them to try for 30mpg or better as soon as they can.

        • 0 avatar
          azmtbkr81

          If that’s the case I applaud them, I’m all for aluminum and more efficient engines etc, but I suspect a more sinister short term profit motive is the real reason Manley is warming us up for a change.

          The Wrangler is a one-off platform that isn’t especially useful for anything but an off-road SUV (and maybe a small truck).

          Sergio has proven time and again that he loves platform consolidation. If he could consolidate the Wrangler onto a Dart platform he could save money in production costs while riding the coattails of the old Wrangler’s reputation to huge profits for a few years.

          Once word breaks out that the Wrangler ain’t what it used to be the jig is up, Jeep’s reputation is shot. Who cares at that point though? Shareholders are happy with the puffed up profitability and Jeep will continue to find gimmicky new ways to slow the brands eventual descent into obscurity.

          That’s my prediction, I sincerely hope Jeep proves me wrong. I’ll be out of grad school in in 2016 and looking to buy a new off-road SUV soon after to replace my aging Bronco, if such things still exist that is.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Sergio has proven time and again that he loves platform consolidation. If he could consolidate the Wrangler onto a Dart platform he could save money in production costs while riding the coattails of the old Wrangler’s reputation to huge profits for a few years.”

            With the Cherokee already on that platform and doing well, I highly doubt he would do this. However, keep in mind that he still wants to build a Jeep pickup truck and he may be looking for a way to build a common platform for a light truck with Wrangler capability. Since he hasn’t talked about bringing the size itself down, he’s obviously looking for a way to lighten the whole vehicle and give it some realistic carrying capacity without making it ridiculous. Since the Current Wrangler cracks 4300 pounds, peeling off weight in multiple locations (more compact engine, lighter body panels, perhaps remove some of the carpeting and ‘luxury’ features like the specific style of rear seats in the JKU and an extended-cab truck version should be good for about 1500 pounds total carry; exactly the size and capability I would want in a Jeep truck.

            As I’ve said before, every time Jeep has brought out a “new model Wrangler”, the established users have declared it not a “real Jeep”. Even if the new one falls back to the TJ in size and “stock” capability, I’m sure it won’t take much for newer users to realize it’s not “crippled”.

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        Jeep sells 3 other models that attempt to do exactly that: Jeep image riding on a car platform. The Renegade especially is designed to appeal to those who want the boxy, open top Jeep image without the rough ride and high fuel bill. The problem is that the image is solely based on credibility earned by appealing to those who do go off-road. Lose the off-road chops and the credibility quickly follows. For a brand like Jeep, the Wrangler’s halo effect is worth infinitely more than the revenue made from sales.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    When you’re selling every one you can build with almost no incentives why on earth would you consider changing the formula much? Maybe use aluminum to pull weight out of non-structural places, offer the 2.4 Tigershark; there are many people who believe there’s more to life than MPG that are keeping sales healthy.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “When you’re selling every one you can build with almost no incentives why on earth would you consider changing the formula much?”

      Because CAFE says so. Traditionally, the formula hasn’t been messed with very much. Their hand is being forced now because of the popularity of the formula, and the fact that selling them in large numbers kills the CAFE numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Yes. That and the fact that tooling wears-out. They need to replace the tooling, so they may as well make something even better than the current Wrangler.

        It sounds like they are trying really hard not to change the Wrangler fundamentals. That’s why they are talking about aluminum, 8 speed transmissions and diesels. Those are things that can improve MPG without changing the overall look and feel.

  • avatar
    Windy

    Why is their a requirement for so much horsepower in the Wrangler?
    I own a jeep my dad bought the year I was born and it has enough power for its off road chores.
    It is a 1948 CJ2A and last year I pulled a new ram 4×4 pickup out of the mud with my 150 ft 3/4 in nylon spring line with less than 40hp out of its 4 cyl flathead mill. Now on the highway it will only hit 60mph downhill with a tailwind but the gearing with low range means it will do just fine off road

    Is the much higher curb weight of a new wrangler the reason for the high power requirement?

    I guess modern safety requirements are the reason for most of that weight and comfort (such as heat which was an option in 1948) and entertainment for the rest of it

    Could a modern ‘jeep’ even be posable at the weight of the CJ2A?

    • 0 avatar
      cronus

      Most people enjoy traveling at more then the 50mph top speed of the cj2a (the minimum speed on the interstate in Michigan is 55mph so you couldn’t even take your CJ there.) Even the TJ’s with a 4cyl have trouble holding 70mph on a hill. It’s really a problem of expectations, 60 years ago people would buy a crap car because all of the other cars were crap too but if you have the option of crap vs good you’re going to pick the good car. If you’re looking for a modern CJ the ATV market has you covered.

      • 0 avatar
        Windy

        I was not saying build the 2A again but with proper gearing a modern version of a minimalist jeep CJ could manage just fine with about 100 to 130 hp if it was light enough… The real question can it be light enough and still pass all modern safety requirements? And still be a great off road jeep and useful to take shopping…

        I owned one of the first CJ-5 with the V6 in the 1960s and while I drove it from new England to Colorado for use at university that was the last time I took it on a long high speed trip it was sold in Colorado at the end of the school year and I took a plane home. And I never even thought of taking my old 1948 jeep on such a trip…. In fact it has never been out of New England and the maritime provences of Canada …its an antique after all

        The base question is can a relativly low horsepower lightweight (trail rated to use that silly market speak) yet useful modern CJ be built that would sell well or does the market require the bloated over powered (for its ostensible use) wrangler of the future that is no longer a real off road go anywhere jeep

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          It may be a bit fancy, but the new Renegade is supposedly falling into that slot, Windy.

        • 0 avatar
          cronus

          It’s intended use is to be driven. A car that you can’t drive everyday is a car that doesn’t sell in large numbers. Sales of the TJ & YJ with 4cyl engines were low, so was their performance. Even the 190hp 4.0’s have trouble pushing a Jeep at highway speeds, it’s an aerodynamics problem not a weight problem. It’s not like the fours get good gas mileage anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      “…with proper gearing a modern version of a minimalist jeep CJ could manage just fine with about 100 to 130 hp…”

      Most people could manage just fine without ~300hp in their family sedan, but that’s not what they WANT.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    They could honesty go another 20 years on this “generation” maybe add the 5.7 hemi and larger axles. It seems they are just itching to destroy a successful product, the brand has – what 6 other minivan based products? Just add a Prius type “jeep”, its not like you could hurt the brand anymore. Jeep only has the wrangler keeping any semblance of offroad prowess, lose that, you’ll lose the brand, even the mommies that buy the other products won’t want to own a brand that’s known as simply a minivan brand.
    No need for aluminum, there’s not enough to be gained as the shell is small enough as it is, the extra cost isn’t worth it.

  • avatar
    Eric the Red

    The Wrangler has become an aspirational vehicle for “Wanna Be’s”. Wranglers reputation WAS simple, light, rough riding, cheap, and could off-road and in a pinch handle the road (and don’t forget it was in every war since 1940 and served well). The new ones are the opposite of that. All the technology available on cars/suvs is on the Wrangler, it is much bigger/heavier, better riding, very expensive. The question is will people catch on it is no longer an “off-road way of life” vehicle and now aimed at mall shoppers, soccer Mom’s, mid-life crisis type of buyers.
    Will it still be cool when no one in their right mind would take it off road for fear of scratching their $45,000 show machine? Will it still be cool when no rock climber can afford one so it no longer shows up on crazy You Tube videos going where no-one should go?
    Can you imagine a soldier driving one of these new vehicles in a war zone? I can’t.
    Leave the Wrangler heritage alone and keep it simple, light, cheap, off road-able, and slightly crude. Bring another model out for the mall shopping soccer Mom’s that want to look cute while picking up the kids.
    Once Jeep loses it’s off road/rugged credentials then what reason is there to buy a Jeep?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      +1
      This

      Focus on cheap, reliable, and above all the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid).

      Don’t let the wrangler become another “heep”.

      I do disagree on saying only used jeep buyers offroad them, although they may not all use them as intended it doesn’t matter that much, used buyers keep the value up and are needed regardless who offroads it.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      All vehicles are aspirational “lifestyle choices”. In the US, people’s cars are expressions of themselves or perhaps what image they want to project to the world.

      The majority of Jeeps have never been off-roaders the same way that the majority of pickups have never been work vehicles and the majority of performance cars have never been driven on a track or drag-strip, etc.

      Most people buy vehicles that satisfy their self-image and how they want other people to perceive them. Very few people actually buy vehicles that satisfy their real-world needs.

      It’s currently popular to point out that this is a “first-world problem.”

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I’m going to both agree–and disagree, numbers. I do agree that a lot of people either see a car as “merely transportation” or as a “status symbol”. I don’t fit either of those stereotypes. I drive what I like and who cares what anybody else thinks about my choices. I bought a Camaro because I wanted a “fun” car after having driven almost nothing but “status symbols” (i.e. sedans) most of my life. I bought a Jeep Wrangler because I needed a vehicle that could handle the aftermath of a blizzard where I live–capable of getting out immediately after the storm and not having to wait for a bloomin’ snowplow to come through. I bought a pickup truck because I absolutely NEEDED a pickup truck at the time–and will be hopefully downsizing to a ’94 Ranger later this summer.

        I don’t buy an ‘aspirational’ car, I buy what I need and/or want at the time I’m ready and that need and/or want has nothing to do with how others will see me but rather how it will perform the tasks for which I purchased it. The Wrangler gives me good foul weather capability while letting me open it up–as the only 4-door convertible in production today. It’s functional AND fun for my purposes. However, since I’ve moved I don’t necessarily need the high ground clearance any more and the poor fuel mileage (though I can manage 25mpg under the right conditions–and that doesn’t mean all down-hill, I’m talking over a 700-mile trip) is enough to say I want the Camaro’s 30mpg capability back. Since a Camaro doesn’t have any form of 4WD, I’m looking at the Renegade to pick up that task. On the other hand, a Tesla with AWD would be ideal as I would start each trip with a ‘full tank’ and for 99% of my driving I would never need to stop for ‘fuel’. I hope they or someone else builds one soon.

        So I guess I’m the exception that proves the rule; I buy what I need, not what others say I should buy.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Odds are today’s Soldier will be driving around in in a Humvee. They were introduced in 1985. Plus the Humvee is lot easier to up-armor.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You’re making a lot of assumptions based on no data whatsoever. Why don’t we actually wait and see how they do before we assUME anything.

  • avatar

    It took me an unfortunately long time to realize, but Wrangler’s straight axles do not carry a weight penalty, compared to independent suspension. If you look at the weight of a loaded Rubicon, it’s still lighter than e.g. Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Pathfinder that have engines across, unibodies, and independent suspensions. For some reason next to everyone in the press believes that straight axles are heavy, but it is simply not true.

    If I recall it right, the IRS in Mustang also was about the same weight as its straight axle, from comparison of alternatives to the post SN95 generation (e.g. Lincoln). In fact the new for 2015 IRS may even be a little heavier, since it’s designed for the modern torque.

    Personally I would not be against the independent suspension in Wrangler. We have FJ and Commander drivers in my local jeep club and they seem to do fine, as long as the lift is relatively modest. The proof is in the pudding. But let’s not pretend that independent suspension saves weight.

    • 0 avatar
      potatobreath

      As I understand it, it’s not the absolute weight of the components, but rather how that weight is carried on the car. Live axles are a huge unsprung weight rigidly attached to the wheels. Hit a bump, and all that live axle mass has to accelerate up and down with the wheel.

      Modern fully independent suspension (i.e. multi-link, double wishbone) has more of the suspension weight bolted straight to the body where it is sprung and not fixed rigidly to the wheels. Hit a bump and only the mass of the wheels travel up and down. The result is a much more comfortable ride.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Without legislative help or a great technological leap forward, Wrangler, as we know it, will probably not survive CAFE regulations. The new CAFE regulations are scornful of small vehicles with relatively poor fuel economy. The wheelbase will probably grow to Unlimited-like proportions, and the Wrangler will be dead.

  • avatar
    turboprius

    RWD Wrangler? That’s what my mom probably would’ve gotten if she bought a Wrangler in 2008.

    Older Jeeps are so popular here, but at least people take them off-road.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      While it is (or was) possible to buy the Wrangler in 2wd only, very few actually do unless they do buy it, as one here suggests, as a ‘status’ car. Even a 2wd Wrangler can do things most lower vehicles can’t simply because they ride so high. And having a convertible top that only costs $700 to re-canvas is a huge bonus.

      However, the places where I drive my Jeep do encounter weather-related hazards that only a true 4×4 can handle. It’s nice to have that ability when you need it.

      • 0 avatar
        hybridkiller

        “While it is (or was) possible to buy the Wrangler in 2wd only, very few actually do unless they do buy it…as a status car”

        I don’t know what the total sales breakdown is (maybe you do?) but Florida and much of the southern US is lousy with them. For every one used 4×4 Unlimited there are probably 10 rwd advertised for sale (last I looked anyway). That’s usually a pretty good indication that they sold a fair number of them, at least regionally. If they did, my guess would be sales fell dramatically once the novelty wore off.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Surprisingly, the Land Rover Sport is remarkably capable both on-road and off. So are almost all of its “big SUV” brothers. If you watched Top Gear UK you could see just how capable they are. Sure, they’re not Rubicon-grade rock crawlers, but they can go anywhere a factory stock JK can go short of the Rubi.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    “Off-road” to some is not Jeep off-road. You can drive a pickup anywhere SUVs can go, for a hell of a lot cheaper. A stock Wrangler is just the beginning for a whole lot of Jeep people. An SUV is no substitute. It is not a comparable vehicle. A Jeep is a true off-road utility vehicle, and you can turn it into whatever you want. Sand, mud, rocks, mountains, beach, whatever. Personalize it. A Land Rover is what it is. You take what they give you and pay out the a*s. A big SUV is even a worse comparison, as they cannot go on many narrow and steep mountain trails or if they can, you wouldn’t want to because of crashing and death.

    Destroy the Wrangler’s mod potential and you destroy Wrangler. Jeep people will not flock to Land Rovers, I guarantee it. They will just buy more pickups. Go ahead Jeep, give it a try. It will be an historic error.

    The money would be better spent bribing the government into granting a CAFE exemption. That would be true to American tradition and the history of CAFE. Or, people could just insist that CAFE be eliminated, and consumers be allowed to buy what they want. CAFE is not inevitable or mandated by God. We made it, we can destroy it.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      With the exception of your CAFE rant, the same sort of thing has been said about each and every different version of the old CJ since it came out. Every time there has been a very vocal, “But it’s not a REAL Jeep!”. Every time the modders have found a way around the argument.

      They will again, I promise you.

  • avatar
    hybridkiller

    I think it bears mentioning that the single most relevant attribute that makes the Wrangler so capable is the overall geometry of the vehicle. As long as it has very steep approach/departure/breakover angles and plenty of ground clearance, you can tweak a fair number of things without seriously compromising its offroad worthiness.

    Remember when they discontinued the 4.0L I6? That was also supposed to be a fatal error which many predicted would precipitate the Wrangler’s fall from grace. Same thing happens, same arguments with every subsequent redesign.


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