By on April 10, 2011

If Chrysler’s five-year business plan were taken at face value, one might be forgiven for thinking we were supposed to have a four-cylinder, stop-start-equipped diesel Wrangler in the US by now. Not so, clarified Jeep’s bosses, while keeping the window open. Now Jeep CEO Mike Manley is hinting at diesels again, telling the Freep that the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee could  get oil-burning engines “within three years,” and that

Diesel in some of our models makes absolute sense.

Europeans certainly seem to think so, as the vast majority of Jeep sales on the continent are diesel models. And no wonder: on the European test-cycle (non-EPA), the 3.8 liter gas-powered Wrangler (with manual) is rated at 15.5MPG city, 29 MPG highway and 22MPG combined, while the diesel 2.8 with manual and stop-start (offering less horsepower but more torque) is rated at 28.5MPG city, 36.2MPG highway and 33.1MPG combined (converted from l/100km figures). It might not be long before that kind of efficiency advantage becomes worth the $1k-$3k projected price premium (assuming the EPA test reflects an equal advantage).

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21 Comments on “Jeep Hints (Again) At Diesel Wrangler, Grand Cherokee...”

  • avatar

    Not only is the fuel economy stellar, but low end torque is perfect for an application like a Jeep Wrangler or Cherokee. I don’t want to wait 3 years and I’m sick of manufacturers putting diesels off longer and longer.

  • avatar

    29 mpg highway for a 3.8 Wrangler? The european mileage standards must use even worse modeling than our absurdly fantastical CAFE dyno tests. Do they completely exclude aerodynamic drag and curb weight from their calculations? What a pathetic joke.

    • 0 avatar

      The European tests are indeed, ah, optimistic vis a vis the EPA cycle.  

      For the record, the Prius nets 72mpg on the same.  Keep that in mind the next time someone posts about some miracle Eurodiesel’s mileage.

      • 0 avatar

        Don’t forget the imperial gallon is a bit bigger than the U.S. gallon. That 72mpg is bumped down to just under 60 from the conversion alone.
        I wish liters/100km would become popular in the U.S., it’s much more descriptive as far as small gains in the sub-30mpg area being greater than gains in the 30+ area. Going from 24 to 25mpg saves more fuel than going from 30 to 31, for example. It would certainly work for all the automakers desperately trying to squeeze extra economy out of their fleets of bloated mallmobiles.

    • 0 avatar

      The EPA test results aren’t actual results, they are adjusted downward (mpg is reduced) by 22% to get closer to real-world results. The European test results use raw data from their cycle.

    • 0 avatar

      ‘… Jos Dings, director of Brussels-based green transport campaigners Transport & Environment, says that the official CO2 results given by the manufactures on cars sold in Europe “are less and less a reflection of what we are seeing on the road.”
      Dings says that there has always been a difference between the amount of CO2 a car emits during a controlled test and what it produces when actually driven. He said that gap used to be 20 percent but has risen to as high as 50 percent for models advertised as sub-100g/km cars.
      “We don’t want cuts on paper,” Dings said in a phone interview. “We want them in reality.” ….’ (…)

  • avatar

    The Rubicon CRD would be a sales success even at a $4k premium.
    Compared to the 4.0L I6 that it replaced, the current 3.8 V6 is quite anemic on low end torque. The 2.8 VM would be the best of both worlds, adding loads of torque while improving fuel economy dramatically when venturing off road or towing.
    I used to have a 2006 Liberty CRD; Real world I got 24 City and 26 Hwy. Add a Particulate trap and higher levels of EGR required to meet 2010 US Emissions and that goes down at least 10%.

  • avatar

    I agree.  There’s no 3.8L Wrangler getting 29MPG on the highway.  My ’06 TJ with the I-4 gets about 14MPG at 65MPH.
    If only they had brought a decent diesel back during the TJ days…

  • avatar

    There’s a current year diesel Grand Cherokee at my local gym. Gotta find the owner and find out where [Europe?] he got it.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    My folks have an ’06 Jeep Liberty CRD with the VM Motori 2.8 liter common-rail diesel four with 160 hp/295 lb-ft of torque. Same unit as the one that goes into the Wranglers.
    For the naysayers out there, that Jeep gets 31-32 mpg on the highway, as long as you don’t go over 65 mph. Then aerodynamics start eating lots of fuel. Some crossovers get that kind of mileage, but the Liberty can tow up to 5000 pounds and has a low-range transfer case, which the crossovers most certainly do not have.

    They got it new in ’06 for $26.5k, and it’s got every option except leather and a moonroof. At 60k miles, that Jeep has been very reliable and if the forums are anything to go by, the Liberty CRDs are holding up pretty well.

    • 0 avatar

      What on earth is 5000 pounds? for gods sake get with the real world of KG and TONNES nobody understands this american pedantry of using the smallest increment to measure large amounts. I think what you mean is your POS Jeep can nearly tow as much as a normal 6cyl sedan but use twice the fuel.

      • 0 avatar

        I hope you don’t have trouble converting from 5000# to 2 and a quarter metric tons (we also don’t do ‘tonnes’).  As for the U.S. converting to metric wholesale?  Not going to happen.  The feds tried to ram it down everybody’s throats 30 years ago and the public told the officials to get stuffed and they had to cancel the plans to convert all the road signs (keep in mind that the U.K. is still miles rather than km too).  For science and international trade, Americans have no problem with metric, but for local consumption, switching over would be an inefficient hassle.  Does it irritate you that the U.S. thinks it’s big enough to go its own way on this?  If so, we can live with that.  

        Lastly, BTW, in the U.S. auto manufacturers underrate the towing capacity of smaller vehicles considerably (compare the tow ratings of a VW Golf in the U.S. vs the same car in Europe) — possibly this is because they want to sell their larger, more expensive vehicles in the U.S. for towing.

      • 0 avatar

        Bryce, are you just now discovering that the metric system is not exclusive?  Where have you been for the last several generations?  As Slocum mentioned, during the Carter administration of the late ’70s, an attempt was made to convert to metric in the US.  It never took hold.  Please be nice on TTAC or go away and come back after 10 years or so when you’ve finally decided to grow up.

      • 0 avatar

        KG and (metric) tonnes are not well understood by the general American public so forget it!  As for using small units, one good reason is that the large customary unit of weight (ton) is ambiguous as it comes in both short (2000 lb) and long (2240 lb) versions.

    • 0 avatar

      @Sam: I read that the Liberty CRD was plagued with torque converter lockup failures.  Chrysler offered a recall.  Instead of upgrading the converter with a stronger lockup clutch, their fix was to replace the converter with an identical one and reflash the PCM to change the load range at which the lockup engaged.  Owners complained that their CRD got considerably worse fuel economy afterwards.  I don’t remember what the before and after numbers were.
      @Bryce: This site is about cars, not belittling people over units of measure.  2.2lb = 1kg, or download a freeware conversion calculator from the internet if that’s to difficult for you.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Back in 84-86 Jeep offered the Cherokee with the Renault 2.1 diesel. I used to see a few around. You can tell by the badge on the back tailgate 2.1. I have no idea how relaible they were but they did get 30 MPG Hwy

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    This gives me hope that GM and Isuzu will figure out how to stick a fuel efficient I4 turbo diesel in a 1/2 ton chassis which would make a great tow vehicle. Stop/start technology makes sense on gas engines because they idle so inefficiently but just the opposite is true for a diesel. If I am sitting at stoplights that much, I will just hop in my EV.

  • avatar

    If they offer a diesel option in the Wrangler, I think they’d have difficulty keeping up with demand. It would be a unique selling point.
    I remember reading that the Liberty CRD had a much higher take rate than they anticipated, but they still killed the option. Didn’t make sense to me. I can understand them removing it from the Cherokee because that’s more of a mommy-mobile and maybe there wasn’t much interest in the diesel for that. But Wranglers are meant to go off-road. A lot of low-end torque is a good thing in that application.
    As VW continues to prove, people want diesel engines even if there’s a premium for the engine and the fuel price is often higher than gas. Driving a diesel is a lot more fun that a similar gas engine and the fuel economy doesn’t hurt either. So it would be really nice if more manufacturers would figure it out. Diesel isn’t for everyone, but it’s nice when the option is given.

  • avatar

    Call me when they stick a similar engine in a Dakota sized pickup. 200 HP and 400 TQ would be perfect for my towing application. Currently I have the 4.7l V8 Dak… and it gets 13 city or highway towing, gets 19 highway if unloaded. As mentioned the big problem is aero – a boat is pretty much an upside-down wing, thus even a small, light boat like mine (under 2,000lbs) is like having a parachute behind you aero-wise.

  • avatar

    I would buy one if the fuel economy matched European model. It seems like the diesel engine would be a no brainer for the wrangler at the European mileage. The wrangler is very respected except for recent power plants. I think there would be an initial large surge sale of this wrangler model. If the wrangler is a hit in Europe it will sell in the US too.

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