Next-Generation Jeep Wrangler To Take Fight To Soft-Roaders, Hold Rubicon

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
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next generation jeep wrangler to take fight to soft roaders hold rubicon

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.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Turboprius Turboprius on Jul 07, 2014

    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.

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    • Hybridkiller Hybridkiller on Jul 08, 2014

      @Vulpine "While it is (or was) possible to buy the Wrangler in 2wd only, very few actually do unless they do buy 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 4x4 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.

  • Vulpine Vulpine on Jul 07, 2014

    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.

  • Thelaine Thelaine on Jul 08, 2014

    "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.

    • See 3 previous
    • Thelaine Thelaine on Jul 08, 2014

      @Vulpine Despite your arrogant hand-wave, CAFE is obviously relevant. Your personal discomfort with emotion is not my problem.

  • Hybridkiller Hybridkiller on Jul 08, 2014

    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.