By on November 24, 2014

2014-Jeep-Wrangler-Sport-Afar-450x300

A two-pedal Jeep Wrangler might be sacrilege to some, but the next-generation off-roader will be packing an 8-speed automatic for those who don’t want to row their own.

According to Automotive News, the next Wrangler is confirmed for the 8-speed auto, based on an SEC filing. The 8-speed will not only be used on the Wrangler, but all rear-drive FCA products, save for heavy duty trucks and the Viper.

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68 Comments on “Next-Gen Jeep Wrangler Confirmed For 8-Speed Automatic...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Maybe this means something on the Renegade will be coming soon

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      A guy in my neighborhood has a Renegade. It’s way less horrible looking than pictures would lead me to believe. I like it WAY better than the Cherokee.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        How did he get a Renegade? They’re not on sale yet

        • 0 avatar

          Renegade trim of something…?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          He works for FCA. I live in a middle to upper class suburb of Detroit. It is within 20 minutes of the Ford, GM, and Chrysler HQs, plus the GM Tech Center. It is also close to downtown and the cities with nightlife (Royal Oak/Birmingham/Ferndale). Many engineers and execs live in the area. The rare house that is for rent usually ends up with someone in the auto industry that is new to Detroit or here temporarily.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I can’t wait to see one

          • 0 avatar
            Tinn-Can

            Run over there and see if it is unlocked for a little TTAC guerrilla review…

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Maybe I’ll bring him a case of beer.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            bbal is right. The Renegade is currently on tour. It is not officially for sale yet, but some dealers have already seen them in the “sheet metal.”

            The factory-show Renegades are transported in an enclosed 18-wheel tractor-trailer rig that has the Renegade painted to the s1des of the trailer. I saw such a rig on I-10 last week, heading somewhere West.

            I suspect the Renegades were shown to big El Paso dealers. Maybe they’re going to the big Albuquerque dealers as well. Or maybe the big Phoenix dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Report I got from my local dealer is that they’re expecting their first shipment in sometime around mid-December. Not permitted to pre-order any Renegades as yet.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      I live in Royal Oak, MI and one of the neighbors had a silver Renegade (Limited, I think), parked on the street about a month ago. It had the white leather interior with the contrasting orange trim. Very sharp (if impractical). I stopped and checked it out. Granted, it might not have been a true production model, but I was really impressed with the build quality. It looked very well screwed together and the paint finish was top notch. If they price this right, I think they are going to have a HUGE hit on their hands with this baby.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Nice! This will bring combined fuel economy into the double digits.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Combined fuel economy is already in the double-digits. Or were you trying to say, “… into the 20+ range”?

      Typical combined for me is just under 20mpg during the summer and down to just under 18mpg on winter fuel blends. (This doesn’t count the fact that the floor setting of the climate control automatically kicks on the AC compressor. I run in the cross-feed floor/vent mode which doesn’t kick it on.)

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        No we mean 20 mpg just like you can’t hit.. Even without ac.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Ah, but I can hit 20 on the highway in my older, weaker ’08 model…

          And 21, with AC
          and 22, with AC
          and 23, with AC, depending on where I’m going and route
          sometimes 24 (usually AC off) and I HAVE even reached 25+ driving from Knoxville, TN to Baltimore, MD–cracking the 25 figure immediately after entering I-66 and holding it through Baltimore on I-95.

          • 0 avatar
            mikeg216

            Yes but you have to put up with that God awful rocks in a blender Minivan motor, that’s how I knew the unlimited was is a hit.. Even gutless and underpowered and noisy with an ancient transmission they sold like hotcakes.

      • 0 avatar
        ezeolla

        I am pretty sure it was a joke. But my TJ does combined of around 16

      • 0 avatar
        King

        It’s the exact same as the Sport model, but it has an AutoStick automatic transmission. http://www.brooklynchrysler.com/2015-jeep-patriot-brooklyn-ny.htm

  • avatar
    bfisch81

    8 speeds?! That’s… *counts*… 5 more than the Torqueflite in my TJ! What a time to be alive. :P

  • avatar
    YellowDuck

    “A two-pedal Jeep Wrangler might be sacrilege to some,”

    I’m not a hard-core offroad type, but my understanding is that an automatic is generally acknowledged to be the best choice for serious rock crawling. Makes sense if you think about it.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Depends if your good with a manual, I’d say having a manual and being able to use it will outweigh anything an auto can offer.
      I can’t think of many situations a auto would be better, they’ll work fine for any situation, just not as well.

      • 0 avatar
        YellowDuck

        Nope, think about it. You are crawling at a snail’s pace over some rocks on a step incline with lots of suspension articulation. The next move could ground you out or flip you, so you are taking it slow. With an auto, you just back off the throttle and let the torque converter slip, to achieve whatever speed you need at the moment (down to and including zero mph). With a manual you are working two pedals instead of one, trying to get the slip you need, likely burning the bejeezus out of the clutch, even with low range selected. And when you are on an uneven 30-degree incline stopped with your foot on the brake, good luck getting that right foot to the throttle and letting the clutch out without rolling backwards. I guess you use the handbrake? The handbrake on a current generation jeep is next to useless. This I know for sure.

        Again I don’t do this stuff myself, but I don’t have a hard time understanding why an automatic is the preferred setup for extreme off-roading.

        • 0 avatar
          motorrad

          I know my 2012 manual has the computer coded so in 4LO you can start it with it in gear and the clutch out. Also won’t let it die in idle, just take your foot off the brake (hill control will keep it from rolling downhill) take your foot off the accelerator, let out the clutch and the computer will modulate the throttle to prevent it from dying and get you rolling at 1-2 MPH. It’s awesome what you can do with throttle by wire.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Even being good with a manual, there are some places where the automatic has the advantage. Now, with my 6-speed stick in my JKU Sahara, I can crawl in traffic without riding the brakes and on those grades mentioned elsewhere, the automatic has the advantage of not forcing a heel-and-toe brake/gas contortion that I admit I’ve never mastered and not all that many stick-shift drivers can master today. Sure, I love the slo-motion drive where you can idle up a steep hill in 4-lo, but an automatic can do it just as well without having to worry as much about rolling backwards as you co-ordinate gas, brakes and clutch.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        If you’re in a situation where you need to go “slow enough”, you’ll either stall or burn up the clutch with a manual. You can move “slow enough” almost arbitrarily low with extremely deep reduction gears. The Rubicon goes some reasonable way towards doing that. People who build dedicated rock crawlers will often stack two deep reduction transfer cases in series, allowing them to idle at a mile a year or something….. But, at the very limit, a torque converter will always be a better mousetrap for that kind of stuff than a clutch.

        Of course, at the limit and with current technology, autos are “better” for sports cars as well. And more frugal. And still boring enough that anyone who cares enough bother, will almost always pick the manual anyway….

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          From when I got my license in 1973, up until this spring, I drove a manual. My current car is a plug in hybrid, so it is a CVT. I thought I was going to miss shifting, but I have to say I really don’t, and I don’t think I’d get another car with a three pedal setup. It seems like an anachronism, like I’m inserting myself in a process that is better off without my involvement.

          If I were to get a sporty car, I’d like a snappy dual clutch with shift paddles, but for general purpose driving, the CVT makes a lot of sense.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      For rock crawling with a manual a low range transfer case and good judgment on speed or momentum is very helpful. The torque loss, unpredictable gear changes and loss of engine braking with an automatic, for all other off road conditions is not helpful.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        You’re making some invalid assumptions, Beerboy. There’s almost no torque loss and the gear changes are NOT all that unpredictable. When you’re crawling at 1-5 mph, you’re probably locked solidly into first gear and in 4-low you’re probably ‘flying’ at 3mph. AND there’s no loss of engine braking with today’s automatics unless you just hit the downshift wrong and jam the solenoid into the port with too much back-pressure.

        • 0 avatar

          Indeed I always lock into 1st when in low on an obstacle. However, it’s faster to let it upshift between obstacles than take out of 4-lo, because of the need to go neutral in the transmission.

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          Compared to a manual, there is always torque loss. Automatic gear boxes do lock up but not typically at these low speeds. They aren’t double clutches and this is the reason people prefer an auto for rock crawling, because they allow slipping i.e. torque loss.
          Most off road cars today have some sort of hill decent control that will render engine breaking pointless, until the electronics fail. Again, low speeds will mean the torque converter does not lock and slippage will lower the ability of the motor to slow the vehicle down on decent.
          You cannot lock an auto into 3rd, or 4th… You got 1,2, D… Not all off road conditions require crawling speeds. This is were the automatic becomes unpredictable.

  • avatar
    TW5

    The one good thing about American enslavement to the automatic transmission is that all of those people will be forced to buy 8-speeds, start-stop, and hybrid, while the other 5% of us can enjoy a manual transmission version that is more true to the Jeep spirit.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Us “slaves” can also eat a cheeseburger and text our friends while driving, so there

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Don’t you think that if people are “forced” to accept things like a hybrid, then the manual wouldn’t be completely removed as an option first?

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        “the other 5% of us can enjoy a manual transmission”

        … that we learn to use by practicing with the bones of our enemies after Fire Maker cooks the meat off. Oh, Great Jeep Spirit, thank you for making us your People!

        (Was away all afternoon, then saw the above about the Renegade. Wow. Thank You, Jeep Spirit.)

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I only needed a manual when I drove cars with less than 100hp in the mountains.

      I do neither now, and automatics don’t mother me much, though every imperfect shift makes me wonder why I’m not driving a CVT or an electric car….

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    .

  • avatar

    Automatics are almost a prereq for Unlimiteds. That and a hardtop, power package, and nice wheels. People buy those for mall crawlers. 2-doors get away with sticks, no equipment, soft-tops, etc.

    Best combo? 2WD Unlimited soft-top w/no power, steel wheels, silver paint, and a stick. You’ll be sitting on one of those until the lugs rust off.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      As someone who’s ridden in a soft-top Jeep, I say “no thank you, Sir” to ever even thinking about one.

      Hardtop. No question.

      (Especially around here, where it rains.

      A lot.)

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        My grandpa won a Wrangler at his local casino, drove it down to our place (6 hours) in the dead of winter, and had us help put the hardtop on. That was about 6 years ago. It’s not come off since.
        About a year later, he won a Ranger and a small pop-up camper. He’s used neither, I don’t think he’s sold either, and grandma doesn’t drive.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        As someone who has driven a soft-top Jeep since ’08, I say, “I’m betting you didn’t ride a JK.” The sunrider soft top is remarkably quiet when closed. Maybe not as much so as a hard top, but much quieter than you might think.
        And it snows here. In fact, we’re expecting snow on Wednesday night.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I’m driving an Unlimited Sahara with a stick, a soft top, power package and nice wheels. It has surprised the “hard core” Jeepers at Rousch Creek in PA.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Best combo? 2WD Unlimited soft-top w/no power, steel wheels, silver paint, and a stick. You’ll be sitting on one of those until the lugs rust off.”

      Good lord that’s some strong lot poison. You can’t even order a Wrangler with 2WD up here.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    If you’re buying a Jeep Wrangler for fuel economy, you’re doing it wrong.

    That being said, I like the idea of an 8-Speed. Should give the puppy a little more zip.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Lots of people don’t buy Wranglers because of the fuel economy.

      edging by the salesman’s reaction when I test drove one, and the wince I saw when I mentioned MPG.

      Mo’ MPG, mo’ sales. Even if the people who are buying them now don’t care.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        What’s funny is that my original Wrangler salesman can’t believe that I AVERAGE nearly 20 mpg in mixed driving and frequently go over 20. My highway mileage runs around 22-23 and I have achieved 25mpg over a 100 mile stretch. That’s with the older engine, not the Pentastar which is supposed to offer 1-2mpg better.

        What’s killing the gas mileage in the Wrangler is its very blocky shape and relatively heavy weight at around 2 tons.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    What other rear-drive FCA product is the 8-speed not already in?

    It’s in the Charger/300/Challenger, the JGC/Durango, and the half-ton pickups. The Wrangler is the last holdout except for the two you named. Everything else FCA makes is FWD-based.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The new 8-speed with the V6 Pentastar is a busy-shifter. Whoever wrote the shift-algorithm for that powertrain combination never drove the end-product. Or maybe the V6 doesn’t have enough twist to keep the 8-speed in the higher gears, even on a flat road.

      The three 2014 Grand Cherokees owned by my wife’s sisters all share that same irritating gear hunting, even after having been re-flashed two or three times.

      • 0 avatar
        zerofoo

        Hit the “eco” button. The 8-speed will hold gears longer and only get into top gear at higher speeds.

        Unfortunately, it seems that auto manufacturers are using software tricks to hit their EPA numbers.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          zerofoo, the VIC is set up for eco, and to reflect ECO in the VIC whenever the ecomode is achieved.

          Thus, it shifts to a higher gear earlier, but can’t hold it there because of lack of torque and/or throttle position and/or engine rpm.

          If you take it out of ecomode, then, you are right, the tranny will stay in gear longer as if in a performance mode, and only shift into 7 or 8 when achieving a higher cruising speed, like 55mph or higher.

          Fiatsler has several “tunes” out in the form of a firmware flash. These three GCs are operated in three different states, Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho, but share the same irritating shift-symptom.

          As I understand it, the 5.7L V8 with the 8-speed does not have this problem, so it must be endemic to the V6 versions.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    I like the combo of the 3.6 and the 8-speed in my wife’s ’14 GC. I’m driving an ’04 GC and I’ve been holding out for the new wrangler. Aluminum body on frame and the 8-speed are good upgrades to the wrangler.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    What next, spray on mud?

  • avatar

    A stick and thumb throttle kit is great for TJ, but in JK auto is a solid choice, primarily because the manual is so bad. The durabilty of clutch is particularly poor, with throw-out bearings failing left and right at 30k miles, master cylinder next. The transmission itself often pops out of gear. Although if they fixed the clutch, it would make manual useful again.

  • avatar
    Kato

    I recently test drove a manual Wrangler, and, while I strongly prefer manuals, I’d be tempted to get the auto in this vehicle just because their manual is so vague and sloppy. Every time I went for 3rd or 5th I was never sure which I had till I let the clutch out. I’d probably get used to it after a couple of weeks, but it would never be pleasant.

  • avatar
    Kato

    Hmm, yes it probably didn’t help that I drove the S2000 to the Jeep dealership. :) Seriously though, I’ve owned three different Japanese SUVs, designed 10, 20, and 30 years earlier than the 2015 Unlimited I drove, all had transfer cases, and all had significantly better-defined gates than the Jeep transmission. I think Jeep could do better if they tried a little harder.

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