By on March 6, 2015

2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

We’ve said the next Jeep Wrangler would have diesel power, as well as an eight-speed auto. Now, both will be paired with each other.

Autoblog reports the specific combo is a 3-liter EcoDiesel V6 mated to a ZF eight-speed auto, following similar pairings in the Grand Cherokee and the Ram 1500. When asked for official confirmation from the brand, however, representative Gabrielle Schulte said that her employer does not comment on speculation.

As for when one might be able to battle the Rubicon — or the Rubicon Outlet Mall — in a diesel-driven, eight-speed automatic Wrangler, Autoblog‘s source couldn’t confirm the model year such a beast would appear in showrooms.

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61 Comments on “Next-Gen Jeep Wrangler To Have Diesel, 8-Speed Auto Combo...”


  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I like the 3 litre VM diesel, nice engine. This should give the Wrangler some real mumbo, 420ftlb of it and much better FE.

    Now all Fiat has to do is make an extended wheel base version and drop a flat bed on the back.

    This would have to make the Wrangler the best off roader built in the US.

    I would of thought they would have used the inline VM 2.8 diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      The Wrangler already IS the best offroader built in the US, and in Rubicon guise, one of the most technically off road capable mass market passenger vehicles available in the world.

      I’m a Toyota guy, it’s no secret, but the combination of: short wheelbase, unbeatable approach/departure angles, coil sprung solid axles front and rear, front and rear lockers, and an insane crawl ratio all add up to make the JK wrangler a total beast. Diesel or no diesel.

      Now for globe trotting, or hard field work, yes a LandCruiser 70 or the like probably takes the cake for space and cargo capacity, durability, and repairability in the field (not to mention availability of spares across the world).

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    that package won’t be very popular in New Jersey!
    the major purchasing demographic of Wranglers would have to pump their own fuel at the gas station, and that just won’t do; they’re likely to get that stinky fuel all over their nails or on their sorority letters.

    • 0 avatar
      Paddan

      In NJ we don’t pump our own gas/diesel. There’s a law against that. But still cheaper than surrounding states.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        Why is there such a law? How long has this been in effect?

        We spent a week at Wildwood the summer of 2012 (wife grew up near there). Before we left I filled up my truck and pumped my own fuel. It was a diesel pump and a good 100 feet away from the island pumps where the gas pumps were located.

        • 0 avatar
          PeteRR

          Since back when they pumped your gas in every state.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            It was never a law here. Optional yes, but not a law. And like I said above, I pumped 40+ gallons in my truck just outside Wildwood, NJ 2 summers ago. I wasn’t paying attention to the other vehicles, but I don’t recall a bunch of attendants pumping gas in everyone’s vehicles.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Reasonably high torque at low rpms could be what the Wrangler needs to improve highway fuel mileage; its shape is such that a gasoline engine has to rev higher to produce enough torque to fight wind drag. The current Pentastar engine in an aerodynamic body could easily get 50% better economy but a smaller engine in the current Wrangler body would probably realize 50% worse economy simply because it’s pushing a brick wall through the air. A Wrangler’s best economy, no matter the engine, probably comes at about 45mph–where the engine can effectively loaf along at 1500 rpm or so and not have to push that hard against the air. Interestingly, this is also near the rpms where a diesel offers enough torque to overcome air resistance even in a higher gear at… say 65mph. That low-end torque can also help the Wrangler in technical rock crawling where control is more important than outright horsepower.

    Still, the Wrangler has become a big, heavy machine and still offers a relatively flat face to the world. This means its aerodynamics are worse even than a modern 18-wheeler tractor. Changes need to be made that will help it slip through the air better at highway speeds without overly sacrificing its off-road capabilities. I expect we’ll see a version come out eventually that will look something like the Jeep Roadster concept we saw a few years ago: http://www.dieselstation.com/wallpapers/albums/Jeep/Renegade-Concept/jeep-renegade-concept-2008-31.jpg . It will keep enough of the traditional lines to still say it’s a Jeep while offering a more slippery shape to improve economy. It will likely also go on enough of a diet to drop comfortably below that two-ton mass the engines currently have to drag around. Who knows? Considering the name that concept car carried, maybe the Wrangler will shrink back to its original dimensions based on the new Renegade platform. I can just imagine how the Jeep Purists will react to that.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I just hope the diesel is well tuned to not have any turbo lag, that’s the last thing anyone needs in tight spots on the trail.

      I agree on the diesel being a perfect fit for the application, it’s about damn time! I can imagine these will be quite pricey though, going off the Ram EcoDiesel’s premium over a gas variant ($8k?).

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        The Diesel in the 1500 Ram is like an $1,800 option, but starting at a base truck it may take $8,000 in options to get there? I’m pretty sure you can find ecodiesels with no options in the $25k range.
        Now the cummins, yes that’s a heavy cost option, though there was a deal where if you paid normal price for a 2500/3500 ie no haggling the $6-20k off you can probably get, they would throw in the cummins at no extra charge.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Ah okay, I’ve just seen the $8k number tossed around here on TTAC, I need to check my sources I guess.

          But it makes me happy for the US 4×4 market that at least some auto makers continue to make serious investments in improving and updating products. I’m still sad as to how many utilitarian SUVs we’ve lost just due to market/preference shift to more efficient car-like vehicles. No more Montero, Trooper, Rodeo, ‘real’ Pathfinder, ‘real’ Explorer, etc.

          I’m down in Mexico right now for work and it’s an offroader’s paradise. But it might surprise you what the most common 4wd SUV is….. 2nd gen Ford Explorer. It’s like they’re the Cash for clunkers outlaws that escaped south of the border :) ZJ grand cherokees are second most common. Most common trucks are far and away Nissan D21 “hardbody” era pickups.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          The diesel currently stickers $4,770 over the base V6. On top of that, it’s typically exempt from another couple thousand dollars in incentives.

          Eco is nowhere in sight.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            The $1800 upfit on the Ram is compared to the cost of a Hemi. The gap from the base V6 is much steeper but then again if that’s all your looking for then you would never consider the Upgrade to the Hemi anyway.

            I think its great more diesel options are being introduced to the market. I’ve been saying it for the last 3-4 years, diesels will be making a comeback to the US market and it is starting to materialize. Yes, they’ve all had their teething issues pushing through the last round of emissions but the technology has improved ten fold since 2007 and the over all cost per mile is on the downward spiral again. The only drawback is the cost of diesel fuel but once this brutally long and cold winter comes to an end we will see prices drop considersbly. Even with the .80 a gallon difference here between #2 and low grade gas, the difference in mileage more than offsets the cost when it comes to working an HD pickup. My wife’s commuter car when the weather permits is a TDI and even with the cold weather and winterized diesel she’s still consistently clearing 45mpg highway. That’s better then the gas counterpart of her car could do any day.
            People have a hard time accepting it, but diesel will play a large role in obtaining the 2025 CAFE requirements.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          I just build-and-priced an EcoDiesel Tradesman reg cab/8′; with the Pentastar it was $26,490 and the EcoDiesel brought it up $31,260. It also swapped out the 3.21 rear end for a 3.55. This is all before any dealer incentives or rebates, though.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        At last you are getting the Diesel in NA. I think the Wrangler will get the CRD here

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      Yet they are setting sales records month after month and year over year they’re running flat out 24/7/365 in toledo and have no capacity to spare, disagree,they’ll soon embark on a multi billion dollar expansion to build more jeeps for the world in house including the new patriot and eventually a jeep diesel 4 door pickup that will be sold worldwide.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Hopefully they keep it in Toledo.

        Sergio let it slip that he may evaluate moving Wrangler production out of Toledo due to cost of the necessary improvements needed to put the aluminum bodies together — that it may be more cost-effective to move the production to another underutilized plant (Sterling Heights, maybe).

        Short story boring, the Toledo taxpayers may be on the hook footing the bill for a new plant (or major TNAP expansion) to keep the Wrangler where it’s always been.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          That is old, OLD news that has since been updated to say that Wrangler production will remain in Toledo for the forseeable future.

          In other words, now a non-issue and has been for several months.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    click bait.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Not at all unexpected. Jeep already offers a diesel option outside of North America (albeit a 4 cylinder 2.8), and we already know that the only reason they don’t offer the 8 speed in the Wrangler is because they would have to butcher the frame to make it fit (it’s longer than the 6 speed).

    I wonder if they will also offer the diesel with a manual transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      That guy

      Correct, from what I understand neither the 3.0L or 8spd will package properly in the current Wrangler. An argument can probably be made to drop the 2.8L in there for now though, but there’s probably a good reason why they are not.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “An argument can probably be made to drop the 2.8L in there for now though, but there’s probably a good reason why they are not.”

        The 2.8L is available in overseas models, but not on NA ones because it doesn’t have the emissions equipment package to make it pass standards here. Because the NA compliant emissions systems exist for the 3.0L, that’s what it’ll get instead.

    • 0 avatar
      Silverbird

      Would offering it only in the LWB Unlimited body help on the packaging angle?

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Probably not. I think the problem had to do with the transfer case, which would be pushed back. That would require re-designing frame cross members, and maybe changing the position of the front seats. All those parts are similar on the 2 door and Unlimited. The one part that’s specific to the 2 door is the rear driveshaft length, which would need to be shorter, therefore creating a sharper angle when the suspension is fully compressed or extended.
        Chrysler (as they were then called) probably ran the numbers and decided that it would be too costly on the existing platform, especially with a new platform in development.

  • avatar
    Joss

    I guess this will be the tow edition for the boaty/horsey crowd.
    Don’t see diesel being popular in cali. Just remember to keep the additive topped or you’ll get that mystery warning light.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      They’ll sell enough that a DEF/DPF kit will be availible in short order, if it isn’t already there for the Ram.
      If they’re afraid of the EPA they could always just sell a “hardware kit” with a flash drive containing CNC part blueprints.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The EPA has actually been cracking down on companies that sell emissions delete equipment for diesels. Depending on how tough they get, this stuff might not be marketable.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        The only way you’ll see any kind of deletes for any new vehicle is if some overseas company finds a way to slip through the cracks and market it as “off road competition use only”. The days of ordering up a delete kit from a reputable company like Edge or Smarty are long gone.
        The EPA sued every American company that ever made one and forced them to participate in a buy back program. If you happen to live in an area that does emissions testing youll fail it without all the factory equipment and programming in place. People that don’t have to worry about emissions testing can still get away with it for now provided they can find a used tuner/delete programmer but I wouldn’t be surprised if the EPA finds a way to go after the consumer at the rate they’re going.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I rarely see anyone towing with a Wrangler. The horse folks use either a crew cab pickup or a full size SUV, the two door Wrangler has too short of a wheelbase to tow anything as heavy, tall, and unstable as a horse trailer. Remember, in a horse trailer, the load tends to move around. I’m not sure I’d care to tow one even with an Unlimited.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      The top tow rating of a jeep wrangler unlimited is #4000 I assume today it’s to protect truck sales. Because my 97 v8 zj with the towing package is rated for 7400# and it’s the same size now.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Current standards are less arbitrary than they used to be, but 7,400 towing means 740 payload at least. But then Wranglers aren’t really intended for hard work.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          Translation of DenverMike’s “740 payload”:

          The rule of thumb for towing is that the tung weight of a properly balanced trailer is about 10% of the full weight.

          In other words, 90% the weight is carried by the trailer wheels, and 10% is carried by the trailer hitch on the tow vehicle.

          Now, with that as context, what he meant was that attaching a 7400lb trailer to a Wrangler will shove the rear suspension of the vehicle down like throwing 740lbs of sand bags in the rear cargo area of the Jeep. That would be a substantial load for a half ton pickup truck, atd he’s implying that this might be a little much for a Wrangler.

          It’s a solid assessment. It just took me a second to put what he said in context, and I already knew what he was referring to.

          For anyone who wants a more complete explanation, I suggest getting a copy of “the trailer towing handbook” from Amazon.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            And 10% can be a conservative number, depending on the trailer it could be closer to 15% tongue weight. Then you have to factor in passengers and cargo. You could easily approach 1200 – 1500 lbs payload assuming a 7400 lb trailer, 3 occupants and cargo. With the short wheel base and soft sidewall tires this could be a recipe for disaster.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Why many inflated towing figures in the US are just that, the hitch toungue weight will be exceeded before you even tow the vehicle
            The Wrangler is not a tow vehicle, very poor in that aspect

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t know what “#4000” is supposed to refer, but the tow rating of Wrangler is insanely low nowadays: only 1,000 pounds. Certain models had 1,500 before Pentastar, but FCA cut it uniform.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Its the wheelbase. Sway is a mo-fo on a vehicle with a relatively short wheelbase. Coupled with the handling characteristics of Jeeps this would not be a good vehicle to tow with. The 4 doors may be better but they would still be far from optimal.

        • 0 avatar

          I see, thanks. However, Jeep has a fairly short distance between the rear axle and the hitch receiver. Its rear overhang is rather short. Would not it make sway less of a problem than on a comparable pickup? Note that Liberty was rated to tow 5,000 pounds, with a wheelbase similar to 4-door Wrangler.

  • avatar
    YellowDuck

    Heard the north american diesel wrangler rumor presented as “inside information” at least once per year for 15 years. I’m not holding my breath.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      If they’re scared of destroying their customer base with a POS wrangler, then you can rest assured it will be getting a diesel to eliminate that fear by being able to keep it original.
      Before it was a cool idea, now it’s life or death.

      Also have to remember, diesels are heavy freggin motors.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Maybe the tow ratings will be increased with the diesel. One reason we did not buy one a few years back, I think it was 3500 lbs on the four door.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It’ll depend on the changes made to the suspension and frame on the new model. The current V6 gas engine has the power to achieve a 7,500lb tow rating in the Ram, so that’s not really what’s holding it back.

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        That’s what I was thinking. Maybe Jeep will take advantage of the new diesel and make the adjustments to the frame and suspension to increase the tow rating. I can understand the two door with the lower rating. But, they should try and do something for the four door longer wheelbase models.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I think it is more so the compliant coil springs that are the limiting factor on Wranglers, rather than the drivetrain/powertrain. A Wrangler’s priority is good articulation over rough terrain and not towing.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      AFAICT, this is partially why offroad-oriented pickup trucks like the Raptor, TRD, Power Wagon, etc. sell so well despite having inferior off-road abilities than a Wrangler (though they’re still crazy compentent off-road): at the end of the day, someone’s gotta tow the ATVs, camper, boat, etc. home.

  • avatar
    85258

    I suspect engine supply could be an issue. My company ordered a Ram Eco Diesel in Late Nov and we still have not been assigned a build date. We have one Eco Diesel already but we ordered it the first day they were released in early 2014. Unless they ramp up production demand for this engine is already outstripping supply.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    All that wonderful low rev torque of a diesel and to throw it all away with a torque converter… Put this combo into a mall crawler, OK, give the off road enthusiasts, the people who know what they are doing, a manual and a decent low range transfer box with that diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Welcome to 2015. Automatics are now on an equal footing with manuals.

      And the diesel will probably be available with the manual for the Luddites.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        Nothing magically changed in 2015 with regard to torque converters overheating in low speed high slip situations, although this can be mitigated with a cooler and proper low range reduction ratio (but this was the case pre 2015)

        Modern autos are great and a great choice for many, but they are not a replacement for a manual in all situations, nor can they fully replicate the abilities one has with a manual (and truth be told, manuals have some disadvantages as well, especially if your low range gear reduction is inadequate for the terrain)

        I won’t even get into the argument regarding some, like me, that just prefer a manual.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      Diesel low range torque properties are at high loads, large throttle opening situations.
      Low speed offroad torque requirements are better suited via a low speed transfer case. There are very few situations where the Rubicon low speed transfer case (72:1 reduction in manual) cause one to be torque limited. In fact, waiting for torque to come via the turbo in such situations can result in driveline failure as torque modulation is much harder.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    The success of this option all hinges upon the price of admission. I can see off-roaders liking it due to the better fuel economy. If you can extend driving range 15-20% in the back country that would make a huge difference. Diesel tends to be more plentiful in remote regions because there is always heavy equipment around and diesel powered gen sets.

    Initially I was happy to see the Ram get the VM 3.0 for similar reasons but I would be forced to buy a fairly plane basic truck to get a cargo rating that I would be happy with. That killed it for me.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    My midlife crisis convertible has just been announced!

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