By on May 26, 2016

2016 Jeep Wrangler

There’s been plenty of digital ink spilled over the forthcoming JL Wrangler, due out in 2018. Jeep is a huge cash cow for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, so the pressure is on to design a Wrangler which appeals to the general public and placates the hordes of rabid Jeep fans — who are known to gather torches and pitchforks at the mere suggestion of even the slightest design change.

A diesel option has been widely speculated, along with the chance of a turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant, both hooked to eight-speed automatics. Now, Andrew Collins over at the Truck Yeah arm of Jalopnik speculates the new JL could be offered solely as an automatic.

The automatic-only option was one of several possible scenarios put before the buying public at the 2016 Overland Expo. FCA representatives were clearly gathering consumer feedback before making a decision, one way or the other.

It’s an interesting notion, as more than a few offroaders consider an automatic to be the better choice for trail busting, and people who buy Wranglers with no offroad intent gravitate towards the automatic anyway. Take rate of the manual reportedly hovers between 10 and 20 percent, making it only slightly more popular than broccoli flavored ice cream at a kindergarten birthday.

At what stage does FCA stop offering an option simply for the sake of tradition?

Case in point: the Wrangler’s signature fold down windshield. With each successive iteration, the act of flipping the windshield down has become prohibitively more difficult, to the point where it’s now easier to drop the top on a Citroen Pluriel than it is to have a bugs-in-yer-teeth Wrangler experience. It begs the question whether FCA will bother engineering a drop windshield into the new JL when it will only be used by 0.0001 percent of Wrangler owners, history be damned.

It’s not a stretch to think FCA’s engineers are giving similar considerations to the Wrangler’s stick shift.

Having driven several examples, I enjoy a manual transmission Wrangler, even if its shifter does feel like a Louisville Slugger with only the most tenuous of attachments to anything inside a gearbox. Our Managing Editor feels differently, calling it “garbage,” “undriveable,” and stating that the Wrangler is one of the very few vehicles where a manual option makes no sense.

He may have a point. After all, we live on a planet where the entire Ferrari catalog is unavailable with three pedals and the rest of the world is rapidly following suit.

What say you, B&B? Does the prospect of a slushbox-only Wrangler send you into a rabid froth? Or do you tire quickly of needing three legs to drive slowly offroad?

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

99 Comments on “Is Jeep Shifting Gears? Rumors Fly Over Automatic-Only Wrangler...”


  • avatar
    06V66speed

    Slushbox in a Wrangler is sacrilege.

    • 0 avatar
      360joules

      Oh, please. Give me a break. It’s not sacrilege but merely the choice between a clutch every two years or an easy ATF change. I owned a CJ5 with a granny gear manual and know the sickly sweet smell of burning clutch. I’ve used my starter motor to climb over stumps & rocks that would get me on the front page of 4WD mags. But an auto transmission is so much easier off-roading because you can ease & feather the gas to work around obstacles slowly without burning up a clutch. Low range crawling is a whiplash inducing experience whether stick or manual. The important thing with off-roading an automatic tranny is you need an oversized transmission cooler with a powerful alternator along with an electrically driven fan because crawling an automatic gets the tranny super hot. But a well cooled automatic transmission is easier to drive off-road.

      • 0 avatar
        06V66speed

        Good Sir, I beg to differ.

        And if you’re burning through clutches every two years (!!)… something’s not right.

      • 0 avatar
        IAhawkeye

        A clutch every two years on a Jeep?! I hardly imagine your drag racing a Jeep which means you must be riding that clutch to death. You do realize your supposed to let up all the way on the third pedal once your moving, right?

        • 0 avatar
          360joules

          “A clutch every two years”
          Yes, hard to believe for people who’ve never done severe service off-roading. But working a CJ-5 with a short trailer up a washed out fire road around Detroit Lake in the central Cascade Mountains of Oregon, sorry internet commandos you’ll burn out a clutch fast in a couple of seasons off road. You’ll go through starters fast when your winch breaks and you are feathering your clutch and using your starter motor to crank your stalled rig out of a stream bed. Please don’t compare street service to hardcore off-road driving. I used to drive trails with guys who drove in 3s and one always had a welding torch & bar stock for improvised welding & I was the wimp of the group.

          • 0 avatar
            360joules

            Not trying to be obnoxious on purpose, street driving or soft roading yes I totally agree that wasting a clutch in 5 years or 100,000 miles is operator error.

          • 0 avatar
            IAhawkeye

            I see! I figured serious off reading did damage to them just not that fast!

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            With a manual take rate of (estimated, per web search) 10-20%, the market of Wrangler buyers plainly agrees that a manual is not what they need, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        360joules,
        I do considerable off roading and I prefer a manual transmission. I find when crawling and not worring about brakes, clutch, accelerator better than the use of an automatic.

        Even on rocky precipitous hill descents just using first in low range and leaving the vehicle idle down up and over rocks, logs,etc far easier than the use of hill descent in an auto.

        Even here in Australia most 4x4s are automatic, which is a pity. I assume the automatics are bought because of the black top driving most do and when most off road it’s quite light.

        Modern manual off roaders do have features that sense the torque required from the engine and adjust the throttle setting to prevent stalling as well. This is a great feature for driving over obstacles when crawliing.

        I’m a manual person. I don’t know what you are doing to wear out a clutch every two years.

        As for you rivers crossings. Why do you not have a snorkel, they are only a few dollars? This will save your engine, especially diesel from hydraulic locking if water is ingested.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          My impression, from the interwebs (and thinking snorkels are awesome) is that it’s mainly an Australian thing, apart from military uses.

          Americans don’t tend to do snorkels on offroaders, no idea why.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Sigivald,
            We have quite a few brands of snorkels to choose from. I choose an ARB Safari snorkel for my pickup due to the intake design. Airflow is important.

            I remember when many snorkels were back yard built, this is back in the 70s. I’ve seen some interesting designs. The primary material back then was white PVC waste water piping (the stuff used under your sink, tub, etc). Now it looks as if they are made from some kind of polypropelene and most look pretty.

            Diesels engines, which have a very adverse reaction to water ingestion compared to a gasoline engine is a reason. Diesel pickups started to gain traction here in the mid 80s big time.

            Also, Outback touring (safari) with the many river crossings on roads with no bridges requires a snorkel.

            Snorkels are that big an item here most every manufacturer will have either as standard or at least and option of a snorkel on any 4×4 pickup or SUV (not CUV as they are not real off roaders).

            I have had to use mine in several instances when I lived in the Northern Territory crossing rivers like the Roper, which is around half a mile wide where I crossed and around 3 foot deep.

            You just don’t drive into a river and go. Most of us will look at the depth gauges along the roadway. Most roadways or causeways are a relatively narrow concrete strip, around one lane in width and on either side of the causeways the water can be quite deep, in some cases several metres.

            These concrete causeways are only used on “major” routes as the majority are just driving through the river.

            One time the track was actually the river! I had to drive up the river and turn off up the bank (which is fun and steep) to keep on travelling.

            If you fnck up, you are in trouble, deep, expensive sh!t. To retrieve a vehicle in the Outback is a costly exercise, I’ve heard of some rescues costing over $15 000!

            We also use canvas across the grille to keep as much water out of the engine bay as possible.

            With the latest batch of “next gen” midsize pickups most have a wading depth of 600mm minimum. The BT50 and Ranger have a 800mm wading depth. This feature is great and is due to our market requirements and SE Asian markets where monsoonal rains can make driving on their normal roads quite challenging and interesting.

          • 0 avatar
            360joules

            Snorkels are useful because elevating your intake in dusty areas reduces the amount of particulate that will clog your air filter. Snorkels are not popular in the US because off-roaders here think they are for fording streams which is very hard on the environment. If water is above the levels of your hubs then you need to change all of your hub, tranny, and axle fluids when you get home.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Fjording depth of Wrangler Unlimited, Raptor and Power Wagon are all 30 inches. Everything else IIRC is below centre hub.

            If one does spend a lot of time in water and mud then the best solution is to run hose from all of your vents to “high and dry” points on your vehicle. One way check valves on them is another thing that is cheap insurance. I did that with the first Ranger I owned and never had an issue with water or mud entering my diffs or transmission.

            I do agree that hardcore off-roading is hard on the clutch. I went through two of them on the same Ranger.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            I see quite a few in the upper midwest with snorkels.

            If they go auto only will they allow you to crank the engine in gear with the torque converter locked up to move the vehicle?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou,
            Burning out clutches often might just be operator induced error, or a lack of experience, hooning and not understanding the capabilities of his vehicle. Then add a low torque gasoline engine and you will have burnt out clutches.

            Diesel gives you a fantastic torque advantage off idle, whereas a gas engine to gain the required torque require higher rpms.

            I suppose those who want a gasoline 4×4 have to trade off “traffic light car like racing qualities” for a real truck engine that can work, even at idle.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @BARFO – Trolling once again but I’ll bite.

            Big tires in deep sand or mud or deep snow is hard on a clutch even if you aren’t crappy with the clutch especially in a light duty rig.

            Oh, BTW, I’m talking about off-roading over 30 years ago. We didn’t have small diesel pickups and Ford first put a diesel in their HD’s in 1982.

            1978 was GM’s foray into diesel pickups with the infamous “Olds” 350.

            But of course you know more than everyone else and have way more experience than anyone else.

            Isn’t that BT50 your first pickup?

            Why don’t you post a list of trucks you have driven more than a day or two and under extreme conditions and used for work?

            Then we’ll talk.

            I’m betting on a very short list.

            Oh and I bet my 5.4 has more HP and torque than your BT50. Care to post a HP and torque graph for it and I’ll post one for my truck.

            You must be happy now, since I took time to reply to your drivel.

  • avatar
    kefkafloyd

    People survived without a straight-six even though they griped about it. As long as it has a proper manual shift mode people will survive with an auto.

  • avatar
    Hydromatic

    It’ll upset the purists and traditionalists, but not the ordinary car-buying public.

  • avatar
    threeer

    10 to 20 percent is not insignificant, and the Wrangler is one of the few vehicles I can think of where heritage does matter (at least to some degree). While most vehicles could go 100% straight to automatic-only, I think there is enough of a diehard fan base for the Wrangler to keep a manual transmission variant around.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Except … will they just not buy a Jeep if it doesn’t have a manual?

      (How much of that 10-20% is at the bottom end “I just want the cheapest Jeep”, vs “hardcore people buying a manual Rubicon”?

      The former will just get the automatic.

      The latter … well, they’ll probably buy a Jeep anyway, won’t they?)

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        The same argument was made when pickups dropped the manual transmission. I know a lot of guys who said they’d swap brands if their brand dropped the stick. Those same guys are still driving Ford and GM 1/2 tons and HD’s. Ram has a HD diesel with a stick and I rarely ever see one.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          I drove one the other day, a brand new 3500. It was fantastic having a real transmission.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatic

          The Ram 3500 with a diesel is not a 1/2 ton competitor. There has to be something to switch to, so for now Wrangler is safe. If someone were to offer something similar (possibly the Bronco) with a MT then Jeep is risking some of their fan base finding out that Jeeps are not the be all and end all.

        • 0 avatar
          paladin54692

          I work at a car lot and we got in a clean 1997 F150 XLT 4×4 supercab with the Mazda 5 speed and the manual transfer case. I knew as soon as I saw it that I would be the next owner of that truck at any reasonable price. The demand, though small, is there. Ford dropped the 4×4/Manual trans option with the redesign of the F150 in 2004. It is a very fun truck to drive and quite unlike the millions of slush box half tons made since.

  • avatar
    madman2k

    The HMMWV had an automatic, it seemed to do fine off road.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Judging by the sales of manual Wranglers, buyers clearly don’t want manual transmissions. What people do want, however, is the idea of the manual option.

    I am sure we will hear from all the purists who will decry this change and that they will never buy another Wrangler. But just like with the Porsche purists that swore they would never buy a water cooled Porsche or all the Ferrari-philes who swore that they would never buy a turbo-charged car, it won’t matter and sales will only go up.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    But how would Wrangler Bro show off his manhood? How will he feel superior to all the cucks? Think of the bros!

    Seriously, though, the thing to do if you had been at that consumer feedback session would have been to go out and buy a used manual Wrangler or two. If FCA discontinues the manual the most noticeable effect will be values of used manual Wranglers going way up.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    Heritage requires the manual transmission availability for the Wrangler now and forever. The automatic buyers may be in the majority but Jeep cannot forsake the purists.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Can’t they? I mean, I don’t want the stick-shift Wrangler to go away, but if all Jeep did was listen to the purists, they’d still be making the CJ-2 exclusively.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        It is the purists that give Jeep its legendary status. That is what sells Jeep. FCA might hurt the Jeep brand in the long run if they cater to the wannabe’s.

        That is the billion dollar question.

        I do suspect that this is just a fad and they might as well milk it for all its worth.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      I wouldnt put too much credence in the speculation. Consider the source: “Andrew Collins over at the Truck Yeah arm of Jalopnik speculates the new JL could be offered solely as an automatic.”

      Seriously, quoting the “Truck Yeah” arm of Jalopnik? Wow, thats a pretty low point.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Out of all the wranglers I’ve sat in/driven, mostly ones that have been traded in to the dealership (and they are one of the most common non-pickup trade ins on a new f150) I have never seen an automatic one.

  • avatar
    IAhawkeye

    Noooooooooooooooo. You can’t kill the manual Wrangler!!!

    As a current driver of a manual Wrangler, the possibility of them getting rid of them in the future is sad. Top/doors off, rowing your own gears, just cruising wherever.. there’s really something special there.

    • 0 avatar
      MrKiwi

      A sincere question that is not intended to spark howls of outrage:

      What is the point of being able to take the doors off a Jeep? Beyond the poseurs who do it so they can look too-cool-for-school and never go off-road. (I have no interest in going off-roading, either, but that’s why I didn’t buy a Jeep.) IS there a legitimate reason why you’d want to take the doors off?

      • 0 avatar
        IAhawkeye

        No absolutely not. It’s probably not very safe, and it makes it windier then hell. But your not going anywhere fast anywhere, on or off road. But that’s kinda what’s fun. There’s no other vehicle you can do it to. If your gonna take the hard top off might as well take the doors off too. It’s 5 extra minutes.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        We take the doors off my future-brother-inlaw’s Samurai when hitting the trails, not only for cooling (it gets quite hot in the dirty south), it makes it easier to see exactly where each wheel is going, how high the water is, etc. Its far easier to see where everything is and what its about to encounter without doors on.

        But seeing a Wrangler that is as clean and scratch/dent free as it was when it rolled out of Toledo being driven by a guy in a $100 polo shirt with the doors off is laughable. Its a status symbol, its a “look at me” thing.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          As a Wrangler owner as well w/ a MT as well…
          regarding the question
          ”’What is the point of being able to take the doors off a Jeep? Beyond the poseurs who do it so they can look too-cool-for-school and never go off-road. (I have no interest in going off-roading, either, but that’s why I didn’t buy a Jeep.) IS there a legitimate reason why you’d want to take the doors off?”’

          No there is no legit reason other than it is fun, almost liberating. Is there a legit reason to ride a motorcycle? We know they are unsafe. How about a legit reason to own a Miata/Mx-5.

          A Wrangler does so many things, most not well, but does them nonetheless. 3 cars in one. I believe this is why they are so popular

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            If you don’t have a spotter it sure makes it easier to see the wheel placement without the doors on.

            For the people that don’t go more than soft roading I suppose it is easier to get in and out and hose it out?

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          I don’t see any plus side to removing doors, folding down the front windshield and removing the top.
          In my part of the world at typical off-road speeds all you are going to do is feed mosquitoes and black flies, eat dust or mud and get beat to death by branches hitting you in the face, arms and torso.

          Sounds like a ton of fun to me ;)

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    An automatic Wrangler is fine for rock-crawlers, but it’s sub-optimal for dirt roads and/or mixed roads.

    That’s where you want to choose your gear according to your torque needs, and that can be different for every corner. Automatics don’t anticipate, they react. They are very frustrating when road conditions constantly change.

    • 0 avatar
      anti121hero

      Very true. As an owner of a many jeeps, (I currently have a 98 lifted auto Cherokee for trail use only, a lifted 98 grand Cherokee as a daily driver that I also take on trail runs and rides, and a lifted 99wrangler 5 speed) the autos are extremely frustrating on the trails. I want power when I need it and the ability to control when I get that power. The autos just don’t get it right.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      If you’re driving on dirt roads so close to the edge of control that you need to worry about that on every corner, I hope to GOD it’s a closed road (or you mean roads so *difficult* you have to watch torque on turns because of roughness or incline).

      Because I don’t want to share a normal mountain/forest road with people driving like that; it’s a recipe for disaster.

  • avatar
    Kato

    Rabid froth here. The main reason manual Wrangler sales are only 10-20% probably has a lot to do with how crappy the Wrangler’s manual box is. I test-drove a brand-new manual Wrangler about a year ago and found it vague and sloppy. I was never sure whether I was going to get 3rd or 5th when I up-shifted from 2nd. I’ve owned three different 4WD Japanese SUV’s built in the ’80’s 90’s and 00’s, all with transfer cases, and each had a MUCH nicer tranny than the ’15 Wrangler I drove. Jeep doesn’t need to delete the manual, they need to fix it. That being said, I’d still take a manual Wrangler over an auto. If they delete the manual, I’ll stop shopping for Wranglers.

    • 0 avatar
      anti121hero

      Dude its a jeep… What did you expect

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Something better? I’m *very* happy with the 5-speed manual in my 2015 Tacoma 4×4, a vehicle that really isn’t all that far removed from a Wrangler. It’s no Miata box, but the shifter is precise and positive and I’ve never missed a shift because I had trouble locating the right gate. It can be done.

        I suspect, however, that the writing is on the wall. Crappy manuals help make the case for the cost-cutting made possible by eliminating any choice in transmission type.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      My current Wrangler is an auto. I have driven stick-shift Wranglers before. Ill be the first to admit that the FCA manual transmission is not best in class. It is certainly nostalgic and appropriate in some off-road circumstances, but not nearly as refined as similar manual transmissions from other manufacturers.

      I too would rather see FCA deliver a refined 6-speed slushbox than remove the option altogether. I would consider a manual Wrangler at that point.

    • 0 avatar
      IAhawkeye

      Seriously? Yeah, it’s no Miata. Compared to some stick vehicles I’ve drove though, my Wrangler shifts fairly easily. Easily better then any stick shift truck I’ve ever driven(note: I’ve never had a chance to drive a stick shift Tacoma) which I feel is the closest thing to compare it to. I’ve found long, slow rows through the gears make it pretty smooth.

      It’s weird you find 3rd and 5th to be vague, 2-3-4-5 I think are all super easy to get to. 1st gear I find to be vague(hard to tell if your really in it or not honestly), and 6th definitely requires going at a weird angle to get to.

      • 0 avatar
        anti121hero

        Idk the shifter in my 99 wrangler feels like moving a wooden spoon through a bucket of bolts but that’s part of the charm isn’t it? I don’t want a seamless perfect experience with no rattles and hassles and where the shifter is slick and the motor quiet and the ride smooth. I enjoy bouncing around, rowing my vague gears, hearing the motor roar and tick, and getting muddy. In fact, I absolutely love it and wouldn’t have it another way. My vehicles sound agricultural, ride like a radio flyer, have rust and they break down from time to time. But I feel connected with my vehicle, I feel like I’m one with the driving experience and jeep itself. It puts a big old smile on my face and that’s all that matters to me :)

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Late 90’s S-10 manual boxes are actually pretty slick for a truck.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      Only the best German engineered manual. Jeep should explore other choices besides that Mercedes box they are using. I think Tremec or the other Germans (ZF or Getrag) or Aisin could do a better job.

  • avatar
    ajla

    They gonna make air conditioning standard too?

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Not the most accurate data, but of all the JK Wranglers on Auto Trader in my area, 40% are manual. If FCA can’t make a business case for another manual Wrangler, it’s because they don’t want to, or know they’ve got the market locked up and most of those manual buyers will suck it up and take the auto.

    Which is a shame – maybe I’d hate it long term, but crude with a massive shifter (and equality massive shift throws) is great fun.

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    I can’t speak for the current generation, but I’ve driven both types in a TJ. With the I6, I prefer the auto off-road (as long as you have an external trans cooler the AW4 was pretty tough), but the manual on-road. It was nice to selectively downshift when you needed to get up and go instead of waiting for a downshift. In 4lo and 1st gear, the 100% lockup on a manual can be challenging. The torque converter really helps out anyone who is just an occasional offroader. Otherwise, you’re really working the clutch.

    1 caveat – the 6spd manual was a joke. With the close ratio and the torquey 6, it’s more relaxing to commute using only 2-4-6. But I’m sure that it’s great on the EPA test cycle.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m surprised there is “no business case” for a manual Wrangler when there is apparently justification for a full Alfa Romeo relaunch, the Viper, a manual-equipped Cummins HD Ram, and 3 different engines/transmission on the Dart.

    • 0 avatar
      anti121hero

      Exactly!! Glad I’m not the only one that sees that kind of psychosis over at FCA

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I honestly think Alfa is going to put the whole company in the ground if they keep putting money into it.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          I don’t get all the hate for Alfa. I find the Giulia fascinating. Its sexy as hell, and if it brings performance and excellent road manners back to the segment, I think its awesome. If BMW wants to abandon the true “driver’s car” market, I love that someone is willing to step up to the plate with an honest-to-God RWD, high horsepower, 3-pedal manual premium sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      The manual on the non-HO Cummins Ram seems to be a case of “eh, it costs us next to nothing to continue offering this 200-whatever tech in a 2016 vehicle, and we’re selling every one, so why not.”

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I know of a couple that keeps putting up with FCA quality year after year just because they are the only one’s left with a manual trans pickup.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          That’s certainly how Ram advertises it. “Class-exclusive manual transmission!” right next to “Highest in class tow ratings!” and only in the small print do they say those two are mutually exclusive.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Heh, well played.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Viper? I thought it was being shown the door again.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I felt like I cared when I read the headline, but I’ve driven a new Wrangler too recently to get really upset. They’re the sorts of cars that seem like a good idea until you have to go somewhere in one. The automatic transmission eliminates a Wrangler’s last bit of a appeal, but its absurd mass and build quality deficiencies both exceeded said appeal anyway.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I’m certainly no Wrangler fan – I find their ride quality lacking (this from someone who drives a MINI!) and absolutely uncomfortable after a few hours of highway driving.

    But yet another model with no transmission is a shame since it is a dying transmission. I won’t go into the pros and cons of manuals – that’s been hashed over countless times – but automatics make me feel like I’m driving a golf cart.

    For large cars – like my beloved Roadmaster – an automatic “works” for ’em. But something small and fun, manuals work best for me. They make me pay attention to what I’m doing. And snicking gears through a 6-speed Getrag = heaven!

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Relax, it’s just click bait.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    A good topic for debate. The Wrangler really cannot be looked upon as regular transportation; it is a ‘lifestyle’ vehicle, not far removed from, say, a Harley. Heritage plays an incredible role in design decisions and, thus, has a strong impact on sales.

    Yeah, it is not a good financial decision to keep the manual (not unlike having the archaic ability to lower the windshield). But not having them could lose a lot of niche buyers who simply want the ‘ability’ to have these options because they are integral to the whole ‘Jeep experience’.

    In that regard, long-term, it would probably be best to keep both the manual transmission and the ability to drop the windshield (difficult as it might be).

  • avatar

    I’m sure the Limited version will be very nice. Automatic, faux wood-grain, leather and air ride will make it a hit at the country club.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    How about making heated leather power seats, cruise control, power everything, air suspension, lighted vanity mirrors, touch screen with navigation system, and remote start as standard. Why not go all out and make the Wrangler a luxury vehicle and increase the size. Since this is more of a life style vehicle then offer it as a fully loaded vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Sounds good to me.

      (I mean, in all seriousness, if I wanted a “trail vehicle” I’d be shopping used GX470s, not Wranglers.)

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      There are plenty of utilitarian vehicles with an automatic trans. I don’t think having an auto means an uncontested entry into the same category as a 1978 Cadillac.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The take rate for manual transmissions on Wranglers is much higher than the average, so I’d expect it to continue.

  • avatar
    forzablu

    This speculation is bad and will not prove to be true, but I’m sure they got a bunch of clicks out of it.

  • avatar
    pragmatic

    FCA needs to offer vehicles others don’t otherwise why choose a FCA product? Their reputation says run away. I think the reputation is undeserved but the car buyers say otherwise. If they only offer what others offer they will (or do) need to sell at a much lower price. Wranglers sell for what they do because there are few choices in that market space. By going auto only they open the mind of some fans to other makes. Another make by offering a MT in a similar vehicle (lets say a well done Bronco) could steal some of the Jeep fans. This chipping away of the fan base is something FCA can not afford in its cash cow Wrangler/Jeep franchise.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It’s pity to see automatics take over.

    A manual allow YOU to have more contol and input into what is occurring. A manual transmission in an off road vehicle gives you a better understanding of off roading as you can “feel” what is needed when operating off road.

    A manual also offers a solid lock between the engine and wheels. You can just idle over obstacles and not sit on the throttle and possibly do more damage to a vehicle than with an auto.

    A manual produces better drivers in any vehicle. The logic behind this is the fact you become more aware of what your drivetrain is doing and hard it is working.

    Just rowing through the gears is not the only pleasure of using a manual. It’s understanding the why and when of rowing the gears.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Big Al from Oz – like anything, one needs to be intimately familiar with the machine you are operating. I know how my engine and automatic transmission behaves under various conditions. That also applies to the ABS and traction/stability control systems. I don’t miss the manual with features like tow/haul mode and grade braking. Traffic and hill starts are less of a hassle especially fully loaded.

      An automatic can make a person drive like a braindead zombie and that is why they outsell manual transmissions. That isn’t the fault of the automatic. It isn’t so much a case of manuals making you a better driver, it is a case of better drivers wanting the ability to be in control of the transmission. I’ve seen my share of idiots in stick shift cars, trucks, and Jeeps.

      I’d call the manual a “standard” but even in the Jeep automatics statistically are the “standard”.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Intimate enough to not burn clutches out in your Ranger????

        Lou, why do you.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Trolling once again.

          Isn’t that BT50 an ugly Ranger?

          I prefer manual transmissions but the only way to get one in a truck is in a base spec gas powered Colorado, Tacoma or Frontier. A Ram HD is the only other option.

          I’m sure that you are very intimate with your stick er shift.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “who are known to gather torches and pitchforks at the mere suggestion of even the slightest design change.”

    What’re they gonna do?

    Buy a LandCruiser?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Or wait for the Bronco.

      Zing!
      Ford can finnaly get Chrysler back for the dual-sliders on the 96 Caravan introduced a year after the single slider 1995 Windstar. Lol.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Here’s my take on this: If the 1992 Wrangler we owned for a while was an auto tranny, Wifey would have liked driving it more. You see, women like to wear these things loosely called “shoes” in warmer weather that makes it hazardous for some to confidently operate a manual tranny.

    She felt the same way about the MX5 we owned after the Jeep, even though she drives a stick very confidently with proper footwear.

    If I ever own another Wrangler, it must be a bare-bones model, but with A/C & auto tranny! Unfortunately, that ugly, imposing roll cage makes the whole idea of removing the top somewhat ridiculous.

  • avatar
    Mikein08

    The ONLY advantage of a manual tranny in off-road situations is when
    you are descending a very steep hill using compound low. You’ll go
    slower. If you have an automatic in such a situation, you just ride
    your brakes. New brakes are a lot cheaper than clutches. The biggest
    advantage of an automatic tranny off-road is that you can concentrate
    of driving instead of shifting. And yes, I’ve driven both in really
    rough off-road situations.

  • avatar

    Chrysler was preparing the public for this for many years by doing two things: they installed garbage manuals into jeeps and denied the 3rd hand kit in JK.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Terry: I have to tell you, I absolutely LOVE reading these articles. Each one I read one makes me enjoy my ‘19 Mazda...
  • Pig_Iron: You’re a lucky guy. :-)
  • el scotto: I think the baby boomers were trying to buy some of their youth back by getting the muscle car they...
  • bobbysirhan: Did you know that one of those young COVID patients that a Democrat governor sent to a Michigan nursing...
  • el scotto: “So it’s reasonable to assume that you’re a halfway decent cook then?” Said begrudgingly, even...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber