Hybrid Wrangler on the Way, But Jeep Boss Still Isn't Sure What Kind

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Fiat Chrysler intends to make the upcoming 2018 Wrangler a Jeep for everyone — single adventurers, families, cargo haulers and those whose hearts bleed at the thought of environmental harm — but it’s the latter category of buyer that Jeep isn’t quite sure how to please.

While the 2018 Wrangler remains on track for production late this year, the automaker recently pushed back the introduction of the much-anticipated pickup version. It now looks like any hybrid variant is also a ways off. That means buyers who hoped to emit slightly fewer hydrocarbons while crushing saplings and insects will need to wait before they save the planet.

Speaking to Auto Express at the Geneva Motor Show, Jeep head Mike Manley confirmed that there are still plans for a hybrid version of the next-generation Jeep. However, those plans don’t seem overly fleshed out.

Before it can put a hybrid Wrangler into production, FCA must first decide just how much electrification the model — and its potential buyers — can handle.

“We have continued our studies on hybridization for the Wrangler, and it’s a balance for us. Obviously there are loads of different hybrid technologies, from mild to 48v through to full battery-electric,” Manley said after confirming the model’s future existence.

“For the Wrangler you need to strike the right balance; we don’t want to do something that will leave you stranded on a hillside,” he continued. “So for me, full battery EV is not a great fit. But hybridization works well with the brand because of the attributes that come with electric equipment – not just the torque, but also the control.”

Sorry, tree embracers, electric Jeeps will remain the domain of Mattel for the foreseeable future.

While the automaker hasn’t graced us with a rendering or prototype, we know that the 2018 Wrangler will make greater use of aluminum in order to shed weight, coupled with fuel economy-minded aerodynamic improvements. Expect a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder among the available powerplants.

Production of the pickup variant isn’t scheduled to kick off until late 2019, and it’s nearly certain that a hybrid version would lag the basic Wrangler by at least a model year. The next-gen Wrangler is poised to spawn a multi-year roll-out of new models.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 08, 2017

    I sense some FUD here. Truly, the design of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler (or any 2018 product) should already be done, with tooling underway. If Jeep doesn't know what kind of hybrid tech they're going to use, they're either a)clueless, or b)lying. My suggestion: only a standard hybrid will do - no plug-in or full electric, since both are incompatible with the Jeep use case and image. And, as Big Al From 'Murica suggested, the hybrid battery would be great for providing some off-road electrical power. But, doing the math, my Optima Hybrid battery would only be good for running a toaster for a half hour. It's only 1.6 kWh, usually kept at half-full.

    • See 1 previous
    • Markogts Markogts on Mar 09, 2017

      I beg to differ, SCE. Exactly for the purpose of having camping electricity it would be wise to have a big battery AND a plug. Chademo is reversible, don't kbow for CCS, but should be too.

  • Sooperedd Sooperedd on Mar 08, 2017

    Having sold our Prius today and running some errands in our new Renegade I had the thought that it would make a great Hybrid. FCA is real late to the Hybrid/EV game.

  • Probert No, they're not the future. BEV sales are growing every year, and, along with sound energy policy, result in cleaner air, lower CO2, foreign policy not based on oil, and will continue to drive like a smooth powerful nearly silent turbine. Some 19% of new car sales in 2023 were BEVs - this will continue.
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  • Redapple2 Love/lust a 110 diesel defender. Should buy one since the INEOS is gas only (and double the price). Had a lightweight in Greece. Wonder how this rides.
  • Ajla There is inventory on the ground but as pointed out it is generally high dollar trims of high-dollar models and at least around here dealers still aren't budging off their mandatory nitrogen tires and Summer weather protection packages.You aren't paying '21-'22 prices anymore but it's still a long way to go.
  • Slavuta Every electric car must come with a film about lithium mining