By on July 22, 2017

2017 Jeep Wrangler boasts LED headlamps.

As the next-generation 2018 Jeep Wrangler draws ever closer to its debut, an anonymous source who apparently attended a cozy, invite-only Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dealer meeting has spilled his or her guts.

The unconfirmed powertrain details leaked to JLWranglerForums shed light on what to expect under the slightly longer hood of the lighter, more aerodynamic Wrangler. It seems FCA’s battle with the Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t squashed its desire for a diesel Wrangler.

The anonymous source claims the 2018 Wrangler will debut without a compression ignition option. Hardly a surprise, given the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 lack of environmental certification. FCA sold over 100,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 models outfitted with unapproved emissions control devices, earning it a page in the EPA and Justice Department’s bad books. A “fixed” EcoDiesel hasn’t yet been approved.

However, it seems FCA remains confident the EPA will eventually go its way. The dealer source claims a diesel Wrangler should appear in late 2019, nearly two years after the models’s planned December 2017 introduction. (We’ll first see the model first at this November’s L.A. Auto Show.)

Going by 2016 specifications, the EcoDiesel’s 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque should make rock-crawling and hill ascents a breeze, assuming the EPA approves. Interestingly, the late-2019 arrival of the diesel corresponds perfectly with the introduction of a pickup variant, raising the possibility of a truck-only scenario.

Lower down the powertrain list, and arriving on day one, is a revamped version of FCA’s trustworthy 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. Paired with a manual or automatic transmission, likely an eight-speed unit, the engine should sip gasoline at a slower pace than before. To this end, buyers can also opt for a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the dealer source claimed. This engine is the “Hurricane” four we’ve heard about for a year now, boasting somewhere in the area of 300 horsepower. However, going the four-banger route means the elimination of a manual option.

Apparently, the source didn’t mention a hybrid powertrain — something Jeep boss Mike Manley wants in some form or another.

While numerous roof configurations remain rumored, the source claims a power sliding hardtop will join the lineup in late 2018.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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31 Comments on “Report: Diesel Jeep Wrangler Still a Go After Dealer Meeting...”

  • avatar

    Jerp Wrangler has had a diesel option for tbe last 10yrs in Australia Good to see NA catching up

  • avatar

    Rubicon diesel pickup? Yes. Winner.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I would of thought the VM 2.8 would of been the likely diesel option.

  • avatar

    Jeep Wrangler is dead, unless it receives a legislative stay of execution. It will get the Cherokee treatment within 10 years. Now is the time to buy unmolested YJs, TJs, LJs, & JKs, if you can find them. Diesel powertrains will not be enough to get Wrangler across the CAFE finish line. Hybrids won’t do the trick nor will aluminum bodies.

    Wrangler may not survive at all because Toyota has the CAFE credits and powertrain portfolio to get aggressive with the 4Runner, whereas FCA is completely on their back foot. FCA is out of CAFE compliance, and Wrangler’s last glimmer of hope is that the new EPA fines will be gutted. If we’re really lucky, Jeep will make good in their promise to keep a heritage Wrangler alive for offroad applications, but let’s be realistic. It’s the car industry. They will put the Wrangler name on a midsize sedan before they concentrate the brand value in a niche vehicle.

    Anyway, look for FCA to merge with BMW in the not too distant future. FCA desperately needs hybrid/plug-in and advanced chassis building. BMW desperately needs Jeep and RAM. The resulting company will be roughly the same size as VW in terms of revenue and roughly the same size as Toyota in terms of personnel.

    It will probably take BMW investors 12-24 months to realize their corporate strategists are living in the halcyon days of dotcom futurism, and they need to focus on consolidating compliance costs and diversifying their vehicle lineup, even if it’s not future sexy.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I was thinking FCA would become Korean.

      Hyundai and Kia have good CUVs and small cars.

      FCA (Jeep, Ram the rest of FCA is not of much value) have what Hyundai and Kia lack as global players.

      But, we need to wait out for FCAs collapse.

      • 0 avatar

        The Koreans are another possibility. I guess it depends on the best compromise. If FCA merges with the Koreans, they have no functional high-volume luxury brand, though Genesis could pilfer the Maserati/Alfa knowledge base. If FCA merges with BMW, they will be leaning on Chrysler, Mini, Fiat, and Dodge to serve the appliance market (not gonna happen).

        Ultimately, I think Hyundai/Kia is too interested in getting Genesis off the ground, and they don’t want merger drama. They are following the Japanese business plan.

        I think BMW investors will be restless soon. The stock has been under heavy pressure since Spring 2015 ($120/share). Lots of people bought the dip in Summer 2016, when the stock went under $70. The recovery has already fizzled on flat US sales, despite record sales in China. Market consensus is hold. If the stock doesn’t pop in the next 12-24 months, I think the board makes changes to thwart a selloff. Investment banks love M&E. They might go for Marchionne’s pitch. I could be wrong. FCA is quite ugly. Marchionne has a lot of work to do.

    • 0 avatar

      Sounds like another great reason to scrap or gut CAFE. Maybe this admin has the sense to do it.

      • 0 avatar

        @ thelaine

        I’m not sure if CAFE needs to be scrapped in its entirety. It is a good fail safe to make sure Americans do not simply agree to throw away a large portion of their income on a commodity that is still sourced largely from foreign countries, several of whom are in a cartel. CAFE 2016 seems reasonable.

        However, there is little doubt that CAFE 2025 is ridiculous, and the architects of the regulations have admitted as much. They were shooting for the stars, expecting pushback from the industry and foreign regulators (who want CAFE to be reasonably close to Euro standards). Instead, the industry, the legislature, and foreign regulators capitulated or expressed support.

        As a result, a negotiating instrument suddenly became legislation. The only opposition was the NHTSA because they know CAFE kills people. To combat rising fatalities, they pushed through the footprint rules and increased crash standards to ensure that cars and crumple zones would not get smaller and weaker.

        This potent cocktail of overregulation is about to land on the market, particularly the augural standards which take effect in 2022. I believe the car manufacturers can actually meet the regulations, but the regulations were never meant to exist in their current form, and their radical edicts will end up costing consumers and manufacturers many products they hold dearly.

        At this point, the only thing that can save offroaders is smoky backroom deals with the EPA and Congress to gut the fines and to give all sorts of special technological exceptions. There is a 0% chance a two-door Wrangler like the JK will ever make 37mpg combined by 2025. It is complete nonsense.

        • 0 avatar

          Thank you for your reply TW. I see no need to have this monstrosity. Fuel economy restrictions do much more harm than good. People should decide the tradeoffs for themselves. Fuel economy is an important factor for many people, but not so much for others. We have plenty of oil and will become a leading exporter within a few years and a net energy exporter within a decade. Recoverable oil reserves are plentiful and getting more plentiful every year. Consumer choice will work a lot better than any CAFE foolishness. The proof is in the law itself. They need to stop tinkering and just go away. The law is absurd and there is no evidence they can ever make it more productive than no law at all. When fuel prices go up, people buy more efficient cars. When they are low, people want bigger and more powerful. There is absolutely no problem with this. The problem solves itself. We are swimming in oil and there is no sign of a let up.

        • 0 avatar

          The fundamental problem with CAFE, is the “Corporate Average” part.

          If oil savings is the goal, tax oil. As directly as possible. A V10 Wrangler sitting in Leno’s garage, uses plenty less oil than the average Uber driver’s Prius.

          If that’s too complimecated for the drone choir to wrap their heads around, tax individual cars based on a MPG numbers for that specific car. Then each model would stand on it’s own, and those buying it would pay for the externalities it’s fuel burn creates. It’s plenty less efficient and equitable than taxing oil directly, but after over 100 years of pretty much pervasive publicly funded indoctrination, it may be the best option politically available.

          CAFE, otoh, in practice serve one function only: Preventing third party, specialist providers from selling niche vehicles. By, as you say, letting Toyota sell 4Runners at a relative discount, solely because they also happen to be in a million other, unrelated markets. IOW, it’s a pure pander to Big Corporation lobbyists. Rather than any kind of effort seriously focused on reducing oil consumption.

          Translated to the food industry, CAFE is akin to fining cattle farmers who don’t also grow kale, which they know little about, on the side, under guise of some “Corporate Average Caloric” metric. Sold to the drones as an effort to reduce obesity, no doubt. While in reality, nothing but a pander to huge, diversified, well lobbied up agribusiness.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            As most of us know CAFE does not work to a common standard across all vehicles.

            The US has different standards for cars and trucks.

            The US definition of a truck is quite a joke eg, RAV4, PT Cruiser, the list is endless.

            As I stated if you look at all the regulatory controls from towing to the Chicken Tax, there is a massive amount of protection offered to trucks and/or large vehicles.

            This might work for the US, but whilst the US is really the only producer of cheap mediocre large vehicles this will not change.

            As I mentioned the other day. When and if there is a decline in the ability to afford a large vehicle the US industry will hurt and hurt badly.

            You will see the Big 3 in particular take it.

            So, what will the US produce if there is a rise in energy or FE and emissions become more stringent.

            I’d say as I have over the past decade the US auto manufacturers (Big 3) need to be forced to restructure and produce exportable vehicles.

            Fuel tax along with the dismantling of CAFE is the best course to take.

            This will allow big V8 pickups. This will allow for a V8 Colorado if you want with no penalties.

            If you can afford the gas you should have whatever you want.

          • 0 avatar

            @BAFO – Why would there be a “common standard” for all vehicles, big and small? The EU also has a sliding scale, based on weight, not footprint. Probably because they just gotta be different!

            It just doesn’t make sense to hold a Land Rover to the fuel economy of a compact hatch. Why not just ban the Land Rover??

            Loopholes like the “Truck” exemption (to the Gas Guzzler tax) are exploited mostly by smaller vehicles (rarely used as “trucks”) but they help bring up the over all average mpg of “trucks” within a brand, meaning Rav4s help increase the average mpg of all Toyota “trucks”.

            If becomes necessary for the Big Three to scrap bigger vehicles, their former buyers of big vehicles have to go somewhere (or will they vaporize?) and most will go back to the Big Three for their smaller offerings.

            But how the heck would the Chicken tax “protect” trucks and large vehicles
            (including the Titan and Tundra)? The only foreign “competition” the Chicken tax applies to is (global) pickups and vans, all of which are midsize or smaller!!

            If Americans stop affording larger vehicles, which smaller “trucks” would the Chicken tax be “protecting”?

          • 0 avatar

            CAFE isn’t perfect, far from it. But if you think murderous EU regs are the solution to anything…

      • 0 avatar

        thelaine, I pray that they do. I think that several government agencies desperately need to be abolished.

    • 0 avatar


      It shouldn’t be killed off due to CAFE. If CAFE is going to stay, which is not assured with the anti environment morons running the show today, the footprint aspect should be abolished. It should have never been there in the first place. Instead, have a target for cars and one for trucks as it used to be.

      • 0 avatar

        ” which is not assured with the anti environment morons running the show today”

        As if ANY of this government intervention has ANYTHING to do with the environment…..

      • 0 avatar

        @ golden2husky

        The footprint regulations were created by the NHTSA to keep people alive. They cannot be repealed because the NHTSA is certain the manufacturers will simply downsize their vehicle lineup, like the 1980s, and road fatalities will rise sharply.

        The existence of the footprint regulations should be an indicator to even the most ardent supporters that CAFE 2025 has serious underlying flaws.

    • 0 avatar

      FCA isn’t going to discontinue the Wrangler because of CAFE. It’s much more likely that they will simply pay the CAFE fines and roll them into the price of the vehicle. FCA would basically have to become a completely different company to be in compliance with the 2025 standards, so why bother trying?

      • 0 avatar


        Have you not noticed that FCA is trying to become a completely different company? Sergio has been shopping for a merger or hostile takeover since the day FCA was created. The company is technological deadwood in it’s current form, and the industry knows it. They are playing a waiting game because it strengthens their negotiating position. At some point, one of the manufacturers will cross the line, and do a deal with FCA.

        Marchionne has reportedly even suggested FCA will sell RAM and Jeep. Why? Because they won’t achieve CAFE compliance for these brands, and the new fines are too high to roll into vehicle costs (see Tahoe/Yukon prices).

        • 0 avatar

          The C in CAFE stands for Corporate, so the Jeep brand not meeting its target can be offset by selling Dodges or Fiats that exceed their targets. Oh wait a minute they have killed most of the Dodge models and Fiat aren’t exactly selling well.

          • 0 avatar
            Guitar man

            They don’t have to sell them just have them available.

            Anyway this is about CARB certification in California. Actually the diesel engine is very economical.

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