Report: Diesel Jeep Wrangler Still a Go After Dealer Meeting

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jul 22, 2017

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

  • TW5 TW5 on Jul 23, 2017

    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.

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    • Guitar man Guitar man on Jul 26, 2017

      @Scoutdude 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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