Diesel engines are great at a lot of things, but many automakers are dropping oil burners as they transition to electrification. Ford cut the option from its F-150 line over a year ago, and Jeep removed diesels from its Wrangler lineup heading into 2024. Now, it’s the Jeep Gladiator’s turn, and the automaker recently announced plans to remove the diesel option from the truck’s configuration list after a final FarOut special edition model.
The first thing you should know about the 2023 Jeep Wrangler 4xe Rubicon is that aside from the powertrain, the experience is pretty much the same as it would be with any other Wrangler.
In other words, if for some reason the idea of a PHEV Wrangler bothers you, relax.
I was a latecomer to the Jeep lifestyle. As the bumper sticker says, I didn’t understand the Jeep thing. I’d briefly driven a couple of older ratty and rattly CJs in my time as a service writer a decade or so ago, trying to pinpoint suspension issues for the techs who were too busy not torquing lug nuts to actually do diagnoses. But the whole thing was an issue, each old Jeep driving poorly on-road - the only terrain I’d ever encountered on purpose.
But then I bought one when our minivan grew old and my bride expressed a desire for more wind-in-the-hair motoring on her commute. Four doors and toplessness seem to be mutually exclusive outside the offroader realm, so to the Stellantis dealer we went. And then I began to see what everyone else already knew.
The 2024 Jeep Wrangler is refreshed, building upon the JL platform introduced in 2017 to much fanfare. Jeep sent journalists to southern Utah to experience the refreshed 2024 Jeep Wrangler in a variety of flavors in the terrain seemingly built for the Wrangler lifestyle. Is it still the one?
Stellantis is reportedly no longer allocating gasoline-only vehicles to the fourteen states with leadership that has agreed to adhere to the emission standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). While the rules exceed federal standards, they’ve been embraced by coastal regions and beginning to influence how the industry does business.
For Stellantis brands (e.g. Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram, etc.) this means dealer allocation will prioritize powertrains based on how restrictive the local emissions standards happen to be.
It hasn’t been too many flips of the calendar since Jeep rolled out their 4xe sub-brand, a moniker that denotes rigs as having a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Whilst more than one dusty corner of the internet figured Jeep-type customers would turn up their noses at such a proposition, recent sales numbers suggest the effort is actually doing quite well.
So long as one frames those numbers through a very specific lens, of course.
Automakers love to tout “all-new” or “heavily refreshed” vehicles, but it’s often the case that only a few elements have changed. Jeep unveiled the 2024 Wrangler at the New York International Auto Show today, and while there’s a lot to talk about, this is still the rugged, sometimes-unruly off-roader we’ve seen for decades.
Jeep has issued a recall encompassing roughly 58,000 examples of the 2020-2023 Wrangler. Problem vehicles described in the relevant NHTSA documents were reportedly constructed with a frame stud that's allegedly superfluous and that can cause fires in the event of a crash. It’s kind of a weird recall campaign, as they typically don’t involve a vehicle having too many parts but rather totally absent or poorly implemented ones.
The Jeep Renegade is being gussied up for the 2023 model year and now includes some fresh color options and a mid-tier appearance package that’ll help it look like something that might actually drive up the side of a mountain. While the new Upland trim is heavily focused on aesthetics, it does come with a few additions that might still help it participate in more basic off-road activities.
The Jeep Wrangler Industrial Complex continues to churn, and for 2023, the automaker’s planning two more. The 2023 Wrangler Rubicon 4xe and Rubicon 392 celebrate 20 years of Rubicon models with exclusive styling and features. The two anniversary models enter production in the first quarter and will reach dealerships later in the second quarter.
We've reported about Stellantis idling the plant where the Jeep Cherokee is built, and today Matt wrote about how the options list for the vehicle is narrowing. It appears that the current generation will be finished after the 2023 model year. So, what's next?
Stellantis hasn't officially confirmed that the current-generation Jeep Cherokee will soon be discontinued, but it sure looks that way, and 2023 is looking like its final model year. But the successor cannot be far away, considering just how few options are left within the Cherokee lineup. For 2023, trims have been limited to Altitude Lux and Trailhawk – with engine options being limited to the 180-hp 2.4-liter inline-four and 270-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four.
Jeep has discontinued the optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8 for the two-row Grand Cherokee, meaning you can either have the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or the new 2.0-liter PHEV that comes with the 4xe trim. That doesn’t mean the V8 has been removed entirely, however. Specific versions of the 3-row Jeep Grand Cherokee L can still be outfitted with the Hemi. You just have to get it in all-wheel drive, padding the price somewhat.
Last week, we learned that the Jeep Compass and certain Ram trucks were under investigation for loss of power and other issues, which could lead to recalls of those vehicles. At the same time, the automaker issued a formal recall for the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, a recent addition to its lineup. The SUV may experience an engine shutdown caused by the diagnostics system’s “reaction to faults caused by loss of communication.”
We heard them before we saw them.
Our merry band of journalists and PR folks were walking to dinner in Bozeman, Montana on the second night of the 2023 Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer L press launch when we crossed paths with a bunch of college-aged folks who were walking the opposite way shouting “hi-ho, hi-ho, fossil fuels have got to go!”
If only they could lay eyes on this particular Jeep, which caused one colleague to tweet out a reference to The Simpsons' Canyonero.
The consensus, at least among us shrimp-sucking keyboard warriors who get paid to review cars, is that the Jeep Wagoneer is a bit of a flop, mostly due to an oddly-proportioned exterior design.
Sure, the overfed journo writes between bites of shellfish, the Wagoneer has a nice interior, an excellent stereo, and an unobjectionable, if unremarkable powertrain. But its looks frighten small dogs.
This year’s Auto Show in Detroit is notably light on introductions compared to its heyday in the ‘90s and 2000s when Cobo Hall was packed with announcements and bombastic reveals. Still, some hometown players are showing off new wares – including Ford with the Mustang later tonight – and Jeep with the pair of machines shown here.
The idea of a plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler intrigues me. Wranglers that run exclusively on dead-dino juice have never been terribly fuel efficient. That’s true of recent efforts, too, despite overall improvements in automotive technology/design/engineering that have helped even the thirstiest of gas guzzlers become, well, less thirsty.
So it makes sense that a Wrangler that can run at least part of the time on electrons would pique my interest. Even if the alternative powertrain underhood changes little else about the Wrangler experience.
Stellantis has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to criminal conspiracy charges relating to emissions requirements on over 100,000 diesel-powered Ram and Jeep products sold in the United States. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) was previously on the hook for $800 million in civil penalties over a so-called “defeat device” equipped to the automaker’s 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engine. Allegations began in 2017 as regulators were hunting for compliance violations in the wake of Volkswagen’s massive emissions scandal from a couple of years earlier.
No one needs a V8 in a Jeep Wrangler. But sometimes brands do things just because they can. Which is the case with this particular Jeep – there’s a freakin’ Hemi underhood, for no other reason than Jeep can do it.
Well – there’s one other reason. The company can rake in some serious cash.
We return to the Turbo-Hydramatic once more today, and our third installment sees us at a critical point in the timeline of the automatic transmission. Fuel economy pressure from the government and performance demands of the consumer increased considerably in the intervening years since the THM’s debut in 1964. That meant the creation of lighter, more compact, and cheaper versions of the Turbo-Hydramatic compared to its flagship shifter, the THM400. GM branched out into the likes of the THM350, THM250, and the very problematic THM200.
In 1987, GM stepped away from the traditional THM naming scheme and switched to a new combination of letters and numbers. Number of gears, layout, and strength combined to turn the THM400 into the 3L80. But the hefty gearbox was already limited by then to heavier truck applications; passenger cars moved on to four forward gears after the dawn of the Eighties.
Everybody’s going electric these days, it seems. Or at least, electrified. The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is Jeep’s latest entry in the electrified-vehicle space (sorry for that bit of marketing speak, I must need more coffee), following, of course, the Wrangler 4xe.
Getting electrified might be good for the ‘ole CAFE standards – but is it worth the price premium? Will electrification change a vehicle’s character – and if so, for the better or for worse?
To find out, I headed deep to the heart of Texas last month.
The 2022 New York Auto Show isn’t the first major auto show to be held since COVID-19 shut the world down in March 2020 – Chicago had shows in 2021 and 2022, and Los Angeles was in its usual slot last year. And there was Motorbella in Detroit last summer.
Still, for whatever reason – the loosening of COVID restrictions, the fact it was the first New York show since COVID, the presence of NY-based journos who don’t deign to travel west of the Hudson for those other shows – there was a pre-show feeling that this was it. This would be the show that marked the return of normalcy. Not LA in 2021 or Chicago just a couple of months ago – no, it would be this one.
Every year, gearheads at Jeep make a pilgrimage to the off-road mecca that is Moab, bringing along a yaffle of concept vehicles. Some of these rigs point to a future model, others too-cool restomods, and a few are tremendously bonkers one-offs.
We’re not entirely sure into which category today’s teaser will fall but, knowing Jeep, there’s a decent chance they’ll be putting this terrifically overpowered off-roader into production.
Jeep has one of the tougher challenges in the business, especially when it comes to its longest-running nameplates, such as Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.
That challenge is this – how to keep models that are based on an old-school formula, one that heavily involves off-road chops and, in this case, an optional V8 engine, modern.
Jeep has been up to the task so far with the Wrangler, even introducing a hybrid to the line. Now it’s the Grand Cherokee’s turn.
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- The Oracle The Spyder and Ryker platforms are great for folks who want an open air experience but may not want it on 2 wheels. I’ve had a Spyder RS-S since new in 2012 and it’s a fun machine with the manual transmission. When ridden hard, fuel economy goes well below 36mpg, but 2-up riding is great and the frunk is great for running errands.
- The Oracle These pricing pressures have been around for decades and the traditional ICE supply base is about to be upended.
- Druni Thanks. Great.
- NaMiNo Thanks for the recap, Tim! It's always interesting to get a glimpse of what's happening at auto shows. The focus on EVs aligns with the industry's growing shift towards electrification. And optimism about the future, along with more vehicle debuts, is a good sign for the automotive world. I always go to site here for more writting ideas for my blog. Your photos tell the story beautifully, even with auto-show lighting challenges.
- Ajla I wanted one of these a lot back when they were new.