Breath of fresh air
Jeep’s all-new fourth-generation Wrangler will be a breath of fresh air – almost literally – when it lands in showrooms in 2018.
Images released by Jeep at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas revealed a two-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with the doors and roof removed and the windscreen folded flat for the full bugs-in-the-teeth outdoor driving experience.
A fully enclosed five-door Wrangler Sahara was also shown, confirming the styling had not ventured far from the traditional iconic look drawn from the original Second World War Willys MB.
Code-named JL, the new model will be formally released at the Los Angeles motor show late this month when Jeep is expected to reveal a raft of changes to make the Wrangler lighter, more efficient and technologically advanced.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Australia expects the new model to go on sale in Australia towards the end of 2018, with FCA Asia Pacific head of PR and corporate communications Lucy Mclellan adding the company was excited about icon.
Ultimately, the range would include a ute version, called Scrambler, that seems to be a no-brainer for Australia.
The current JK Wrangler has been around for a decade.
So far this year, sales of Wrangler have slipped 17.9 percent, which is better than the rate of decline of the overall Jeep range, which is down 35.4 percent on the same period last year.
Jeep designers and engineers have been careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater in re-working the the re-launch of the Wrangler for a new decade, retaining strengths such as Wrangler’s legendary off-road ability.
Full specifications are being withheld until the LA show debut, but Jeep executives have previously told Goauto the Wrangler would retain its rugged ladder chassis, but the body would employ stronger, lighter metals such as high-strength steel and aluminium to cut weight to improve performance and fuel efficiency.
Inside, a thorough revamp will bring the Wrangler into the 21st century, with the latest version of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Uconnect infotainment system. American reports show the Wrangler would offer a pair of petrol engines – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ ubiquitous 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 and a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four.
A 3.0-litre diesel V6 is also expected at some point, replacing the 2.8-litre unit in the current model in Australia.
That latter engine is expected to power the Scrambler, which, according to US spy photos, is a 4x4 long-wheelbase, dual cab pickup with greater load carrying capacity than the standard Wrangler.