Breath of fresh air

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Motoring -

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.

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