2017 Jeep Wrangler – The Death of a Legend
It’s a terrible start at AME HQ this morning as we discover the Jeep Wrangler is undergoing some serious changes with its engines and transmissions, while also being put on a diet for its 2017 debut. Set to compete with “soft SUV’s” whose main concern is fuel economy, this could very well be the beginning of the slow and painful death of a legend.
The current Jeep Wrangler isn’t the most fuel efficient 4×4 out there, sipping an approximate 16 litres of Octane 98 for every 100 kilometres. But here’s the catch, not many owners are complaining, because lead the Wrangler to a patch of dunes and there really isn’t a lot out there that can match it climb for climb.
While Chrysler’s eight-speed automatic transmission is much too big to fit into the Wrangler as of now, plans include making use of greater aluminium in the bodywork to reduce weight, the addition of an eight-speed transmission and possibly smaller engines too.
With Jeep’s sights set on luring buyers away from its competitors’ softer SUVs, there have been rumours that the 2017 Jeep Wrangler may lose its current solid front and rear axles as well. Though they may offer a rough on-road ride, solid axles are vital to the success of the Wrangler on the soft stuff.
Jeep’s CEO Mike Manley sees a reason for this potential change in direction. “You can’t sell 19,000-plus retail Wranglers [as the brand did in May] to people who just want to go off-roading,” Manley told AutoNews. “Why would, for example, somebody else’s SUV that’s really an on-road soft SUV not be for me a genuine target for Wrangler?”
However, there may be a ray of hope as Manley proclaimed, “One thing that we will not do is dilute what Wrangler stands for. I killed the two-wheel-drive Wrangler when I took over the brand, and I’m not bringing the two-wheel-drive Wrangler back.”