Next Jeep Wrangler Will Get an Eight-Speed Auto
Additional Cogs Will Provide Fuel Economy Bump
New rumors suggest the new Jeep Wrangler, expected as a 2018 model, will be the next vehicle to get Chrysler’s ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. According to Automotive News, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing from the company said that in the future, all rear-wheel-drive Fiat Chrysler vehicles (except for heavy-duty trucks and the high-performance Dodge Viper) will be available with the eight-speed auto. That statement implicitly suggests the Wrangler will get the transmission, at least as an option.
The company would have liked to put the transmission in the current Wrangler, but it won’t fit without an extensive redesign of the SUV’s bodyshell. The SEC filing claims that fuel economy with the eight-speed improves by 9 percent compared to the transmission it replaced, an aging five-speed automatic. Using that transmission, the current Jeep Wrangler gets 17 city/21 highway mpg, so the eight-speed would have provided a useful efficiency bump.
Details on the next-gen Wrangler are scarce, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) hasn’t officially confirmed that the Wrangler will receive the transmission (nor any other powertrain details, for that matter). However, given the fairly straightforward wording in the SEC filing, we have little reason to doubt this particular prediction, given the Wrangler will almost assuredly be based on a rear-wheel-drive platform.
The other question mark for the new Wrangler is its design and construction. With FCA making fuel economy a significant priority, engine downsizing, increased aerodynamic efficiency, and aluminum construction have been rumored for the next version of Jeep’s legendary off-roader.
Some of that hearsay even led to a minor kerfuffle between FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and the citizens of Toledo, Ohio, when the former’s comments at the Paris Motor Show seemed to suggest the Wrangler’s production could be moved from that city. However, that rumor has died down and both the company and local leaders are confident the Wrangler’s production will remain in Toledo.
Source: Automotive News