Jeep CEO Mike Manley is always quick to refer to the Wrangler as the brand’s “icon.” While unquestionably a worthy moniker for the SUV, such status makes crafting the next Wrangler a delicate balance of modernization and maintaining heritage.
In an interview with Automotive News Manley stated his directive with the 2018 Wrangler is fairly simple: don’t screw it up. The CEO seeks to maintain the ruggedness and capability that has led to the Wrangler becoming an icon, but also recognizes that it has to modernize to gain appeal internationally and due to regulation.
Manley didn’t offer any details of how Jeep will be reconciling all of the forces that could conflict Jeep’s core values with the modern automobile. He did elaborate enough to state that the Wrangler is going to be shedding weight and will have much more efficient engine options.
The remarks indirectly confirm reports that the Wrangler is going to switch to a mostly aluminum construction to cut weight. Rumors have also surfaced that the Wrangler will gain FCA’s new 2.0-liter turbo engine and perhaps a diesel engine, in addition to eight-speed automatic transmissions. Each of these characteristics will unquestionably aid in the Wrangler’s fuel economy.
We also know for sure that the Wrangler will be staying true to its form. It is expected to retain solid front and rear axles atop a body-on-frame design. Spy shots have proven that the Wrangler will keep its military-style, but the body shape is expected to be a little more aerodynamic than today’s JK.
“We’re obviously hoping to continue the success of the next-generation Wrangler,” Manley stated to Automotive News.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler is expected to launch next summer, but perhaps later.