An all-new Jeep Wrangler is coming in 2017, and the slow trickle of information has some fans of the storied nameplate concerned that the next model will stray from the off-roader’s original formula. Now, a new report suggests the Wrangler may get a hybrid powertrain option.
Speaking to Auto Express, Jeep boss Mike Manley said, “You have the potential for hybrid powertrains in the future. For those people who use the Wrangler, the most important thing is the initial torque and the crawl ratio. With an electric motor you have the most torque available and with the right combination of transmission and gear ratios you can create incredible crawl ratios.”
But the executive admitted that consumers may be wary of using a hybrid for off-roading, especially where battery life is concerned.
“Where you have to be careful with the Wrangler is range. If you are eight hours and four miles into a trail, there is not a hybrid that we could do which could provide the battery support,” Manley told Auto Express.
As of right now, the most important factors going into the development of the new Jeep Wrangler are preserving the iconic look and improving on-road driving dynamics and fuel economy. Aside from a hybrid powertrain, the automaker is also looking into diesel variants for the U.S. market, as well as new materials. Manley went on to say that “The use of aluminum and high-strength steel is huge for us. There is opportunity for carbon fiber as well.”
Over the last few years, sales for the Jeep Wrangler have steadily grown to an impressive 235,000 units globally in 2014. To keep with the momentum, Manley hinted that there are big plans for the new 2017 Jeep Wrangler and that the automaker may show off a few concepts, like what Land Rover is doing with the new Defender.
“You may see concepts before [the production Wrangler’s debut] to shift perception, or we may do it a different way,” Manley said.
There’s a lot riding on the next Wrangler, as it will be expected to maintain its heritage and reputation while also sufficiently bringing the nameplate up to date. Do you think a hybrid drivetrain is the right way to go? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.
Source: Auto Express