2018 Jeep Wrangler: A More Modern Mountain Goat
What It Is: The 11th-generation descendant of the warrior that helped win freedom in World War II.
Why It Matters: Jeep sold more than 200,000 Wranglers last year. It s a cash-spewing ATM that pays a lot of the company s bills. It s also the heart of the Jeep brand.
Platform: Jeep will continue with rugged body-on-frame construction to serve the off-roading aspirations of its faithful and multiplying constituents. That said, the coming edition will use modern materials to cut weight and boost mileage. Expect a hydroformed steel ladder frame carrying a body made of high-strength steel, aluminum, and plastic. A four-door pickup will join the lineup of two- and four-door models with hard- and softtops.
Powertrain. Today s 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 will soldier on with manual and automatic transmissions. Fiat Chrysler s current product plan also includes a turbo-diesel alternative in the near term and a hybrid after 2020, along with a possible turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder code-named Hurricane making around 300 horsepower.
Competition: The Wrangler is without peer, a gully-busting rock climber you can drive to work. Compact crossovers bow in its presence. A new Land Rover Defender, expected next year, may re-invade this sphere, though at twice the price.
What Might Go Wrong: Failure is not an option. With Ferrari pawned off, Jeep is Fiat Chrysler s hero, the rare American brand with global admiration, solid profitability, huge sales potential, and a brilliant future.
Estimated Arrival and Price: Late next year, with stickers starting around $25,000.