The redesigned 2018 Jeep Wrangler have now been more or less confirmed, thanks to a photograph of an open Wrangler prototype showing the engine bay. The new fuel-efficient option should be offered alongside the Pentastar V-6 engine. The engine appears to be a 2.0-liter “Hurricane” inline-four cylinder engine. A photographer for Motor Trends spotted it inside the new Wrangler. It shows what seems to be an oil cap which had been placed in the center of the cam cover right in the middle of the engine. There was also an air intake routed over the top of the longitudinally-placed engine, which also suggests a high-mounted turbo. This setup would be necessary to protect a turbo from the kinds of elements encountered by the Wrangler, such as mud and water encountered in deep water.
The new engine should help the Jeep Wrangler meet ever-toughening fuel economy standards. However, many Wrangler aficionados will still probably prefer the larger, naturally aspirated V-6, 3.6-liter engine. This engine may get up to almost 300 horsepower, but some analysts are concerned about a lack of low-end torque off boost, as well as non-linear power delivery once boost pressure gets going. This would difficult for people who go off-roading, where they will need to navigate big obstacles at slow speeds.
Both versions of the Wrangler, the Hurricane four-cylinder and Pentastar V-6, are expected to be backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission. It could be that the new Hurricane powerplant will b the basis for another option featuring a hybrid powertrain. This would improve Wrangler’s poor fuel economy numbers. Although no inside evidence has emerged that the company is considering electric hybrids, if Jeep opted for an electric motor option, it would help provide the low-end torque needed for the off-road community.
Back in April, FCA announced it was investing over $70 million in its Trenton Engine Complex to make a new four-cylinder engine. The production line originally produced Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. At the time, sources told Automotive News that the 2.0-liter unit was codenamed “Hurricane” and featured advanced technologies like variable valve timing, direct fuel injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger. Sources told the magazine that the engine will also feature an aluminum block. The new photograph seems to confirm that the Hurricane is exactly that, which will push it to the 300 hp range.
The next-generation Jeep Wrangler is expected to debut sometime in 2017. The Hurricane will position the car in the market as a more fuel-efficient option for those who choose it. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne already dropped hints about the Wrangler being offered with an optional four-cylinder engined, with an eight-speed automatic in the next evolution of the iconic Jeep.
The Jeep Wrangler currently has a fuel economy of 17/21 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA. That’s on a V-6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission. The turbo-four will make an improvement on those numbers.