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Mini-Jeep to use Neon-derived engine?

by David Zatz on


According to sources within FCA, the upcoming mini-Jeep will have an engine option in Brazil which is derived from Chrysler’s Plymouth/Dodge Neon powerplant.

When launched in 1994, the Neon had an innovative 2.0 liter engine, pushing out 132 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque at a time when comparable engines did not come close to those numbers (the top Civic EX produced 125 horsepower and 100 lb-ft of torque), yet it had a broad torque range for good drivability. Aside from a head gasket issue, resolved in 1997 (some insiders claim by using the gasket that was originally specified and rejected based on cost), the engine was generally reliable and “tight,” and Neon won many stock-car championships.

BMW considered using the engine for its 3-series cars, but, according to those close to the company at the time, dropped its plans when American BMW enthusiasts objected. A larger 2.4 liter version (150 hp) was used in minivans and the PT Cruiser, among other cars; a turbocharged version of the 2.4 was used in the Neon SRT4 and PT Cruiser GT. The dual-cam version of the 2.0 Neon engine was even sold to Mitsubishi, which used it in their Eclipse (confusingly, replacing Mitsubishi’s own 2.0  as the base engine).

Chrysler worked with Rover on two downsized versions of this engine, displacing  1.4 and 1.6 liters.  One was used by the first-generation Mini, but with the second generation, BMW switched to engines developed with Peugeot.

According to one of the engineers, the Mini engine was “100% Chrysler designed,” and was similar to the export PT and Neon engines — a Neon 2.0 single-cam with reduced bore size and centers.

Fiat purchased the former Tritec plant in Brazil in 2008, and developed two engines based on the old Chrysler design, displacing 1.6 and 1.8 liters (Chrysler used a 1.8 liter version of the engine in some export Neons). These are used in a variety of Brazilian cars, and include multiple-fuel designs.

Our sources reported that the Jeep “BU,” at least in Brazil, will use 1.6 liter “E-Torque” engine, which generates 117 horsepower. 

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