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Why did we lose the Hurricane?

by David Zatz on

Opinion. A Jeep spokesman told us that the four-cylinder in the 2018 Wrangler JL is called “eTorque” — including the belt-starter-generator mild-hybrid system. The gasoline motor itself is prosaically dubbed, “2.0-liter turbocharged engine with eTorque assist”.

eTorque / Hurricane engine

The official portrait simply shows “Jeep 2.0L” with no mention of the massive turbocharger. Is FCA missing some marketing opportunities here?

During the engine’s development, employees told us it was called “Hurricane,” most likely just “between us” — that is, among engineers or techs, perhaps not officially. Past engines have been code-named for military aircraft — Apache, Hellcat, and such. Usually, the code name does not survive.

The engine itself, whatever you call it, is a turbocharged four-cylinder that uses all the lessons Chrysler and Fiat have learned over the years in both gasoline engines and hybrid systems. But the eTorque name has been used by FCA already, with different spelling. The e.TorQ engine is an evolution of the old Neon engines, still made by Fiat in Brazil, in the former-Chrysler/Rover plant.  It’s hard to argue about the fit of the name — it’s an engine with high torque, thanks to electric assist — but it doesn’t feel right on a Wrangler.

Why not go with the flow and call it Hurricane? The name, used decades ago by Jeep for another four-cylinder, has a credible past; it’s also more fun name, and catchy, at least when we’re not in high-wind-storm season. It’s also far easier on techs, writers, and owners than “2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder with eTorque assist.”

[Edit: reader MJAB suggested that the name “Hurricane” would be reserved for Dodge, and that Jeep wanted people to focus on the mild-hybrid system rather than the engine itself.]

Regardless, that engine cover has to go — when you open your hood, do you want to see “2.0 L,” or do you want to see “Hurricane”? Or, at least, “Turbo” or “eTorque.”

Still to be discovered: the name for the plug-in hybrid-electric Wrangler coming in two years or so.

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