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Diesel JL Wranglers are being tested

by David Zatz on

You can drive a Jeep Wrangler with any engine you like, as long as it’s the Pentastar V6. That’s going to change, though; diesels are being tested, most likely for both North America and Europe, and four-cylinder turbos, with a hybrid system to help with the Wrangler’s substantial weight, are already on the Jeep Build & Price system.

The diesels may be a little ways off, though, since Ryan Goimarac just photographed this example — with a missing gas cap, for whatever reason — showing both DEF and diesel-fuel fillers. It was running around the metro Detroit region, with factory plates and a big red button in the cabin — sure signs of a powertrain being tested.

The 2-liter turbo-fours are in high demand, since they’re needed by both the Wrangler and the 2019 Cherokee; we’d expect them to show up in pretty much the entire Jeep line, save the Grand Cherokee and Wagoneer, and then there are ProMaster Cities to be repowered. They would even suit minivans, with the Wrangler’s hybrid system. The challenge for FCA now is to crank up the volume quickly, without compromising quality in any way — and that two-part challenge is probably why they’re in such short supply.


As for the Wrangler JL’s diesels, they are almost certainly under scrutiny from a wary EPA, and Jeep might still be fine-tuning the engine controls to provide good power and responsiveness without polluting in situations that aren’t covered well by government tests, but come up in normal driving. At the same time, they won’t want drivers to have to refill their DEF constantly, and will want a 200,000 mile mean lifespan for the powertrain. It’s quite the balancing act, and customers will likely be happier if they release it when it’s ready instead of rushing it out too early — like the UltraDrive, 1957 Chryslers, Volare/Aspen, or 2013 Dart.

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