Hybrid all the things. That seems to be the mantra in the automotive industry today, and new information suggests we’re going to see a hybrid Jeep Wrangler.
During the Detroit Auto Show, our friends over at AutoBlog cornered Jeep global chief Mike Manley, who expressed interest in the idea of a hybrid Jeep Wrangler — though he gave no timeline or even a guarantee it would happen. That said, even if Manley had the full production blueprints in his back pocket during the interview, it’s not likely he’d have confirmed it.
But the idea of a hybrid Jeep Wrangler certainly isn’t new, and if we had to bet, our money says we’ll see one sometime not far after 2020. Right now, Jeep is preparing to release the 2018 Wrangler, which is promised to be the iconic platform’s biggest shakeup in its six decades of existence.
The engineers are looking to lightweight aluminum to shave weight, and we think we’ll also see an eight-speed automatic, along with the first factory turbo Jeep engine. Styling is also expected to move slightly away from the beloved toaster shape which has historically made Wranglers as aerodynamic as a brick.
The biggest reason we think we’ll eventually see a hybrid Jeep Wrangler? It’s a great idea. One of the big advantages of electric motors is that all their torque is available from zero RPM — which is perfect when you’re trying to lurch your 4×4 over a massive boulder — and small units at each end could greatly improve torque distribution.
Of course, the elephant in the room regarding any new variation of Wrangler is the potential impact of the forthcoming Ford Bronco. The Blue Oval is saying that reborn version will have all the off-road props of its predecessors, which will present the Wrangler with its first formidable competition in decades. So it’d make sense that parent company FCA might reexamine Jeep’s Just Enough Essential Parts ethos, and start embracing tech. It’s an exciting time to be an off-road enthusiast. Stay tuned!