Could Jeep borrow tech from the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid?

Amid the excitement at Jeep’s debut of its all-new 2018 Wrangler, Jeep boss Mike Manley announced the SUV will come with a plug-in hybrid powertrain in 2020. That’s huge news for the Wrangler – both because of the departure from rugged simplicity and the expected fuel economy improvements possible with PHEV powertrains. This could make the Wrangler actually economical to drive.

Manley and the Jeep team have been tight-lipped about details, so there’s no official estimated fuel economy numbers, price, or even what engine the hybrid components would be paired with. However, one possibility is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and plug-in equipment used in the Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Considering how FCA loves sharing components across its brands, this is a legitimate rumor. The Pacifica Hybrid boasts an impressive 84 MPGe combined fuel economy despite its 4,900-pound curb weight. The 2018 Wrangler could see even higher MPGe figures since it weighs several hundred pounds less. Jeep will likely work hard to eliminate parasitic losses in the 4WD drivetrain, as well.

Packaging of the hybrid battery pack will be the biggest challenge though. The Wrangler has very little extra space, so a smaller battery might be necessary. Jeep might have to constrict the PHEV model to the four-door Unlimited for this reason. Hopefully not, since a PHEV two-door Wrangler could achieve even better efficiency.

For those not wanting a plug-in hybrid Wrangler but like the idea of good fuel economy, Jeep will be launching the 2019 Wrangler Unlimited with the long-awaited 3.0-liter, EcoDiesel V-6. The revised engine now boasts 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque and is expected to get 30 mpg highway.

References

2018 Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler
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Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.

2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Visitor's Guide
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Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

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