so long, hybrid

The Jeep Wrangler Could Be Losing Its Coolest Engine Very Soon


June 29, 2020 Cars By
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For most of the Jeep Wrangler‘s life, buyers haven’t had many choices when it came to the powertrain. While its predecessors, the CJ series, could often be optioned with a wide variety of powerplants, the Wranglers have generally offered a simple choice: you can have a four-cylinder engine, or you can have a six-cylinder engine. The latest generation, the Wrangler JL, started out with even fewer choices for under the hood; the only choice at launch was the venerable 3.6-liter V6.

FCA didn’t sit idly by with the iconic off-roader, though; a turbocharged mild hybrid 2.0-liter inline-four followed closely behind offering nearly as much horsepower and even more torque than the aging V6, as did a non-hybrid version of the same engine; then an even more torque-y turbodiesel V6 arrived last year, and a new plug-in hybrid version is slated to arrive by the end of 2020. (There’s also a turbodiesel four-cylinder available in other parts of the world.)

But it seems that trend of adding options to the Wrangler’s arsenal of engines may be about to be reversed. A new report from Mopar Insiders claims that the Wrangler will be losing the turbocharged-and-hybridized four-cylinder for the 2021 model year.

Granted, the engine has already been on the outs in the lineup for a minute. While it used to be available across the board, the 2020 model year saw it relegated solely to the more on-road-oriented Sahara trim. The regular turbo four will reportedly stick around as a no-cost option, however, allegedly still delivering the same 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet as the so-called eTorque version.

Still, while the overall power may remain unchanged, it’s still unfortunate to see the hybrid system going away. It was a sign that Jeep is looking towards the future (something the aging V6 certainly didn’t suggest); and as reviewers pointed out, it was smoother and more efficient than the V6, with the eTorque system flattening out the torque curve (handy for both off-road and around-town driving).

On the plus side, though, that forthcoming 4xe PHEV Wrangler will do all that and more. So maybe it’s not such a worrisome turn after all.

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Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

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