Jeep is walking a very fine line with the next-generation Wrangler. On one hand, they want to bring the model into the 21st century. But they also want to retain the details that make it an icon of the brand. CEO Mike Manley is well aware of this and has a clear mission statement: Don't screw it up.
One of the key items that make the Wrangler so iconic is the shape. The boxy shape has mostly remained the same since the first Willys MB was sent off to war. Automotive News says new spy shots reveal the next-generation Wrangler featuring a more aerodynamic shape - the front grille and windshield feature a steeper rake. But as Manley tells AN, the boxiness will still be there.
"You have to be very careful with the aero of Wrangler, because at the end of the day, it needs to be recognizable as a Wrangler. To some extent that restricts you on some of the aero that you can do. But with weight and a number of the changes that we've made, you're going to see that we've really pushed that vehicle forward in terms of its fuel economy," said Manley.
That last sentence tells us Jeep has been working on a weight-loss program for the Wrangler. Automotive News says the next-generation model will feature a new frame that will not only be stronger, but lighter. Various body panels will be made out of aluminum to cut weight even further. There will be new engines, including a new turbo-four capable of producing 300 horsepower and a new eight-speed automatic.
What won't be changing is the Wrangler's body-on-frame construction and solid axles.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)