Last year, Jeep launched the much awaited Wrangler JL. A surprising powertrain tagged along with it; a turbocharged four-cylinder with FCA’s eTorque mild hybrid system . The Wrangler has always been a vehicle synonymous with outdoor recreation. Be it towing a boat or careening down bumpy narrow muddy two-track roads deep in a National Forest. Now, the Wrangler can do all of that but with a smaller carbon footprint.
The 3.6-liter V6 is still the standard engine. But if you opt for the smaller 2.0-liter four-cylinder, you’re rewarded with 270 horsepower. The engine is turbocharged and utilizes a belt-connected motor that links to the crankshaft. There’s also a modified alternator, which provides bursts of up to 71 lb-ft of torque when needed. Before any doubts arise about the four-cylinder Wrangler being a big lethargic dog, note that torque with this turbocharged engine is actually higher than the V6 with an impressive 295 lb-feet on tap. Combine that setup with an eight-speed automatic and auto start/stop to see an EPA estimated 24 mpg on the highway and 22 in the city. That’s quite good for such a capable 4×4.
I’m curious to see if this is the feel-good Wrangler that Jeep has set out to make. It still needs to be able to go anywhere, and the updated powertrain tech needs to work seamlessly. Added bursts of torque can only be a good thing though, especially if you need to break free of some sand or mud. Or I’ll just wind up stuck in a bog with a fancy mild-hybrid setup to keep me company until help arrives.
Either way, finding out should be fun.
Jeep gave me a Wrangler Unlimited Sahara (with a full tank of gas) to test for a week both around town and on a weekend snowshoe adventure at a wintery Wisconsin state park. What do you want know about it? Ask me anything.