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Future models - Jeep - Wrangler

Geneva show: Jeep Wrangler to keep on truckin'

Such a wrangle: Jeep designers and engineers will concentrate in cutting Wrangler's bulk as they craft the next generation due in about three or four years.

Ladder chassis and traditional styling to stay on new lighter 2017 Jeep Wrangler

Jeep logo6 Mar 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

THE next-generation Jeep Wrangler will be lighter, more fuel efficient, and even more capable off-road – but look the same and sit on an old-fashioned, rugged body-on-frame platform.

“You don't mess with Wrangler,” Jeep's head of design Mark Allen told Australian journalists at the Geneva motor show where he was attending the global reveal of the new Renegade small SUV.

“We will fix some things on it, make it better, but it will look the same,” he said.

Global Jeep CEO Mike Manley also told Australian journalists that the design formula for Jeep's most rugged and traditional Jeep would not be tampered with, and that included the truck-style underpinnings.

But he said the Wrangler had to be made more fuel efficient, with use of high-strength steels and other lighter materials to cut weight.

He said Wrangler was unlikely to be fashioned from large amounts of aluminium, saying aluminium did not lend itself to a vehicle that needed to be sufficiently strong for the toughest territory.

Mr Manley said some gains could be made in aerodynamics and powertrain, but most of the fuel-efficiency efforts would concentrate on trimming mass.

He said Jeep designers and product planners were working on solving the weight issues of the next Wrangler “as we speak”.

The new model is due in 2017-18, completing the current cycle of rejuvenation that includes the new Cherokee that is due in Australian showrooms about June.

Mr Allen said he had some ideas for slight styling changes to Wrangler, but they would be minor.

“Wrangler owners tell us all the time – don't change it,” he said. “And we won't, but I have a few ideas on things we can improve.

“We will just fix things, not change things for the sake of change.” Mr Allen said Jeep was open to ideas to expand the “Wrangler brand” with new variants, but he ruled out a pick-up, saying it would not fit with the vehicle's position in the market place.

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