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LA show: Jeep details all-new Wrangler off-roader

Rocky Mountain Way: The all-new Jeep Wrangler has been revealed at the Los Angeles auto show ahead of an Australian arrival late next year.

Lighter Jeep Wrangler gets aluminium panels and eight-speed auto

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Jeep logo30 Nov 2017

JEEP’S all-new Wrangler off-road icon has been unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show, revealing a new engine options, tweaked styling, an eight-speed automatic transmission and reduced weight thanks to lighter materials.

Range specifications and powertrains are yet to be announced for Australia where the new fourth-generation Wrangler is scheduled to be launched in the fourth quarter of next year, but globally it is set to get a number of new roof, door and windshield combinations, including a full-length Sky One-Touch canvas powertop roof that retracts with the touch of a button.

Other features include a foldable front windshield, removable doors and greater noise reduction for soft-top variants.

Two-door variants will be offered in three model grades – Sport, Sport S and Rubicon – while four-door versions add the second-from-top Sahara trim level.

While the previous Wrangler featured no aluminium in its construction, the lightweight metal has been used on the new model for the doors, hinges, bonnet, mudguards and windshield frame, while the rear swing gate is made from magnesium.

Styling remains true to the classic Wrangler look with some mild changes, including incorporating the headlights into the signature seven-slot grille as a nod to the original 1940s CJ Willys Jeep.

Sahara and Rubicon variants will be available with LED headlights and foglights. Other design details include body-coloured sports bars, winch-compatible bumpers and a nine per cent reduction in aerodynamic drag.

Two 4x4 traction control systems will be offered – Command-Trac on the lower-level Sport and Sahara variants, and Rock-Trac on the hardcore Rubicon.

Command-Trac has a low-range transfer case with 2.72:1 drive ratio, front and rear Dana solid axles and off-road traction system.

Rock-Trac gives the Rubicon electronic front and rear locking differentials with an optional limited-slip diff, 4:1 low-range gearing ratio with crawl ratios, heavy-duty Dana 44 axles, electronic sway-bar disconnect for greater wheel articulation and fat 33-inch tyres on 17-inch rims.

Four skid plates are standard across the range for increased underbody protection, while the Rubicon also get rock rails for particularly treacherous off-roading.

Wading depth is rated at up to 760mm, while the ladder-frame chassis construction means up to 3500kg can be towed with a braked trailer.

Interior specification has been updated, with the choice of a 5.0-, 7.0- and 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreens, with the larger two versions featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. A 3.5-inch LED instrument cluster is standard with the 7.0-inch unit.

Interior touches include metal-plated accents, weather-proof push-button start, washable interior with drain plugs, and vinyl-wrapped door trim panels.

Cloth or leather-cloaked seats are available with adjustable bolster and lumbar support, while heated seats and steering wheel can be optioned.

More than 75 active and passive safety feature will be available for the new Wrangler, including blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, rear-view camera, electronic stability control with roll mitigation and four airbags.

The American car-maker has detailed three engine choices for launch – two petrol and one diesel – at least for that market.

Carrying over from the old Wrangler is the 209kW/353Nm 3.6-litre Pentastar normally aspirated petrol V6.

Added to the range is a 200kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol unit with a peak torque output that bests the V6, despite its smaller displacement.

Jeep has also borrowed the 194kW/595Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 from the Grand Cherokee for new Wrangler.

As reported by GoAuto, the 2.0-litre petrol and V6 diesel engines will not be starters for the Australian launch in the fourth quarter of next year, while the six-speed manual gearbox will also be North America-only.

Of the three engines revealed in LA, the carry-over Pentastar V6 appears to be the sole Australian option, but it will ditch the old five-speed auto in favour of a new eight-speed transmission.

Although FCA Australia is yet to say so, Australia is expected to swap the existing 2.8-litre CRD turbo-diesel engine for a smaller 2.2-litre unit with as-yet-unknown power output.

More than 200 new Jeep Performance Parts will be offered by Mopar for the new Wrangler, including off-road lights, lift kits, beadlock-compatible wheels and roof racks.

More details on Australian specification, including pricing, will be made available closer to the Wrangler’s launch date late next year.

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