Long promised, a diesel version of the Jeep Wrangler is finally making its debut. Off-road enthusiasts in particular have been anxiously awaiting this vehicle as diesel power is especially sought-after for serious trail work. The power and torque associated with diesels is highly valued by people who like to really push their vehicles when the terrain gets tough. The new Wrangler variant meets this demand with a turbocharged 3.0-litre V-6 EcoDiesel delivering 260-horsepower and more importantly, a whopping 442 lb-ft of torque. Quite apart from its off-road prowess, this powerplant is certainly the one to opt for if challenging towing duties are expected.
Diesels have other benefits besides impressive torque, including excellent range and fuel economy plus a far longer life span than a conventional gasoline engine. And diesel fuel commonly costs less than gasoline. Today’s diesels are refined and sophisticated and the noise and emissions associated with “oil-burners” of years ago are no longer an issue. The diesel used in the Wrangler is manufactured by a Fiat affiliate in Italy –no bad thing as European automakers have very considerable experience in building small diesels.
Of course, any serious off-roader must have an appropriate transmission to match any engine that sits under the hood. The Wrangler meets expectations with a TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic and there is a choice of two transfer cases for The 4WD system – a Rock-Trac and a Command-Trac. Jeep transmissions and 4WD systems are among the very best out there and devotees of the Jeep brand swear that there’s nothing to match them.
The Wrangler has been updated and improved in numerous areas over the past couple of years and the latest one has a very high level of comfort, safety and performance. Today’s Wranglers match many crossovers when it comes to pampering occupants. On the other hand, the prime design target was fun-to-drive off-road capability, so the ruggedness beloved of Jeep fans remains.
The Wrangler diesel has been a long time coming, but it’s bound to prove well worth waiting for. All three Wrangler EcoDiesel variants – Sport, Safari and Rubicon – are based on the 4-door Wrangler.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: 4-door sport utility
ENGINE: 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V-6
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic. Two transfer cases available
TOWING CAPACITY: 3,500 lbs./p>
FUEL ECONOMY: Not yet set by National Research Canada
PRICE: Basic Wrangler Unlimited (4-door) starts at just over $40,000 MSRP. EcoDiesel is an option at an estimated $2,590.