An all-new Jeep Wrangler has broken cover for the first time ahead of its anticipated 2018 launch. The car has been seen undertaking hot-weather testing in the US’s southwestern desert.
The test car, seen in two-door form, appears to have larger dimensions compared with today’s car, including a longer wheelbase and bonnet. That's not a surprise, given that Jeep is expected to switch the Wrangler from a steel body-on-frame constuction to an alloy unibody in order to save weight. The current Wrangler weighs 2125kg in V6 Sahara form.
Jeep is known to be exploring a high-tech engineering future for the next Wrangler with an alloy body and downsized turbocharged engines - thus opening a significant technical lead over the rival Land Rover Defender.
The plan was divulged late last year by Sergio Marchionne, chairman of Jeep's parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FAC). He cited Ford’s move to a weight-saving aluminium chassis for the F150 pick-up.
“Discussions about moving to alloy from steel for the Wrangler are going on now,” Marchionne said. He added that the plan centres around modern powertrains that “require a complete rethink of the architecture”.