The Jeep Wrangler won't get a diesel engine in North America in 2011, as Chrysler Group LLC had implied when it laid out its five-year business plan on Nov. 4. At least not yet.
If there's one single item we think the Jeep Wrangler sorely needs, it's a new powertrain. The current 3.8-liter V6 engine and four-speed automatic transmission are extremely long in the tooth and make Chrysler's mountain goat feel downright anemic when traveling on paved roads. It could be argued that a small-displacement diesel engine would be the ideal way to add some much-needed grunt and improved fuel efficiency to the iconic off-roader, but apparently that's not going to happen – at least not here in the United States.
"We have no plans at the moment for diesel Jeeps in North America, although one of the things I've learned in this business is to never say never," said Michael Manley, president and chief executive officer of the Jeep brand. "I wouldn't rule it out, but specifically on Nov. 4, we were commenting on diesel in Europe."
Fortunately, that doesn't mean the 70-year-old Civilian Jeep won't get any updates at all. According to the Toledo Blade – the Jeep brand's hometown newspaper – Chrysler is likely to use its new Pentastar V6 engine, which we'd hope would also include a new six-speed automatic transmission, in the Wrangler starting next summer. Also, we're told that more special edition models will join the recently unveiled Islander and Mountain models.