The next generation Jeep Wrangler will no longer have the solid axle suspension setup if the report carried by Automotive News is to be believed. The Wrangler is due for launch in 2016 and Jeep is trying to make it lighter by replacing the solid axle with an independent suspension setup from the Grand Cherokee. This by far is the most radical change that may have been taken on the Wrangler. The loyalists too have disapproved of the same. Most buyers purchase the Wrangler for the solid axle, which provides the strength and reliability off-road. The independent suspension puts the reliability in question.
The major reasons cited for this change are the stricter fuel economy standards that have compelled the engineers at Jeep to look for ways to lighten the Wrangler. Improved aerodynamics, use of lighter materials and ditching the solid axle will make a huge difference to the overall weight of the Wrangler. Jeep is advertising for engineers who can contribute to the redesign of the new Wrangler along with adding more electronic gadgetry.
The Jeep Wrangler has been an off-roader’s party piece over the years and hasn’t changed much since inception. Its timeless design and off-road capabilities have made it a cult amongst SUV’s. The coil-link suspension on the Wrangler, allows more room for customization and most buyers immediately replace their stock tyres with really huge ones after purchase. The independent front suspension will leave no room for change. An independent front suspension setup works great for street cars and provides good ride quality too, but it may not be able to carry the load and the high amount of torque under an off-road scenario.
The Jeep Wrangler has been doing exceptionally well in the U.S. The current generation Wrangler was designed in 2006 and has been the same since. Jeep sold over 1,19,941 Wranglers throughout September in the U.S. alone, a significant increase of 11 percent. Clearly, Jeep is selling more Wranglers than they can manufacturer. Jeep’s boss Mike Manley said that the new Wrangler is a challenge for its engineers, but did not confirm that the solid axle setup would be retained. This is the second time Jeep has faced criticism this year, the first time being with the 2014 Cherokee’s radical change in the front fascia that didn’t go down well with enthusiasts, while the others approved of it. It will be interesting to see how Jeep works around this to give the best of both worlds on the 2016 Wrangler.
Jeep will soon be making its Indian debut in the months to come, and the Wrangler will be on offer in both 3-door and 5-door guise. The prices estimated are to start from Rs. 25 lakhs and it is not your average Toyota Fortuner or a Mitsubishi Pajero. We drove the Jeep Wrangler a few days ago on Indian roads and you can read about our thoughts on the SUV HERE.
Source – Automotive News