There is still a chance that Australia will get V8-powered and plug-in hybrid variants of the iconic Jeep Wrangler, as the American manufacturer rolls out new models and electrified powertrains around the world.
While previous reports had indicated that Australia was unlikely to get these special models, Jeep global director Christian Meuiner told CarAdvice that the company was still busy building a business case to develop right-hand drive variants of the Wrangler 392 and Wrangler 4Xe:
“I'd love to. Not yet, but I'd love to, and I'm working on it.”
However, Mr Meunier did note some of the scepticism about a hybrid variant of the Wrangler working in the Australian market:
“Each time I talk to Australian people, owners, dealers, employees, there's a little bit of a doubt about electrification. I think there is a doubt that electrification is going to be coming soon.”
“And therefore I have a lot of questions about diesel, V8s and things like that, which I love too. But at the end of the day that electrification is coming and I'm convinced it's coming much sooner than people think.”
The Wrangler 4Xe uses a 200kW/400Nm two-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which is mated to two twin electric motors via an eight-speed automatic transmission, and a 17kWh, 400-volt battery.
While this setup gives an estimated total output of 260kW and 600Nm and an electric-only driving range of 40 kilometres, the important thing for the Wrangler 4Xe’s off-road ability will not be compromised.
In fact, off-road capability is set to improve with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, and make 4Xe the ‘most capable Wrangler ever’.
Kevin Flynn, boss at Jeep Australia was also positive about the Wrangler 4Xe’s chances:
“The good thing is that the Wrangler's right-hand drive. So it's not as if we're trying to get the new technology into also a platform that hasn't been right-hand drive. So we'll work on that and we'll keep you posted.”
And what about the less environmentally friendly choice, the Jeep Wrangler 392? Powered by a 6.4-litre Hemi V8 good for 350kW/637Nm, the Wrangler 392 is potent enough for a 4.5-second 0-100km/h dash and 13.00-second quarter mile.
And Jeep Australia is currently working hard to bring it down under. Kevin Flynn:
“Well, look, we've certainly made our request, and we would certainly love to have it here. And I think we all know everywhere that the (V8 Wrangler) here would be outstanding. So we will continue to make those requests.”
“But the demand for that vehicle in the States is going to be unbelievable, it really is a unique vehicle. So it's going to be a tough ask because the demand is going to be so great. But we won't stop asking, that's for sure.”