Trucks & SUVs

The Jeep Wrangler Is Ditching Its Cheapest Mild Hybrid Option

Though its plug-in hybrid models are just beginning to roll out, Jeep already offers a few mild hybrid models. Specifically, several Wrangler hybrid models. However, the selection might be getting sparser soon. There’s been news that Jeep is canceling the cheapest Wrangler mild hybrid.

2021 Jeep Wrangler 2.0-liter eTorque mild hybrid news

Overhead view of the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara on a beach
2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara | Jeep

Currently, the Jeep Wrangler offers 2 mild-hybrid powertrains. One is based around a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the other around a 3.6-liter V6. The former is only available on the 4-door Wrangler Sahara as a $2000 option, Car and Driver reports.

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However, according to Autoblog, for the 2021 model year, even the Sahara won’t offer it anymore. The news comes courtesy of Mopar Insiders, who quotes “dealer connections” as its source. The 2.0-liter engine will still carry over. However, the mild hybrid’s combo starter/electric motor will only be available with the V6.

Losing the hybrid assist may affect the four-cylinder Wrangler’s performance somewhat. The starter/motor adds up 71 lb-ft of torque during initial acceleration, Car and Driver reports, but only 22 hp. In terms of power, the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine alone produces 270 hp and 295 lb-ft. The extra output may not seem like much, but it is noticeable both at street and highway speeds, Car and Driver claims.

However, even without the mild-hybrid tech, the four-cylinder has stop-start. And according to the EPA, the non-hybrid actually has a better highway fuel economy rating. In addition, both models have a claimed towing capacity of 3500 pounds. So, the gasoline-only Jeep Wrangler won’t be as zippy, but it doesn’t lose any utility.

Why is the cheapest Wrangler mild-hybrid being canceled?

Mopar Insiders’ sources didn’t reveal why Jeep is considering canceling the 2.0-liter mild-hybrid Wrangler. But there may be a few motivating factors.

2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid | Chrysler

Firstly, it could be a take-rate issue. It’s possible that the 2.0-liter mild-hybrid powertrain just isn’t popular enough to keep it around. So far, only the Wrangler has this particular powertrain. So, if the 2.0-liter option is canceled, no other model is affected, and Jeep saves some money. In contrast, the V6 is also found in the Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid, Autoblog reports.

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel | FCA
2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel | FCA

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In addition, JLWranglerForum users muse the eTorque’s added torque may have put it too close to the diesel model. From a towing perspective, that makes little sense, given that the diesel is also rated at 3500 pounds. However, as Car and Driver pointed out, the starter/motor’s extra torque does improve acceleration. The diesel, meanwhile, is even quicker, Motor Trend reports, more fuel-efficient, and only a bit more expensive. With this much overlap, it makes sense that the 2.0-liter eTorque is being canceled.

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Another reason for the cancellation, though, might be because of what’s coming next. There’s a proper plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler in the works, and it could use the 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It makes little sense to offer the same engine in both mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid form. Especially given the mild hybrid’s propensity to catch fire, before Jeep installed a heat shield, TFLCar reports. That would make the cancellation a pre-emptive culling of sorts.

Are the V6 or diesel worth considering?

In terms of fuel efficiency, the EcoDiesel model does out-perform the 2.0-liter model. However, MT calculates it would take about 280,000 highway miles to make up the diesel’s $4500 upcharge over the four-cylinder. It does provide some off-road improvement, though, Car and Driver reports.

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The mild-hybrid V6, meanwhile, is a bit of a mixed bag, Car and Driver reports. On the one hand, it is slightly more fuel-efficient, and the starter/motor does make the stop-start system work more smoothly. However, the hybrid V6 Wrangler is actually slower, both in 0-60 and in the ¼-mile, than the non-hybrid. And it only improves the city fuel rating by 1 mpg.

So, if you were looking at the 2.0-liter mild-hybrid Wrangler, for extra off-road performance and some extra mpg, the diesel may be worth a look. But for around-town driving, the standard V6 is fairly effective on its own.

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