Goodbye, turbo 2.0L with eTorque.
As the iconic Jeep Wrangler off-road SUV enters a new model year, Fiat Chrysler has made some small changes to the powertrain lineup, although the most important, most talked-about future powertrain option is still conspicuously absent. That option is the plug-in-hybrid "4xe" powertrain, and its arrival has been highly anticipated ever since it was announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show back in January.
We'll just have to make do without it, for now.
Instead, fuel-conscious Wrangler drivers will have to settle for FCA's quasi-hybrid "eTorque" system, which uses a 48-volt belted alternator-starter to provide start-stop functionality and supplement engine torque on acceleration when appropriate.
Yet even eTorque's status is diminishing some as the Jeep Wrangler rolls into 202. According to a report from Mopar Insiders, it's being dropped entirely from all 2.0-liter turbo-four-powered models. The eTorque system had been on all 2.0L turbo engines across the JL Wrangler model range before being made exclusive to the Sahara 2.0L for 2020, but now, even the Sahara won't offer it. This leaves the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 as the only eTorque-equipped engine in the range.
Speaking of the Pentastar, it remains the only engine to offer a six-speed manual transmission as an option, although you'll have to upgrade to the eight-speed auto to get eTorque. Instead, manual-equipped Wranglers get a simpler engine start-stop system.
Finally, FCA's turbocharged 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 returns for 2021 with standard engine start-stop, exclusively on the four-door Wrangler Unlimited and backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission. That's a bummer for fans of the two-door Wrangler hoping to gain access to its monumental 442 lb-ft of torque, not to mention diesel aficionados who prefer to row their own gears.
But all of this still leaves us wondering: what will be under the hood of the plug-in 4xe model? Some have rumored that WranglerPHEV will feature the 2.0L turbo-four, which, in theory, would allow the electric motor to fill-in torque while the turbo is still struggling to spool up, but that has yet to be confirmed.
At any rate, look for 2021 Jeep Wrangler orders to open up in early- to mid-July, with or without the 4xe present.