The next generation of the Jeep Wrangler will have an eight-speed automatic transmission along with an aluminum body for better fuel economy.
Jeep hasn’t made any announcements, but according to SEC filings poured over by Automotive News the eight-speed ZF transmission used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango and Ram 1500 will be used in the Wrangler as well.
"The 8-speed transmission is currently paired with gasoline and diesel engines in the 2014 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee and is also featured in the new 2014 Dodge Durango. We plan to use this transmission in all of our rear-wheel-drive vehicles, except for heavy-duty versions of the Ram pick-up truck and the SRT Viper," the company said.
The bad news: Even though the eight-speed automatic is already in use, it won’t fit in the current Wrangler’s transmission tunnel, so it will have to wait until the next generation Wrangler comes out in 2018.
The good news: The eight speed transmission should get 9% better fuel economy than the five speed. Combined with the weight savings from the aluminum body and the Wrangler should be good enough on gas to compete with the other SUVs on the market (and not just by being the only convertible).