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Why the Four-Cylinder Hybrid is the Best Powertrain in the Jeep Wrangler – The Short List



Mar 26, 2019

You can now get a hybridized four-cylinder engine in the Jeep Wrangler. Here’s why it’s THE BEST powertrain available in this legendary off-roader.

Rated at 270 horsepower and a stout 295 pound-feet of torque it offers real performance. In comparison, the available 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which is a fine engine in its own right, delivers a few more ponies, 285, but a good bit less twist, maxing out at 260 pound-feet.

Yes, a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 will also be offered in the Wrangler. Jeep spokes-folks say it’s slated to arrive in 2020, though they’re still unsure if that will be model year or calendar year. Either way, output should measure 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet.

Here are five reasons why this hybrid Jeep Wrangler is the best one there is.

Coarse, anemic and droning, four-bangers are often much less enjoyable than engines with more cylinders. But not always.

Proving this point is the 2019 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. The example evaluated here was fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, one augmented by FCA’s eTorque mild-hybrid system and bolted to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This unusual combination makes for a superb drivetrain.


Rated at 270 horsepower and a stout 295 pound-feet of torque it offers real performance. In comparison, the available 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which is a fine engine in its own right, delivers a few more ponies, 285, but a good bit less twist, maxing out at 260 pound-feet.

Yes, a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 will also be offered in the Wrangler. Jeep spokes-folks say it’s slated to arrive in 2020, though they’re still unsure if that will be model year or calendar year. Either way, output should measure 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet.

Here are five reasons why this hybrid Jeep Wrangler is the best one there is.


5. Impressive Driving Performance




Moving along, part of what makes this Wrangler’s four-cylinder drivetrain so enjoyable is the impressive torque it delivers. From a standstill, it can rocket even a hulking four-door Wrangler to highway speeds with little effort. Sixty miles an hour creeps up a lot faster than you’d ever expect for a vehicle that weighs nearly 4,500 pounds. But this powertrain isn’t only enjoyable when your foot’s to the floor. There’s ample torque throughout the rev range, making for relaxed driving in practically any situation, either on road or off.


4. Many eTorque Benefits





This strong performance is partly thanks to the extra 70 pound-feet of twist eTorque can dole out, but that’s not all.

With a belt-driven motor-generator and a briefcase-sized battery pack mounted under the floor, this system provides numerous other benefits including things like seamless engine stop-start, which kills combustion when the vehicle is stationary in order to save fuel. Regenerative braking is another feather in its cap, further improving efficiency, something intelligent battery charging does as well. eTorque also helps smooth out shifts by spinning the engine just a little bit during gearchanges.

3. Fuel Efficiency



Not surprisingly, four-cylinder Wranglers are also more fuel efficient than other variants of this off-road-focused vehicle. Expect 22 miles per gallon in city driving, 24 on the highway and 22 MPG combined. That’s better than any V6 model can muster, particularly around town. See what I mean?

In mixed but relatively heavy-footed testing, we managed to average around 19 miles per gallon. That’s a bit less than the EPA says, but keep in mind, our test vehicle was brand new, with less than 500 miles on the clock, so its engine was probably still pretty tight.

Speaking of this particular four-cylinder unit, it’s efficient in its own right, with a two-stage oil pump, direct fuel injection and a twin-scroll turbo for better responsiveness. And get this, it was even built in Italy. Fancy!
 

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2. It’s Smooth




It might seem like a small consideration for a rough-and-tumble Jeep, but this powertrain is also smooth. It’s something you’re sure to notice on the highway or even your next off-road adventure. Unlike your typical four-banger, eTorque-equipped Wranglers are a paragon of refinement. This drivetrain is polished and quiet running no matter where the tachometer needle points, though it does emit a bit of a growl under heavy acceleration, which is always welcome.

1. Optional but Affordable


Are you starting to see why this four-cylinder powertrain is the best one offered in a Wrangler? Responsive, efficient and refined, there’s really only one reason to steer clear and that’s because it costs extra. eTorque is available in nearly every version of the Wrangler as a $1,000 option. That upcharge might be a bit much in a base two-door model, but it’s a drop in the bucket with the Unlimited Rubicon we tested, which stickered for nearly $57,000. And even at a grand, it’s still likely way less expensive than the upcoming EcoDiesel will be.

If you can afford that modest upcharge and are willing to live without a manual transmission – remember, eTorque models are automatic only – this hybridized 2.0-liter turbo is the engine to get in a Jeep Wrangler.

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