Next Jeep Wrangler may not go all-aluminum after all

Updating a popular model is never easy, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) may have to make some major changes to the next Jeep Wrangler.

As the company works to meet stricter Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, it wants to significantly the increase the Wrangler’s fuel economy, and that could mean drastically altering the vehicle’s old-school design.

Yet one new feature that’s been hinted at multiple times may now be off the table.

There’s been a lot of discussion about the Wrangler switching to an aluminum body to save weight, but in a recent interview with Automotive News (subscription required), FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne indicated it may not be worth the trouble.

“There will be a large portion that will be aluminum,” Marchionne said, “It will not be all aluminum.” The Wrangler could still get an aluminum hood, tailgate, or doors, but the rest will likely remain steel.

Marchionne said engineers simulated the potential fuel-economy improvement of an aluminum body, but once the cost of both the material and the more-complicated assembly process it would require were factored in, aluminum started to look less attractive.

An aluminum body would have required a complete refit of the Wrangler factory in Toledo, Ohio. Wrangler production is expected to remain there, and that in turn indicates the 4×4 will keep its current body-on-frame construction.

Switching to unibody construction like the vast majority of current SUVs would help cut weight, but it could also take away some of the Wrangler’s off-road prowess. It would have the additional effect of endangering jobs in Toledo, where Jeeps have been built since longer before Chrysler took over the brand.

Marchionne also said that Jeep will “effectively jointly develop” the next Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. It’s unclear whether that will affect the Wrangler’s expected 2018 launch date, but the Grand Cherokee could be delayed beyond its previously rumored 2017 launch.

Product Review

BMW’s smallest M car is its biggest performance statement

The BMW M2 Competition is frighteningly quick in a straight line, and its short wheelbase lends itself to some hilarious power slides, but it’s the curvy roads and tight tracks where this coupe comes alive.

Collected ’em all? Here are 10 collection-based RPGs Pokémon fans should try

The Pokémon games offer more than 700 monsters to catch and train, sure, but what do you do once you've caught 'em all? These 10 Pokémon-style games will help you find your next fix when need a new set of critters to catch and train.

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.

The best zombie games of all time, from Resident Evil to The Last of Us

Zombies are a longtime media staple, from movies to literature to TV to video games. Plenty of zombie games are bland and boring, but a good number offer tangible reasons to care about the undead. These are the best zombie games.

These Xbox One games will let you use your trusty mouse and keyboard

A select number of Xbox One games support mouse and keyboard control schemes, and more are being added in future updates. Here are all the Xbox One games that support mouse and keyboard.

Tesla rushes investigators to China to figure out why a parked Model S exploded

Tesla has sent a team of in-house investigators to Shanghai to determine why an early Model S suddenly exploded and caught fire. The electric sedan was parked before the fire started, and the cause of the blaze remains unknown.

Google Maps now shows EV owners which charging stations are occupied

Google has just beefed up its Maps app with extra data to help EV owners find the nearest charging station. Drivers can also find out about the number and types of ports available, and whether they're occupied.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Tesla taxis, NYC auto show, and Sony’s 8K TV

On the latest episode of DT Live, we discuss Tesla's autonomous taxi plans, a Face ID lawsuit against Apple,, choosing imperfect produce, the release of Mortal Kombat 11, sustainable fashion, and more.

Keep your driving record squeaky clean with these top-flight radar detectors

Nobody likes getting a speeding ticket, but these gadgets can help. Check out our picks for the best radar detectors on the market, from the likes of Valentine One, Escort, and Beltronics.
Buying Guides

The best hatchbacks for 2019 are small in size and big on tech

The hatchback segment isn't huge, but there are still plenty of good options to choose from. Here, we've rounded up the best hatchbacks available in America, whether you're a fan of efficiency or looks.

WWDC 2019 Complete Coverage

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is a key tech event each year, and for Apple fans, it will be one of the two best times of 2019 (along with "new iPhone day," of course). For the last few years, Apple has debuted much of its…

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…

Tesla Model S and Model X charge faster and go farther with the same battery

An all-new drivetrain for the Tesla Model S and X enables the EVs to travel farther per charge than the previous design. Tesla Model S Long Range sedans have a 370-mile range and Model X Long Range SUVs can travel 325 miles per EPA cycle.

2019 Ford F-150 RTR gets a light dose of off-road, style upgrades

Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s RTR Vehicles is turning its attention to the 2019 Ford F-150 pickup truck. RTR gave Ford's bestseller new suspension components and tires, as well as more extroverted exterior styling.