For years, fans of the legendary Jeep® Wrangler, have been asking the iconic off-road brand to bring a diesel offering to North America. While the Jeep Wrangler (JL) enters its third model year, a diesel offering is now finally here. That’s right, North Americans will soon be able to go to their local Jeep dealer and purchase a Jeep Wrangler powered by the new third-generation 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6.
While the rest of the world gets a 2.2-liter diesel offering, North America will get the latest version of the popular 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 that will also be used in the 2020 Ram 1500 and soon the 2020 Jeep® Gladiator. The Wrangler EcoDiesel variant has several features unique to its self, when compared to the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel models we drove earlier this year, such as the addition of engine stop-start (ESS) technology.
With 260 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque (147 more lb.-ft. of torque than the 2.0-liter turbo inline-four), the EcoDiesel has no problem out on the trails, tackling obstacles. It’s massive torque at low RPM, allows the driver to climb steep inclines and allows the TrailRated 4×4 to hurdle past anything in its way with very little throttle input. The ZF-sourced TorqueFlite 8HP75 8-speed automatic, while being the only available transmission choice for the Wrangler EcoDiesel (sorry manual fans), Jeep engineers have programmed the transmission with over 40 individual shift maps to help optimize offroad capability, fuel economy, and overall performance.
All Wrangler EcoDiesel models will feature third-generation Dana 44 front and rear heavy-duty axles, as well as a 3.73 axle ratio (that includes Rubicon models). Jeep engineers have found that with all the additional torque of the EcoDiesel engine can allow for a lower gear ratio when compared to the gasoline-powered Rubicon offerings with their standard 4.10 axle ratio. Rubicon models still get the same Rock-Trac NV241 two-speed transfer case with a 4.0:1 low-range gear ratio, as the gasoline-powered offerings as well. Models like the Sport, Sport S, and Sahara will still carry over the Command-Trac NV241 part-time, two-speed transfer case, which features a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio as well.
The Wrangler EcoDiesel offerings will also feature a new 5.1-gallon diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank is located immediately behind the fuel tank. While you can refill the DEF next to diesel fuel filler, the large DEF tank on the Wrangler will allow a customer to go for 10,000 miles (or about 16,100 kilometers) before having to be refilled. That will go hand and hand with the EcoDiesel’s ability to go 10,000 miles between oil changes as well.
One thing we are unsure of is the official EPA fuel economy numbers, which have yet to be released. Back in October, we told you that the Jeep brand had sent a document to its dealer body saying that the EcoDiesel offering will get an increase of fuel economy of 20% when compared to the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 equipped models. Jeep® estimates that the EcoDiesel should give the Wrangler a driving range of over 540 miles per tank, with an estimated 30 MPG rating.
The document also stated that the EcoDiesel option will have a U.S. Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $6,000 over the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with the 6-speed manual transmission. The EcoDiesel option carries an MSRP of $4,000, while the automatic transmission adds the other $2,000 to the window sticker. Something, Jeep has yet to release.
While the Wrangler EcoDiesel might sound perfect on paper, there are a couple of things that will more than likely bother Wrangler enthusiasts. The first is the fact that EcoDiesel-powered Wranglers will only be able in Unlimited (four-door) configurations (sorry, two-door fans). To us, it would have made sense to offer an EcoDiesel in the two-door models, due to the fact that a bigger majority of two-door owners that their Wrangler’s off-road. But Jeep says it is putting the diesel option in the more popular Unlimited models, for the time being.
The second big issue is towing. While you would think a diesel offering would allow the Wrangler to have an increased towing capability, you would be wrong. Jeep is keeping the towing capacity at 3,500 lbs (1,587 kg). The Jeep brand feels that buyers that need more towing capacity can look towards the new 2020 Jeep Gladiator to fulfill their towing needs.
Overall, the new Wrangler Unlimited EcoDiesel is a welcomed offering to the Wrangler lineup. Those who have been waiting for a diesel offering in the Wrangler won’t be disappointed with the engine’s quietness, low torque power, or its greater fuel efficiency.
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited EcoDiesel begins production on November 25th, 2019 at the Toledo North Assembly Plant.
2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited EcoDiesel Image Gallery: