At the LA Auto Show, Jeep said the next-gen Wrangler will eventually be offered with your choice of four powertrains, including a hybrid and a diesel.
Emme HallFormer editor for CNET Cars
I love two-seater, RWD convertibles and own a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata for pavement fun and a lifted 2001 Miata for pre-running. I race air-cooled Volkswagens in desert races like the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000. I have won the Rebelle Rally, seven-day navigational challenge, twice and I am the only driver to compete in an EV, the Rivian R1T.
"Hybrid" and "off-road" are two words that don't normally go together. Here in Los Angeles, Jeep is bucking that trend and will introduce a plug-in hybrid version of the iconic Wrangler in 2020.
The powertrain joins the hotly anticipated 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine that will appear in 2019, as well as the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that will be available when the Wrangler goes on sale in January. Purists need not fear, as the endlessly proven 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine is standard across all models.
We don't know much about the plug-in hybrid, but we assume it will be influenced by the drivetrain in the Pacifica, which is good for 33 miles of electric driving on a full charge from a 16 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. That battery is paired with a 3.6-liter V6 and returned 32 miles per gallon overall in the Pacifica when we had it out for testing. When you take into account that the 2018 Wrangler with the same 3.6-liter V6 gets an EPA-rated 20 miles per gallon combined, it's easy to see why a plug-in hybrid powertrain makes a bit of sense.
Whether off-road drivers will accept a hybrid Jeep remains to be seen. Still, the times, they are a-changing and some compromises must be made if Wrangler owners want to keep, you know, buying Wranglers in the future.
Feast your eyes on the next-generation Jeep Wrangler