by Matt Konkle
Quadratec Channel Editor
For years, anyone who headed to a Jeep dealership and plunked down good money on a new Wrangler had just one ‘choice’ as an engine option.
Granted, there were always aftermarket swaps available once the vehicle was safely purchased, but for a standard off-the-lot engine it was either the 3.8L for 2007-11 Wranglers and a 3.6L Pentastar from 2012-18.
These days, though, it seems Fiat Chrysler Automobiles designers have seen the proverbial engine, ehm, light, and decided four is better than one when it comes it engine choices.
That is, at least according to ordering specs for the 2019 Jeep JL Wrangler.
In a recently released spec sheet to dealerships, marking the kickoff for those looking to order the newest Wrangler, FCA has included options for a somewhat different 3.6L Pentastar mild hybrid belt starter generator (BSG) engine as well as the long awaited, and hotly anticipated, 3.0L EcoDiesel - the first of its kind in a production Wrangler. Both engines will arrive with start/stop technology and will be available as choices alongside returning Wrangler power plants; the standard 3.6L Pentastar and 2.0L 'e-torque' turbocharged BSG engine.
All in all, four interesting engine combinations that must feel like a buffet now for buyers who were forced into just one type for so many years.
Let's take a look at these options.
First, the 3.6L Pentastar with mild hybrid technology. This is an interesting choice as FCA already has a BSG engine available in that 2.0L 'e-torque', which already puts out comparable power numbers to the standard 3.6L Pentastar. While no numbers are out yet for this new engine, at the very least it should be a nice option for those looking to bump up fuel economy. Plus, if it follows similar production numbers to the 2.0L, this new BSG engine should produce more torque than the standard 3.6L Pentastar. It will also mate with both six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions.
Now, for those unfamiliar with how mild hybrid technology works, a belt starter generator engine essentially uses a modified alternator to generate current, according to FCA, but also doubles as a starter to restart the engine after the vehicle comes to a full stop. To do this, it stores braking energy as the vehicle slows, then releases that energy upon restart - applying power to the crankshaft just before the actual engine kicks in, thus helping the gas-powered engine work a bit easier and slightly improving fuel economy.
However, while mileage numbers are a bit better for this type of engine, one drawback to the 2.0L version is the requirement of 91 octane fuel for maximum performance. Whether or not this will be required for the 3.6L remains to be seen, but our guess is it will also require that same level of octane.
The second new engine option for 2019 is one all sorts of Jeep enthusiasts have been asking about for years. And that is the 3.0L common rail diesel, termed EcoDiesel by FCA. This engine's availability for Wrangler was first announced just over a year ago at the LA Auto Show, but doubts about its actual appearance in a Wrangler lingered as FCA dealt with a federal lawsuit regarding its diesel technology. So its inclusion now for 2019 is nice to see they’ve overcome that obstacle.
This 3.0L EcoDiesel is said to have similarities to the same engine currently found in Dodge Ram 1500 trucks and Grand Cherokee models, but for the JL it will only be available alongside the 8-speed automatic transmission. As far as power numbers, FCA has the EcoDiesel engine rated at 260 horsepower, but with a whopping 442 foot/pounds of torque. This is definitely one engine that will make for excellent off-road or towing performance.
We’re also sure it will have a significant miles-per-gallon boost over the Pentastar and 2.0L 'e-torque' turbodiesel, but no official numbers have been released. As a comparison, the 1500 Dodge Ram lists its EcoDiesel at a 27mpg average. One thing to keep in mind, though, is any mpg boost could be offset by the total price tag for this engine, versus how much you actually drive. We’ll have to see where the overall Wrangler JL with diesel price falls, but really, isn’t that significant torque boost the reason you’ll want this engine option?
As it stands now, both the 3.6L Pentastar BSG and 3.0L Eco-Diesel will be available for all three JL trim levels, however they appear to be late availability, meaning they will not enter production – even for those who order over the next month or so – until late spring or summer 2019.