We've known for a while that Jeep's iconic Wrangler 4x4 will retain a body-on-frame construction, but up until now there's been little clarity on whether it will keep its front and rear live axle suspension.
The reason for the uncertainty is due to Jeep's desire to reduce the Wrangler's weight.
With a live axle (which essentially locks the left and right wheels together in a straight line, unlike an independent suspension), being one of the heaviest suspension configurations around, replacing them with an indendent setup is an easy way of shedding weight.
But while heavy, the live axle boasts superior ruggedness and promotes off-road traction - two Wrangler hallmarks. Hence the angst of Jeep fiends at the prospect of the Wrangler adopting an independent suspension.
According to Automotive News, though, they need not worry. The live axles are expected to stay,
When the next-generation Wrangler makes its debut sometime in 2017 it will reportedly sport a refined live axle setup designed to improve ride comfort without sacrificing off-road maneuverability.
It will also be substantially lighter than the current model, though the weight savings will come from non-suspension components and a reduction in overall size.
Automotive News reports that the body will be made of aluminium and the Wrangler's folding windscreen will be replaced by a fixed one. The design will also be less upright in a move to improve the Wrangler's aerodynamics.
The rest of the efficiency equation will be handled by improved powertrain and drivetrain technology, with Fiat-Chrysler's eight-speed automatic and new smaller-displacement turbo engines expected to power the new Wrangler.
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