Hey, Jeep fans. If you think the idea of a funky-looking, car-based Cherokee revival is offensive, have a listen to what might be in store for the next-gen Jeep Wrangler. Automotive News is reporting that as Jeep develops the 2016 Wrangler, weight reduction is a crucial target, and the Wrangler's rugged solid axles could be sacrificed in the name of better fuel economy.

We've already heard the next Wrangler will go on a serious diet using aluminum body panels and an air suspension system, so the idea of a four-wheel independent suspension setup for this OG SUV isn't all that surprising. Besides, it's not like an independent suspension would limit the Wrangler's off-road abilities – just check out the Hummer H1. In fact, it might be the aftermarket parts companies – not Wrangler enthusiasts – who would be most disappointed by such a drastic suspension change, as the article states that the Wrangler's solid axles and coil-link suspension make it the most popular SUV for customization.

There are probably still a couple years before we'll start hearing any concrete details about the 2016 Wrangler, at which time it will be interesting to see how stricter fuel economy and crash safety regulations have been balanced with traditional Wrangler cues like its removable doors and roof and folding windshield. Let us know in the comments below if a Wrangler sans solid axles is any less of a Wrangler.


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  • 95 Comments
      Julio B
      • 1 Year Ago
      "There are probably still a couple years before we'll start hearing any concrete details about the 2016 Wrangler" Jeep has been selling the 2014 Wrangler for months. We should be hearing about the 2016 in much less than a couple of years...
      Doug Richter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Okay, concerned about weight, lets only sell soft tops, soft doors lighten the suspension to all aluminum and make it a prerunner with no 4 wheel drive and call it the "MALL" rated package! People who by a Jeep buy them for the ability of it. others buy them just to say they have a Jeep. Jeep has in recent years tried to appeal to the masses and forgot about heritage and what made the Jeep brand unique. If you want to be like everyone else they sure are getting close. Jeeps now today need aftermarket fenders just to sit a larger tire. so tired of the wannabees who want to look cool and have no idea how a vehicle works off road and what actual ground / wheel tire clearance is needed. I have driven jeeps since 1973 and while a JK is a refined vehicle I wouldn't take a Jaguar to a Drag race either. a Quality build off road vehicle will always have straight axles and real steel components...... any less and its only going to get cut off and a set of Pro rocks will be installed. Jeep if I wanted less I'd buy an Escape!
        RickRavensRedRubicon
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Doug Richter

        i hear ya buddy, that's why they sold over a million wranglers this year! the first time that's ever happened. That's why our rides maintain their value. I could see them doing a Hummer H1 Indie susp as an option, but i buy jeeps because of the solid axle. they killed my XJ, now they are going to kill the Flagship Model.

      Kris O.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Jeep brand boss Mike Manley is going to be getting a lot of hate mail from the source article. As a Jeep owner who actually uses my Rubicon on the Rubicon I am against the idea. However this is a business decision more than anything else. Being that they cant make enough of the wranglers, business is good. And the majority of owners don't actually need the solid axles. But the popularity of the wrangler is tied to how strong the aftermarket is. Switching to the grand cherokee's suspension would consolidate suppliers and reduce costs but if it causes a significant hit to sales, then plant workers all the way up to management will be out of work. Overall a risky and unpopular idea.
        rw33
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Kris O.
        I don't think sales will suffer at all. The sales explosion of the latest generation Wrangler is tied to it becoming more on-road friendly. Those are the people who mostly bought the 4 doors, cross-shopped the Wrangler with a Mustang convertible, and use teh Wrangler as their vehicle to go to the beach or camping a few weekends each summer. The hardcore off-roaders realy have no other alternatives to the Wrangler and every other option has independent suspension.
      Bassracerx
      • 1 Year Ago
      i think if anyone can make independent front suspension work it would be jeep considering they have been making it work for the grand cherokee for nearly 20 years now. also land rover and the land cruiser both use independent front suspension and in stock form it is nearly equal to the wrangler. yes the solid axle front makes it better for customization but the only thing independent front suspension will not be suited for is serious rock crawling and most people who use their wranglers for that either use custom rails or highly modified wranglers anyway. i'm sure 1-2 grand and you can fit a solid front axle to the 2016 if you wanted to.
      Bill Burke
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would not rush to the conclusion that ALL (if any) Wranglers would lose the solid axles. Do I think the Wrangler will be put on a diet...sure.....but this is Jeep and they have the history and the ability, as part of the Chrysler/Fiat vast talent pool with trucks and SUVs and their own unique experience in Trail Rated vehicles to keep the axles and lose the weight. I can envision the traditional heavy solid axles as an off road option and lighter axles as the standard underpinnings for most customers. We lose the weight and keep two levels of solid axles to keep everyone happy. As stated, remember, this is Jeep.
        Jim Pierce
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Bill Burke
        true bill but like the folks in D C ...when they want a bit of something ,,, it turns they eat the whole thing... i do hope jeep does not even start down that road... jeep wrangler is the one unit you can count on ... and most could care less about a few mpg... i love my jeep ... and people love the look .. big gas eaten tires and all.....
      Bernard
      • 1 Year Ago
      While I think this is sad, I also realize that I'm never going to buy one of these things.
      Street King
      • 1 Year Ago
      The aftermarlet will catch up. What do you think the performance companies are doing with the new direct injected LT1 chevy small block? (Its not magic, they usually just cherry pick former OEM engineers)
      creamwobbly
      • 1 Year Ago
      Diesel. Solved.
      ferps
      • 1 Year Ago
      If they are worried about fuel economy, they should offer a diesel.
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      'Jeep to ditch solid front axle to finally fix death wobble'. There, fixed.
        mylexicon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @m_2012
        The death wobble is fixed by doing your alignment routinely
          AJ Haverly
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mylexicon
          Also by washing the mud off that gets in your wheels.
        Kris O.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @m_2012
        Any current vehicle suspension can get death wobble. Jeeps just get singled out because it is the most modified of any vehicle and not all parts get installed correctly nor do amateur mechanics always do a good job. Also the Jeep is the most likely vehicle for teenagers to borrow from parents to take out 4wheeling and jump, bending steering and suspension components.
      mylexicon
      • 1 Year Ago
      When Jeep enthusiasts saw the new Fiat Cherokee, and we thumbed through the CAFE regulations, we all realized that Wrangler was the next lamb to the slaughter. The Wrangler footprint is small. BoF is heavy. The next Wrangler is going to have a useless wheelbase and track, and basically every vestige rugged virtue will be extinguished to satisfy the phantom neophiles who supposedly direct the market. Basically, Jeep will kill the Wrangler because they are bored with it, and maintaining a real offroad brand is hard work, something that Italians really hate.
        wilkegm
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mylexicon
        The 4-door Wrangler is not small- it is 5 inches shorter than the Grand Cherokee, but has an inch longer wheelbase. The 2-door could be in trouble- perhaps it will 4-cyl only. All ther SUV that recently went from BOF to unibody got heavier.
      EvilTollMan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Annnd there goes the Wrangler's relevance in the off-road market.
        Smilez1105
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EvilTollMan
        Annnd there goes another uninformed comment from someone who really doesn't know much about either the Wrangler or off-roading.
          sixsix
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Smilez1105
          Ummmm have you have really been offroading? BTW taking your F150 through some mud puddles at the deer lease doesn't count. We aren't talking Baja trucks here either, where independent suspension does rule. Real Offroading solid axles is the ONLY way to go. There is a reason so many people spend 10s of thousands to convert IFS trucks to solid axle. Go do your homework, or head up to Moab and then we can talk.
          Kristopher Derentz
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Smilez1105
          Sixsix ... Baja trucks dont count as real offroading? That should be news the the guys that run the Baja 1000 or even Dakar.
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