2018 Wrangler to receive 8-speed automatic

New ZF unit part of strategy to improve fuel economy.

While rumors have been flying about the changes in store for the next generation of Jeep's iconic 4x4, a filing from FCA has revealed one important detail: The 8-speed ZF automatic Chrysler has licensed for many of it's rear- and all-wheel-drive vehicles appears to be a "go" for the 2018 Wrangler.

In an SEC filing obtained by Automotive News, Chrysler outlined its plans to replace the aging 5-speed currently found in all Wrangler models. Apparently, the manufacturer wished to do this sooner than 2018, but the ZF unit is not compatible with the Wrangler's existing frame.

Few of the 2018 model's details have been confirmed, but Chrysler/Jeep executives have made it clear that many options are on the table to reduce fuel consumption. An aluminum body seems likely, and it has even been rumored that the Wrangler's staple solid axles will go the way of the Mustang's rear end and be replaced by independent configurations.

The current Wrangler was the first generation in decades to be offered without a four-cylinder engine. At 17 mpg city and 21 mpg highway, the current Wrangler fares worse than some of Chrysler's V8 models, despite being available only with the 3.6L Pentastar V6.

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