Two of the few Chrysler Group products still powered by the old 3.8-litre pushrod V6 engine have at last gained the Pentastar engine. Apart from gaining the more modern 3.6-litre motor and two new transmissions, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited are otherwise carried over for North America’s 2012 model year.

In both the two-door Wrangler and long wheelbase Wrangler Unlimited four-door, the Pentastar produces a claimed 285hp, a rise of 40% over the outgoing 2011 models. As for the 2.8-litre VM Motori-supplied diesel engine which powers the majority of Wranglers sold in Europe and certain other markets, this remains unavailable to buyers in Canada, Mexico and the US.

As well as the new engine, 2012MY Wranglers see the first pairing of Chrysler’s Pentastar V6 with a manual gearbox. The stick-shift transmission is a six-speed unit. Meanwhile, self-shifting Wranglers now have an extra cog: the same five-speed gearbox that comes as standard with V6 versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee now features in automatic versions of the 2012 Wrangler and Unlimited.

According to the company’s own data, Chrysler Group built 34,227 units of the Wrangler between 1 January and 31 July, plus 55,506 units of the Wrangler Unlimited. Both vehicles come down the same line at the Toledo South plant in Ohio. The combined output made the Wrangler Jeep’s most-built model in the first seven months, though this was just 536 units more than the 89,197 Grand Cherokees which were manufactured in the same period.

Author: Glenn Brooks