Jeep was hard at work testing the next-gen Wrangler in the Death Valley.

Die-hard Jeep fans will be happy to hear the design department won’t mess around too much with the Wrangler’s appearance for the next generation (“JL”) and it will retain the boxy silhouette. However, there are some changes we should point out on this four-door Unlimited version, like the more raked windscreen (which might lose the fold-down feature) and the repositioned side mirrors now sitting a bit higher compared to the current model.

A more significant change will occur underneath the hood where Jeep is going to install a turbocharged engine as demonstrated in a previous batch of spy images. Likely to be called “Hurricane,” the four-banger will be available alongside the familiar 3.6-liter V6 and is expected to work with an eight-speed automatic gearbox sending as much as 300 horsepower to the road. A diesel engine is likely on the agenda for the Rubicon model, and according to the folks from JL Wrangler Forums it will be a 3.0-liter V6 hooked up to an eight-speed auto.

It is worth mentioning Jeep’s CEO Mike Manley has promised the new Wrangler will be more aerodynamic and lighter than the outgoing model and this will obviously pay dividends in terms of efficiency. It will retain the body-on-frame architecture with solid front and rear axles, but some of the parts will benefit from an aluminum construction to shave off weight.

Besides the usual Wrangler derivatives populating the model’s lineup, a pickup will be added to the range. It likely won’t be available from day one, so look for a 2018 market launch for the more utilitarian version. The regular model is set to enter production next year at FCA’s factory in Toledo, Ohio where $700 million are being invested to get the assembly plant ready for the new Wrangler.

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