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03.18.2014
2017 Jeep Wrangler Concept Art

It looks like our speculation on the next generation 2017 Jeep Wrangler is taking shape. Allpar recently released this 2017 Jeep Wrangler concept art by Jack Ratchett, which follows many of the concepts we think Jeep will use in the new Wrangler. This includes a more aerodynamic body and a stretched two door, but there’s one major exception: Allpar believes that Jeep is working on an IFS for the next generation Wrangler. Say it ain’t so!

2017-jeep-wrangler-concept-art

According to Allpar, sources close to the project have revealed that Jeep is working on a long-travel independent suspension for the Wrangler, and that they’re basing the design loosely on the 1963 Jeep Wagoneer. This vehicle used variable-rate leaf springs in back, but was the first off-road vehicle to incorporate an independent front suspension.

bouncing-differentialJeep has been tinkering with 4×4 IFS for a long time. Apparently they have several patents from the mid-90’s when their concept team came up with an independent front suspension for the TJ. This IFS design (dubbed Li’l blue) was set up so that the differential travelled with the wheel allowing “real world” ground clearance. This floating differential design increased wheel travel to roughly 12″.

According to one of the Li’l Blue engineers, conventional lift kits would not work with the IFS design, and getting better ground clearance would have been very expensive, if it was even possible. The major limit of the suspension was the ability of the powered joints to hold together; the joints can only bend so far while under power.

I suggest reading the IFS concepts for the TJ, they’re interesting – my main concern is that there seems to be a lot of moving parts with a floating diff; don’t forget Murphy’s Law, Jeep!

It’s evident that these extra pieces will make more break a Wrangler IFS. If Jeep compromises with poor parts or a cheap design then they can expect to have plenty of warranty repairs on their hands; but if they do it right – well, they’ll prove all the naysayers wrong. And how will they deal with the aftermarket? One of the great hallmarks of the Wrangler is the aftermarket product support. An IFS design could severely limit upgradability – let’s hope their gamble works because otherwise they could have a serious lemon on their hands.

Do you think that Jeep can convert the diehard Wrangler owners to IFS? Would you buy a first generation IFS Wrangler? Comment below!