Jeep's long-running, tough-as-nails 3.8-litre V6 Wrangler engine will make way in 2012 for an all-new, way more efficient 3.6-litre unit, together with a new five-speed automatic in place of the previous four-speeder, which it will share with the new Grand Cherokee.

The Chrysler Pentastar engine is rated at 209kW (that's 40 percent better than the 3.8) and 353Nm (10 percent up). It cuts the Wrangler's 0-100km/h sprint to 8.4 seconds while fuel consumption is down to a claimed 11.2 litres per 100km.

The 2012 Wrangler will also be available with a six-speed manual gearbox - the first ‘stick shift’ to be mated to the new V6.

The Wrangler will continue to be available in four variants - Sport, Sport S, Sahara and Rubicon - with interior trim, which was comprehensively revised for 2011, carried over unchanged.

One cosmetic change: The Sahara and Rubicon models will come with body-colour hardtops and fender flares rather than black - which is by no means as simple as it sounds because the body is made of steel while the roof and flares are a moulded composite material, so their paint processes are completely different.

We’re waiting on an answer from Chrysler SA as to when the 2012 Wranglers will be released in South Africa.