From the outside, the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL doesn’t look massively different, but an entire breadth of changes has arrived for this popular off-roader that updates it in many ways.
Redesigning the Wrangler surely wasn’t an easy task, as the JK-generation has enjoyed much love, praise and strong sales since it was introduced back in 2007. Now the JL is here to show us everything that Jeep is capable of today.
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Driving you into the wilds is a choice of three powertrains: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a 3.6-liter V6 or a 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine.
The small turbo engine makes the fewest horsepower at 270, though torque measures in at 295 lb-ft, helped in part by a mild hybrid system that Jeep calls eTorque. This system’s hybrid functions include an auto stop/start system, electric power assist, extended fuel shut-off, transmission shift management, intelligent battery charging and regenerative braking. eTorque makes it possible for the Wrangler to shut off both the engine and fuel flow during stops or when coasting or decelerating.
Moving up to the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 brings along more horsepower but less torque than the smaller turbo, packing 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The standard transmission for this engine is a six-speed manual while an eight-speed automatic is available. The eight-speed is the only transmission available with the small turbo engine and diesel.
Speaking of the manual, Jeep spent some time improving it, saying that the throws are 50-percent shorter, though sadly, only the gas V6 will have the option.
The third and final engine is the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel which can only be had in Wrangler four-door models and will become available in starting in 2019. Power from the diesel is rated at 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque.
The simple attributes that make the Wrangler ready for the trail have only gotten better thanks to Jeep. Ground clearance measures in at 10.9 inches, approach angle is 44 degrees, break over is 27.8 degrees and the departure angle measures in at 37 degrees. A set of 17-inch wheels are available while Rubicon models get a set of 33-inch tires, straight from the factory.
Sport and Sahara models get Jeep’s Command-Trac 4×4 system as standard, which includes a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio and Dana front and rear axles with a 3.45 axle ratio. On Sahara models, that includes the new Selec-Trac full-time two-speed transfer case which allows for full-time four-wheel drive and a 2.71:1 low-range ratio.
The ultimate off-roader in the lineup, the Wrangler Rubicon, comes with the Rock-Trac 4×4 system, featuring Dana 44 front and rear axles, a 4LO ratio of 4:1, a 4.10 rear axle ratio and Tru-Lok locking differentials.
On Wrangler Rubicon, a Rock-Trac 4×4 system features heavy-duty next-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1. A 4.10 front and rear axle ratio is standard as are Tru-Lok locking differentials.
Rubicon models also offer better articulation and suspension travel than the previous generation, though Jeep didn’t release the numbers. What they did release was the Wrangler Rubicon’s crawl ratio, which sits at 84.2:1 with the six-speed manual transmission and 77.2:1 with the automatic.
For water crossings, Jeep says the JL will be able to handle up to 30 inches, while the tow capacity for the new Wrangler has been pegged at 3,500 pounds.
Underneath all Wrangler models, you’ll find four skid plates and bars to protect the fuel tank, transfer case, and transmission. On Rubicon models, heavy gauge tubular steel rock rails come standard.
As for the suspension, the Wrangler still uses the five-link coil suspension configuration, while the shocks have been re-tuned to deliver better body-roll control and on-road driving.
Style and Details
A more raked windshield, new air vents in the front quarter panels and headlights that intrude into the seven-slot grille are some of the most noticeable visual changes, while Sahara and Rubicon models are differentiated thanks to available LED lights and fog lamps. The front turn signals have also now been integrated into the wheel flares.
Jeep says there are already dozens of combinations available with the different doors and tops that are available and that a new set of half-doors will be release in 2019.
To help save weight, the doors are made from aluminum, while the Torx bit tool size has been stamped right into the hinge to make removing the doors even simpler. Aluminum was also used to make the door hinges, hood, fender flares, and windshield frame while the swing gate is made from magnesium. Other small weight savings were found thanks to hollow track and stabilizer bars, aluminum engine mounts and steering gear, and a larger, light master cylinder.
One of the more exciting new options is the Sky One-Touch roof, which is a full-length canvas roof that can open with the touch of a button. This will become available mid-way through 2018. The manual-controlled Sunrider soft top has also been redesigned and now comes with more bows to help manage the fabric, and a new design which makes it quieter. A hard top is also available with lighter freedom panels that are easier to remove and reinstall.
Looking inside, the Wrangler has undergone a major change. There is still a horizontal dashboard design like Jeeps of old, while a number of different finishes are available depending on trim level. Sahara models get a soft-touch surface around the instrument panel for example.
Push-button start is now standard on the Wrangler, while all of the important functions like the gear shift selector, transfer case and parking brake sit in the center console, distinguished by metal plated accents.
Cloth or leather seats can be had and both feature accent stitching along with adjustable bolsters and lumbar support. Heating can be added to both front seats and the steering wheel.
For technology, the 2018 Wrangler has plenty inside. The new Jeep has a 3.5- or an available 7-inch display in the information cluster, each of which offers key information regarding the vehicle like tire pressures and more.
In the center console, buyers will either get a 7-inch or 8.4-inch touchscreen running the latest version of Uconnect, or a smaller 5-inch screen standard on Wrangler Sport. New for Wrangler is the availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Two USB ports are found up front while two are in the back along with a 115-volt AC outlet.
Storage wasn’t forgotten about either, with large mesh pockets on the doors and numerous phone storage spots. An under-floor storage spot is now found behind the reat seat, while the glove box now has a damped door. An all-new Trail Rail cargo system has also been introduced, offering easy access to the contents in the cargo area.
Of course, safety was also a big part of the new Wrangler. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a backup camera, electronic stability control with roll mitigation and four standard airbags are al part of the package.
The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL will be in dealerships by January of 2018.