The 2018 Jeep Wrangler unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show has been 11 years in the making, and it’s about bloody time. Jeep’s signature vehicle is the most important release any time it’s up for a refresh.Because of the Wranglers status that meant maintaining the rugged capability while improving its refinement in order to appeal to the majority of customers who buy Wranglers as road only cars.
Jeep stuck with a ladder frame construction and solid front and rear axles. This choice alone should leave you cheering. Subtle improvements to the aerodynamics, using aluminum to lighten the weight, and then added some performance, comfort and infotainment tech.
The Wrangler will be offered with a choice of engines. A new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder equipped with mild hybrid technology that allows for start-stop capability and electric assist under acceleration. This 270 hp engine is rated at 295 lb-feet of torque and comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission. No EPA rating yet but outside of the diesel this is our pick to be the MPG favorite. I am interested in where the power is made. Given that this motor has 25 lb-ft of torque more than the V6 it could end up being the better off-road choice, if that power is delivered low enough in the RPM.
An updated version of the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 will be available with the slush box or a six-speed manual transmission. For those that want a manual this is your only option. A 285 hp, 270 lb-ft of lump of mini-van motor. It does offer 10 percent better fuel economy than the model it replaces. For those who need to know that’s less than 2 MPG.
The 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 diesel option puts out 260 hp and 443 lb-ft, but it will only be offered in four-door models and not until the 2019 model year. I have this motor in a Grand Cherokee. Despite the fact that it will be automatic only it would be my top choice. All the grunt you want and good fuel mileage!
Not since the mighty CJ has a Wrangler come with anything but a typical 4WD system. The Sahara model will have optional Selec-Trac full-time all-wheel-drive system that was designed primarily for all-weather on-road safety. This is the system found in the Gran Cherokee and other premium trim SUV’s from Jeep. A traditional part-time Command-Trac 4×4 system can be had on other trims, while the extreme Rubicon gets a version called Rock-Track that’s equipped with tougher axles and a full set of locking differentials. In other words business as usual on the non-Sahara versionsThe doors still come off, the windshield still folds down and the top comes off. The hard top is lighter and easier to install, there is a better-insulated fabric roof, and a power sliding soft top marks another first for the Wrangler. The sliding top will be optional on four-door Saharas and Rubicons later in the 2018 model year.
The new roof frame and sport cage provides superior rollover protection to past Wrangler designs. Additional safety tech includes a blind-spot monitoring system, backup camera, rear cross path alert, hill hold and decent controls, all-speed traction control, and both stability control and an electronic rollover mitigation system. The backup camera is my favorite addition. With the tire omnipresent in the rear having a camera will make backing up a lot easier.
Fiat Chrysler’s UConnect system offers 4G Wi-Fi, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, and can be augmented by a 7-inch screen in the instrument cluster. That screen will have several off-road functions like a pitch and roll display.Pricing for the 2018 Wrangler has not yet been announced, but it’s scheduled to hit showrooms in January of next year.
Enjoy Jeep’s latest commercials for the new Wrangler JL