This brand-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL has been built to deliver more of everything we love in Jeeps: power, capability and infinite freedom. Jeep is now marking this as a whole new chapter in their history of their storied brand, which has been written to inspire exploration and adventurous discovery. Here are a few key features that we got personally introduced to when checking out the shiny new JL at the LA Auto Show.
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The all-new 2018 Jeep JL Wrangler delivers legendary off-road capability courtesy of two advanced 4x4 systems, and as a first in Wrangler’s history, a two-speed transfer case with full-time four-wheel drive and a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio that is available on Sahara models. This new Selec-Trac full-time two-speed transfer case is intuitive and allows the driver to set it and forget it, while constantly sending power to the front and rear wheels.
The Command-Trac 4x4 system features a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and next-generation solid Dana front and rear axles with a 3.45 rear axle ratio. On the Wrangler JL Rubicon, a Rock-Trac 4x4 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. Wrangler JL Rubicon models offer improved articulation and total suspension travel versus the previous generation with help from an electronic sway-bar disconnect. With the standard six-speed manual transmission, Wrangler Rubicon JL will have an impressive and improved crawl ratio of 84.2:1, and 77.2:1 on Rubicon models equipped with the new eight-speed automatic transmission – both of which makes scaling any obstacle on the trail easy.
Both Command-Trac and Rock-Trac systems offer full-time torque management, enabling optimal grip in low-traction conditions. An available Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential provides extra torque and grip during slippery, low-traction situations, such as driving over sand, gravel, snow or ice. Returning for duty and anchoring the lineup as the base engine is the Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6. Producing 285 horsepower and churning out 260 lb-ft of torque in the 2018 JL application, it gets standard stop/start functionality (which can be deactivated) and mates with either the standard six-speed manual gearbox or a new eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Revamped Exterior Design - Modern Meets Vintage Looks
The Wrangler JL’s new exterior design is bold and rugged with a wide stance and lowered beltline. Enhanced with larger windows for better outward visibility, especially for while out on the trails. The Jeep product design team gave the legendary seven-slot grille that we've all grown to love, an updated look that now shows both of the outer grille slats intersecting with the headlights. The primary grille design influence was based heavily on the Jeep CJ. The top of the keystone-shaped grille has been gently swept back for improved aerodynamics.
New Wrangler JL Lights Features
On Sahara and Rubicon models, available LED headlamps and fog lamps offer crisp white lighting and add to the Wrangler’s distinctive look. These models feature daytime running lights that now form a halo around the outside perimeter of the headlights, and standard LED forward turn signals are positioned on the front of the trapezoidal wheel flares. From behind, traditional square tail lamps feature available LED lighting. Dozens of different door, top and windshield combinations allow for endless configuration possibilities. A new half-door design will be available starting in later 2018 or 2019. The JL's windshield rake has been updated to have improved aerodynamics and features a new four bolt design at the top of the windshield’s frame to allow the windshield to fold down quickly and easily. A new header bar now connects the A-pillars and stays in place even when the windshield is folded down. This allows the rearview mirror to remain in place even with the windshield folded.
Fenders and Doors Reimagined
Two-piece body-color fender flares with a black lower insert give a raised profile and are standard on Sahara and available on Rubicon models. New lightweight, high-strength aluminum doors now feature the Torx bit tool size stamped directly onto the hinge to eliminate guessing which tool size is needed to remove the doors.
New for 2018, all Jeep JL Wranglers feature body-colored sport bars, which are welded to the body and feature integrated grab handles. As the only true open-air 4x4 SUV on the market, an all-new easy-to-use Sky One-Touch powertop strengthens the JL Wrangler’s promise of utility and adventure by allowing occupants to retract the full-length open canvas roof with a push of a button (available in the second quarter of 2018).An all-new premium Sunrider soft top provides another easy open-air option and has been improved by adding two additional bows to manage the fabric. This new design helps to quiet wind noise and allows for easier access to partial and full open top positions. New for 2018, the soft top features retainers that slide into a track for easier rear passenger window removal. Wrangler Sahara and Rubicon models share a body-color hardtop option (black on Sport and Sport S), offering a unique, premium appearance while a black three-piece hardtop, available on all models, offers even more options for open-air driving. Lighter Freedom panels and improved latches enable a quicker removal and installation of the hardtop.
How About The JL Interior?
The new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL’s interior combines authentic styling, versatility, comfort and intuitive feature use. Precision craftsmanship and high-quality materials are found throughout the cabin. The heritage-inspired center stack features a clean, sculpted form that complements the horizontal dashboard design and sports a finish dictated by the model choice. A hand-wrapped instrument panel features a soft-touch surface with accent stitching on Wrangler Sahara models. Functional features, including climate and volume control knobs, media charging and connectivity ports and Engine Stop Start (ESS) control are all sculpted for quick recognition and are easily within reach of the front-seat occupants. Inboard and outboard circular HVAC vents are surrounded by a platinum chrome bezel for a precise and premium yet rugged appearance with full functionality. Jeep's functionality and versatility is nicely celebrated in the center console and distinguished with metal-plated accents. The newly designed center console houses the gear shift selection, transfer case and parking brake. A push-button starter, featuring a weather-proof surround, makes its debut on the 2018 Wrangler JL and is easily located within the driver’s reach. Real bolts featured on the shifter, grab handles and frame the infotainment screen highlight genuine construction methods.
Cloth or leather-contoured seats feature accent stitching, and now feature adjustable bolster and lumbar support. Available comfort features include heated front seats and steering wheel. The driver and front passenger vinyl-wrapped door trim panels are soft to the touch, and the arm rests have been lengthened for better comfort. New Lift-Assist handles under each door armrest feature an integrated pull-cup design that makes door removal quicker and easier than ever. Convenience features include passive entry with Keyless Go. The instrument cluster features a 3.5 - or an available 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) information LED display. The 7-inch LED display allows the driver to configure information in more than 100 ways including current media being played, tire pressure, or digital speed readout. Integrated buttons on the steering wheel control audio, voice, and speed functions and allow the driver to keep their hands on the wheel at all times. A 7.0- or an available 8.4-inch touchscreen – the most advanced and largest display Uconnect system display ever offered on Wrangler – houses the fourth-generation Uconnect system and now sits prominently atop the center stack. The fourth-generation Uconnect system enhances the user interface and system performance with quicker start uptimes and improved screen resolution. A 5.0-inch touchscreen is standard on Wrangler Sport. Directly below the touchscreen are functional features such as climate and volume control knobs and media connectivity ports. Two USB ports up front and two in reach of occupants in the back seat connect to the media center. Standard 12-volt accessory outlets are located throughout the all-new Wrangler and a 115-volt AC outlet is available to power select three-pronged home electronics. Clever storage solutions are found throughout the 2018 Wrangler, including durable mesh pockets that extend the entire length of the doors and numerous phone storage areas. The available subwoofer is now located on the right side of the rear cargo area allowing for even more storage space. An under-floor storage area behind the rear seat provides room to secure small items out of sight. The glove box is now damped and like the center console, can be locked to safely secure valuables when the top is down. The available all-new Trail Rail cargo management system allows easy access to the contents in the cargo area and provides additional storage options to organize and secure cargo.
Suspension With Both Standard and Enhanced Options For All Driver & 4X4 Needs
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL receives a multitude of improvements to optimize ride, handling and sound characteristics, while reducing weight and improving fuel economy. Utilizing a body-on-frame design, and featuring a superbly engineered five-link suspension system, Wrangler delivers even more capability, with improved on-road driving dynamics and passenger safety. To protect critical vehicle components while on the trail – including the fuel tank, transfer case and automatic transmission oil pan – Wrangler employs four skid plates and bars. Rubicon models benefit from the use of heavy gauge tubular steel rock rails to curtail potential body damage inflicted while out on the trail. The use of lightweight, high-strength aluminum closures, including the doors, door hinges, hood, fender flares, windshield frame and magnesium swing gate, help reduce weight and boost fuel economy. Other ways the Jeep engineering team looked to reduce weight included using hollow track and stabilizer bars, aluminum engine mounts and steering gear, and a larger, lighter master cylinder. For 2018, Wrangler continues to utilize the proven five-link coil suspension configuration. Wrangler’s front suspension features a lateral control arm and four longitudinal control arms. Full-width track bars made of forged steel control lateral movement of the axle with minimal angle change during suspension travel. The roll center height has been raised and the spring rates have been retuned to provide a comfortable ride when traveling around town. The five-link rear suspension features two upper and two lower forged steel control arms for longitudinal control, and track bar for lateral axle control. The control arms are located outside of the frame rails while the rear shocks are splayed (angled inboard at the top) to provide consistent damping.
Wrangler JL shocks have been retuned and demonstrate optimum balance between on-road handling and legendary off-road capability. Ride comfort, body-roll control, and handling is significantly improved with new shock tuning, hard points, and body mount strategy. On Wrangler JL Rubicon models, an electronic front sway-bar disconnect is featured to provide additional wheel travel when the terrain calls for it. A best-in-class approach angle of 44 degrees, breakover angle of 27.8 degrees, departure angle of 37 degrees and aground clearance of 10.9 inches allows Wrangler to go anywhere. The JL also benefits from up to 30 inches of water fording and up to 3,500-lb. towing capacity with the available towing package off the lot.