Good news adventure seeking, road trip taking, off-road driving overlander’ers – the latest version of the pinnacle dirt-worthy truck of our age, the Jeep Wrangler, was just officially announced and it looks like it could be the best ever.
It’s been over a year since we first wrote about the hopeful speculations surrounding the 2018 Wrangler. While the early rumors of the truck’s 4×4 chops were positive, people from across the outdoor enthusiast spectrum have been nervously waiting for the final reveal before letting go that final sigh of relief. So what’s so great about the next generation Jeep Wrangler (now called the JL)? Well, let’s check it out…
1. Solid Axles
First and foremost, before anything else, there will be no Independent Front Suspension (IFS) for the Jeep Wrangler JL, JL Unlimited, and JT (more on the Pickup Truck version later). The next-gen model will stick to floating solid axles for both the front and rear – something not found on any other truck sold in the States today. In addition, Dana returns to the scene to equip the JL with a variety of options – ranging from the Dana 44 for the Sport and Sahara models to the wider Dana M210 & 220 for the Rubicon.
2. Body on Frame Construction
An all new JL rides on a Body On Frame (BOF) platform that underpins the truck. This decision comes in lieu of the alternative, the more widely used Unibody type of construction. This feature, similar to the Solid Axles mentioned above, is the other most important piece of equipment that differentiates the Wrangler from almost every other sport-ute sold today.
3. Outward Appearances
The 2018 JL retains the broad strokes of the Jeep Wrangler traditional design language. Being the spiritual successor to the original WW2 era Willys, the new model keeps a hold of the 7 slot grill and round headlights, but with some modern twists. The round headlights are all-LED, with a horizontal projector sandwiched between the high beams. The tail lights are square and have available LEDs as well. The grill has been massaged into a “keystone” design that recalls the CJ of the 70’s and 80’s. The front wheels are pulled slightly forward, and the beltline is lowered. The vehicle is also slightly longer (how much depends on the version). Half doors will be offered on the Rubicon model in 2019 and then will be available across the Wrangler lineup.
4. Open Air Motoring
Another tradition for the Wrangler is the truck’s roof, door and windshield configuration options. The new aluminum construction doors will still be able to lift out and will even have handles built into them so you don’t drop them in transport. The new roof also comes in a variety of options. The all new Sky One-Touch canopy will scroll back at the touch of a button. The windshield can still fold down as well – and now more easily than ever. The windshield folds down in minutes with the turn of four bolts on this new generation whereas it took about 90 minutes and 28 bolts to do the same on the outgoing JK.
5. There will be a pickup truck as well (the Wrangler JT Scrambler)
Reviving a name from Jeep’s history, the Scrambler will return in October or November of 2018. This time, the Scrambler (also to be known as the JT) will come in the form of a 4 door pickup truck. Like the JL, it will also come with multiple open air options for doorless, roofless, and windsheild-less driving too.
6. Multiple drivetrain options – including a diesel and an automatic
The previous gen’s 3.6-liter V6 carries over to the JL, producing an unchanged 285 hp and 260 lb-ft from last year. Though it now comes with an all-new six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. New for the JL is a 2.0-liter inline-four turbocharged gasoline motor; it’s available for all models, and while it’s down on horsepower compared to the V6 at 270 hp, it seems to make up for that with 295 lb-ft of torque. With this motor, the eight-speed auto is mandatory. Coming in 2019 is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6. It is estimated to produce 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque and will be mated to a “more robust” version of the TorqueFlite eight-speed auto.
Sales are schedule to begin in January.