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Archive for the ‘Jeep Wrangler’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Wrangler Moab Edition

Jeep’s relation with Moab is about to go on a new level with the introduction of the Jeep Wrangler Moab Edition. Based on the four-door Jeep Wrangler Sahara, the Wrangler Moab Edition is offered with a smorgasbord of features, some of which it shares with the rugged – and more upscale — Wrangler Rubicon trim. The Jeep Wrangler Moab Edition essentially sits between the Sahara and Rubicon trims, providing customers with another Wrangler option to choose from.

PostHeaderIcon The Best Cars Under $35,000

For a lot of us, buying a car comes with a lot of anxiety, especially when it comes to models that are going to cost a lot of money. But there are some models in the market that provide us with what we want out of a vehicle at costs that aren’t going to burn holes in our pockets. These models can either be attractive, have posh interiors, provide ample amounts of power, or are just fun to drive. In some cases, some cars check off more than just one criteria, though all of them have one common factor among them. They all cost at or less than $35,000.

PostHeaderIcon 6 American SUVs That Still Feature Body-on-Frame Construction

There once was a time when body-on-frame SUVs were common sights. But with the advent of unibody car-based bodies, we don’t see too many of the old body-on-frame SUVs anymore. There are still some SUVs in the market whose bodies and frames are two separate entities, so it’s not like you’re absent of any choices if this is the kind of SUV you want. The Cadillac Escalade, Jeep Wrangler, GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe, and Chevrolet Suburban are still considered body-on-frame SUVs, making them extremely useful in the outdoors. So what exactly do these six SUVs have to offer? Read on and find out.

PostHeaderIcon The Jeep Wrangler is All Set For Beach Patrolling in Italy!

FCA has given the Jeep Wrangler a new job this summer – to keep people safe at the beaches of Romagna, Italy as a beach patrol vehicle. The automaker has presented a custom Wrangler to the Italian ‘Carabinieri’, to patrol an 18-mile area of the Romagna Riviera that includes popular resorts. We’re pretty sure the ‘lifesaver’ will be a tourist attraction as well!

PostHeaderIcon High School Visionaries Render the 2030 Jeep Wrangler

It ain’t easy to break into the world of automotive design, but three talented high schoolers are well on their way to landing their dream jobs, as recognized by FCA in a recent contest to pen the 2030 model year Jeep Wrangler.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon High School Visionaries Render the 2030 Jeep Wrangler

It ain’t easy to break into the world of automotive design, but three talented high schoolers are well on their way to landing their dream jobs, as recognized by FCA in a recent contest to pen the 2030 model year Jeep Wrangler.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Video of the Day: Jeep Wrangler Fails

You off-road guys with your Jeep Wranglers think that jacked up suspension and big tires mean you can go anywhere. Oh, come on; I’m not being mean – you do think that. Go ahead and admit it. We all know it, so there’s no lying about it. The point is that while you can go almost anywhere, there are just some places you really shouldn’t go. And that’s when life, or karma, or lack of common sense in some cases, comes back to kick you right in the teeth. And, kick you it does. And, that’s what this video of the day is all about – Jeep Wranglers failing in the most miserable of ways. It’s okay, off-road guys. We don’t hate you. In fact, we’ve got mad respect for you. But, it’s your turn to get picked on because we’ve made fun of idiots in supercars and Mustang drivers an awful lot lately. So, it’s your turn for 5 minutes in the hater light 😉

PostHeaderIcon The Jeep Wrangler Pickup, AKA the Scrambler, Should hit Dealers by Mid-2019

FCA has been in a bind for the last couple of years with hope of improvement coming from the updated Ram 1500, the new Jeep Wrangler JL, and the upcoming Wrangler-based pickup truck. We’ve all seen the mules of the Jeep Pickup truck, AKA the Scrambler, testing on public roads but information about it from FCA or Jeep itself has remained top secret. All that has changed after a dealer meeting that gave just one piece of “new” information – the Jeep Wrangler Pickup will go into production in the final quarter of 2018, with dealerships getting their first haul to sell in April of 2019 – that’s just a year away folks.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Sandstorm

With the 2018 Moab Jeep Safari just around the corner, the legendary off-roading brand is introducing a total of seven new concept cars, including several intended to show off the upgradeable potential of the new JL-gen Wrangler. One such concept is the Jeep Sandstorm, which draws its inspiration from the world of Baja racing trucks with a thumping V-8 under the hood and upgraded suspension to match.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jeep Sandstorm.

What Makes The Jeep Sandstorm Special


2018 Jeep Sandstorm - image 774772
“The styling mods give the machine a streamlined purposeful appearance – exactly what you want for something inspired by a racing truck.”

Like any proper build, the Jeep Sandstorm has a strong theme going for it, taking its inspiration from Baja racers with all the right parts to conquer the desert.

“The Jeep Sandstorm concept is all about blitzing long, sandy straightaways while still being capable of handling the daily driving duties,” says Jeep.

Let’s start outside, where we find the styling was updated with a carbon fiber hood, complete with a square intake and several rows of vents. More vents were added to the flared-out fenders in front, while a matte black roll cage and rear lay-down spare tire carrier were added up top. The body panels get a bright orange paint finish.

You’ll also notice that Jeep shaved the door handles in the rear, while simultaneously tossing the swing gate and chopping down the aft doors. The mods give the machine a cleaner, more streamlined, and more purposeful appearance – exactly what you want for something inspired by a racing truck.

Further Baja-esque additions include high-clearance tube bumpers in front and in back, which look ready to plow through all but the hardest of obstacles. The rock rails were also beefed up, and there’s a racing-style fuel filler in the rear to keep the go-juice flowing. The KC Carbon series was tapped for its auxiliary lights in front, not to mention the chase light.

In the corners, the Jeep Sandstorm mounts slick 17-inch beadlock wheels, which arrive with a copper-colored inner framework and get wrapped by 39.5-inch Krawler rubber from BG Goodrich.


2018 Jeep Sandstorm - image 774771
“The Jeep Sandstorm gets an extended wheelbase, which should help with stability when traveling at a high rate of speed.”

When viewed from the side, you’ll notice that the Jeep Sandstorm gets an extended wheelbase, a mod that should help to cement the vehicle’s stability when traveling at a high rate of speed. To accomplish this, the front axle was moved forward on the chassis by 4 inches, while the rear axle was moved aft by 2 inches, giving it a 6-inch extension overall. The suspension is composed of a heavy-duty longarm four-link suspension and track bar for the front, while the rear uses a triangulated trailing arm and four-link suspension.

The individual suspension components themselves were upgraded with custom coilovers and bypass shocks, which give the front wheels as much as 14 inches of travel and the rear wheels an impressive 18 inches of travel.

The drivetrain is rounded out with heavy-duty components front and rear, with both ends receiving Dynatrac 60 axles and a 5.68 gear ratio. To live up to its racing promises, the Jeep Sandstorm is even equipped with the 6.4-liter V-8 optioned straight out of the Mopar performance catalog. Jeep neglected to mention output figures, but it’s likely churning out around 485 horses and 475 pound-feet of torque. Routing it all is a six-speed manual transmission.


2018 Jeep Sandstorm - image 774776
“Instrumentation includes a racing-spec gauge cluster and a 7-inch off-road GPS for navigation purposes.”

Inside, there’s a custom cage that integrates directly with the chassis. The front seats get leather upholstery, while the rear gets low-back racing buckets. Instrumentation includes a racing-spec gauge cluster and a 7-inch off-road GPS for navigation purposes. There’s also an onboard air compressor if you need to perform some impromptu repairs.

Adding to the high-performance feel are independent rocker switches for the electronics, air compressor, and axle lockers. Finally, the various interior plastic bits and carpet were tossed, replaced with a tough bed liner material for the floor.

Funny enough, Jeep says this thing is still street legal, even with the engine swap and wild suspension pieces. And we’re always impressed when an off-roading monster can play double duty with the day-to-day grind.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 748450

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.


maker logos - image 742908

Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Sandstorm

With the 2018 Moab Jeep Safari just around the corner, the legendary off-roading brand is introducing a total of seven new concept cars, including several intended to show off the upgradeable potential of the new JL-gen Wrangler. One such concept is the Jeep Sandstorm, which draws its inspiration from the world of Baja racing trucks with a thumping V-8 under the hood and upgraded suspension to match.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jeep Sandstorm.

What Makes The Jeep Sandstorm Special


2018 Jeep Sandstorm - image 774772
“The styling mods give the machine a streamlined purposeful appearance – exactly what you want for something inspired by a racing truck.”

Like any proper build, the Jeep Sandstorm has a strong theme going for it, taking its inspiration from Baja racers with all the right parts to conquer the desert.

“The Jeep Sandstorm concept is all about blitzing long, sandy straightaways while still being capable of handling the daily driving duties,” says Jeep.

Let’s start outside, where we find the styling was updated with a carbon fiber hood, complete with a square intake and several rows of vents. More vents were added to the flared-out fenders in front, while a matte black roll cage and rear lay-down spare tire carrier were added up top. The body panels get a bright orange paint finish.

You’ll also notice that Jeep shaved the door handles in the rear, while simultaneously tossing the swing gate and chopping down the aft doors. The mods give the machine a cleaner, more streamlined, and more purposeful appearance – exactly what you want for something inspired by a racing truck.

Further Baja-esque additions include high-clearance tube bumpers in front and in back, which look ready to plow through all but the hardest of obstacles. The rock rails were also beefed up, and there’s a racing-style fuel filler in the rear to keep the go-juice flowing. The KC Carbon series was tapped for its auxiliary lights in front, not to mention the chase light.

In the corners, the Jeep Sandstorm mounts slick 17-inch beadlock wheels, which arrive with a copper-colored inner framework and get wrapped by 39.5-inch Krawler rubber from BG Goodrich.


2018 Jeep Sandstorm - image 774771
“The Jeep Sandstorm gets an extended wheelbase, which should help with stability when traveling at a high rate of speed.”

When viewed from the side, you’ll notice that the Jeep Sandstorm gets an extended wheelbase, a mod that should help to cement the vehicle’s stability when traveling at a high rate of speed. To accomplish this, the front axle was moved forward on the chassis by 4 inches, while the rear axle was moved aft by 2 inches, giving it a 6-inch extension overall. The suspension is composed of a heavy-duty longarm four-link suspension and track bar for the front, while the rear uses a triangulated trailing arm and four-link suspension.

The individual suspension components themselves were upgraded with custom coilovers and bypass shocks, which give the front wheels as much as 14 inches of travel and the rear wheels an impressive 18 inches of travel.

The drivetrain is rounded out with heavy-duty components front and rear, with both ends receiving Dynatrac 60 axles and a 5.68 gear ratio. To live up to its racing promises, the Jeep Sandstorm is even equipped with the 6.4-liter V-8 optioned straight out of the Mopar performance catalog. Jeep neglected to mention output figures, but it’s likely churning out around 485 horses and 475 pound-feet of torque. Routing it all is a six-speed manual transmission.


2018 Jeep Sandstorm - image 774776
“Instrumentation includes a racing-spec gauge cluster and a 7-inch off-road GPS for navigation purposes.”

Inside, there’s a custom cage that integrates directly with the chassis. The front seats get leather upholstery, while the rear gets low-back racing buckets. Instrumentation includes a racing-spec gauge cluster and a 7-inch off-road GPS for navigation purposes. There’s also an onboard air compressor if you need to perform some impromptu repairs.

Adding to the high-performance feel are independent rocker switches for the electronics, air compressor, and axle lockers. Finally, the various interior plastic bits and carpet were tossed, replaced with a tough bed liner material for the floor.

Funny enough, Jeep says this thing is still street legal, even with the engine swap and wild suspension pieces. And we’re always impressed when an off-roading monster can play double duty with the day-to-day grind.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 748450

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.


maker logos - image 742908

Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep 4SPEED

The annual Easter Moab Safari is about to kick off in Utah, and Jeep is celebrating with a variety of tuned-up off-roaders that are ready to tackle the epic scenery. Joining the fun in this beefy-looking dark silver machine dubbed the Jeep 4SPEED, and it brings a host of upgrades designed to cut out some serious weight and make it even more capable on the challenging terrain it’ll face off the beaten path.

Continue reading to lear more about the Jeep 4SPEED.

What Makes The Jeep 4SPEED Special


2018 Jeep 4SPEED - image 774740
“The 4SPEED continues the theme of lightness and agility but cutting out unneeded heft at every opportunity.”

Much like the Pork Chop concept and the Stitch concept, which arrived at the Moab Safari in 2011 and 2013 respectively, the 4SPEED continues the theme of lightness and agility but cutting out unneeded heft at every opportunity.

To kick off the off-roader’s diet, Jeep went with a sizable dose of everyone’s favorite weight-savings material, carbon fiber. The composite was added everywhere on the exterior, including as a replacement for the hood, the flared-out fenders, and the rear tub. In back, there’s a selection of perforated aluminum panels as well, with additional lightweight bodywork to keep it evenly footed front to back.

Moving into the sides, we see the Jeep 4SPEED gets a raked windshield, longer door opening, and a sweptback roll cage, all of which combine to give it a new profile. It’s also quite a bit taller thanks to its 2.0-inch lift.


2018 Jeep 4SPEED - image 774737
“Additional off-roading gear includes the installation of Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 4.1- gear ratio.”

Further dimensional alterations are seen with the overall length of the vehicle, which was shortened by a full 22 inches in this build. However, despite cutting down on the front and rear extensions, the wheelbase remains unaltered, which helps to increase the approach and departure angles of the off-roader.

Additional off-roading gear includes the installation of Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 4.1- gear ratio. These drive 18-inch wheels with a lightweight monoblock construction in the corners, with the power hitting the terrain courtesy of Mud Terrain rubber from BF Goodrich measuring in at an impressive 35 inches.

Finishing it off is a custom instrument panel in the interior, plus seats trimmed in fresh upholstery. The rear seats were tossed out, while a welding curtain was repurposed as a bikini top to cover it up. The color scheme is a bright sky blue in the interior, which does well to brighten the vehicle up against the black and dark silver exterior. Meanwhile, the cabin floor gets a bedliner material for extra protection, and the foot wells use aluminum panels.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 748450

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.


maker logos - image 742908

Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Wrangler J-Wagon

Unveiled in 2017 and put in production in November, the latest-generation Jeep Wrangler is almost six months old. But, while customers were flooding Jeep showrooms to place an order for the JL, the previous-generation Wrangler remained in production until March 2018, for a life-cycle that amounts to almost 12 years, a record for the nameplate. With the JK now officially in the history books, the fourth-generation Wrangler is taking center stage at the 2018 Moab Easter Safari, where Jeep brought various concept vehicles based on the SUV. One of them is the J-Wagon, a premium-styled model that’s as capable on the unbeaten path as it is at home in the urban cityscapes.

Based on the Wrangler Sahara, the J-Wagon was personalized with Jeep Performance Parts and a couple of Mopar features. It’s a closed-roof four-door, which explains the “wagon” in the name, but it’s also equipped for proper off-roading thanks to larger wheels and tires and bespoke rock sliders. While many of the parts are still in concept phase, they will most likely become available to purchase later this year, so the J-Wagon is a good example of how you can customize your next Wrangler.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jeep Wrangler J-Wagon.

What makes the Jeep J-Wagon special

  • Off-road tires
  • Snorkel
  • LED flood lights
  • Custom engine hood
  • “Willys” logos
  • Mopar front grille
  • Brass Monkey detailing
  • Concept rock sliders
  • Roof rack
  • Warm Neutral Grey paint
  • Tinted glass
  • Katzkin leather
  • Brown piping
  • Brass Monkey interior trim

2018 Jeep Wrangler J-Wagon
- image 774727
“The first thing that catches the eye when looking at this concept SUV is the off-road-ready stance”

The first thing that catches the eye when looking at this concept SUV is the off-road-ready stance. The main features guilty of this look are the big rims wrapped in 33-inch BF Goodrich tires.
Then there’s the snorkel and the five-inch LED lights that offer military-grade illumination. Upgrades over the stock model continue with a custom engine hood that features a special cutout kit to work with the snorkel. The hood also has a Brass Monkey colored latch and a black “Willys” logo.

The front grille is also a retrofit element, being sourced from the Wrangler Rubicon model. Below, we can see Orange Crush tow hooks and Brass Monkey foglamps bezels. The wheels are also finished in this special color which was first showcased at the 2017 SEMA Show. Other upgrades include black concept rock sliders for additional body protection and a black roof rack for enhanced utility. The body is wrapped in a conceptual Warm Neutral Grey paint, while the hue of the tinted glass matches the finish.


2018 Jeep Wrangler J-Wagon
- image 774724
“The interior is all about premium upgrades, starting with Camel-colored Katzkin leather seats”

The interior is all about premium upgrades, starting with Camel-colored Katzkin leather seats with Stark Brown piping. The plow-through inserts mimic the triangulated grille design of the concept rock rails. Brass Monkey trim and bezel accents on the HVAC vents, door handles, and steering wheel round out the bespoke interior.

No word on what’s under the hood, so it’s safe to assume that the J-Wagon uses a standard drivetrain. Which isn’t bad since all engines are more than capable for off-roading.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 742104

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.


maker logos - image 742908

Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Wrangler Jeepster

The annual Moab Easter Safari is a cool event if you like to go off-roading, but it’s an equally important meeting if you’re a big fan of Jeep SUVs. The event is usually packed with cool concept cars from the FCA-owned automaker, with most of them time-based on the popular Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. But, Jeep also built numerous restomods in recent years, including older versions of the Wrangler, the CJ, and even the Grand Wagoneer. For 2018, Jeep prepared a tribute to the 1966 Jeepster using the brand-new Wrangler. And it’s an awesome two-door SUV which proves that Jeep should consider reviving the convertible pickup.

The Jeepster nameplate goes a long way back, having been introduced in 1948 by Willys-Overland Motors. Production ended in 1950, but the name was revived in 1966 by Kaiser-Jeep. The vehicle was actually known as the Jeepster Commando or C101; the Jeepster was turned into a small pickup truck aimed at the International Scout, Ford Bronco, Toyota Land Cruiser. Production ended in 1973, and a replacement wasn’t offered until 1981 when Jeep introduced the CJ-based Scrambler. The Jeepster concept is based on the latest Wrangler Rubicon and was put together using a range of Jeep Performance Parts. Let’s have a closer look below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jeep Wrangler Jeepster.

What makes the Jeep Wrangler Jeepster special

  • Vintage two-tone color
  • Raked windscreen
  • Vented engine hood
  • LED off-road lights
  • 17-inch wheels
  • Black fuel door
  • Tubular roll cage
  • Katzkin leather seats
  • Custom storage packs
  • Two-inch lift kit
  • Aluminum body shocks
  • Massive BF Goodrich tires

2018 Jeep Wrangler Jeepster - image 774652
“The windshield was raked back by 2.5 degrees to create a cropped and somewhat sportier stance”

Despite the massive stance due to the big tires and the lift kit, the Wrangler Jeepster impersonates the original Jeepster model quite nicely. The two-tone paint is obviously the main reason for that, as it combined a vintage-inspired Firecracker Red body with a Bright White hard-top and windshield, and matching accents on the fender flares and the upper sections of the concept half doors. The windshield was raked back by 2.5 degrees to create a cropped and somewhat sportier look. The roof was also chopped off by two inches for a lower stance.

Beyond the color, which evokes the 1966 Jeepster, the modified Wrangler boasts a number of Jeep Performance Parts, starting with a vented, bulged engine hood and five- and seven-inch LED off-road lights. The latter is backed by the production LED foglamps in the steel bumper. Other additions include two-tone 17-inch wheels, tri-color Jeepster badges, and a black fuel door.


2018 Jeep Wrangler Jeepster - image 774650
“Inside the cabin, Jeep replaced the standard sport bar with a conceptual, tubular roll cage”

Inside the cabin, Jeep replaced the standard sport bar with a conceptual, tubular roll cage and added all-weather floor mats for enhanced practicality. For a premium touch, the Wrangler Jeepster received black Katzkin leather seats with red Jeep logos on the seatbacks and red stitching on the bolsters. More red accents similar to the exterior paint can be seen on the dashboard.

Finally, Jeep created concept storage packs mounted to the tailgate for transport of gear and supplies, including food, water, and tools. These packs feature a split design to accommodate the rearview camera.

While there’s no word of what’s under the hood (most likely a standard drivetrain), the Jeepster rides on a two-inch lift kit and aluminum body shocks. Of course, it’s the massive, 37-inch BF Goodrich K02 tires that stand out and make the concept a full-fledged off-road vehicle, especially when compared to the original Jeepster.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 742104

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.


maker logos - image 742908

Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Teases New Concepts For Moab Easter Jeep Safari Vehicle

Certain automakers own certain events. In the case of Jeep, that event is the Moab Easter Safari, an annual gathering hosted by the Red-Rock 4-Wheelers off-road club in Moab, Utah. Every year, Jeep comes to the event with concept vehicles in tow. It’s no different this year because we have already received a couple of teaser images of what could be the concept rides the automaker is preparing to bring to the Easter Safari. Jeep didn’t mention which models these concepts will be based on, but judging from the teaser photos, they look to be a pair of JL Wranglers.


Jeep Teases New Concepts For Moab Easter Jeep Safari Vehicle - image 774066
“We do see a few noticeable upgrades on the front end, beginning with a bull bar with massive spotlights that have been added to the grille”

The teasers clearly tell us that those two models are Jeep Wrangler JL models. What’s less clear are the upgrades that both models are carrying.

The first teaser looks to be a Wrangler JL that’s dressed in orange body paint. We do see a few noticeable upgrades on the front end, beginning with a bull bar with massive spotlights that have been added to the grille. The front fenders seem to have been modified as well, possibly to accommodate a larger set of off-road tires that will help the Wrangler JL conquer any road surface it faces. It’s hard to see if the hood also received modifications — is that a hood scoop? — but if it did, we expect that this particular concept will have a power upgrade under that hood. That’s about all we can piece together at this point. It will be interesting to see what this concept will look like when it’s unveiled.


Jeep Teases New Concepts For Moab Easter Jeep Safari Vehicle - image 774067
“Unlike the first concept, this one is dressed in a more polished two-tone red and white paint scheme.”

The other teaser photo gives us a good look at the side profile of another Wrangler JL. Unlike the first concept, this one is dressed in a more polished two-tone red and white paint scheme. The way the colors are distributed also has a retro-feel to it that harkens back to those old SUVs from the 80’s. Look closer, and you’ll also see that it has a “Jeepster” badge located just in front of the front door. This is a clear hint that what we’re looking at here is a concept that will carry the “Jeepster” name.

Needless to say, our expectations for these two concepts are sky-high. That comes with the territory of expecting great things from Jeep when the Moab Easter Safari rolls around. If anything, Jeep has its work cut out for it because last year’s concepts raised the bar as far as our expectations go. Remember the Cherokee Grand One? How about the JK Wrangler Quicksand? It’s hard to forget concepts like those when they’ve been imprinted in your minds.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 742104

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.


maker logos - image 742908

Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon FCA Almost Debt Free; Aims to Overtake Ford in Earnings!

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is having a record year. Lead by CEO Sergio Marchionne, the automaker is set to pay off all its debts and bank a projected $4.9 billion in cash by the end of 2018. The solid financial footing will put FCA in a stronger place to compete against General Motors and Ford, perhaps even surpassing them in earnings.

Marchionne told analysts in a recent earnings teleconference that, “There’s a very strong likelihood that we will outperform Ford in terms of operating earnings in 2018. That’s something that if I told any of us in the room here that would’ve been doable five years ago, nobody would have believed it.”

FCA’s very positive standing is surprising considering Marchionne was practically begging General Motors for a merger, with CEO Mary Berra reportedly declining multiple offers. Now, Marchionne has completely dropped the idea, saying, “The necessity to find a partner, to try and guarantee our survival, going forward, is put to bed. I mean we’re done.”

The automaker’s success is pinned on its truck and SUV sales lead by the Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Jeep Wrangler. Sales forecasts only show growth, too, thanks to an all-new Wrangler for 2018, an all-new Ram 1500 for 2019, a refreshed Jeep Cherokee for 2019, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s new halo model, the Hellcat-powered 2018 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Add to that Jeep’s upcoming Scrambler pickup, three-row Jeep Wagoneer, and the luxury-minded Grand Wagoneer.

Continue reading for more information.

Sunny Outlooks for FCA


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 748543
“Another factor in FCA’s recent financial fortune is growing profit margins, which rose from 7.1 to 8.0 percent over the last year”

Another factor in FCA’s recent financial fortune is growing profit margins, which rose from 7.1 to 8.0 percent over the last year. Comparatively, Ford’s profit margins have fallen from 8.5 to 6.8 percent in the same time. That further substantiates Marchionne’s claim of surpassing Ford in earnings.

“The 2018 forecast is an indication of what this machine can produce,” Marchionne said in the teleconference. “We’re going to run our business, and we are going to run hard.”

Adding fuel to the fire, President Trump’s recent U.S. Tax Code revamp is forecasted to help FCA by $1 billion in 2018.

Marchionne is expected to deliver FCA’s next four-year strategic plan in June of 2018, taking the company out to 2022. It’s very possible new vehicles will be announced then, too, so we’ll certainly be paying attention to that. We fully expect FCA to continue and further its reliance on crossovers, SUVs, and pickups as fuel prices stay low. Simultaneously, the automaker is working on fuel-saving systems like the mild hybrid systems found in the 2018 Jeep Wrangler and 2019 Ram 1500.

References


FCA Almost Debt Free; Aims to Overtake Ford in Earnings! - image 751496

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.


All-New 2019 Ram 1500 Steals The Show at Detroit - image 758490

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


maker logos - image 750373

Read more FCA news.

PostHeaderIcon Video of the Day: Seeing the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Through Aftermarket Eyes

Here at TopSpeed.com, we’ve covered the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL seven ways to Sunday. From the first spy shots to our driven review out in Arizona, we’ve seen it all. But there is always more to learn. Denis Wood over at TeraFlex Suspensions took a detailed look at the Wrangler’s greasy bits in a view not even Jeep engineers discussed at the press event.

Of course, Wood’s views are from an aftermarket company’s standpoint. TeraFlex develops, builds, and sells suspension lifts and all the ancillary parts people love to bolt to their Jeeps. TeraFlex knows Wranglers and it knows their weak points. The outgoing Wrangler JK was a fantastic vehicle, but it has some drawbacks. The exhaust crossed under the front driveshaft and the two would collide during extreme off-roading. The fuel system’s evaporation canister hung low on the Jeep’s underbelly and was an easy target for rocks or sticks. Both problem areas have been completely eliminated in the new Wrangler JL, along with dozens more.

Wood’s is an interesting perspective not many get to see. Add to that his silky smooth voice and fatherly demeanor that wouldn’t be misplaced on a national news broadcast program covering feel-good stories.


References

Jeep Wrangler.


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 751501

Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 742104

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.

PostHeaderIcon Someone Swapped A V-10 Into A 2005 Jeep Wrangler!

The venerable Jeep Wrangler is no stranger to engine swaps. Folks have been shoving bigger engines behind its grille ever since the U.S. Military defeated the Axis powers in 1945. The small-block Chevrolet V-8 is the standard go-to engine, but small block Fords and even other Mopar engines are a common sight. But, it’s a certifiable rarity to see a Wrangler with the 8.3-liter V-10 from the Viper and 2004 – 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 SRT10.

Nevertheless, that’s exactly what’s for sale right now on eBay.

The project started with a low-mileage 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. That generation is known as the TJ, but since it’s a long-wheelbase Unlimited version, it’s called the LJ. So, this LJ with 22,500 miles had its 4.0-liter inline six-cylinder, four-speed automatic transmission, and two-speed transfer case removed and replaced with, well, “beefier” components. The transmission is now a 48RE automatic from a Ram heavy-duty and the T-case is a modified RockTrac unit from a Wrangler Rubicon. The front axle is a good ole Ford nine-inch, while the rear axle is a stout Dana 60. Both have 35-spline axle shafts.

The suspension is a long-arm kit from Superlift that accompanies by a one-inch body lift that helps with clearance of the big V-10 under the hood. A set of 20-inch six-spoke, Pro Comp wheels and 35-inch Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ all-terrain tires hide Viper-sized front brakes and upgraded rear disc brakes.

Continue reading for more information on this Jeep Wrangler.


Someone Swapped A V-10 Into A 2005 Jeep Wrangler! - image 755342
“The 8.3-liter V-10 is in stock condition and makes roughly 500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque”

Inside the Jeep, the stock seats were replaced with two-tone suede sport seats and the plastic center console swapped for a lockable, metal unit. Naturally, the stock radio is swapped for an aftermarket head unit. In back, the cargo area features a large steel drawl that is also lockable. A premium soft top is augmented by a full-length roof rack that’s removable. The steel bumpers are from Warn, as are the rock sliders below the doors. Finally, LED taillights finish off the exterior upgrades.

Of course, the big news is under the hood. The 8.3-liter V-10 is in stock condition and makes roughly 500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque. That was enough to accelerate the 5,130-pound regular cab Dodge Ram SRT 10 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. With a lower curb weight, the LJ should finish the run in less time – perhaps around 4.5 seconds.


Someone Swapped A V-10 Into A 2005 Jeep Wrangler! - image 755351
“The eBay classified listing has this 2005 Jeep Wrangler LJ prices at $52,000 and is located in Chicago”

While this SRT10 Wrangler might outrun ever LJ, it won’t pass every gas station. The EPA estimated the Ram SRT10 to get 9.0 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway.

The eBay classified listing has this 2005 Jeep Wrangler LJ prices at $52,000 and is located in Chicago. That’s a lot of scratch for a 13-year-old Jeep, but it’s not every day when such a clean V-10-powered Wrangler comes up for sale. The 8.3-liter V-10 might not be the most economical or power-dense engine swap ever seen in a Wrangler, but it’s certainly outside conventionality. Let’s just say this Jeep would attract quite a crowd at the local Cars & Coffee or Jeep meet. For some, that might be worth the buy-in price.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited - image 52466

Read our full review on the 2007 Jeep Wrangler.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Wrangler JL – First Look

The time has finally come; we’ve gotten a chance to spend quality time behind the wheel of the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL. Jeep flew us out to the deserts of Arizona for our first view of the Wrangler since it debuted the week prior at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show.

We’ve coved the new Wrangler to death with nearly a dozen articles focused on various aspects of the Jeep, and most recently, our driving impressions, pricing information, and fuel economy. We can say the new Wrangler is wholly improved and in no way less capable off-road. In fact, Jeep designers and engineers worked tirelessly to retain (and in many areas improve) the Wrangler’s capabilities. So without further ado, here’s our take on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL.

Exterior


2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - First Look - image 751434

While we’ve got a full review of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler already online, here’s our thoughts now that we’ve seen it in person.

It’s clear Jeep designers sweated the details on the new Wrangler. It might look too similar to the outgoing Wrangler JK in photos, but in person, the new JL has a completely different persona. Every body panel is different and that is very apparent the second you get close.

The grille and optional LED headlights go a long way in making the Wrangler JL feel modern. The LED turn signals and daytime running lights in the front fenders also contribute. The longer, flatter hood brings better proportionality to the Wrangler Unlimited’s profile, while the newly lowered beltline and character line under the windows make it appear less top heavy.


2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - First Look - image 751462
“Around back, the new taillights and bumper are quickly identifiable against the older Wrangler JK”

Around back, the new taillights and bumper are quickly identifiable against the older Wrangler JK. The license plate was moved from the body to the bumper, as well, helping with aerodynamics. It also keeps the license plate from getting ripped off on the trail – a common occurrence with the JK. The tailgate’s hinges are now exposed rather than being covered in plastic and the spare tire is mounted lower for better visibility out of the rear window.

Other noticeable improvements are the new pull-style door handles. They are much easier to operate than the JK’s and even include passive entry. Push-button starting is standard across the board, too.

And speaking of aerodynamics, the Wrangler JL’s new shape is far better at managing air. Sport models have a new air dam that fits between the bumper and front fenders. Hard top models now have a mild spoiler lip above the rear window. The new windshield is slightly more raked but is still far more vertical than anything seen on a crossover or car. Only the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon can compete with the Wrangler’s tall windshield.


2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - First Look - image 751478

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 2-door 96.8 (2,460)
4-door 118.4 (3,008)
Overhang Front: 29.2 (741.6)
Rear: 40.8 (1,036.3)
Track Front: 62.9 (1,598)
Rear: 62.9 (1,598)
Overall Length (includes spare tire) 166.8 (4,237) – 2-door
188.4 (4,785) – 4-door
Overall Width 73.8 (1,875)
Overall Height 73.6 (1,868.4)
Liftover Height 29.7 (756.4)
Cargo Width at Swing-Gate Opening 41.1 (1,052)
Cargo Height at Swing-Gate Opening 36 (942.3)
Load Floor Height 30 (762.1)

The Tops

The Wrangler JL has three tops to choose from. The soft top, the Freedom hard top, and the Powertop. There are actually two versions of the soft top: a vinyl top on the base model and a thicker, more insulated canvas top as an extra-cost option. The Freedom top is similar to the JK’s Freedom top, but Jeep eliminated the hand screws that took forever to undo. Now, only eight latches secure the two panels. The panels are now lighter, too, making removable and replacement super easy. The Powertop is available on the Sahara and Rubicon trims only and offers a one-touch power operate that opens the canvas panel. What remains is a massive sunroof from the A-pillars back past the C-pillars. What’s more, the side windows easily remove with two latches. The Powertop is the right choice for anyone not up for heavy lifting or getting wet when it starts raining.

Interior


2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - First Look - image 751441
“In person, the JL’s interior feels nothing like the hard-plastic mess seen in the JK.”

We knew the Wrangler JL’s interior was miles better than the JK’s from the photos we’d seen, but that didn’t prepare us for reality. In person, the JL’s interior feels nothing like the hard-plastic mess seen in the JK. Everything is soft-touch or purposefully hard. If it looks like metal, it is. The screws on the dashboard are actually screws – even those around the HVAC system. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is a joy to hold and the gear shifters give a satisfying feedback. The seats are far more supportive and the driver seat now has an adjustable lumbar feature.

Still, the Wrangler isn’t too plush for its own good. The dash is still weather resistant and the carpet is still removable. Yep, the floor pan still has drain plugs and the seats are manually adjustable so there are no electric motors to fail. The seats in upper trims are heated, though, which is a big blessing on cold drives with the doors and top off.

Handy features in the interior include a bevy of USB and USB-C ports, a 110-volt household plug, longer and more padded armrests in the doors, more storage spots, a folding center armrest in four-door models, and a two-tier center console lid.


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 751637
“The Wrangler comes with three Uconnect infotainment systems”

The Wrangler comes with three Uconnect infotainment systems: Uconnect 3 with a 5.0-inch display, Uconnect 4 with a 7.0-inch display, and Uconnect 4 with an 8.4-inch display with navigation. The 8.4 system comes standard in the four-door Sahara and Rubicon models.

Rear seat comfort is upgraded, too. Along with that center folding armrest on four-door models, every Wrangler JL has rear HVAC vents. The four-door offers an inch more legroom than before and more supportive seats with a more reclined seatback. More USB ports and that 110-volt household plug reside at the back of the center console.

Unlimited models can be had with Jeep’s new TrailRail system – an integrated aluminum rail with adjustable hooks for securing cargo. Another rail is integrated onto the tailgate. And in an effort to maximize utility, the tailgate even has a flat spot above the latch for holding a drink.


2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - First Look - image 751490

Interior Dimensions

Seating Capacity (front/rear) 2/2 – 2-door, 2/3 – 4-door
SAE Total Interior Passenger Volume, (cu. ft. / cu. m) 103.7 (2.94)
Front: Headroom: 40.7 (1,036) hardtop / 42.6 (1,083) soft top
Legroom: 41.2 (1,038)
Shoulder Room: 55.7 (1,417)
Hip Room: 53.9 (1,370)
Seat Travel: 8.1 (206)
EPA Front Volume Index: 53.8 (1.52)
Rear: Headroom: 40.2 (1,023) hardtop, 41.7 (1,059) soft top
Legroom: 35.7 (904.2) – 2-door, 38.3 (974) – 4-door
Knee Clearance: 61.6 (1,565.9)
Shoulder Room: 57.7 (1,458) – 2-door, 55.7 (1,417) – 4-door
Hip Room: 45 (1,143) – 2-door, 56.7 (1,440) – 4-door
EPA Rear Seat Volume Index (cu. ft. / cu. m): 49.9 (1.40)
Liftover Height 29.7 (756.4)
Maximum Cargo Width at Liftgate Opening 47.9 (1,218.7)
Minimum Cargo Width at Liftgate Opening 41.1 (1,052)
Maximum Cargo Height at Liftgate Opening 36.0 (942.3)
Minimum Cargo Height at Liftgate Opening 35.7 (907.8)
Distance between Wheelhouse Interior Trim 45.0 (1143)
SAE Cargo Volume: Rear Seat Folded: 72.4 cu. ft. (2.05)
Rear Seat Upright: 31.7 cu. ft. (0.89)
Total Passenger plus Cargo Volume, (cu. ft. / cu. m): 150.4 cu. ft.

Drivetrain


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 748526
“The standard engine is the familiar but improved 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque”

For 2018, the Wrangler finally has more than one engine to choose from. Jeeps of the past have had at least two available engines, so the JL harks back to those bygone days. The engine choices a bit more modern, however.

The standard engine is the familiar but improved 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It’s improvement centers on the new automatic start/stop system it employs to save on fuel consumption. The V-6 is available with the new six-speed manual transmission and the new-to-the-Wrangler ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.

The optional engine is an all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. it comes mated exclusively with the eight-speed automatic. Its impressive torque rating comes by way of a mild hybrid system. A belt-starter-generator uses electricity to help turn the engine’s crankshaft at lower revs. This helps with low-end torque and added smoothness when low-speed crawling. An automatic start/stop system is used here, too.

Three 4WD transfer cases are available: the standard Command-Trac for all but the Rubicon, the Rock-Trac that’s exclusive to the Rubicon, and the new Select-Trac transfer case with a full-time 4WD mode that’s an exclusive option on the Sahara. You can read all the details on these transfer case in our full review here.


2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - First Look - image 751502

Drivetrain Specifications

ENGINE 3.6-­LITER PENTASTAR V-­6 2.0-LITER TURBO I-4
Availability Standard — all models Available — all models
Type and Description 60-­degree, V-­type, liquid-­cooled I-4 16-valve with direct injection, turbo charging, with throttled, cooled EGR
Displacement (cu. in. / cc) 220 cu. in. (3604 cu. cm) 121 cu. in. (1995 cu. cm)
Bore x Stroke 3.78 x 3.27 (96 x 83) 3.31 x 3.54 (84 x 90)
Valve System Chain-­driven DOHC, 24 valves and hydraulic end-­pivot roller rockers Chain-driven DOHC, 16 valves
Fuel Injection Sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless Direct Injection
Construction Aluminum deep-­skirt block, aluminum alloy heads Aluminum block, aluminum alloy heads
Compression Ratio 10.2:1 10:01
Power 285 HP @ 6,400 RPM 270 HP @ 5,250 RPM
Torque 260 LB-FT @ 4,800 RPM 295 LB-FT @ 3,000 RPM
Max. Engine Speed (rpm) 6,600 rpm (electronically limited) 5,800 rpm (electronically limited)
Fuel Requirement Unleaded regular, 87 octane (R + M)/2 Minimum unleaded regular, 87 octane (R + M)/2, 91 octane or higher recommended for optimum fuel economy and performance
Fuel Tank Capacity (gallons) 22.5 18.5 (2-door), 21.5 (4-door)
Oil Capacity 6.0 quarts (5.7 liters) 5 quarts (4.7 liters)
Coolant Capacity 14 quarts (13.25 liters) 9.9 quarts (9.4 liters)
Emission Controls Dual three-­way catalytic converters, heated oxygen sensors and internal engine features GPEC4 engine-management system with close-coupled catalyst; and wide range O2 sensor
EPA Fuel Economy mpg (city/hwy/combined) 18/23/20 (automatic); 17/23/19 (manual) TBD — automatic (2-door); TBD — automatic (4-door)

Final Thoughts


2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - First Look - image 751477

Jeep has most definitely improved the Wrangler. From its appearance and interior refinement to its drivetrain and efficiency, everything is better than before. It takes sitting behind the wheel and getting up close to the new JL to really appreciate the changes. Thankfully, the new Wrangler JL’s improvements shouldn’t alienate Jeep’s loyal fan base of hard-core off-roaders. It might be more refined, but the Wrangler is still a Wrangler. Even better for Jeep’s pockets, the JL will be more appealing to the everyday customer whose only off-roading happens in the wet grass at the local soccer field complex.

Read here for our detailed driving impressions of both on-road and off-road conditions.

  • Leave it
    • * More expensive
    • * Turbodiesel & hybrid not available at launch
    • * Still compromized on pavement

References

Jeep Wrangler.


2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - First Look - image 751501

Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 742104

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.


2017 Jeep Wrangler - image 687100

Read our full review on the JK-gen 2017 Jeep Wrangler


Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler's Powertop Top in Action - image 752259

Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Powertop Top in Action


Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler's Freedom Top in Action - image 752258

Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Freedom Top in Action


Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler's Soft Top & Windshield in Action - image 752131

Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Soft Top & Windshield in Action


A Detailed Look At the 2018 Jeep Wrangler's Dashboard - image 752115

A Detailed Look At the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Dashboard


The 2018 Jeep Wrangler's Three Infotainment Systems - image 752000

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Three Infotainment Systems


The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Come With its Own Tool Kit - image 751893

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Come With its Own Tool Kit


What Separates the Rubicon from the Wrangler's Other Trims - image 751706

What Separates the Rubicon from the Wrangler’s Other Trims


The 2018 Wrangler's Cargo Area is Ready For Anything - image 751679

The 2018 Wrangler’s Cargo Area is Ready For Anything

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Jeep Wrangler Priced at $26,995

Jeep has announced pricing for the all-new, 2018 Wrangler JL. As expected, the costs have risen for each trim level. The base Sport two-door starts at $26,995 – a full $3,000 more than the equivalent outgoing Wrangler JK. The price hike continues throughout the lineup, with the two-door Wrangler JL Rubicon costing $3,350 more at $36,995. The four-door 2018 Wrangler JL Sahara starts at $37,345, which is $3,100 more than the JK version.

While the increase is steep, the hike can be explained by Jeep’s development costs, the Wrangler’s new aluminum components and strong steel frame, the new drivetrain options, the new hard and soft tops, and the vastly improved interior. Add to that Jeep’s need of relocating the Wrangler’s assembly to make room for the upcoming Wrangler-based pickup while continuing the Wrangler JK’s production into the first few months of 2018.

Continue reading for a full list of prices for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL.

Prices for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL


2018 Jeep Wrangler Priced at $26,995 - image 751433
“The base Sport two-door starts at $26,995 – a full $3,000 more than the equivalent outgoing Wrangler JK.”
2018 Jeep Wrangler Price
Wrangler Sport (two-door) $26,995
Wrangler Sport S (two-door) $30,195
Wrangler Rubicon (two-door) $36,995
Wrangler Unlimited Sport (four-door) $30,495
Wrangler Unlimited Sport S (four-door) $33,695
Wrangler Unlimited Sahara (four-door) $37,345
Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (four-door) $40,495

These prices do not include the $1,195 destination and delivery fee Jeep charges for transporting the vehicles from the Toledo, Ohio factory to dealerships nationwide. Of course, taxes, license tags, and other fees are not included either. Adding options increases the price as well.


2018 Jeep Wrangler Priced at $26,995 - image 751442
“Jeep expects the 2018 Wrangler JLs to begin arriving in showrooms sometime during the first quarter of 2018”

Jeep expects the 2018 Wrangler JLs to begin arriving in showrooms sometime during the first quarter of 2018. Four-door models will likely continue out-selling two-door models by a four-to-one ratio, just as with the outgoing Wrangler JK. And due to the big improvements, Jeep is hoping to improve the Wrangler’s global annual sales beyond the current figure of 250,000. Here in the U.S., Jeep sold nearly 203,000 Wrangler JKs in 2015, with another 20,880 going to Canada. The remainder is sold overseas.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 742104

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.


2017 Jeep Wrangler - image 687100

Read our full review on the JK-gen 2017 Jeep Wrangler

PostHeaderIcon Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL

Much hoopla has been made over the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL. Enthusiasts around the world and the massive aftermarket scene have been hanging on every word written about the first new Wrangler in a decade – and for good reason. The JL represents the first reworking of the Wrangler since it exploded in popularity thanks to the addition of four doors with the 2007 Wrangler Unlimited JK. Everybody from the hard-core rock crawler to the average soccer mom wants to know how this new Wrangler drives.

Thankfully, the wait is over.

Jeep flew us out to Tucson, Arizona in early December for the Wrangler JL’s first U.S.-based media event. The southwestern territory offers an interesting mix of smooth, flat roads through valleys and bumpy, twisty roads through the rock-strewn hills north of town. And of course, off the pavement lies nothing but inhospitable terrain filled with cactuses, scorpions, venomous snakes, and rocks after rocks with more rocks piled on top. It was the perfect place to test the new Wrangler’s mettle.

Continue reading for our driving impressions.

Behind The Wheel


Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - image 751435
“The JL rides much better with more suspension soak on bumps while somehow feeling more planted.”

The Wrangler’s recipe hasn’t changed despite it being completely new. It rides on a ladder frame, uses solid axles, and rides on a multi-link coil spring suspension. As such, there was only so much Jeep engineers could do to improve the ride. However, it is certainly a marked improvement.

Having driven several JKs over the years, I can say the JL rides much better with more suspension soak on bumps while somehow feeling more planted. The 200-pound weight reduction achieved through a lighter body and stronger frame likely have something to do with that. Small bumps and high-frequency washboards don’t send near as much vibration into the cabin and road noise is dramatically reduced in both the Sahara with its all-season tires and especially on the Rubicon with its new all-terrain tires rather than the mud-terrains on the JK Rubicon. Around town, comfort is drastically better.


Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - image 751474
“The rear spare tire has been moved down and the hard top’s wiper motor is moved to behind the spare – both of which increase rear vision”

Outward visibility is improved, too. Jeep increased the size of every pane of glass for a more open cabin. The rear spare tire has been moved down and the hard top’s wiper motor is moved to behind the spare – both of which increase rear vision. Better still, the Wrangler finally has a backup camera. It also comes standard, regardless of trim. The camera’s resolution, especially on the Uconnect 8.4-inch system, is very clear. That should come in very handy when backup up on the trail.

But the Wrangler JL won’t have too much backing up to do off-road. The steering has been improved for a tighter turning radius. Jeep engineers were telling stories of JKs needed to do three-point turns on tight trails while JL development mules were sailing right around the corner.


Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - image 751501
“The Jeep development team decided early on that the JL would not lose any of its off-road capability, no matter what the cost.”

Of course, everybody wants to know how the Jeep Wrangler JL performs off-road. Not surprisingly, the thing is awe-inspiring. The Jeep development team decided early on that the JL would not lose any of its off-road capability, no matter what the cost. As such, the on-road feel is still more compromised than all other mid-size SUVs and crossovers. But point the Wrangler’s new seven-slotted grille toward the dirt, and prepare to be impressed.


Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - image 751576
“The Sahara’s suspension does a commendable job at soaking up large, low-speed bumps, but not as well as the Rubicon’s, which is also aided by larger tires with more flexible sidewalls.”

My first taste off the beaten path was in an Unlimited Sahara. That model comes with laughably street-biased Bridgestone Dueler H/T 685 all-season tires, yet with 4WD high engaged, the Sahara easily scaled steep inclines of lose dirt and rock, all without any wheel slip. Naturally, the Bridgestones do a great job on the street and produce zero road noise. The Sahara’s suspension does a commendable job at soaking up large, low-speed bumps, but not as well as the Rubicon’s, which is also aided by larger tires with more flexible sidewalls.

As for the Rubicon, the thing feels unstoppable. I sampled the Rubicon Unlimited with the new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic and the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with the new six-speed manual transmission. Both engines provide plenty of low-end torque and the Rock-Trac transfer case and 4.10:1 axle ratios multiply that torque exponentially.

On the Rocks


Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - image 751507
“Put the part-time transfer case into 4WD low range, and the Wrangler Rubicon crawls forward with unstoppable might.”

I piloted an Unlimited Rubicon with the 2.0-liter for my time on the rock course. Its 295 pound-feet of low-end torque comes at just 3,000 rpm, with some credit due to the new mild hybrid system. The belt-driven starter generator receives power from a battery bank in order to help turn the crankshaft.

Put the part-time transfer case into 4WD low range, and the Wrangler Rubicon crawls forward with unstoppable might. The eight-speed automatic transmission has plenty of ratios to allow for higher speeds in low range, though it’s definitely not indented for on-road use. The large boulders mixed with smaller rocks provided a challenging course, but the BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires (even at full pressure) provided outstanding levels of grip. At only one point did the tires struggle for traction, and that was at a nearly 45-degree incline over slick rocks.


Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - image 751468
“The large boulders mixed with smaller rocks provided a challenging course, but the BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires provided outstanding levels of grip”

The Jeep’s tight turning radius came into play at the hillclimb’s peak. A nearly 90-degree right-hand turn awaited and the Wrangler Unlimited had only inches to spare for a three-point turn. The JK would have needed more than three points to make the turn.

Being a Rubicon, the underside comes with skid plates and the rocker panels are protected with steel sliders. These were certainly put to the test on the course, where large boulders would have dented the body and punctured the fuel tank.

Rubicons equipped with the automatic transmission have a respectable 77.2:1 crawl ratio, which proved more than enough for the course Jeep provided. However, Rubicons with the V-6 and six-speed manual combination have an ultra-low 84.2:1 crawl ratio – nearly double the torque multiplication on the automatic-equipped Sport and Sahara models. That means first gear and low range in the manual Rubicon is insanely powerful. At idle, the Jeep crawls at 1.0 mph and feels like it could bull the Eiffel Tower off its base. You’ll need to shift into third gear in order to go anywhere fast.


Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - image 751541
“The gearbox is much more refined than the JK’s old six-speed.”

As speaking of the new six-speed manual, the gearbox is much more refined than the JK’s old six-speed. The throws are shorter and gates more pronounced, leading to a more satisfying driving experience. It’s no sports car, but the manual is far less truck-like. That’s thanks to the new cable connections that mate the shifter to the transmission.

The electronic locking front and rear differentials are much easier to use, too. The dash-mounted toggle switch allows for a straight-forward, one-touch engagement of either the rear locker or both front and rear lockers. A separate button turns the off. The same is true for the electronically disconnecting front sway bar. A single button turns the system off and on – all without any confusion. Indicators in the gauge cluster further help indicate what’s going on.

On-Road With The Rubicon


Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - image 751433
“The softer suspension made for a more comfortable on-road experience and the gearbox was a joy to shift”

I was able to snag a few miles of on-road driving time with an Unlimited Rubicon with the V-6 and six-speed manual. The softer suspension made for a more comfortable on-road experience and the gearbox was a joy to shift. The clutch is light and has an early pick-up, making the upper half of its travel useless. The steering feels better than the outgoing Wrangler JK, but still has some on-center vagueness. The same is true for the Sahara model I drove, as well. Still, the driving dynamics are far improved and easily recognizable.

On-Road With The Sahara


Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - image 751476
“Bumps are handled with more composure and road noise is almost eliminated”

Most of my time with the new 2018 Wrangler JL was inside an Unlimited model with the V-6. It’s clear Jeep engineers sweated over improving the ride and overall quality of the experience. Bumps are handled with more composure and road noise is almost eliminated. The power-retractable top shows no signs of flapping in the wind, but there is some wind noise generated at the top of the windshield. It’s not bad, though, and certainly better than the JK.

Perhaps the best improvement in my book is the improved throttle response with the V-6. Even though the 3.6-liter is basically unchanged from its time in the Wrangler JK – power specs and all – the throttle is more responsive on the road. Before, the JK required what felt like three-quarter throttle just to get moving. Now, a light touch is all that’s needed. Slip the transfer case into 4WD low range, and the throttle response gets less touchy, which is exactly what’s needed when bumping down some rock-strewn road.

Observed Fuel Economy


Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - image 751521
“The EPA estimates the Unlimited V-6 automatic to get 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined”

My on-road driving time in the Wrangler Unlimited Sahara with the part-time Command-Trac transfer case, V-6, and automatic transmission saw an impressive 25.9 mpg combined over a 25-mile highway and short city trek. That’s much improved over the JK thanks to the eight-speed automatic having three more gears than the JK’s slushbox and the JL’s new, more aerodynamic design.

The EPA estimates the Unlimited V-6 automatic to get 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined. With the manual transmission, those numbers drop to 17/23/19, respectively. Sadly, estimates for the 2.0-liter turbo-four are still unpublished, though I suspect an improvement over the V-6.

For those wanting all-out fuel economy, the upcoming Plug-In Hybrid will be availing in 2020. Those who love torque and the smell of diesel fuel will love the addition of FCA’s lovely 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6. Fuel economy stats on those two are still unknown, of course.

Final Thoughts


Driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - image 751505
“The new Jeep Wrangler JL is miles better than the outgoing JK in every measure, especially behind the wheel”

The new Jeep Wrangler JL is miles better than the outgoing JK in every measure, especially behind the wheel. It’s easier to live with on a daily basis, which most Wrangler JK owners will love to hear. It’s quieter, the seats are more comfortable, it’s easier to see out of, the V-6 feels more powerful thanks to an improved throttle response, and the fuel economy is certainly better.

The 2007-2017 JK moved the Wrangler from being an off-road toy and utility vehicle to something people could daily drive through the week and still have fun on the weekends with. The new 2018 JL keeps that spirit alive while improving the ease of daily living and maintaining the Jeep’s iconic off-road reputation.

References

Jeep Wrangler.


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 742104

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.


2017 Jeep Wrangler - image 687100

Read our full review on the JK-gen 2017 Jeep Wrangler


Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler's Powertop Top in Action - image 752259

Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Powertop Top in Action


Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler's Freedom Top in Action - image 752258

Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Freedom Top in Action


Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler's Soft Top & Windshield in Action - image 752131

Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Soft Top & Windshield in Action


A Detailed Look At the 2018 Jeep Wrangler's Dashboard - image 752115

A Detailed Look At the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Dashboard


The 2018 Jeep Wrangler's Three Infotainment Systems - image 752000

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Three Infotainment Systems


The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Come With its Own Tool Kit - image 751893

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Come With its Own Tool Kit


What Separates the Rubicon from the Wrangler's Other Trims - image 751706

What Separates the Rubicon from the Wrangler’s Other Trims


The 2018 Wrangler's Cargo Area is Ready For Anything - image 751679

The 2018 Wrangler’s Cargo Area is Ready For Anything

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