In case you missed it, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles today unveiled its brand-new, 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL. In a previous article, we took a look at some of the all-important specifications; now, it’s time to examine its design and features.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL ought to be instantly recognizable for anyone who’s ever laid eyes on a Jeep, owing to its rugged, squarish body, and trademark seven-slot grille. The outermost slots of the grille now intersect with the headlamps – a feature that FCA says recalls the CJ.
Plenty has changed, however. The top of the grille is now swept back gently for improved aerodynamics; the beltline has been lowered and the windows made larger for better visibility; and the whole vehicle has grown in both length and width. Jeep says that dozens of different door, windshield, and roof combinations will be available, with a half-door option launching in 2019.
From the second quarter of next year, a new, power-retracting “Sunrider” soft top will be available, while the standard option will be a black hardtop on Sport and Sport S models, or a body-colored hardtop on the Sahara and Rubicon. Also available on all models will be a three-piece black hardtop, providing users with more options for just how open they want the cabin to be. As on previous iterations, the windshield can be folded flat, although the previous-generation’s complicated song and dance has been made dramatically simpler, with just four bolts that need to be loosened.
Inside, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL features a completely redesigned console and dash, with a push-button start with a weatherproof surround for the first time. Circular HVAC vents with platinum chrome bezels, metal-plated accents on the center console, and soft, vinyl-wrapped door trim panels all communicate a premium feel. Sahara and Rubicon models also get a hand-wrapped instrument panel with contrast stitching
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL boasts FCA’s fourth-generation Uconnect infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a choice of 5.0-, 7.0-, or 8.4-inch touchscreen. Heated seats and steering wheel are available as options, and FCA is touting more than 75 available safety and security features, including: Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection; ParkView rearview camera with with dynamic grid lines; electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation; and four standard airbags.
The instrument panel now features a standard 3.5-inch TFT screen, with a 7.0-inch version available as an option. The larger screen allows the driver to display various information like tire pressure, digital speed readout, or current media being played with more than 100 possible configurations.
Meanwhile, FCA’s wider use of aluminum has helped knock up to 200 pounds off the curb weight. The stuff is used in the doors, hood, fender flares, and windshield frame, while the swing gate is now made of magnesium. All of this should add up to increased fuel economy and stronger performance.
For off-roading adventures, the new Wrangler features four skid plates and bars to protect critical components. A pair of high-strength, tubular rock rails fitted to Rubicon models keeps body damage at bay, and in addition, the Rubicon gets an electronic sway bar-disconnect to improve suspension articulation and travel on-the-fly.
Finally, an all-new available Trail Rail cargo management system lends easy access to the cargo area, and gives customers extra storage options for organizing and securing cargo.
True to the spirit of previous Jeep Wrangler designs, the new JL is rugged, smart, and ready for adventure. It’s really quite incredible that, in the age of soft, squishy FWD cars with no passion and too many electronic nannies, you can still get a rugged, body-on-frame 4×4 rock crawler with a manual transfer case and removable doors – from a major global automaker, no less. The 2018 Wrangler carries on that tradition, only with more useful features and stronger design than ever before.