CJ Off-Road Tests New Wrangler JL in Mud & Snow

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Jeep’s 2018 Wrangler JL looks like an all-around capable vehicle so far, but can it compete with JK when it comes to terrain?

You’ve gotta love the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL—it’s tough, powerful and totally durable. It’s even got the towing capacity to get someone out of a sticky situation. But what happens when it gets into a sticky situation itself?

CJ Off-Road’s Michael Fredrick and Matt Mohl decided to put the all-new, redesigned JL to the test on a brisk Pennsylvania winter morning in the above video from the company’s official YouTube page. The driver, Mohl, is originally from Arizona and has never driven in the snow before, according to Fredrick. However, he drives flawlessly through “eight-inches of thick, heavy snow” to meet Fredrick during his intro.

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Snow Test

Mud Grappler Tires

Amazed, Fredrick inspects the Wrangler to find that it looks different from the last time he was there. Sure enough, Mohl reveals his secret weapons. brand new American Racing ATX 201 wheels and 35-inch Nitto Mud Grappler tires. The last time they attempted to power through the mud, the Wrangler JL got severely stuck; partly because he was running all-terrain tires. This time, he came fully prepared and we don’t blame him.

They decide to go to the same pit as last time, where Fredrick challenges Mohl to drive through both the mud and snow, then subsequently try to power through the same marsh right after (only it’s now covered in icy snow). Mohl throws the gearbox in low fourth gear and took the pit head on. Unsurprisingly, the Nitto-equipped Jeep Wrangler JL dominated the pit.

“Made it through without a problem! Those tires are ridiculous,” said Fredrick, who then threw a snowball at the vehicle in a joking manner.

It was then time for the real test.

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Snow Test


Mohl took on the swampy, snowy marsh, but surprisingly got trapped again. Only this time, Fredrick’s JK wasn’t enough to fish him out, as the JL was too far stuck. They eventually had to use a Ford F-150 to get it out. Still feeling competitive, they decided to do a drag race in the snow between the JK and JL.

Surprisingly, the JL lost twice to this challenge—both with and without traction control. Despite having superior traction and a more powerful 3.6-liter engine (JK uses the older 3.8 liter), the JL just couldn’t compete with JK on a straightaway. Then again, who drags in mud and snow, anyway?

“I definitely believe the JL has more power than the JK…on the street, the JL would win. Hands down,” Fredrick said. Which we think is most likely the case ourselves. However, when it comes to terrain, it may take a little more than just upgraded tires to get it ready for exploration.

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Longtime auto journalist Patrick Rall contributes to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Rennlist , Club Lexus, F-150 Online, and YotaTech.

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