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

Stuck…Again

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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A lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years, Patrick Rall is highly experienced in the automotive world. He has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now auto journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

“Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500,” says Rall. “He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car: a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16. Meanwhile, I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

“Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group,” adds Rall. “While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

“Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never ‘work’ a day in your life. I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

“My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

“Being based on Detroit, I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.”

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