Coming Soon: 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL (Spy Photos)
The next-gen 2018 Wrangler won't see any dramatic changes, but will be tweaked with new LED lighting, a more aerodynamic body, and possibly some new top choices. Check out more of what's in store.
1. The most highly-anticipated SUV in America
The most highly-anticipated SUV in America may be the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL. The next-gen Wrangler is only months away from a dealership near you and it’s expected that this iconic off-road beast will see some significant changes in the front and rear fascias, the roof, and the side panels, and will even boast an all-new pickup version known as the Scrambler. This is Jeep Wrangler’s first complete makeover since the 2007 model year.
2. Lighter load, better gas mileage
As early as 2014, it was reported that the next-gen Wrangler JL would continue to use a full-steel chassis, but would fit it with aluminum body panels in order to lighten its load and improve gas mileage. It was also reported that the Wrangler would feature ZF’s eight-speed automatic transmission, which can also be found in the Grand Cherokee and big Ram 1500.
3. Under wraps
Jump to May of 2016, when the next-gen Wrangler prototype covered in camouflage was seen cruising around in southeastern Michigan. Even though the Wrangler was wrapped more tightly than Rocky Balboa’s fists before he jumped into the ring with Apollo Creed, here’s what we noticed: The body seems longer, the front fenders seem wider, and it appears squatter than the current model. It is reported that the SUV will come with auxiliary LED light bars on the front fenders. Overall, the shape with be smoother and more aerodynamic than past Wrangler generations.
4. Going diesel and hybrid
Fiat Chrysler announced that both a diesel engine and a hybrid powertrain will be available options in the next-gen Wrangler. These new powertrains won’t be available at launch, in fact the diesel is not set to arrive before 2022 and the hybrid won’t be available until sometime after that. Until that happens, expect that the Pentastar V-6 will provide the power and Jeep working to make room for Chrysler’s ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission in the new Wrangler. The current Wrangler still uses an older five-speed unit, as the eight-speed is too bulky to fit under the transmission tunnel.
5. The Wrangler pickup
The new Wrangler pickup, also known as the Scrambler, is set to debut in 2019. It rides on a long-wheelbase Wrangler and flaunts a decent sized bed. It will feature the trademark seven-slot grille and round headlights like on the current gen Wrangler, but will feature large rear taillights not unlike those found on Ram trucks. For more on the pickup, see this article.
6. Top choices
One of the biggest rumors to circulate involves the Wrangler’s top. One source suggests there will be three options to choose from: a power soft top, a panoramic glass hardtop, and a true 3-piece hardtop. The traditional soft top will be replaced by a three-paneled power soft top that folds down. While it’s still just a rumor, the options are certainly possible and offer quite intriguing choices for any Jeep enthusiast.
7. So when do we get to see it?
Speaking at a media event in Detroit last week, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed that a recast Wrangler is indeed coming for 2018, but at this point probably won’t be shown to dealers and the press until this fall, with the “official” public launch perhaps delayed until next January’s NAIAS.
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