The iconic Jeep Wrangler has always been rough and tumble, but this all-new version (dubbed the JL) is much more polished than ever before.
With a unique design that has managed to stay relevant for decades, updating the SUV without alienating loyal customers was quite the challenging task. But FCA has successfully reinvented this model by modernizing it, giving it better driving dynamics, and making it more usable day-to-day without sacrificing its legendary capability. The 2018 model comes with a ton of improvements that make it more competitive in the current automotive marketplace.
Make sure to check out our review, but here is a brief look at the pros and cons of this charming SUV.
2018 Jeep Wrangler Pros and Cons
Beefed Up Off-Road Prowess: It didn’t need any help in this department, but the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sahara trim level has an available Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case with full-time all-wheel-drive capability. This provides a “set it and forget it” all-wheel-drive system for drivers who prefer the convenience of not having to fiddle with gears all the time. Coming in at two degrees better than the outgoing model, the maximum approach angle is 44 degrees. Departure angles also follow suit and improve two degrees to a maximum of 37 degrees. Ground clearance is not left out and increases significantly from the outgoing model’s 8.3 inches in the base model to 9.7 inches in the 2018 base model, and an even higher 10.8 inches in the updated model’s Rubicon trim.
Exciting New Powertrains: An interesting new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with eTorque assist arrives as part of a suite of new engines. This hybrid-assisted engine has 268 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque with an electric motor that can allow fuel flow to be switched off during stops or while coasting. Coming much later in the year will be a very powerful 3.0-liter V6 diesel with 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque as well as an announced plug-in hybrid version (a first for the Jeep brand). Stop/start functionality will be standard on all models and the previous Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 will now serve as the base engine with 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It can be paired either a six-speed manual or new eight-speed automatic. The automatic will serve as the sole transmission for the other engines.
Simpler Topless Motoring: The 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s soft top is now free from complicated zippers and can be raised or lowered much quicker than before. There is also a power soft top option available on the Sahara and Rubicon four-door models that slides rearward, giving a full view of the sky. The rear-quarter windows are now much easier to remove for almost fully open-air cruising. Full hardtops remain for those who prefer that look.
Impressive New Standard Equipment: A backup camera, push-button start, cruise control, hill-start assist, and five USB outlets lead the list of standard equipment available to Wrangler customers right from the base model. Jeep engineers also made the removal of the doors a more painless process by now providing the tool to loosen the T50 fasteners on the doors as standard. The infotainment system also gets some love with a 7 or 8.4-inch display UConnect system offered depending on trim level. Base models make do with a 5-inch touchscreen, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are offered across the board.
More Refined Road Manners: Off-road expert Stephen Elmer of AutoGuide.com sister site Off-Road.com in his review says, “No longer is driving the Wrangler a fatiguing experience, which is probably the biggest change that has come to the driving experience in the JL.” Enhanced suspension tuning and a more aerodynamic body make this truck more compliant on most road surfaces and steering and wind noise/road noise levels have been noticeably improved from the previous model. Fuel economy has also been improved.
Now More Expensive to Purchase: All those improvements have made the starting price for this car higher. The new Wrangler is $3,000 more expensive across the board compared to the last-generation model. A four-door Rubicon without options added can end up going for more than $40,000.
Questionable FCA Reliability: FCA doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to the reliability scores for this model (or a lot of other models). Don’t expect to see that change in this generation of Jeep.
Discuss this on our Jeep Wrangler Forum