What Is It?
The all-new, fully redesigned 2018 Jeep Wrangler is here — though you wouldn’t necessarily know it’s been totally overworked by looking at it. The latest Wrangler is updated and modernized on the outside, but not changed much, as Jeep has learned over the years not to mess with the off-roader SUV’s major success.
But there are some big changes compared to the outgoing model. Aside from the revised styling (most noticeable with stylized front fenders that now include vents, along with front and rear LED lighting), one of the biggest updates is under the hood: The Wrangler now offers a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, while retaining its 3.6-liter V6 with 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. The 4-cylinder will be torquier, but Jeep no doubt bets some off-roaders will prefer the V6’s simplicity and power band. The 4-cylinder is offered only with an 8-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 can be teamed with a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic.
Another interesting Wrangler powertrain revelation is the fact that Jeep plans to offer a turbodiesel engine on the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited beginning next year, for the 2019 model year. It’s the same 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 from the Grand Cherokee, and it’ll make 260 hp and 442 lb-ft in the Wrangler, teamed solely with an 8-speed automatic.
Of course, there are other changes, too. One is the fold-down windshield, which now takes just minutes (and four bolts), while folding down the outgoing Wrangler’s windshield took over an hour. There’s a "Sky One-Touch" power top, which automatically retracts the Wrangler’s canvas soft top like a sunroof. As in the current Wrangler, there will be 2- and 4-door variants — but the upcoming Rubicon off-roader will offer half doors to enhance the off-roading experience. Two 4-wheel-drive systems will be offered — Command-Trac and Rock-Trac. And the latest Wrangler rides on a new platform that’s about 100 pounds lighter than its predecessor’s.
Jeep hasn’t yet announced official pricing, but we’re not expecting a huge leap from the current model’s pricing. That means base prices in the mid-$20,000 range, with ultra-well-equipped versions topping $40,000 with ease.
When Can You Get It?
Early 2018 (likely January)
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
If you like the Wrangler, you probably already have it on your shopping list. The 2018 Jeep Wrangler is a refinement of the same formula that’s made these vehicles so good over so many years: excellent off-road capabilities, combined with fun features that enhance the experience — like removable doors and a fold-down windshield. The latest Wrangler is likely a little more refined than its predecessor, and it’s certainly more modernized, with a large touchscreen, a power "sunroof" if you choose the canvas-topped model and a backup camera mounted on the spare tire carrier.
Other Cars to Consider
Jeep Grand Cherokee — More and more Wrangler buyers are choosing the 4-door version, with its enhanced interior volume for increased practicality. The Grand Cherokee also offers excellent off-road capabilities while considerably increasing the refinement (and practicality) over the Wrangler.
Toyota Tacoma — Although the Tacoma isn’t an open-topped SUV, its brawny styling and available off-road packages make it a favorite with drivers who like solid 4-wheel-drive vehicles that can stand up to anything.
Used Ford F-150 Raptor — The Ford F-150 Raptor touts impressive off-road capabilities, like the Wrangler, and similar aggressive, burly styling. It also touts more power, more performance and more refinement. But prices are very high, so Wrangler shoppers may want to consider a used version.