2018 Jeep Wrangler JL: Everything You Need to Know from the L.A. Auto Show! UPDATED [Video]

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL: Here’s Everything You Need to Know!

The video above was sponsored by our friends over at Bestop, the leading provider of Jeep tops and accessories. Check out their site here!

With its official debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, FCA’s 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL is one of the biggest debuts at the event. The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL is all-new. The body, frame, interior, (most) engines and transmissions are all-new. It has a new look and a new overall feel too. Despite all this “newness,” it appears that the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL remains the same unique vehicle it’s always been.

Here is every fact we could collect:

  • New engines and transmissions (most models will have these engines as options):
    • We will get the current model’s 3.6-Liter V6 24-Valve VVT (Pentastar) engine that will come with an all-new, shorter-throw, more positive-engaging 6-speed manual. It will also have an available 8-speed automatic transmission with a regular gear lever – as opposed to the dial gear select in some other FCA products. The power rating is 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque (same as the outgoing model).
    • A new 270 horsepower, turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder engine is optional. It will make 295 lb-ft of torque and it will be available only with the 8-speed automatic transmission. It will have a partial hybrid system that will work alongside the start/stop system.
    • A 3.0-liter diesel WILL be available later and it will be rated at 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. It will be mated to the 8-speed automatic.
    • The Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon will have Dana 44s front and rear.
    • Towing is rated at 2,000 lbs (2-door) and 3,500 lbs (Unlimited). These numbers are for the V6. We have to wait to confirm the 4-cylinder and diesel numbers.

  • Old and new four-wheel drive (4WD) systems:
    • The option for various mechanical 4WD systems remain.
    • A new “auto” 4WD system will be available.
    • No word on the 4WD systems that will be available with the diesel.
  • New frames, new bodies and lighter weights:
    • The 2-door 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL will have a 1.4″ longer wheelbase
    • The 4-door Unlimited JL will have a 2.4″ longer wheelbase
    • Both bodies will be lighter (up to around 200-lbs lighter) as they use a combination of lighter materials such as aluminum and lightweight high-strength steel.
    • The front windshield has a more aerodynamic rake. Despite premature reports of the front windshield’s folding ability disappearing, it remains. Not only that, it is infinitely easier to fold and remove.
    • The new hood clips are much more robust and will resist stretching. Functional front fender vents relieve underhood pressure and mitigate hood lift.
All-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

New Tops

  • Every top is new, from the lighter Freedom tops to the no-zipper/no-velcro soft-tops.
  • The new Freedom tops will be lighter and easier to remove with less fasteners to remove.
  • A new rain gutter will run down the entire length of the hard tops.
  • The soft-top uses a new sliding channel clip-over-barrell system to connect removable side panels. Slide the upper channel off the lower barrel and each side panel pulls off. There is no velcro and no zipper as the Jeep bigwigs say, “zippers and velcro wear out.” Once the side panels are removed, a few clips can be removed up-front and the entire top section folds up and back, old-school convertible style. It appears to be exceedingly easier than the current soft-top setup. If the driver wishes to just keep the side panels off and the top up (for shade), the Jeep folks say it can stay up at any speed in that configuration.
  • A brand-new partial hardtop is added to the mix. Built for the unlimited, it is a fixed top with removable rear quarter panels and an accordion-style, roll-back roof that can expose almost all of the seating area. With this top pulled back, windows down and rear quarter panels removed, it’s only a step away from being a total convertible. It’s available for the Sahara and Rubicon.

New Interior Features

  • The interior is all-new. All of the buttons and switchgear are located in more logical locations. This includes new infotainment components, screens and steering wheel too.
  • Vents, which are now more aesthetically pleasing, flank an all-new dashboard which can be augmented by stitched leather. Seats are new and have new material options.  Backseat space has increased along with a more comfortable rake on the rear-seat’s seatback.
  • The rear seat’s headrests can fold to increase rear visibility.
  • Window controls remain in the middle of the dashboard.
  • Doors are lighter and easier to remove.
All-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

New Exterior Features

  • The new exterior still looks like a Wrangler, but fans will be able to easily tell a 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL from a JK when they sit side-by-side.
  • New headlights and taillights with LEDs are the most prominent styling update.
  • Fenders appear to be a smoother design and integrate larger (DRL) lights up front.
  • The front fender vents are functional to lower under-hood pressure.
  • Gone are the hood’s cone-shaped rubber bump-stops for the folding front windshield. Now, flatter, longer rubber bump-stops take their place. A strap comes with each JL which holds the windshield down when folded.
  • New side-steps are available which can offer additional aerodynamic assistance.
  • Door handles are new as Jeep dumps the old push-button style for a more conventional, pull-handle design.
  • The spare tire is mounted lower and now integrates a rear-view camera mounted in the center of the spare tire’s rim.
  • A new rear windshield wiper is mounted low, near the spare tire’s mounting bracket. This, along with the lower position of the spare tire (and the new folding rear headrests) increases rear-view visibility.


Other 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL-related news

  • The current model Jeep JK will also have a 2018 designation and will be built alongside the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL – so that there’s no confusion.
  • Jeep refuses to talk about the upcoming Jeep Scrambler pickup truck. They want the focus to remain on the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL, but we know that it most likely will be a pickup truck that uses a majority of the JL’s components.

While we covered a lot of territory with the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL, there are tons of questions that remain. We have more information that will flow to you in the coming year including driving impressions right around the corner. Prices and availability will (hopefully) be available soon.

Stay tuned!