Your First Look at the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon Off-Road! [Video Review]

This is it – TFLcar’s first-drive review of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon is here!

You’ve seen the spy shots and FCA’s official photos. You’ve seen spec leaks, pricing leaks and its official debut at this year’s LA Auto Show. Now, it’s show time. That’s right, it’s time for TFLcar to drive the all-new, 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon! In the video above, you join Roman an Andre in Arizona as they put the new Wrangler through its paces, doing what a Wrangler should – going off-road. Check out the video above for a first view of the acclaimed JK replacement! This video is sponsored by our friends at Bestop – the leading manufacturer of Jeep softtops since 1986. If you’re looking for tops or other hardware for your Wrangler, head over to their site to see what’s on offer!

What’s new for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon?

The Wrangler JL has a new face

Everything’s new for the Jeep Wrangler in the upcoming model year. Much has been changed, and much has been improved over the old JK. It has a new front fascia. With a waterfall grille harking back to Jeeps of yesteryear, new headlamps with halo LED running lights, higher fenders, and marker lamps moved out to the fenders, the JL Wrangler is distinctively different, yet still shares lineage with the outgoing JK. Jeep also improved the hood latches – another issue in the old JK. They’ve redesigned the soft top to make it much easier to use, as well. On the Sahara models, you even get a power-sliding soft top that operates while the vehicle is moving up to 60 miles per hour.

Interior Updates

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon, as all Wranglers, have a new, updated interior. It has a rugged and durable feel so it can stand up to your off-roading expeditions, but it’s also thoroughly modern. New Wranglers will feature FCA’s Uconnect system with up to an 8.4″ touchscreen display, much like the one featured in the new Compass. For those who don’t care much for touchscreen controls, don’t despair – it doesn’t replace eliminate physical climate control knobs that you’re used to.

You can also control the diff locks and sway bar with buttons on the center stack. Four auxiliary switches come on new Wrangler models to fit ancillary hardware, such as aftermarket lights, to factory switch positions. And there’s a bonus for you who hate your off-roading experience being controlled by electronic overlords. The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon retains the physical transfer case shifter! FCA made sure this vehicle still looks and feels like a Wrangler, with vast improvements on the outgoing JK model.

A new rear-end, as well

Around the back, FCA moved many items from their positions in the JK Wrangler. For instance, they moved the wiper motor to give drivers better visibility out the back. FCA also offset the license plate holder. The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon and other models have new, revised tail lamps. A rear-view camera comes as standard, and is cleverly integrated into the mount for the spare wheel.

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon
[Photo: Jeep]

Your Options for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler

Jeep went to great lengths to maintain the Wrangler’s heritage in the new JL model, despite several improvements. You can still get a two-door or a four-door. There’s still a softtop or a freedom hardtop, in addition to the power-sliding softtop mentioned earlier. You can choose from several different exterior colors, including Mojito Green, if you’re looking for something jazzy to turn heads in your new Wrangler.

FCA also turned its eye to parts for the new Wrangler JL, as well. Several aftermarket manufacturers build parts for Jeep models and have done so for decades. FCA decided they wanted to cater to the Wrangler’s mod-loving crowd. To that end, Mopar features a full catalog of OEM parts you can fit to your Wrangler! Rather than turning to the aftermarket, you can now buy parts for your Jeep that you can roll into the price of the car and retain your new Wrangler’s warranty.

Under the hood, you get two primary engine options right now. You can have a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 285 horsepower and 260 lbs-ft of torque, the quintessential Wrangler engine. If you want to go a new route, there’s also a 2.0-liter turbo with 268 horsepower and 295 lbs-ft of torque that will serve as the range-topping engine. Down the road, you’ll be able to get the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel model. Finally, FCA has confirmed there will be a plug-in hybrid variant in 2020. At present, you can mate either engine to an eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon has better approach, departure, and breakover angles than its JK predecessor. The Rubicon in our review has a 44° approach, 37° departure, and 28° breakover angles. To put that in perspective, the JK Rubicon has 42.2° approach, 32.3° departure, and 25.8° departure angles. As a result, the JL Wrangler Rubicon can tackle steeper obstacles straight out of the box than ever before.

No *official* pricing for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon just yet

FCA has not officially announced pricing for the new model, including the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon you see in the video just yet. For this first drive review, we also can’t specifically mention driving impressions. That will come next week on the 13th, so stay tuned to for more Wrangler JL updates!

If you’re anxious for the 2018 Wrangler JL to hit dealers’ lots, we have something to whet your appetite. The industrious fellows over at JLWranglerForums have leaked pricing details on all new JL models. If these details prove to be accurate, we’re looking at a $2,000-$2,750 price hike over the outgoing JK. And technically, while the JK is an “outgoing model”, there’s a bit of a twist. If, for whatever reason, you aren’t taking to the new JL and you want a JK, you can still buy it new for 2018. There is a 2018 JK model that you can buy before it finally goes to pasture after 11 years’ faithful service. So, if you’d like, you can take that alternative, less expensive as it is.

Check back for more Wrangler JL updates!

What do you think of the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon compared to its predecessor? Let us know in the comments below! Check back to on Wednesday, December 13th for more impressions of the new Jeep Wrangler! If you don’t want to miss our videos, why not subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow on YouTube for updates on the Wrangler and all your favorite new models.