Old vs. New Off-Road Review: Build a Jeep Wrangler JK or Buy a JL? [Video]

Built or bought? We answer that burning question in today’s Wrangler JK vs. JL off-road review.

The Jeep community are a passionate bunch. And rightly so – the CJ series and subsequent Wrangler models have cemented Jeep’s reputation as an off-road icon over the past seven decades. We’ve covered the brand new Wrangler JL to great lengths, but now we have a new challenge. Pennsylvania Gulch, just outside our hometown of Boulder, Colorado, is the stage for our latest off-road adventure.

In one corner, we have the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon. But that’s not all – this $45,380 Rubicon is the two-door model with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and a six-speed manual transmission. In many respects then, it’s similar to our long-term, 2016 Jeep Wrangler JK, as it has the same Pentastar V6 and a six-speed manual transmission. However, our long-term JK is a built-up Sport model. Compared to the Rubicon, which comes as the most off-road capable off-road Wrangler you can buy off the shelf, the JK has a few modifications. Notably, however, it does not have full-on front and rear locking differentials, since it’s the Sport model. The Wrangler JL Rubicon comes with front and rear lockers and an electronic sway bar disconnect.

With new bumpers, a 3.0-inch Alpine CT3 lift, Rugged Ridge wheels, and 35″ Firestone Destination tires, our long-term JK is also ready to head way off-road. How will they fare up what may be our “Cliffhanger 3.0”? Check out the video above to find out! Which one would you rather have – a cheaper, built JK or an off-the-rack Rubicon JL? Let us know in the comments below!

Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more Wrangler JL content! Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow for more videos published throughout the week. If you enjoy our content, please consider donating to TFL through our Patreon page. If you’re looking to buy a new Jeep Wrangler JL, check out our TFL expert buyer’s guide below: