The 2018 Jeep JL Wrangler has been revealed mere hours before the 2018 LA Auto Show. After years of teasers, leaked details and trailers, it is finally official. Here it is.

Engine and drive-line

Maintaining the 3.6L Pentastar (albeit with a few tweaks to increase economy), the Aussie version will also offer a 2.2L turbo diesel. The diesel offers 147kW of power, with 450Nm of torque, and the V6 Petrol keeps the already solid 212kW and 353Nm of torque. Both engines are being offered with an 8 speed automatic gearbox, with a standard high/low transfer-case, on a full-time four wheel drive system, branded ‘Selec-Trac’. Both the short and long wheel base models have been extended 35mm and 60mm respectively to fit the 8 speed auto and increase cabin space a touch.

There is also the option for a hybrid PHEV engine system due for release in 2020 for the USDM. Yep, an electric Wrangler. Welcome to the future!

Exterior design

Aesthetically the Wrangler remains a Wrangler, with touch ups that bring the styling towards a modern feel, however head of design Mark Allan did admit that the team played with some rather crazy concepts for this model.

“We allowed the guys to in the beginning, really go crazy, we did sketches that scared even us… I had a design teacher that told me you have to do all the wrong answers to prove the right answer so we did that,” Allan told the media at the unveiling in L.A.

With that said however, he and the team at Jeep wanted to keep the JL Wrangler true to its heritage, in that they have an icon that has never gone away. “We decided early on that it wasn’t going to move too far away from what Wrangler is visually, it’s one of those rare automotive icons that never went away so it’s not retro – but a Porsche 911 is going to look like a 911 and a Wrangler is going to look like a Wrangler.”

Everything else about the new JL Wrangler is slightly bigger, with some of the biggest changes coming to the off-road focused Rubicon model – allowing the fitment of 33″ tyres as standard due to the larger guards and bumpers. The rear tyre has also been moved 35mm higher, increasing departure angle, and also houses a rear facing camera.

Further wind tunnel testing has seen slight aerodynamic changes in the bonnet and the addition of a rear spoiler seeing the drag coefficient reaching 0.454. This is a nine percent increase over the JK model, however Jeep has kept the flat glass windscreen. This certainly doesn’t help with the old anecdote about Wranglers having the drag co-efficient of an Ohio barn. Sideways.

Wheel sizes are now in either the 17 or 18 inch variety dependant on model, and the soft top now removes with latches as opposed to zippers giving a ‘safari’ look. Half doors will be available in the US market for the Rubicon, however we are yet to see confirmation for the AUDM.

Interior

Internally the cabin has remained very ‘Wrangler-esque’ with updates to the majority of surfaces giving it both an authentic ‘rough-and-ready’ Jeep appearance, however bringing it inline with modern design and functionality. The infotainment system has been updated to colour touchscreen across all models, with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. There is a tonne of more space and ‘hidey-holes’ throughout the Wrangler, with massive US sized cup holders, and room for large sized phones. There is also enough room in the centre console for a full sized Apple iPad, with numerous USB points. 

Pricing and when will it be in Australia?

Unfortunately at this stage there’s been no pricing given for Australia, essentially due to the fact the JL Wrangler won’t be released here until the end of 2018, and will most likely be marketed as the ‘New 2019 Jeep Wrangler.’

Sorry sports fans, but we’re all going to have to wait a little while yet to get our mitts on one to see first hand how much they’ve changed, and if they’re better again off-road.