By on March 31, 2017

2017 Jeep Wrangler boasts LED headlamps.

As Jeep super fans nervously await the official reveal of the next-generation Wrangler, images posted online suggest that deeply held fears of an unforgivably altered 2018 model might come to nothing.

Two images appeared on JL Wrangler Forums this week, claiming to show a 2018 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. While the site’s administration says the images are confirmed to be authentic, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hasn’t made a statement backing that up. So, we’re left looking at what could very well be the next Wrangler.

Several changes immediately catch the eye.

You wouldn’t expect to see much visual evidence of the Wrangler’s adoption of weight-saving aluminum — mainly in the doors, hood and rear gate — but a new design feature could be related.

The Jeep in these images sports a well-defined beltline aft of the windshield, not unlike an aluminum-doored Land Rover Defender. Jeep only makes changes to the Wrangler when necessary, so we’ll assume the slightly sculpted sides have something to do with panel stiffness. It’s hard not to be reminded of the recently departed Patriot.

Up front, the changes are subtle, yet noticeable. The Wrangler keeps its signature, round headlights and seven-slot grille, though the grille now bends slightly rearward about halfway up. The bumper, while still of the exposed variety, now extends further from the body, and is more shapely to boot. In another act of aerodynamic improvement, the Wrangler’s windshield is more steeply raked.

Just aft of the front fenders, a recessed vent appears, likely to improve airflow around the front wheel wells.

These images are a tempting teaser for a vehicle scheduled to go into production late this year. Besides a pickup variant (which FCA has now pushed back to late 2019), the next-gen Wrangler should be offered — eventually — with a hybrid powertrain. Expect the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine to return, with an optional turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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12 Comments on “There’s a Little Bit of Patriot in the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, Sort of...”

  • avatar

    I like the beltline running down the side. It gives it a little style while maintaining the utilitarian look its supposed to have. If its there for a a purpose as suggested, hey, that’s all the better.

  • avatar

    Not too bad, the windshield rake angle is a bit disappointing. The hood looks a bit longer, maybe we can finally get a factory V8, can’t drive around with the open top having to listen to a V6 whine.

  • avatar

    I bin this design as a display of “incredible restraint”.

    It is difficult to compare the incredible success of the Wrangler silhouette with any other automobile.

    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps the Ford Mustang. Long hood with a short deck has pretty much been its profile throughout its life. Hard not to recognize one as anything but a Mustang (or a thinly disguised one as a Mercury for a few years).

  • avatar

    I wish they would make a metal non removable hardtop body like a Defender. At least as an option. Might just be the little extra refinement I need

    • 0 avatar

      Such a metal hardtop is uncharacteristic of Jeep, with the exception of purpose-built models like those once used by the US post office. Too many Jeep owners at least want the ability to remove the top, at least to some extent, for that open-air sense of freedom while crawling the trails. That said, there is some rumor that the new top will have different removable panels and that the soft-top version will have a very Euro-like sliding canvas roof compared to the complex mechanicals of the existing style of folding roof. So what you may get is a compromise between the current fiberglass roof and the fixed metal roof you so desire.

      After buying a Renegade, I happen to like the idea of easy-to-remove panels vs the heavy fiberglass roof on the older model Wrangler.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d love to see one with the steel roof you mention, but they definitely would need to remove the roll bars if they had a non-removable welded/unibody steel top. The roll bars take up so much space in the passenger compartment

      • 0 avatar

        The roll bars themselves take up very little passenger space; it’s all the airbags and padding that make them seem so much thicker than they are. Even so, they don’t take up enough space to complain about unless you’re carrying a load of plus-sized passengers or packing it “to the gills” for a camping trip and even there they can be more useful with just a little forethought and imagination.

        I’ve owned one of the Daimler-designed models and those roll bars are hardly an issue.

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