From the Bowels of the Internet Comes a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sneak Peak

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Someone at Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Toledo, Ohio, assembly complex might be in trouble. That’s assuming management pins down the person who whipped out a phone while a next-generation Jeep Wrangler Unlimited sat exposed on the plant floor. (We’re assuming it’s Toledo, for obvious reasons.)

A photograph posted to Reddit this morning, clearly shot in a hasty manner as workers line both sides of the vehicle, shows part of the 2018 Wrangler — a.k.a. the JL/JLU Wrangler. It’s a vehicle at the center of an expensive redesign and lightweighting process, and it’s also one of the most heavily leaked vehicles in years.

So, what does this picture show us?

We’ve already seen spy photos of a heavily camouflaged prototype, as well as sketches purported to be of the final product. The design elements seen in the sketches, grainy as they are, seem borne out in reality (at least from this angle). A longer hood and slightly more svelte front fenders are apparent in this side shot of a four-door Wrangler Unlimited, along with a high and shallow belt/character line signalling the presence of aluminum doors.

(FCA is reportedly using a new C6A1 aluminum alloy sourced from Alcoa in the doors and hood — part of a weight-saving measure aimed at fuel efficiency.)

Each of the doors in the photo contain exterior hinges, meaning doorless driving remains an option after 2018. As well, the shallow recessed vent seen just aft of the front fenders in the sketches carries over into reality, joined by two more vents in the hood. The side mirrors now contain signal lights. The bumper, unfortunately, remains hidden out of frame.

According to leaked information from the FCA dealer computer system, next-gen Wrangler buyers face a number of engine options. The 3.6-liter V-6 returns, outfitted with a start/stop system, while a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with belt starter-generator mild-hybrid system should provide the MPGs Jeep needs to satisfy anxious regulators (and eco-conscious off-roaders).

A 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 is also on the options list, though that powerplant’s timeliness isn’t set in stone. It could arrive as late as 2019. If the dealer info pans out, 2018 also brings an available eight-speed automatic that should come standard on the four-cylinder variants. An optional Selec-Trac full-time four-wheel-drive system arrives for Unlimited Sahara customers only.

As for the looming pickup variant, Jeep boss Mike Manley claims it won’t start production until late 2019, some two years after the public gets its first taste of the conventional models. The 2018’s Wrangler’s big unveiling comes in late November at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

[Image: Reddit]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Jh26036 Jh26036 on Aug 16, 2017

    One would think how does this model keep selling out year after year in enormous numbers. Because Wrangler owners are typically crazy enough to trade in their rigs every other year because of "new" things (colors). Typical progression Sport JK > Sport JKU > Willy JKU > Rubicon JKU 6MT > Rubicon JKU automatic

  • FleetFilter FleetFilter on Aug 16, 2017

    I think my 2015 2-dr Rubicon feels like a 1999 model or so (but with Bluetooth and heated cloth seats). Maybe the new JL will feel like a 2008 or so Jeep. They definitely don't feel modern.

  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.
  • ToolGuy Also on to-do list: Read the latest Steve S. fiction work on TTAC (May 20 Junkyard Find)