2018 Jeep Wrangler Timeline Leaked; Next-gen Model Could Arrive Sooner

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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2018 jeep wrangler timeline leaked next gen model could arrive sooner

With every leaked detail of Jeep’s next-generation Wrangler, hardcore enthusiasts become a little more ravenous for information. But there has been one pressing question circling every shorts-tightening tidbit: when will it arrive?

The short answer is soon. The JL Wrangler may even launch as early as October, if a new report is to be believed. That would place it almost a full month ahead of its reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show — which Jeep CEO Mike Manley previously confirmed as the official debut.

However, there is a longer and more storied explanation of every major component addition as the 2018 model gradually takes shape. Entry-level variants appear to host a 3.6-liter engine with stop-start and a manual transmission. But production of the first round of quad-door hardtops will eventually open up to two-doors (and different engines) as previous-gen JK assembly ends sooner than expected.

According to the fine fellows at JLWranglerForums, JK assembly was supposed to run in tandem with the JLs for an entire year. The website’s newly leaked info now cites production ending in March of 2018 — followed by a heavily discounted sticker price.

As for the next-gen Wrangler, dealers were allowed to place JL ghost orders at a FCA dealer meeting earlier this month. Available powertrains included the 3.6-liter V6, available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic, and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder mild-hybrid with a belt starter-generator (BSG) but probably no manual.

The leaked details from FCA has the JL officially commencing assembly on November 13th as a four-door hardtop, but hoping for something sooner. Soft and dual top variants go into production roughly a month later. The 2.0-liter BSG is believed to arrive at the factory as an export unit in January, with domestic production starting in mid-February. Jeep will also begin tossing together two-door versions of the Wrangler equipped with both engines, starting with the hardtop.

While the timeline gets a little less reliable the further out you go, production should persist in that priority. By March, JK assembly should have ended, followed by retractable power top models in May. JLWranglerForums specified there may be a higher trim level for the JLs that would include the the power tops, though nothing has been confirmed. It’s also a little curious as to how Jeep would implement this.

Aftermarket power tops on the Wrangler created a lot of buzz among enthusiasts but haven’t been particularly well received, as most block all rearward visibility when retracted and occupy a large amount of space at the rear of the vehicle. They’re also really expensive, with some going for $6,500. Hopefully, Fiat Chrysler’s solution is more practical and less costly.

On the tail end of the 2018 MY, Jeep is adding a 3.0-liter diesel with stop-start technology. The leaked details have the motor launching in August of 2018 but, being so late to arrive, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it wait until the following model year. There will also be a 2.2-liter diesel destined for export models.

Available customization will be extensive but individual trim levels are believed to be fairly basic for the 2018 model year, especially compared to present-day JK trims.

Jeep also has outlined a list of option bundles, which it called “groups,” including a heavy duty electrical group which the Wrangler forum speculates will add an upgraded battery and alternator along with auxiliary control switches. There will also be a new black powder soft top available, along with premium soft top and premium sunrider tops in either black or tan. Initial body color options for the JL are as follows, Nacho (orange), Firecracker Red, Acid Yellow, Bright White, Black, Granite Crystal Metallic, and Billet Silver Metallic.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Reddit]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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4 of 14 comments
  • Ctip96 Ctip96 on Aug 30, 2017

    2018 Wranglers will still be JKs. I work for a Jeep dealer and the JL wont be until 2019. However the 2019 JLs are said to hit lots first quarter of 2018.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Aug 30, 2017

      Dealers aren't getting all the data. Supposedly the JK and JL will be assembled simultaneously for a bit before the JK line starts building the trucks. However, other sources are saying we could see the JL as soon as the end of October.

  • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on Aug 31, 2017

    I was talking to Jeep sales guy and only a very small percentage of Jeep buyers go off road in the U.S. Maybe 5%! Most want the manly, rough, rugged image and AWD for snowy roads.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Aug 31, 2017

      That would be mostly true, SCE. Though It's good to know exactly what your car is capable of handling before that snowy season arrives. I wouldn't take a standard Renegade on anything above a Level 3 trail, though the Trailhawk is maybe capable of a 4 or 5 with care. Even the Rubicon has bypasses for most of the more severe obstacles.

  • FreedMike I suppose that in some crowded city like Rome or Tokyo, there's a market for a luxurious pint-size car. I don't think they'll be able to give them away here in the U.S.
  • TMA1 How much did exchange rates affect this decision? The Renegade is imported from Italy. I'm wondering if that's what caused the price to reach within a few hundred of the much bigger Compass. Kind of a no-brainer to pick the larger, more modern vehicle.
  • CEastwood Everytime I see one of these I think there's a dummie who could have bought a real car , but has to say look at me driving this cool thing I can't drive in the rain like an actual motorcycle that I should have bought in the first place ! It's not Batman I see driving these - it's middle age Fatman .
  • SilverCoupe I should be the potential audience for this (current A5 owner, considering an S5 in the future), but I can't say it excites me. I have never liked the vertical bars in the grilles of sporting Mercedes models, for one thing. The interior doesn't speak to me either.I would be more likely to consider a BMW 4 Series, though not the current version with the double Edsel grille. Still, I suppose it would be worth a look when the time comes to replace my current vehicle.
  • Verbal Can we expect this model to help M-B improve on finishing 29th out of 30 brands in CR's recent reliability survey?