By on August 29, 2017

2017 Jeep Wrangler boasts LED headlamps.

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.

2018 Jeep Wrangler, Image: Reddit

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]

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14 Comments on “2018 Jeep Wrangler Timeline Leaked; Next-gen Model Could Arrive Sooner...”

  • avatar
    Kent Pribbernow

    Isn’t the Cherokee due for a refresh next year, as well?

  • avatar
    Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

    You definitely don’t want to block the reward visibility…

    All kidding aside, hopefully the newest iteration will be as customizable as ever, and reasonably easy to repair out in the boonies.

  • avatar

    With all the newness, I’m glad they are starting with the Pentastar engine. After initial teething, it has proven to be well-designed and reliable.

  • avatar

    Looking forward to seeing these in person. I enjoyed my JKU but needed to swap for something my wife could drive comfortably. Might trade my Ranger on a JL or JLT.

  • avatar

    I’m excited- I might actually replace my XJ Cherokee with one of these.

    Highway mpg is currently the main impediment. I wish they’d clean up the aero a bit, such as those ridiculous, cosmetic external hood clamps.

    I’m excited about the turbo 4. Not only should highway mpg get comfortably into the 20’s, but weight will be greatly reduced and power should be MUCH better at my altitude (6000+ feet).

    I always thought a clever idea would be a folding hardtop…perhaps where everything folds up over the cargo area.

    • 0 avatar

      Your XJ Cherokee can’t possibly get much, if any, better highway mileage. I just got 21mpg out of my last tank in my JKU. The “cosmetic” hood clamps are actually functional.

      • 0 avatar

        @here4… : I have a photo of my ’08 JKU on the freeway at 60mph reading 25mpg average and 500 miles on the trip odometer. Good fuel mileage (well, reasonable) is possible if you don’t drive like an idiot.

    • 0 avatar

      @ carve: “…those ridiculous, cosmetic external hood clamps” are not cosmetic, they do really serve a purpose. When the Jeep rolls over (as it eventually will if you off-road it extremely enough) those clamps both keep the hood closed during the roll and make it easier to raise after. The aerodynamics need to come from other areas such as closing some massive body gaps (like between front bumper and fenders) and softening some of the sharp edges; though that would detract from the ‘Jeepness’ of the Wrangler.

      Smaller overall size would help, had they made a four-door version of the TJ it probably would have sold just as well and realized better economy through smaller frontal area and lighter weight; the JK and the JL are HEAVY by comparison. Among the questions I’m going to have is where are the batteries going to go for the hybrid version?

    • 0 avatar

      My XJ averages 21, weather commuting to work or going 80 mph with the AC blasting. Cruising at 55-60 it’s 24+. Wrangler might get similar, but I’d want my new car to get better.

      Yeah- these things have gotten enormous. It’d be cool if they came out with a CJ-5 or even Suzuki Samuri sized off-roader. I wish that’s what the Renegade would’ve been…perhaps something like a UTV with a body, heater/AC and airbags. Jeep really only has two decent off roaders in their whole lineup anymore. They’re going to dilute their brand value.

      As for the hood clamps, nothing else has them so they’re not too important, and a backup hood closure could be more aerodynamically had with a single latch in the front, which wouldn’t really increase drag

      • 0 avatar

        The Renegade’s not that bad. Check out ToasterJeep dot com to see a Jeeper with a large stable of models and what he’s done with his early Renegade Trailhawk. Just about as capable as the original CJ-2, though not quite as open or lightweight.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

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