2018 Jeep Wrangler JL: Official Specs and Details [UPDATED]

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
2018 jeep wrangler jl official specs and details updated

Finally, after what seemed at times like the world’s longest striptease, the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL officially debuts today at the L.A. Auto Show. Our intrepid Managing Ed is live on the show floor to bring you all the details.

Until then, here’s all the official down-n-dirty, nitty-gritty details about Jeep’s new Wrangler.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat: the only way drivers can row-their-own in the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler – at least for now – is if they choose the venerable 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. It’s not a bad engine; the familiar motor will make 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque while now deploying an engine start-stop (ESS) system as standard equipment. Surely the ESS will be able to be switched off while wheeling on a trail.

The other engine available at launch is the new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four. It will make 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Its eTorque system allows for auto stop/start, electric power assist, extended fuel shut-off, intelligent battery charging, and regenerative braking. If this sounds an awful lot like a mild hybrid setup, you’re not too far off.

Most exciting is news that the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine will be available starting in 2019. Four-door Wrangler Unlimited models will offer the diesel V6, rated at 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, with Engine Stop-Start (ESS) standard. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, designed to handle the increased torque output.

[UPDATE] During the reveal in L.A., the company also announced an impending plug-in hybrid powertrain for the new Wrangler, slated to appear in 2020. This version of the JL will no doubt be a separate model from the 2.0L mild hybrid described above. Light on details, the announcement provided no clue as to powertrain specifics but it’s a safe bet it’ll take more than a few cues from the Pacifica plug-in hybrid. Paired with FCA’s 3.6-liter V6, the plug-in Pacifica is good for 33 miles of electric driving if its 16kWh lithium-ion battery is fully charged.

Not that long ago, Ford’s mighty 7.3-liter Power Stroke diesel made about the same amount of torque – 450 lb-ft in the 1998 model year. Now, nearly the same amount of twist is available in a Jeep. We’ll let that sink in for a second.

Fans of the brand had muttered in dark corners of the internet about an impending wussification of the Wrangler platform. They can now rest easy, as the new Wrangler will continue to utilize a body-on-frame design. To protect critical components while on the trail – including the fuel tank, transfer case and automatic transmission oil pan – Wrangler employs four butch skid plates and bars. Rubicon models benefit from the use of heavy gauge tubular steel rock rails to curtail potential body damage inflicted during gnarly rock maneuvers.

The new Jeep uses lightweight, high-strength aluminum for the doors, door hinges, hood, fender flares, and windshield frame. The swing gate is magnesium. This helps reduce weight and boost fuel economy. Other ways the Jeep engineering team looked to reduce weight included using hollow track and stabilizer bars, aluminum engine mounts and steering gear, and a larger, lighter master cylinder.

Off-roaders take note: on Wrangler Rubicon models, an electronic front sway-bar disconnect is featured to provide additional wheel travel when the terrain calls for it. An approach angle of 44 degrees, breakover angle of 27.8 degrees, departure angle of 37 degrees, and a ground clearance of 10.9 inches allows the Wrangler to tackle the hairiest of trails. Its standard 33-inch off-road tires won’t hurt, either.

Does the path to your cottage include a couple of ponds and a stream? Jeep says the new Wrangler can ford through 30 inches of water and continues to utilize the proven five-link coil suspension configuration. A 3,500-pound towing capacity is on tap if customer spec the available towing package. And, yes, the windshield folds down. Excellent.

The new 2018 Jeep Wrangler delivers off-road capability courtesy of a choice of two 4×4 systems. For the first time in Wrangler’s history, a two-speed transfer case with full-time four-wheel drive and a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio is available on Sahara models. This new Selec-Trac full-time two-speed transfer case is intuitive and allows the driver to set it and forget it, while constantly sending power to the front and rear wheels. No doubt, this is a nod to customers who use the Jeep as a family rig and are less familiar with the minutiae of 4×4 systems than regular ‘wheelers.

For them, the Rubicon is equipped with a Rock-Trac 4×4 system featuring heavy duty next-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 4LO ratio of 4:1. A 4.10 front and rear axle ratio is standard, as are Tru-Lok locking differentials. Wrangler Rubicon models offer improved articulation and total suspension travel versus the previous generation with help from an electronic sway-bar disconnect. Be sure to let the clutch do the work: with the standard six-speed manual transmission, Wrangler Rubicon has a crawl ratio of 84.2:1. Slushbox Rubicons have a crawl ratio of 77.2:1, which is still nothing to sneeze at.

Styling choices, both inside and out, are definitely more evolutionary than revolutionary in nature, and that’s just fine for the majority of Wrangler customers. A sprinkling of LEDs on certain trims give it an updated look, while the top of its signature grille is swept back a bit for better aerodynamics on the highway. The roll bars are now body color, too.

Seven different Wranglers will be on tap on Day 1: two- and four-door versions of the Sport, Sport S, and Rubicon models, plus a four-door Sahara. All of them have the option of either engine with, as mentioned, the six-speed manual limited to the V6 for now.

Jeep enjoys great success with the current Wrangler, forging paths into the driveways of off-road enthusiasts as a trail-busting brute but also into the minds of families looking for a viable alternative to milquetoast crossovers. With this new JL, they’ve placated both camps — the Sahara with its easier-for-the-masses 4×4 system and family-friendly features, the Rubicon for off-road enthusiasts.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • Sam Hell Jr Sam Hell Jr on Nov 29, 2017

    2023: "The fact that we're moving Wrangler production to Changsa is, we think, a testament to the worldwide legacy and appeal of the nameplate, a legacy that was built in Toledo and that our Toledo employees should be very proud of. Plainly our goal is to align assembly and buyer need as closely as possible, and in today's North American market and compliance environment, that means unibody crossovers with plug-in capability. We know that our Toledo Assembly Complex team will bring all the commitment and passion to the Compass-ION that they brought to the Wrangler." 2028: "It really was not possible to predict the enduring demand for highly capable, gas-powered off-road vehicles when the alternatives have become so compelling. We felt, and feel, that the Compass-ION represented all that was best at FCA, and although it didn't speak to buyers in the way we anticipated, we truly view the lessons learned in the engineering of this product will serve us well as we continue to adapt to the interconnected mobility needs of our customers. It is our hope and expectation that members of the Toledo Assembly Complex team will bring their skill and experience to the many opportunities FCA has on offer at this juncture, especially those with our newly expanded RoamMe-o autonomous ride-sharing affiliate."

  • Pete Zaitcev Pete Zaitcev on Nov 30, 2017

    Is this just me or this article closely follows the article in Road and Track by Bob Sorokanich? I'm not saying Matt stole from Bob but perhaps some sort of guidance or material by FCA helped to make it happen.

  • Chiefmonkey Honda just cuts too many corners. There's no reason why the base Accord should have a 4 speaker stereo lol. It's a $28,000 midsize sedan, not a Mitsubishi Mirage! Not to diss the Mirage it's a great car for what it is. And what's up with Honda's obsession with the dullest most spartan looking black cloth or leather interiors? Literally every other automaker I can think of offers two, three, four possibilities. If I order even the top trim accord in the blue paint, I am limited to a black interior...why???? Strangely, if I order the white paint, the possibilities expand overwhelmingly to two: black, or dentist's office gray (which clashes with white.) There's zero rhyme or reason to it. Just a cheap, corner cutting company.
  • Dartman It was all a scam just to gin up some free publicity. It worked. Tassos go back to sleep; no ones on your lawn. Real ‘murricans prefer hot dogs to gyros.
  • ToolGuy I plan to install a sink in the crawl space soon. After that I plan to put washer and dryer hookups on my roof.
  • ToolGuy "That power team adds an electric supercharger"YES!
  • Cardave5150 UAW is acting all butt-hurt that their employers didn't "share the wealth" when they had massive profits. They conveniently forget that they have a CONTRACT with their employers, which was negotiated in good faith, and which the Remaining 3 are honoring, paying them exactly what they negotiated last time.