By on November 29, 2017

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon

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.

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara

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.

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon

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.All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon

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.

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara

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.

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon

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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52 Comments on “2018 Jeep Wrangler JL: Official Specs and Details [UPDATED]...”


  • avatar
    Eggshen2013

    It will be interesting to see how many people choose the 4 cylinder over the
    V-6.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I may be one of them. Still haven’t decided exactly what I’ll get but I do agree with one statement… “Once you own a Jeep, you never want to go back to an ordinary car.”

      • 0 avatar
        Pete Zaitcev

        Yeah, I’m sad about that too. I keep looking at various cars to replace the Wrangler and nothing is as good. Crosstrek is not capable enough… 4Runner is okay, but is even larger. Ditto Grand Cherokee. Renegade is not particularly trustworthy, and cannot have the Trailhawk lift combined with the manual. And I do take the cap off to transport large items (mostly television sets as it happens).

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I would argue your perception of the Renegade’s trustworthyness; I’ve owned one for over a year and the only thing needing repair was the rear-view camera due to a cold solder joint. Fixed under warranty in a matter of a couple hours.

          • 0 avatar
            Pete Zaitcev

            The TrueDelta for Renegade is pretty good. It’s about the same as Crosstrek and CX-3. At some point I was seriously thinking about getting a 1.4 and modding it with the factory parts from Trailhawk.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That would get you the Trailhawk ride height but you’d still lack the programming for the “rock” setting on the trail selector. And honestly, from experience with the Wrangler, an automatic gives you a little better control over the rocks as you can ease over them rather than the almost uncontrollable surge with a clutch. Even heel/toeing it you have a tendency to either under-power and then over-power certain technical bits where an automatic can give you smooth power over the obstacle.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I’m interested in it, I don’t know if I want to be an early adopter. The potential low end grunt plus relatively light weight may make the 4 a really good fit in a jeep. IIRC, the 2 door was right around 4k lbs and the 4 door was 4700’ish for the current model. If they trimmed the 2 door down to 3700 and you don’t f’it up with 44inch superswampers it may be a pretty sweet combo.

      I’ll be looking forward to seeing how the truck comes out.

  • avatar
    dima

    Just wondering what 4 pot 2.0L engine with turbo does for fuel economy vs 3.6-liter Pentastar V6? gut feeling says not much.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      My gut says well enough on EPA test for window sticker (and CAFE). Real world? Will depend on how light your foot is with the turbo 4.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        If you stay out of the turbo, you’ll probably do fine. But if you love running 80mph on the freeway, you’ll be riding the turbo the whole way.

        Personally, I’m betting I could break 28mpg on the freeway with one, driving the way I always do.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      The 4 pot sounds very much like a mild hybrid set up, so I would bet the city MPG will be substantially improved over the 6. Hard to get what is essentially a brick to get decent highway mileage so my suspicion is that will be similar.

      My guess is the mpg variance in real world operation will be significant between the two.

      • 0 avatar
        dima

        Agree. If it is mild hybrid done right, it could be improvements in city. still, this is not a light truck, with aerodynamics of a concrete block, so 4 cylinder engine will be running with at least some extra load. Love to see real life results.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Extra gearing in the tranny will help the acceleration but in all honesty, ‘mild hybrid’ never did that much with any previous vehicle by GM or Ford. As I recall, it only added about 1mpg in city ratings which to me is rather poor. City is where you need strong hybrid with enough electric boost to properly unload the engine. All the turbo is good for is adding torque, at the cost of fuel economy.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Which Ford was a “mild Hybrid”?

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            It was the terrible Chrysler Aspen hybrid that you’re describing. I guess you couldn’t bring yourself to knock a Chrysler product, so might as well blame it on Ford?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’m not describing the Chrysler Aspen Hybrid; I know/knew nothing about it. I do know about GM’s attempt at ‘mild hybrid’ both with their pickup trucks having an electric motor mounted to the driveshaft AND their ‘green-line’ Saturn models. Complaints about Ford’s own ‘mild hybrid’ were similar, as were most of the road reviews when it came to actually comparing performance and mileage with these ‘mild hybrid’ systems. By the description above, this Jeep mild hybrid system is likely to be little better. And talking about the stop/start technology, even that isn’t as effective as it could be while it seems to me more likely to cause excessive wear on the starter motor (since that’s how most previous systems operated.)

            Honestly, I need to know a lot more about the system before I will make any definitive decision on them. At least for now, I’m hoping you can turn the stop/start off while I expect the hybrid to have minimal effect for the kind of driving I do. I like the idea of the 4cyl turbo engine but I think the other two systems (stop/start, hybrid) are unnecessary.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Ford didn’t do any mild hybrids. They, along with Toyota, were early to the game with full hybrids. Mild hybrids were mostly the purview of GM…who has since made up for it with an renewed interest in (presumably-unprofitable) plug-in hybrids and full BEVs.

            Nevertheless, John, your defense of Ford seems a bit militant these days. I think Vulpine mis-spoke, rather than orchestrated a blatant smear campaign here.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You may be right about Ford, Kyree; though I fully remember the GM system as a Ford dealer tried to sell me on one when I was looking for a pickup around ’11 or so. I thought I recalled reading reviews about how Ford tried something similar on its pickups and dropped it even quicker than GM did theirs.

            I admit I have no love for Ford, but that’s due to personal experience with Fords and how one Ford in particular cost me as much as the note on a brand new model just to keep it running an extra year. That happened also to be the vehicle that made me realize they were getting too big, as the thing was simply not maneuverable in tight quarters. With my latest two pickups, both Fords, I had to spend thousands to make them highway-safe, despite the most recent one having only 18,000 miles on it when received. (Certifiable. I also personally knew the original owner as he was my step-father, who kept it garaged when he wasn’t using it.)

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            You may be right, but I really don’t see how the two could be that easily confused.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Besides, I didn’t mean it to come across *that* seriously, it was more of a friendly jab (with respect to his pro-Chrysler position) than an outright accusation.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Gotcha. Carry on, guys :P

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            Yes, both Toyota and Ford independently developed full hybrid systems (no, it’s not true that Ford adopted Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive, despite the myth), and then cross-licensed.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        This is a Belt Starter Generator mild hybrid. The Durango/Aspen Hybrid was a full hybrid.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Glad to see they didn’t muck it up.

    (And you know what? If it’s easier to live with every day, maybe I’d even check one out as a daily driver. If there’s one 4wd I’d be interested in, it’s this one.)

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I had an ’08 model as a daily driver for 9 years (purchased and delivered in ’07.) I still miss that thing but my wife needed an auto transmission and I’d just inherited a ‘compact’ pickup.

      • 0 avatar
        Pete Zaitcev

        The old 4-sp auto (42RLE) was surprisingly inoffensive for something that’s based on an Ultradive mechanics. Not much weirdness. It can get bogged down when you really need to shift 2 gears (from 3rd to 1st in a corner, e.g.), but generally quite good. I heard good things about the 8sp auto they stuffed into JL. It was in use at trucks and Grand for a while.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I like the dash. Can’t wait to see the pick up version. Maybe they’ll figure out a way to pair the diesel with the manual by the time it comes out.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Good to see them leveraging that Alfa 2.0T.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Looks intriguing, but I saw a photo or two where the dash looked awfully high. For the few people that go off-road in these things that could be a problem. I’m 6’3″ and high dashes bother me, I wonder how much more difficult it is for short people. Never seen a Jeep with seats that adjust for height before and I can’t imagine this one does.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Ever sit in one of the JKs? The dash doesn’t look notably higher than the JK to my eye, though what used to be a scallop over the center stack is now straight across. Seating has always been relatively high in the JK so that high-looking dash was never an issue for me, and I’m almost 6″ shorter than you, Ramrod.

      • 0 avatar
        Car Ramrod

        I sat in an early JK when it was new and don’t really remember it. I enjoy the driving position in my YJ and like the TJ as well once the seats are modified to travel a bit further back (otherwise my shin hits the dash when I press the clutch). It’s probably just the angle but these seats look lower than prior Jeeps.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I do think its the angle the picture was taken (or cropped?) that gives that impression. I think it was shown this way because they wanted you to focus on the redesigned dash, not necessarily the outward visibility. Time will tell when people get to drive it and see it more in person.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    This is porn. Cannot wait for the pickup.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    No 2-door Sahara? That’s a shame, that’s the configuration I’d want if I was buying.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I’m betting they’ll bring it back if enough people order a Sport S with all the options. Not everyone is willing to put out the $5k-$7k extra for a Rubi that will never be used to its full capabilities.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Plus I’d want the Sahara’s full time 4wd system.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I was quite happy with the old manual transfer case… part-time 4WD with hi/lo range. Even the so-called minivan motor was more than sufficient for my needs as far as power went; I don’t race my cars and really couldn’t care if it was slower off the line than something so much bigger as a full-sized pickup truck (with monster engines) or smaller and lighter like most sedans. It met my needs and proved a very safe vehicle overall during the time I owned it. I’ll also give it credit that it served well as a true utility vehicle, since I could drop the top and air it out if I was carrying an aromatic load. Can’t do that with most SUVs.

          That said, I don’t necessarily need full-time 4WD and find today’s auto-AWD capabilities from Jeep surprisingly effective, though I would like to see a true, locking, differential for the rear wheels with both an automatic and manual control. The ground clearance is good when I have to take logging or construction trails for stargazing or photography (I don’t trail ride just to ride trails except to learn the vehicle’s limits.) Of course, that obviously means I don’t need a Rubicon’s abilities despite being more extensive than the others.

          What I need from a Jeep is reasonable reliability and the ability to take me where I want to go as long is there is legal, public, access to those locations. My 2WD Ranger can’t do that for me and while the Renegade can handle most of my needs, the Trailhawk version could do more. BUT… since I’d be trading or selling my Ranger to make parking space for its replacement, I need something capable of carrying what that Ranger can carry. The Wrangler or the Scrambler becomes one of my top picks when that time comes.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Can you still get half-doors and floppy side curtains without all the window frame junk?

    Whether I’ll ever buy one or not, I would want the most basic model possible – with AC, of course!

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Half doors have not been around is the YJ. JK had full doors.

      • 0 avatar
        Car Ramrod

        You could order half doors on a JK as recently as 2012 or so, but they weren’t popular. TJs with half doors are common.

      • 0 avatar
        Pete Zaitcev

        Factory half for JK do in fact exist. Until 2012 or so they were only delivered unpainted and sold through places like Quadratec. Then, Mopar started selling them, even painted. I think they are way nicer than any aftermarket half doors for JK.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I read elsewhere that yes, it will be available with half doors.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Half-doors are available both from the factory and from aftermarket suppliers, even on the JK and JKU models. In fact, the half-doors make the JKU look remarkably sharp and ‘classic’ compared to the full-sized doors, especially when the top is down. That said, there’s still framework up there to support the soft top but even that is removable, depending on how far you want to go with it.

      As such, 87 Morgan’s statement is incorrect.

  • avatar
    Feds

    “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.”

    This is a bad, and incorrect, take. Full Time 4wd offers substantial handling advantages over locked centre diffs in bad-weather, on road situations. Think blowing and drifting snow, high-speed dirt roads, even wet-weather driving. There’s a reason rally cars are AWD instead of locked-centre diff.

    Plus, Jeep’s system will offer MORE 4×4 modes (2x, 4x high open diff, 4x high locked diff, 4x low locked diff), so you need to be more familiar with minutia in order to work it correctly.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in the garage changing 4×4 modes on the Grand Vitara I bought instead of a Wrangler, the Expedition I bought instead of a Wrangler Unlimited, and the Pajero I bought instead of a CJ/YJ.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Bringing Selec-Trac to the new Wrangler pleases me. XJ and ZJ faithful worship the old 242 t-case. This will behave similarly, with a lever to shift instead of a button.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Right. What the author describes is more like the AUTO 4×4 mode on some Ford and GM SUVs / trucks. From what I understand…while 2HI completely disengages the clutch leading to the front axle and send all power to the rear axle for full RWD mode, AUTO keeps the front-axle clutch *very* lightly engaged—not enough to cause damage, but it does create some additional light wear—so that it can fully activate the front axle on-demand as traction is needed, then disconnects it.

      I think Ford is using a new system now, which in AUTO mode works more like xDrive, 4MATIC, Quattro, etc…with an electronically-controlled front-rear power split during normal driving. Scoutdude, if I’m wrong, can you set me straight? I genuinely am curious.

      • 0 avatar
        Feds

        You’re close. It really depends on the implementation. The NP242 referenced above uses an open centre diff in AWD mode meaning power is split evenly over 4 wheels, making them less likely to slip but if 1 starts to slip, you stop moving.

        My Mitsubishi has a viscous limited slip in AWD, meaning more power goes forward as the rear end starts to slip.

        The Grand Vitara has a mechanical limited slip (ratchet and pawl) in AWD, meaning power is split equally up to some maximum difference between front and rear traction. All of these are totally mechanical, have a fixed power split, and are “always on”.

        My Expedition uses a continuously variable clutch in AWD,letting the computer determine how much power goes forward. And it can go from 0% to 100%. When you go into auto 4×4, the hubs get locked to the front drive shafts, meaning the shafts, front diff, and driveshaft all start spinning, even though they may not be connected to the engine power.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      In practice, a center diff makes things much more set and forget in the kind of situations most people clamor fro 4wd/awd: Snow, slush, mud, sand or otherwise slippery going.

      You just set the box to awd and forget about it some time in November. Then, if you bother, switch it back to 2Hi in the spring. Much less required involvement than trying to get a traditional pickup up a curvy, snowy mountain road, by engaging 4Hi on the straights, then hoping momentum, and Blizzaks, will carry you through the switchbacks in 2Hi.

      For all but technical offroading, the Sahara setup seem like the one to get, though. The Rubicon’s more traditional transfer case’s main advantages being (for technical stuff) the deeper reduction ratio in 4Lo, and a presumably greater outright strength for larger tires and the occasional bound up driveline on the rocks.

  • avatar
    Sam Hell Jr

    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.”

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    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.


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