Can an old dog learn new tricks? If that dog is the venerable Jeep Wrangler, the answer is an unqualified Yes!
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler, also known as the Jeep JL model, debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Since then it’s been setting sales records for parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Wrangler sales jumped 58% in April 2018, their best monthly performance ever and the second straight month of record sales gains, according to FCA Chrysler. Overall, through April Jeep sold 85,000 vehicles including both the new models and the previous model still on dealer’s lots.
Jeep offers four trim levels in two-door and four-door models: the Sport, Sport S, Sahara and Rubicon. Prices range from the high $20,000s for the lower end, and it’s not hard to push 50-grand for a well-equipped Rubicon.
So why is a brand new, yet 77-year-old vehicle still such a hit? Let’s look under the hood and behind the scenes at what’s driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler off the dealer lot as fast they can be rolled out of the factory.
Born to Support the Troops
First, a bit of history. The Jeep concept began in World War II when the U.S. Army commissioned the development of a small four-wheel drive vehicle. Some say the name came from the designation “General Purpose” vehicle; others say it was military slang for any untested new vehicle. Military Jeeps began production in 1941.
When the war was over, returning servicemen bought up surplus Jeeps, and Willys-Overland, which became part of the American Motors Company, launched civilian Jeep or CJ production in 1945. The Jeep added the Wrangler model name in 1986 and it’s been continuously updated over the years.
The previous model, known as the JK, introduced the four-door Wrangler Unlimited, opening up Jeep ownership to an entirely new market of people who loved the Jeep mystique but wanted a more practical vehicle.
Respect the Grille
For the new JL model, the Jeep design team revised the traditional seven-slot grille with an updated look that now shows both of the outer grille slats intersecting the headlights, paying homage to the Jeep CJ.
Dozens of different door, top and windshield combinations allow for endless configuration possibilities. A new bolt design at the top of the windshield frame allows the windshield to fold down quickly and easily. In a thoughtful touch, the rearview mirror remains in place thanks to a new header bar design.
With the all-new Sky One-Touch power top, drivers can retract the full-length open canvas roof with the push of a button.
Since 1941, Jeep has been valued for its off-roading prowess. So how does the new model stack up? After all, many Jeeps will never see anything more rugged than the grassy parking lot at the school carnival.
But depending on the model, the new Jeep can ford water up to 30-inches deep, and sports unmatched crawl ratios to climb scary steep trails and four-wheel-drive systems to power through and over practically any obstacle.
People like to know they have those capabilities just in case an earthquake or the zombie apocalypse strikes on the way home from soccer practice.
The 2018 model offers a choice of advanced 4×4 systems, and features a two-speed transfer case with full-time four-wheel drive, a first in Jeep history. On Sahara models, the new Selec-Trac full-time two-speed transfer case allows the driver to set it and forget it while unobtrusively sending power to the front and rear wheels as needed.
The Command-Trac 4×4 system features a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio and solid Dana front and rear axles for rough terrain.
On the top-of-the-line Wrangler Rubicon, the Rock-Trac 4×4 system features heavy-duty front and rear axles with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1 and Tru-Lok locking differentials that deliver grip on any surface. The Rubicon models offer greater articulation and total suspension travel compared to the previous generation with help from an electronic sway-bar disconnect.
Jeep experts recommend four-wheel drive with the low-range 4LO gearing to tackle trails rated 3-10.
Engine options include a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6, the all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder, and the traditional 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine.
Choose from the standard six-speed manual transmission or the new eight-speed automatic transmission on Rubicon that make scaling any obstacle on the trail like a drive in the park.
Both Command-Trac and Rock-Trac systems offer full-time torque management, enabling optimal grip in low-traction conditions. An available Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential provides extra torque and grip during slippery, low-traction situations, such as driving over sand, gravel, snow or ice.
Four skid plates and bars protect vital bits underneath, and Rubicon models also get a heavy gauge tubular steel rock rail. Bumpers are ready to install a winch to use those tow hooks, and front and rear tow hooks to help pull your Jeep out of the really ugly stuff.
With ground clearance of 10.9″, an approach angle of 44 degrees, a departure angle of 37 degrees and the breakover angle at 27.8 degrees, those recovery tools shouldn’t get much of a workout.
Each Wrangler model receives the coveted Trail Rated badge to reflect its legendary 4×4 performance.
Just because you may be scrambling up a mountainside in your Jeep doesn’t mean you have to leave technology behind. The Uconnect system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity that can also interface with a smartwatch app.
Depending on the package, you can have all the safety and security features like blind-spot monitoring, a rear backup camera, electronic stability control with electronic roll mitigation and about 75 others.
On suitably equipped models the Family Alert feature allows you set boundary limits, monitor driving speed and location via your phone or smartwatch.
No matter if you’re a dirt-loving off-roading demon or someone looking for a non-boring family car, the new Jeep Wrangler could be the answer to your automotive search. After all, there are many good reasons the Jeep is still going strong after all these years.
All New 2018 Jeep Wrangler Revealed at LA Auto Show: https://blog.tirebuyer.com/trucks-suvs-we-love-all-new-2018-jeep-wrangler-revealed-at-la-autoshow/
2018 Jeep Wrangler Press Kit