Jeep Wrangler 2018 FIRST LOOK

Jeep Wrangler 2018 FIRST LOOK By Auto Critic Steve Hammes

Jeep owners are a passionate lot and they take their Wranglers very seriously.

Though there are many who simply crave the persona of a rugged lifestyle and a friendly wave to their brethren, a hardcore few truly do put their rigs to the test so every Wrangler needs to be engineered to the extreme.  With that in mind, the completely redesigned 2018 Wrangler is even more trail capable while also better equipped to satisfy those who only fantasize about fording 30” of water and tackling 44 degree approach angles.

Every Wrangler model receives a Trail Rated badge but it’s the Rubicon that’s equipped with the beefiest axles, front and rear locking differentials, the Rock-Trac 4X4 System with its deeper low range, rock rails, and specialized off-road tires.

Plus, the Rubicon now offers improved articulation and total suspension travel with help from an electronic sway-bar disconnect.  When equipped with the standard 6-speed manual transmission the Rubicon has an improved crawl ratio of 84:1 allowing it to easily scale any obstacle it encounters and it has about an additional inch of ground clearance over Sport and Sahara models, totaling nearly 11”.  But it’s perhaps the Wrangler’s new softer side that’ll win over more customers.

A lowered beltline and larger windows improve visibility and there’s a trifecta of roof options including a One-Touch power soft top that retracts the canvas roof the full length of the vehicle, a new premium Sunrider manual soft top with easier operation and removal or lastly a lighter 3-piece hard top with improved latches.

The interior has been completely modernized with push-button start, first class infotainment, more storage space, and for the first time on a Wrangler an automatic full-time 4-wheel drive system that’s exclusively available on Sahara 4-door models.  The suspension has also been retuned to better balance on-road handling with off-road capability so ride comfort, body-roll control and handling are expected to be significantly improved.

The standard engine across the board is the tried and true 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 delivering 285 horsepower with a new engine Stop-Start feature returning an improved 20mpg in combined driving for both manual and automatic transmissions.  A new 2.0-liter turbo producing 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque is optional.  And coming next year is a V6 diesel option rated at 442 pound-feet of torque.

Want one?  First decide on a 2- or 4-door model and then choose from Sport, Sport S, Sahara – which is a 4-door only – and Rubicon trims.  Starting MSRPs range from the low 30s to low 40s.

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