JL WRANGLER BREAKS COVER IN LOS ANGELES
“The worst-kept secret revealed” in the 4x4 world was
Finally, after months of leaks, internet rumor mongering, and a teaser preview by Jeep itself at the 2017 SEMA Show, the worst-kept secret in the 4x4 world, the 2018 JL Wrangler, was officially unveiled at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Jeep chief Mike Manley spent the first part of the press conference setting the stage for the Wrangler’s latest evolutionary step. He said Wrangler “represents the original, quintessential Jeep, the embodiment of everything Jeep stands for,” and that its appeal “is far more about mindset than demographics.” The Jeep experience “offers something real, grounded and true, authentic, and down-to-earth.”
A four-door Sahara model took the stage first. Manley walked through the aerodynamic improvements—from the raked grille to the small rear roof spoiler—and weight savings, including aluminum doors and magnesium swing-gate, all done to improve mileage. A “catalog of open-air combinations” includes the new Sky power top, a canvas roof panel that fully retracts at the push of a button. The new Wrangler has some 75 safety and security systems onboard, as well as improved connectivity, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Next, two- and four-door Rubicon models drove up steep ramps on the stage, giving Manley the cue to talk about the JL’s capability. He mentioned the availability of four engines and described a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that produces a best-in-class
270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque (when paired with the eight-speed automatic transmission); the return of the 3.6L Pentastar V-6, now with stop/start technology; and the 2019 availability of the
3.0L EcoDiesel V-6, producing 260 hp and a whopping 442 lb-ft of torque. The engine descriptions stopped there.
Manley went on to discuss transmission options, torque-management systems, tire sizes, and fording depth. For a few minutes we wondered if he had misspoken about four engines. But he saved that final piece of news for last. In 2020 the Jeep will be available with a “full plug-in electric” powertrain, he said, a juicy bit of info that didn’t even make it into the official press release.