2018 Jeep Wrangler gains new hybrid turbo engine

2018 Jeep Wrangler gains new hybrid turbo engine

Previewed for the first time last month, the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler finally makes its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. Yes, it’s really a new-generation model (codename JL), even though its looks may suggest otherwise. That’s because the Wrangler is one of the company’s most iconic models, if not the most, and so keeping it unmistakably recognisable is Jeep’s foremost priority.

Even so, there have been several exterior design tweaks, including the rounded LED headlamps (Sahara and Rubicon only, with optional LED fog lamps) with encircling LED daytime running lights which now intersect the iconic seven-slat grille, harking back to the CJ model.

There are also repositioned LED indicators on the front fenders, optional square LED tail lights (now jutting out for a more three-dimensional effect), a lower beltline for improved outward visibility, body-coloured sport bars welded to the body and enhanced aerodynamics. A new fold-down windscreen has been added as well, with a header bar joining the A-pillars and staying in place (together with the rear-view mirror) even with the windscreen down.

2018 Jeep Wrangler gains new hybrid turbo engine

As usual, the doors and roof can be removed, with the latter now available in a variety of options. The returning three-piece hardtop features lighter panels and improved latches for quicker and removal, while Sahara and Rubicon models get a body-coloured roof option. Also available is an improved Sunrider soft-top that’s quieter and easier to retract, along with a new power Sky One-touch top coming later next year.

Two body styles are offered, with the two-door coming in three trims – Sport, Sport S and Rubicon – and the four-door available in an additional Sahara guise. A new half-door version will be introduced in 2019. All models get front and rear tow hooks, front and rear steel heavy-duty winch-ready bumpers with removable end caps and up to 762 mm of water-wading capability.

Inside, the theme is authenticity (of course, why not), but the cabin is completely redesigned and looks far more contemporary than before. New items start from the three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, brand new instrument cluster with a seven-inch digital LED display (base models get a 3.5-inch digital display), as well as a fresh new centre stack.

2018 Jeep Wrangler gains new hybrid turbo engine

The air vents have also been redesigned, with the middle pair now positioned further up, just next to the new Fiat Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment display that’s available in three sizes – five, seven or 8.4 inches. The head unit also supports pinch-and-zoom capabilities, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We think it makes the dashboard look much neater, and accentuating this new styling is the body-coloured trim.

Other new features include keyless entry, an engine start button with a weatherproof surround, adjustable seat bolster and lumbar support and longer armrests with handles under each one to facilitate door removal. Cabin materials have also been improved with soft-touch front door cards and a hand-wrapped dashboard with accent stitching on the Sahara model.

Elsewhere, the new Wrangler is fitted with new mesh door pockets, numerous phone storage spaces, 12 volt sockets, two front and rear USB ports and an optional 115-volt AC outlet to power select three-pronged electronics. Boot space is freed up by the relocation of the subwoofer, and there’s also an optional Trail Rail cargo management system with easy access to cargo area contents, plus additional storage options.

2018 Jeep Wrangler gains new hybrid turbo engine

As for engines, the North American market gets the all-new 270 hp/400 Nm 2.0 litre turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine with an eTorque mild hybrid system and a 260 hp/600 Nm 3.0 litre EcoDiesel V6, the latter introduced based on overwhelming customer demand.

The outgoing 2.8 litre petrol has been dropped, but the 285 hp/352 Nm 3.6 litre Pentastar petrol V6 with Engine Stop-Start (ESS) continues to be offered. Transmission options include a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic (the only kind in its class), and towing capacity is up to 1,587 kg (3,500 pounds) depending on the engine.

For the first time in the model’s (still a body-on-frame vehicle) history, a two-speed Selec-Trac transfer case with full-time four-wheel drive and a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio is fitted, but this is only available on Sahara models. There’s a more robust Command-Trac 4×4 system with next-gen solid Dana front and rear axles with a 3.45 rear axle ratio, offering full-time torque management for optimal grip in low-traction conditions.

The Wrangler Rubicon, on the other hand, gets a heavy duty Rock-Trac 4×4 system (also with torque management) with Dana 44 front and rear axles with a low-range ratio of 4:1. It also has improved articulation and total suspension travel versus the previous generation, as well as Tru-Lok limited-slip rear differential. Together with the six-speed manual (standard), it boasts an improved crawl ratio of 84.2:1, whereas the eight-speeder gets a 77.2:1 ratio. Either way, both options make scaling obstacles easier.

Overseeing ride is the same five-link coil front and rear suspension setup as before, with the front featuring a lateral control arm and four longitudinal control arms. Full-width forged steel track bars are used to keep lateral movement of the axle in check, and the spring rates and shocks have been retuned for better ride comfort. The Wrangler’s roll centre height is also raised.

Crucial components such as the fuel tank, transfer case and transmission oil pan is protected by four skid plates and bars, while Rubicon models benefit from heavy gauge tubular steel rock rails to prevent potential damage to the body when challenged off the beaten track.

2018 Jeep Wrangler gains new hybrid turbo engine

To reduce weight, Jeep used high-strength aluminum for the doors, door hinges, bonnet, fender flares, windshield frame and magnesium swing gate, as well as the employment of hollow track and stabiliser bars, aluminum engine mounts and steering gear, and a larger but lighter master cylinder.

Last but not least, Jeep also paid much attention to the Wrangler’s safety and security. The 4×4 now offers more than 75 available active and passive safety and security features, which includes Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection, ParkView reverse camera with dynamic grid lines, electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation and four standard airbags.

Production will take place in Toledo, Ohio, where over two million Wranglers have been produced since 1992.

GALLERY: 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
GALLERY: 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

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Matthew H Tong

An ardent believer that fun cars need not be fast and fast cars may not always be fun. Matt advocates the purity and simplicity of manually swapping cogs while coping in silence of its impending doom. Matt's not hot. Never hot.



  • ayoyo on Dec 07, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    BIG LOVE *o*

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • steve on Dec 08, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Rubicon tru-lok differentials are full locking differentials, not limited slip. You are thinking of Trak-lok. The Rubicon Tru-lok fully locking diffs are installed on both front and rear dana 44 differentials.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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