Jeep’s recipe for the Wrangler is pretty simple. Always has been, always will be. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to learn that after scanning more than 300 pages of a leaked 2018 Jeep Wrangler owner’s manual, first published by enthusiast forum JL Wrangler and then reported on by Automotive News, the redesigned Wrangler JL is much the same as it ever was…only better.
Remember, there are two different Jeep Wranglers available for 2018. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is continuing to build to old one for now, called the Wrangler JK. The new Wrangler JL arrives in the first quarter of 2018, at which time the JK’s production line will be re-tooled for the new Wrangler-based pickup truck, perhaps arriving as the 2019 Jeep Scrambler.
With that as preamble, the 2018 Wrangler JL returns in 2-door and 4-door body styles with a choice between a fabric soft top, a removable hard top, and a new power sliding top with removable rear windows and both express and manual modes. Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon trim levels return, no doubt to be joined by numerous special-edition variants in the future.
A 3.6-liter V6 engine is standard, paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox or an automatic transmission. The section of the owner’s manual discussing the Hill Descent Control system indicates that a 9-speed automatic will be available, but later the document appears to confirm that the automatic is, in fact, an 8-speed unit equipped with AutoStick manual mode and an AutoPark safety system. AutoPark appears to prevent vehicle rollaway accidents such as the one that claimed Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin.
As an option, buyers can select a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that requires premium fuel for maximum performance. Both power plants will include automatic engine stop/start in order to improve fuel economy, and drivers can turn it off if that is preferable.
Part-time 4-wheel drive is standard, and a new full-time 4-wheel-drive system is available, along with an electronic front sway bar disconnect system that improves wheel articulation. The Hill Descent Control system limits speed to between 0.6 mph and 5.6 mph, depending on the selected gear, and the new Wrangler JL is equipped with ready alert braking, which provides maximum stopping power in a hurry once the driver stabs the brake pedal. Rain brake support, which automatically dries wet brake pads in order to maximize stopping power in wet conditions, is also standard.
Dynamic Steering Torque technology also debuts in the new Wrangler. Based on input from the stability control system, the electric steering system delivers feedback intended to encourage the driver to input necessary steering correction actions, though in the absence of such corrective measures the system does not do so automatically.
A blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is a new option for the 2018 Wrangler JL. Buried within the details of the owner’s manual, note that all Wranglers are equipped with event data recorders that preserve 30 seconds of information leading to a collision. This includes vehicle speed, whether the driver was braking or accelerating, and whether or not the seat belts were fastened. The data is recorded only for a “non-trivial crash situation.”
Additional updates for 2018 include a standard reversing camera, and upgrades such as rear parking assist sensors, keyless entry with push-button engine starting, a heated steering wheel, a 7-inch driver information display, and LED lighting all around.
Infotainment systems include Bluetooth connectivity and display screens measuring between 5 inches and 8.4 inches across. Upper end selections include the latest version of Uconnect technology offering voice texting support for Android devices, Siri support for Apple devices, a Do Not Disturb setting, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone projection technology. USB ports are available to both front seat and rear seat occupants.
An Off-Road Pages system also debuts, supplying a litany of details related to off-highway driving. By referencing the Uconnect 8.4 display screen, you can see transfer case status, current latitude and longitude position, current altitude, various vehicle temperatures and pressures, steering angle in degrees, current pitch and roll angles, and more.
Sirius XM Guardian subscription services are also available for the new Wrangler. Highlights include automatic collision notification, SOS emergency calling, stolen vehicle location service, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot. Using the Uconnect smartphone app, owners can remotely start the vehicle, operate the horn and lights, locate the vehicle, send a destination to the navigation system, and more.
If this all sounds too sophisticated for a rough-and-tumble vehicle like a Jeep Wrangler, don’t worry. You’ll still be able to remove the top, ditch the side doors, and fold the windshield down for a true open-air driving experience like no other.
Jeep will build the 2018 Wrangler JL in Toledo, Ohio.
Sources: JLwrangler.com, Automotive News