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2018 Wrangler JL: first test

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What’s new for 2018: Ram, Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, and Fiat

by David Zatz

The United States requires backup cameras on 2018 cars and trucks, addressing the rear blind spots that have become a leading source of car-related injuries and deaths.

2018 Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram Colors

We compiled this from marketing materials; there could be Allpar-created errors, and it hasn’t been color corrected, so they are approximate. Dealers have better color sheets.

2018 colors

We are not including “fleet only” colors (some of which seem to duplicate these), B5 Blue, or InViolet Metallic (because we didn’t have them).

UConnect 4

Uconnect 4, which launched with some of the 2018 cars and trucks, has faster processors, better graphics, and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with native voice control and Siri Eyes Free. The new system has single-step voice entry, saving time and letting drivers focus more on the road, as well.

At least on some cars, Uconnect 4 has SiriusXM Tune Start, which starts playing a song from its beginning, rather than the point where you tuned into the station.

uconnect 4 system

Cars and trucks with Uconnect 4C and the 8.4 inch display get multi-touch gestures (e.g. pinch to zoom out), and 4G cellular-to-WiFi hotspots that can stretch to eight devices per car — at a better cost than many cell hot-spot options.

The system also supports SiriusXM Guardian in the US and Canada, which allows remote locking and starting via phone or Web, and an app that can send addresses to the car navigation system.

Ram

The biggest news for Ram is probably the standard and sole transmission on the Ram 1500, at least for American retail buyers: it’s now an eight-speed automatic. The six-speed is still available to fleet buyers and Canadians. For the Ram 2500 and 3500, while they don’t show up in the press release, manual transmissions and two Aisin six-speeds carry over along with Chrysler automatics.

Ram 1500 Harvest

Farmers may appreciate the Harvest Editions — an option set on Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 pickups, regardless of cab and bed — which provides useful options for farmers and a choice of Case or New Holland official paint colors, to match farm equipment.

rebel blue streak

Across all 2018 Ram pickups (but not chassis cabs), there is a new Limited Tungsten top model, and a Sport appearance upgrade, and any vehicle with 8.4 inch stereos get the new UConnect system and Sirius Guardian. A remote switch in the truck bed can turn the LED bed lights on. Buyers can get a fleet telematics module for tracking efficiency.

ram 2500 tungsten

The 2018 Ram 1500 Rebel can now be ordered with leather, and updated UConnect 8.4 systems include Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto.

The Cummins diesel option has been boosted to 930 pound-feet of torque, in the ever-lasting power race between Ram, GM, and Ford... a race that tends to see Cummins pushing Ram to the top. Press kits show no Aisin six-speed automatics for the Ram 2500 and 3500, but two Aisins do indeed continue on, along with manual transmissions.

ram rebel

The 2018 ProMaster and ProMaster City both get five-inch touch-screen radios, so they can get backup cameras (Chassis Cabs and Cutaways get a camera kit as well). ProMaster sliding doors have a window grate with a fixed-glass option; City Cargo Vans without partitions can have window grates for the sliding doors and rear windows.

Dodge cars

The 2018 Hellcat Charger gains a new grille, badging, and wheel finish option, with new color options (black, orange, and gunmetal) for the brake calipers, along with a Demonic Red Laguna Leather option, dual gray stripe option, and a red interior badge. All the Hellcat cars have new “3D” badges.

charger hellcat after thrill ride

Chargers come with standard UConnect 4 and rear parking sensors. The SRT 392 has new lightweight low-gloss black wheels, saving 16 pounds per car; Brass Monkey wheels are optional, along with red Brembo calipers (Scat Pack and Daytona 392). IndiGO Blue and F8 Green paint will be added late in the year.

The 2018 Dodge Charger lineup changed again; SE and SXT were combined as the SXT, and the SE AWD and SXT AWD became the GT. The GT V6, is rated at 300 hp (up from 292 hp).

The 2018 Charger Pursuit gains a standard seven inch display; police can use the backup camera from Park or Drive. A fleet safety group includes blind spot monitors, rear cross path detection, and rear park assistance.

The Dodge Challenger Hellcat essentially gets the same changes as the Charger Hellcat, along with illuminated Air-Catcher headlamps. As has been made quite clear, there are two new variants, the 840-hp Demon and the Widebody.

Hellcat widebody

Other Challenger changes are Nappa/Alcantara seats with the Super Track Pak on Challenger SXT Plus and R/T Plus, and 19-inch wheels with painted pockets optional on the GT AWD. F8 Green (replacing GreenGo) and IndiGo Blue (replacing Contusion Blue) paints are added; B5 Blue and Plum Crazy will return (all late). Continuing paints are B5 Blue (late), Billet Silver, Destroyer Grey, Go Mango, Granite Crystal, Maximum Steel, Octane Red, Pitch Black, Plum Crazy (late), Redline Tri-Coat, TorRed, White Knuckle, and Yellow Jacket.

Dodge Durango and Journey

The 2018 Durango SRT boasts a towing capacity of 8,700 pounds, with a 475 horsepower engine and 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds. The R/T shares the SRT’s functional air-inlet hood with dual air extractors, and its front fascia with a cold air duct and LED fog lamps.

All Durangos gained a seven inch touchscreen stereo, standard. The SXT gained a leather steering wheel and rear park assist. The GT gained a power liftgate and leather-and-suede bucket seats (or all-leather seats), and an optional Technology Group; the Citadel and SRT can both be purchased with a suede headliner and A-pillar cover.

2018 dodge durango

All 2018 Durangos get paddle shifters, and a better standard shifter, as well as UConnect 4. Higher level Durangos get standard front park assist (R/T, Citadel, and SRT); B5 Blue will debut on SRT and R/T, and a new In Violet Metallic joins the color lineup. Finally, the Durango GT (with the Blacktop and Brass Monkey packages) has a hood similar to the R/T and SRT hoods.

The 2018 Dodge Caravan, which some did not expect to arrive at all, continues essentially unchanged for a relatively short model year. We expect Dodge to make a similar 2019 Caravan, with some changes to meet new crash-safety requirements related to passenger ejection.

The 2018 Dodge Journey continues as the most affordable, most powerful three-row midsize crossover under $30,000. For 2018, there are four models (SE, SXT, Crossroad, and GT), at lower prices, and standard three-row seating. The Crossroad moved to “black noise” 19-inch aluminum wheels, and the Blacktop package is now available on the SE, SXT, and GT.

Jeep

There is no 2018 Jeep Patriot, and the 2018 Jeep Compass is a continuation of the “new 2017 Compass” (versus the “old 2017 Compass.”) The new Compass gets an FWD Limited model, and fourth-generation UConnect systems.

jeep compass

Jeep Renegade buyers now get seven-inch UConnect 4 systems standard — except on the Sport, where they are optional (a five-inch screen is standard). Upper trims also get optional 8.4 inch systems. Interior rejiggling resulted in more storage capacity, a new Selec-Terrain dial, relocated USB port, and two new front-row storage areas; there are new colors, bezels, and seat fabrics. A dual pane sunroof is optional on all but Sport; the MySky system is optional on Sport.

trackhawk

The 2018 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, previously announced, has a 707 horsepower Hellcat V8, for a 3.5 seconds 0-60 time and 11.6 quarter mile.

The base stereo on other Grand Cherokees moved from a five inch screen to seven inches, with 8.4 optional; both are Uconnect 4. A Sterling Edition has platinum chrome trim, 20-inch Heritage wheels, perforated seats, 8.4 stereo, nine-speaker audio with active noise cancellation, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross path detection. Buyers can choose a unique Sangria color. The High Altitude returns; Summit, SRT, and Trailhawk gain a Real Metal Package with “upscale real metal accents.” 

The optional nine speaker Alpine audio system now includes active noise cancellation. The Overland has a brown interior option, Laredo has new cloth seats (black or beige) and new 17-inch wheels, and the SRT’s Signature Leather-Wrapped package includes new trim inside and out, with 20-inch Satin Carbon Spider Monkey wheels (low-gloss black lightweight 20-inch wheels are optional).

2018 cherokee overland

In its final year before a redesign, the 2018 Jeep Cherokee now starts with the Latitude, which includes HID headlamps, 17-inch wheels, fog lamps, bright moldings, and body-color mirrors. The Plus adds numerous popular options including an AC outlet and 8.4 stereo. Trailhawk and Limited both add blind spot monitoring, cross path detection, and backup alert; Trailhawk also has dual-zone automatic temperature control and Limited also has a power liftgate.

muddy cherokee

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler will have a “Wrangler JK” decal on the driver’s-side front quarter panel, separating it from the JL when the latter arrives — the two will reportedly be made at once for a time. A tan soft top is newly optional on Freedom and Rubicon Recon, and a locking rear differential is newly available on Willys Wheeler and Freedom.

jeep jk

New editions will join the lineup. The Freedom Edition is military-themed, inside and out, with Oscar Mike badging and decals, 17-inch wheels, steel off-road bumpers, a black soft top, and iron gray metallic interior trim. Golden Eagle has a tan soft top, appearance updates, steel bumpers with bronze tow hooks, heavy duty rock rails, black tail-lamp guards, 17-inch bronze wheels, interior logos, titanium-painted interior trim, and light bronze accent stitching on the “McKinley vinyl” surfaces; with black cloth seats; optional tan half-doors are optional. Finally, the JK Altitude is based on the Sahara, with high-gloss black exterior trim, Dueler tires, body-color hard-top, power-bulge hood, black leather seats with light gray stitching, and liquid-titanium finish interior trim.

Chrysler

The Chrysler 300 has been moved roughly back to its 2012 status: the 300C is back to being V8 only, and a base model has cloth seats. Trimlines have been altered to Touring, Touring L, 300S, Limited, and 300C; and all wheel drive is now available on the Touring, Touring L, 300S, and Limited. All 300s have the 8.4 inch display and electric steering; the 300S continues to have a 300 hp version of the V6 (292 hp on 300).

Chrysler 300

To quote one reader,

Reaching out to repeat buyers of Chrysler 200 is the new, extremely well equipped “base” model, with high-quality rich, supportive “green” nonslip contour cloth bucket seats; packages can make it more upscale, luxurious like the C, or sporty like the enhanced S. A “best of both worlds” will comes in the new-for-2018 model year 300 Touring L, with optional all wheel drive on any V6-equipped 300.

As many people predicted, the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica has gained a new entry-level model, the L, to tap into the vast discount-minivan market which has normally been the domain of th Caravan. The hybrid models were re-aligned to match gasoline models

uconnect

On the stereo front, the Pacifica gained UConnect 4, and UConnect Theater owners can wirelessly stream from Android devices. All Pacificas have at least a seven inch screen; the optional (standard above Touring L) 8.4 inch system has HD radio, and the navigation setup has optional 4G WiFi.

Visible changes to the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica include new wheels and body-colored mirrors on the Touring Plus; a chromed roof rack and bright body-side moldings on the Touring L; and new Copperhead and Ocean Blue Metallic paints. The options and features also have been rejiggered:

Safety features are easier to get, with Advanced SafetyTec and a power passenger seat optional on Touring L (which now has standard performated leather seats, as well).

Fiat

The 2018 Fiat 500L has been upgraded quite a bit, with 7-inch UConnect 4 radios, numerous exterior and interior changes, a better center console, another USB port, LED ambient lighting, and a new steering wheel, among other changes. New colors are Blue Denim (solid, not patterned), pastel orange, and metallic bronze. Since its launch, the engine has been retuned and the transmission replaced. Full 2018 Fiat 500L story.

fiat 500L

The 500X carries forward with a seven inch display and UConnect 4 on all models; the Fiat 124 has rejiggered packages on Lusso and Abarth, a red top edition on the Lusso (late), and three new colors — tri-coat white pearl; silver metallic; and dark blue metallic.

The 2018 Fiat 500 and 500e are to be refreshed and launched later in the year.

What’s coming up?

Expect to see more special editions from Ram, as they wait for the 2019 Ram 1500 to show up. (That truck may end up becoming the 2020 Ram 1500, if development does not go as planned.) There should not be major surprises for the 2018 model year, but the 2018 calendar year may hold some interesting developments...



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