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So what of the 2018 Jeep Wranglers?

by David Zatz on

Few vehicles are so eagerly anticipated and fought over as a new Wrangler, which are a fairly rare event.  Past updates have been hotly debated, and generally included more reliability and creature comforts or engine/transmission changes — mostly good ones (though the loss of the old 4.0 was felt for some time).

FCA leaders may have known this when they threw around the idea of an aluminum-bodied, independent-suspension Wrangler. While former AMC engineer Bob Sheaves created a surprisingly capable independent-suspension Wrangler in the 1990s, few thought it could be implemented well enough today. The question now is whether either idea was ever seriously considered.

In any case, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s main driveline updates are expected to be a welcome eight-speed automatic (with two versions, an 850RE made by Chrysler and an 8HP75 made by ZF) and new-generation Dana 44 axles, expected to be more efficient.

The current V6 will continue, and many expect a four-cylinder turbo option, though the timing is getting tight for this. CJs started out with no option other than a four, but they were also far lighter than current models; in any case, the new four will be more powerful than nearly any past I-6 or V6 used in a Wrangler.  A six-speed manual will still be available (possibly only with the six), and a diesel is, as always, held out to tantalize North American Jeep buyers.

The overall look shouldn’t change much, despite new rollover protection that may also allow the Jeep to be lighter by taking up more of the structural-integrity load. Observers expect an enhancement of the current “sport bar” setup, with 10°-15° greater tilt on the windshield.

Overall, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler is shaping up to be a major improvement over the current version — but all bets are off until it’s seen on (or, better, off) the trail.

More spy shots are at our 2018 Jeep Wrangler page.

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