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Learning from Jeep JL closeups

by David Zatz on

When KGP Photography caught the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL cruising around Michigan, devoid of its usual puffy cladding, we were finally able to see some key details that clarified how engineers worked around the need for lighter weight, aerodynamics, and rollover safety, without sacrificing traditional Jeep features (like the rarely used, but unique, fold-down windshield).

Roof hinges

It’s hard to be certain, but it appears that Allpar sources who guessed the windshield would have a sub-frame may have been right. The windshield can clearly fold down — otherwise why have hinges? — but the A-pillar probably can’t, since that would reduce its strength.

Here we can see that the mirror is attached to the door, not the A-pillar. Chances are, there is an “easy unplug” feature for the cable that powers the mirror and power locks, as in the JK, so the door can be removed. This also gives a good look at what seems to be a modern “pull to open” handle, along with a retro-appearance chromed lock.

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL

The Wrangler will be almost unique in keeping its passenger-side physical (keyed) door lock.

There are now two-part fender flares; on this model, at least, only the top part is painted.  The license plate has been moved to the bumper, making it less likely to be torn off. The rear wiper has been moved to the bottom of the back glass for greater visibility; we still have rumors that the glass will flip up.

The bumpers appear to be single pieces of molded plastic, and the tow hooks don’t stick out, both possibly concessions to European “pedestrian safety” laws. Steel bumpers may still be optional or part of special packages. Front radar may be hidden by the bulges.

We can also see that the parking lights will be LEDs, with apparently separate sidelights in the same module. The LED headlights look similar, but not identical, to those of the late JK.  The area under the bumper is likely a cleverly integrated air dam to raise highway mileage and reduce noise. The grille itself is shaped as Allpar sources predicted two years back.

Front fender vents are there to release air for greater aero slip.

Gas cap

Look forward to a new fuel door (also concealing the DEF filler on diesels), pull-to-open rear gate, and the usual “add-on-like” tail-light assemblies. It appears as though they may flash amber for turn signals, but they could just as easily flash red — or be programmed for red in the US and Canada, and amber elsewhere.

The reverse camera seems to be mounted in the middle of the spare tire, a slick feat of hide-the-technology.

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL

We now know what the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL will look like, its engine and transmission choices, how it will handle the possible end of the rollover exemption, its axle choices, and its new full time 4×4 option. It will be interesting to see what surprises Jeep has in store for us, during the official reveal.  Thanks to our forum members.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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