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Wrangler: more info, PHEV coming

by David Zatz on

The Jeep Wrangler was officially unveiled today, with a new lighter-weight body atop a high-strength steel frame, three engine choices – four by 2020 – and a new, optional full-time four wheel drive system that dates back to the old and respected Grand Cherokee WJ.

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL

What’s left? Well, there were a few new details and a revelation or two they were still managing to keep from us, despite all the leaks.

Overall aerodynamic efficiency has been increased by 9%. Both headlamps and fog lamps are LEDs (available option).  The windshield can be dropped while the rear-view mirrors stay in place; and the doors have larger windows, it’s not your imagination. That should help in both city and off-road — especially off-road.

The power top can retract the canvas roof all the way, even at speeds up to 60 mph. At least one of what Jeep brand chief Michael Manley called a “catalogue of open air iterations” is a spring-loaded manual soft top, presumably for one-handed ease of use.

The new electro-hydraulic steering systems have a more natural feel, and there is a new steering wheel, according to Manley, who delivered a 20-minute monologue during the unveiling in Los Angeles.

The Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon all have different exterior styling cues, but all have an integrated spoiler at the rear of the roof; all are Trail Rated.  Two new Rubicons were shown off, a yellow one joining the red, along with the dark gray Sahara familiar to Allpar readers.

Safety upgrades include the ever-handy rear cross-path detection and many other additions. The Jeep information pages include a screen with five analog gauges, for those who miss having full instrumentation.

The hybrid system includes regenerative braking as part of the mild-hybrid package.  The diesel is coming in 2019, not 2018, and “should deliver over 30 miles per gallon” once it’s rated. Manley said the diesel had to be offered “due to overwhelming consumer demand.”

And for those wondering what FCA is doing about the EV future so many predict is coming, a full plug-in hybrid-electric Jeep Wrangler will be available in 2020 as the fourth engine option.

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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