2018 Jeep Wrangler
Here are three things you need to know about the newest Jeep Wrangler:
1. It’s finally, finally, finally being offered with both optional full-time four-wheel drive, and an optional diesel. For Wrangler fans, or people who wouldn’t buy one before because having to shift from RWD to 4WD only makes sense for genuine off-roading, the addition of AWD for on-road use is a big deal. All those Wrangler Unlimiteds you see at the mall? They weren’t purchased for off-roading, and in the Snow Belt their drivetrains really didn’t fit for pavement. As for diesel, this is massive for all buyers. While it won’t be available until 2019, this V-6 should deliver far better highway fuel economy than the existing gas V-6. And while we don’t know exactly where peak torque arrives, Jeep says the new engine will deliver 442 lb.-ft. of torque, and if you get a good chunk of that churn just off idle, that’s a big deal when you’re trying to crawl carefully up something very steep.
2. You can get both two- and four-door editions with a four cylinder. Okay, that might seem like a poor choice compared to the diesel, but for most non-off-roaders, it could prove the better choice. It’s both direct-injected and turbocharged, and again, while they’re not releasing the exact power characteristics, as with Ford’s recent efforts in this realm, we’re expecting quick off-the-line acceleration, minus the penalty of extreme fuel consumption. It’s rated at 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque (the latter bests the gas V-6).
3. There’s a new eight-speed automatic transmission, a definite boon for smoother in-city driving, and the use of higher-strength aluminum and magnesium body panels should both increase safety as well as body rattles. Speaking of which, Jeep says the suspension has been optimized for on-road comfort, without, they claim, compromising off-road wheel articulation, thanks to options like electronic sway-bar disconnect. And that goes double for the bulk of buyers who will never touch the Rubicon’s 33-inch rubber to dirt.
Bonus: While we didn’t see the expected Jeep Scrambler, the Wrangler-based pickup, in L.A., there are a lot of hints to the design in the new Wrangler 4×4. Including multiple ways to remove body panels. So, yes, an open-air pickup truck, is a very cool new way to think about convertibles.
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