For car makers such as Jeep, the opportunity to redesign the Wrangler must have been exciting and scary. The Jeep Wrangler can be said to be America’s best-known car if not international. Its fundamentals remained unchanged more than 70 years ago, which means that the iconic features of the Jeep Wrangler also give the carmaker a compressed canvas. Far from the Wrangler’s trademark form, you may alienate the industry’s most loyal fan base (some say “square headlights …”). Wrangler’s off-road ability as well. This jeep has a consistent history all the way down. Compromise the Wrangler’s abilities and reputation as you compromise the entire Jeep brand.
I was fortunate to have had a wonderful time with the New Zealand field team during the 2018 Jeep Wrangler launch. For three days, we drove the new Wrangler over a large, slippery rock through deep rivers and highways. The Wrangler’s team of designers and engineers provided first-hand reviews of what they wanted to do with Jeep’s best-known model and how they were done. Experience 2018 in New Zealand’s Steins and Harris Mountains Wrangler not only offers an eye-catching feast, but a varied test terrain.
The first thing to note is what the 2018 Jeep Wrangler did not change. Jeep representatives quickly confirmed the new Wrangler solid axles, foldable windshields and removable doors and roofs. They even noticed the headlights – still round. But they also soon announced an overall improvement in all aspects of the new Wrangler. Off-road ability? Thinning on the road? performance? Fuel efficiency? technology? Easy to use? In the redesign process, the team upgraded all of these areas with confidence in the success of the redesigned Wrangler. That Toledo factory production capacity has increased.
The familiar style of the new Wrangler hides a wide range of feature updates. Subtle changes in the grille and windshield angles provide improved aerodynamics. Larger side windows provide better appearance visibility and longer wheelbase (1.4 or 2.4 inches respectively for two- or four-door models) creates more rear leg room. Total length increased 2.8 inches (2 doors) or 3.8 inches (4 doors), the track is 2.5 inches wide. With the four bolts removed, the windshield can now fold quickly, but the top bezel above the windshield remains, increasing safety and rigidity while keeping the mirror in place. Aluminum alloy doors with a “lift-assist” handle with a handrail are easier to carry when disassembled and a smaller half-door design will be used in 2019.
In the Sahara and Rubicon models, optional LED headlamps, taillights, fog lights and front turn lights help identify the new Wrangler and a new Sky One-Touch powertrain reclaims The entire canvas roof. The rear quarter detachable window opens further for things, but Wrangler fans looking for more open-air flexibility will love the new Sunrider soft-top design. The combination of a clock spring and a sliding (rather than zip) window allows Sunrider to quickly convert to various configurations or quickly reclaim a fully “convertible” mode. Sahara and Rubicon models also have a lighter color-matching hardtop (the new Wrangler has 10 colors).
A thorough internal redesign accompanies the updated look of the Wrangler. New standard features such as button activation, steering wheel controls for audio, voice and cruise control, multiple USB plugs and LED lighting are as current buyers expect. The updated dashboard features a standard Uconnect 5-inch touchscreen on the Wrangler Sport, a 7- or 8.4-inch display on the Sahara Desert and Rubicon models. New Wrangler can use Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the main instrument can be configured between 7-inch LED display. This screen can provide everything from audio and tire pressure information to roll, pitch and yaw angles (then our favorite setting).
The new dashboard features a metal HVAC panel, which can be painted or coated with leather, depending on the décor and options available. Standard cloth seats and optional leather seats have proved to be comfortable and supportive during driving, and they come in a variety of colors to contrast stitching. We like embossed “Rubicon” signs and “radical red” dash and contrast stitching on the model’s seat back, but we are impressed with the look and feel of the Rubicon manual shift knob and lock the bezel. Internal storage options abound, including the underfloor storage area behind the rear seats and the large mesh door pocket. 2018 Wrangler’s another welcome appearance – tilt telescopic steering steering, optional heating.
The last part of my Wrangler adventure is a pleasant drive along Lake Wakatipu. Wind and road noise is much lower than expected for the vehicles I used to climb the boulders. The maneuverability, power and seat comfort are comparable to the mainstream compact SUV, and Apple CarPlay lets me enjoy my favorite music playlist or ask Siri for a possible restaurant in Queenstown. Of course, the Jeep Rubicons we drive in New Zealand represent a well-equipped upholstery with many standard features such as locking the front and rear differentials, the electronic disconnect rocker and the 8.4-inch touch screen. Jeep has not announced the price of the Wrangler in 2018, but I predict that a base Wrangler movement will start around $ 26,000.
I also predicted many new Wrangler people. For decades, jeep loyal followers enjoyed military inspiration, even in the face of militarial quirks and weaknesses. The Jeep constantly removes the latter at the time of each Wrangler’s redesign, and I think the 2018 Jeep Wrangler basically did not compromise and was better than before.