2018 Jeep Wrangler preview

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Jeep on Wednesday unveiled the redesigned 2018 Wrangler at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.

There’s no mistaking the new off-roader, known to fans as the JL series, for anything other than a Wrangler. However, there are also modern touches such as the LED lights and more aerodynamically shaped grille. The vehicle also has plenty of tech thrown in for good measure.

Jeep is calling the 2018 Wrangler the most capable yet. The unmatched capability is thanks to Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, next-generation Dana axles, new Selec-Trac full-time two-speed transfer case, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential and 33-inch off-road tires. Jeep boasts of 30-inch water fording and 3,500-pound towing.

Thanks to aluminum in its construction, for example in the doors, hinges, hood, fenders and windshield frame, Jeep engineers managed to get weight of the 2018 Wrangler down by 200 pounds compared to the outgoing JK series. The lower weight helps boost fuel economy more than 10 percent, Jeep says.

Also helping fuel economy are some new engines. The 2018 Wrangler launches with the outgoing model’s 3.6-liter V-6 which is good for 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with a 6-speed manual and is available with a new 8-speed automatic.

Due for the 2019 model year will be a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 and a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 diesel. The inline-4 works together with a mild hybrid system known as eTorque. Together, the powertrain delivers 270 hp and 295 lb-ft. Being a mild hybrid system, eTorque can’t power the vehicle exclusively. Rather, it handles the engine’s stop-start function, adds power during high-load situations, and allows the engine to be completely turned off during stops, coasting or when the engine is decelerating. As for the diesel, this is rated at 260 hp and 442 lb-ft.

2018 Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler

A 7.0- or an available 8.4-inch touchscreen – the most advanced and largest display Uconnect system display ever offered on Wrangler – houses the fourth-generation Uconnect system and now sits prominently atop the center stack. The fourth-generation Uconnect system enhances the user interface and system performance with quicker start up times and improved screen resolution. A 5.0-inch touchscreen is standard on Wrangler Sport. Directly below the touchscreen are functional features such as climate and volume control knobs and media connectivity ports.

Two USB ports up front and two in reach of occupants in the back seat connect to the media center. Standard 12-volt accessory outlets are located throughout the 2018 Wrangler and a 115-volt AC outlet is available to power select three-pronged home electronics. Clever storage solutions are also found throughout, including durable mesh pockets that extend the entire length of the doors and numerous phone storage areas.

Production of the 2018 Wrangler is taking place at FCA’s plant in Toledo, Ohio. However, instead of using the Toledo South plant where the outgoing Wrangler is built, the new Wrangler will be produced at the Toledo North plant due to its extra capacity. FCA will eventually use the Toledo South plant for a Wrangler-based pickup that could go by the name Scrambler. The pickup is expected to enter production in late 2019.

Sales of the 2018 Wrangler commence in January. The 2-door model is available in three different trim configurations: Sport, Sport S and Rubicon. Wrangler 4-door models are available in four different trim configurations: Sport, Sport S, Sahara and Rubicon.

For more on the Jeep Wrangler, read the in-depth reviews at The Car Connection. And for more from the L.A. Auto Show, head to our dedicated hub.

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