2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
The General Purpose (GP) vehicle born of World War Two has evolved and matured over the seven decades since the shooting stopped to become the Jeep Wrangler, one of the most popular adventure vehicles on the road, or off. Whiles today’s Wrangler is a far cry from the drab green origin it still possesses the heart of the original. Whether you want to room the beaches in the summer, the mountains on the winter or just run to the grocery store the Jeep performs the task with its own style; imitating a metal Billy Goat.
Our test Wrangler was the 2018 Unlimited Sport.
Unlimited designates the 4 door edition of the Wrangle and the Sport model is the entry level version. The Wrangle Sport lacks power windows, door locks and seats, come without a locking differential, tow package or hard top. It does include the manual transmission, keyless start, Sentry Key Theft Deterrent and the 5 inch U-Connect system with a backup camera.
All that aside, the base Jeep Wrangler, whether 2 or 4 door, comes with what you need to go off road with Command Trac part time 4×4, skid plates under all the important stuff, Dana 3.5 to 1 ratio drive axles, a full sized spare tire and air conditioning. Other goodies are optional on the base model to make it more user friendly or more off road capable. Ours included the Sirius Satellite radio, Tow Package, Hill Decent, Locking Differential in the rear, removable hard top, bigger battery and alternator and more aggressive tires. While still lacking many of the power options we like it was a comfortable and capable Utility vehicle to use as a daily driver.
You do have to drive a Wrangler. It demands the driver’s attention even on smooth roads as it tends to wander if not herded. The aggressive tires, high stance and light weight make it susceptible to wind and road imperfections. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s not a Grand Cherokee either.
The 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 engine
gives 285 horsepower and has proven to be a dependable powerplant. Coupled with the 8 speed automatic transmission power distribution and acceleration are very good. Fuel economy is not spectacular but good at 17 city and 23 highway.
The redesign for 2018 didn’t do anything to detract from the much loved Jeep image. Most would not notice the exterior changes unless
they saw the 17 and 18 models side by side, but even so they are significant. The Wrangler is 4 inches longer, and the Unlimited is 2.5 inches longer while both are an inch wider. The windshield now slops back, as does the true to tradition 7 bar grill. Headlights are moved slightly, the tail lamps wrap around the body side a bit and all the windows are larger for better visibility.
The redesign went with aluminum for the doors and hood panels and magnesium for the tail gate. The frame is high strength steel. This contributed to several hundred pounds in weight savings for the new JL models. It also makes the removable doors easier to handle when you want an open air Jeep.
The drive line is beefed up with new Dana axles that handle the torque of off roading and are available with locking and limited slip. The V6 engine is currently the only option, but rumors have both a mild Hybrid turbo 4 cylinder and a 3.0 liter diesel coming soon.
The interior can be as basic or as upscale technically as you wish. Even the base comes with U-Connect featuring the 5 inch screen, and a driver information screen located center dash that displays data from gauges to turn by turn navigation. The 7 inch and even the ultimate
8.4 inch U-Connect systems are optional on some models. Jeep lovers will be happy to find a bank of pre-wired toggle switches in the center stack to connect owner added accessories such as light bars.
Entertainment comes with an 8 speaker stereo and can be upgraded to the Alpine unit that includes a 10 inch sub woofer and premium speakers. Of course any Jeep enthusiast will tell you the Jeep is the entertainment!
Jeep Wranglers are not cheap. Out test car was a bit over 37 thousand with the add-ons from a base price of 30,495. A Sport 2 door lists for 27,495 while the top of the line Rubicon starts at 37,495. The 4 door variant of each model adds from 3 to 4 grand to the price. By the time you add the tech, infotainment and off road options another 6 to 10 thousand dollars finds its way onto the price tag.
There are 2 types of car owners; those who love Jeeps and those who have no idea what they are missing.
For more information and full specs go to https://www.jeep.com/wrangler.html
Listen to our on air review below. It is different than the text.