Since the release of the Jeep Wrangler JK, we haven’t heard many details about the next generation of Jeep Wranglers until an interview was conducted with Jeep brand boss, Mike Manley at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. During the interview, he mentioned a few details of what to expect in the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL and JL Unlimited that are both scheduled to be offered to the public in the latter half of 2017. The FCA Group has started offering more details as we get closer to the unveiling of the next generation of Jeep Wranglers which will be comprised of a redesigned 2 and 4 door Wrangler as well as a newly designed Jeep pickup truck. The Jeep Wrangler pickup truck will start production in early 2018 which we will cover as more information becomes available. Most of the design changes in the JL Wrangler seem to be implemented to increase fuel efficiency and shed weight. Increased efficiency is clearly one of the most important parts of the next generation of Wranglers.
The Completely Redesigned Jeep Wrangler JL
The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most beloved vehicles on the planet so needless to say that a clean sheet redesign of the Wrangler is one of the most hotly anticipated releases in modern times. It does look like the JK and JL will share many similarities including four-wheel drive, rugged body on frame construction and will almost certainly stick with the traditional solid front and rear axles. Though rumors seem to point to the JL having beefier axles and tires then the current generation Wranglers. Rumors of the Wrangler JL utilizing aluminum for some if not all of its construction has been a widely discussed topic because of the reduced weight and increased fuel economy. We recently learned that the JL will feature an aluminum hood and doors at the very least. It looks like the new Wrangler JL will be the first to utilize Alcoa’s C6A1 high form alloy as well as aluminum alloy sheet 6022 and the durable pre-treatment aluminum sheet bonding technology, Alcoa 951.
JL Wrangler’s Internal Components
The FCA group did reveal a plan for a new hybrid powertrain and a diesel engine for the next generation Wrangler. A new prototype 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbo engine with 300 horsepower code-named the Hurricane was recently confirmed as an engine option for the JL. The Jeep Wrangler JL will offer an upgraded version of the JK’s current engine, the Pentastar V6 as well. A hybrid powertrain is being considered for future Wranglers because of the excellent crawl ratios and strong initial torque. Another possible option for the JL Wrangler is a 3.0 liter VM V6 eco-diesel engine currently used on the Ram 1500 paired with a new 8HP75 transmission.
One upgrade that is almost a sure bet to be included with the new Wrangler is Chrysler’s ZF 8 speed automatic transmission which is already equipped in the BMW 760li and 5 Series GT. The new Rolls Royce Ghost, Audi A8, and Bentley Mulsanne will all have it installed when they are released in the upcoming year as well. The ZF eight speed transmission is well known for its fuel efficiency and cost savings. The new 8-speed automatic ZF Transmission will be shared across many of FCA’s larger cars, trucks and SUVs and will replace the 5-speed tranny that was added to the current Jeep Wrangler in the 2012 model JK. The 8-speed was too bulky to be included in the current generation JK Wranglers.
Rumors have been flying around that the JL Wrangler would get rid of the 6 speed manual transmission and offer only the 8 speed ZF automatic transmission all in the name of fuel efficiency and cost savings. Those rumors have been confirmed to not be true so no worries for the manual Jeep lovers out there. It does look like the JL will contain a new manual shifter design with the reverse gear relocated to the upper left position which probably means the 2018 Wrangler will feature a different manual transmission then the current generation Wranglers.
Another exciting upgrade for the Wrangler JL is the 4th gen U-Connect system that will include a vivid touchscreen with improved resolution and brightness, enhanced processing power, better responsiveness, the Uconnect 8.4 NAV system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Apple CarPlay seamlessly integrates an iPhone with the car’s built-in display and controls in addition to featuring Siri voice control. Now Jeepers can make phone calls, access music, send and receive messages, get directions, and more. Android Auto features Google Maps with voice-guided navigation, live traffic information, lane guidance, access to 30 million songs with Google Play Music, the ability to place phone calls or send and receive messages while keeping your hands on the wheel and the ability to ask Google search any question.
JL Wrangler’s Exterior Changes
The 2017 model year JK Jeep Wrangler will be the first to have LED headlights and Fog Lights as will the next generation JL. The LED lights will be standard on the Sahara and Rubicon models and will be optional on the Sport and Sport S trims. The new Jeep Wrangler JL will retain the traditional round headlights combined with two LED strips on the front of the fender flares making the JL easily recognizable from previous generation Wranglers. These are rumored to be orange light strips that will spring to life when the turn signals are engaged. The tail lights are rumored to be changed to the Renegade Style X design.
The JL Wrangler will feature a longer front end with a more angled grille, mirrors, longer hood and a larger front bumper than the present Jeep Wrangler JK design. The grille, mirrors and windshield is more angled to increase aerodynamic efficiency. The longer hood was most likely needed to accommodate the new 8 speed automatic transmission. The Jeep Wrangler JL could also feature a heat extractor vent on the hood. The larger front bumper will add protection to the JL and help meet worldwide safety standards.
The new Jeep wrangler JL will also keep the exterior door hinge mechanisms of the current generation model Jeep Wrangler JK while sticking with similar door cut-lines that retain the rugged and iconic design cues Jeepers have come to love. The rear window appears to be a more angled shape than the current model Wranglers as well. One thing that might go away though is the current fold down windshield.
Some changes seem to be in store for the top of the JL too. The JL Wrangler will still offer an interchangeable soft and hard top, but the traditional soft top is gone and rumored to be a power softtop with removable soft panels over the substructure while the hardtop will be a true 3 piece hardtop with an optional glass panel. It’s quite possible the next generation of Wranglers will no longer include the sport bar and instead replace it with stronger tubes over the top with built in grab handles or perhaps even a fixed roof type of structure in place.
Jeep Wrangler JL Off-Road
We will be keeping a close eye on any new rumors or changes as they are released so our readers can be kept up to date with what to expect when the Jeep Wrangler JL and JLU are released. Nothing is set in stone yet so be prepared for things to change. One thing that is for sure though is that even the stock next generation Jeep Wrangler JL will be able to tackle off-road trails with the best of them. Even with all the changes meant to increase efficiency that is the one thing that FCA knows not to mess with or they would have a complete revolt worldwide of their iconic Jeep brand!