It’s one of the most iconic vehicles in the world: the Jeep Wrangler. From the battlefield to the suburban mall, this particular Jeep is about as versatile as it is emblematic of today’s trend toward SUVs. As such, Jeep has played it safe while revamping their baby with the all-new Wrangler JL.
Messing with the design of an icon is rarely a good idea, something FCA clearly understands. To the untrained eye, this new Jeep is a Wrangler to the core. Indeed, the boxy shape and utilitarian cues are indicative of the icon and they’re certainly intact here.
Sure, there’s some subtle changes. The headlights are now powered by LEDs instead fo bulbs; there’s a new crease in the belt-line and the windows are larger for greater visibility.
However, don’t let the familiar looks fool you. Nearly everything on this Wrangler is all-new, down to one of its most important features: the four-wheel-drive system. Wrangler Rubicon trims will get Jeep’s Rock-Trac 4×4 system, with a two-speed transfer case and a 4:1 crawl ratio, while Sport and Sahara models will come equipped with the brand’s Command-Trac 4×4 system (similar to Grand Cherokee), with a 2.72:1 crawl ratio.
Sending power to those 4X4 systems will be a dealer’s choice of three different powertrains. The base engine will be FCA’s well-known 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, while an optional turbocharged 2.0-liter will be offered with 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.
Later on (pending outcomes to FCA’s legal issues regarding this engine), Jeep will offer a 3.0-liter diesel V-6 in the Wrangler JL with 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. This engine won’t see production until 2019.
Along with the new underpinnings is a host of new technology found inside a far more modern interior. The upgrades include FCA’s latest infotainment technology, including a standard five-inch touchscreen radio display with seven and 8.4-inch units optional on higher trims. The higher-end versions also feature new off-road pages to gauge performance.
Given the Wrangler has not been redesigned in over a decade, this also marks the first time the Wrangler has offered features such as push-button start and a new power-folding soft-top option.
The all-new Jeep Wrangler is already in production at FCA’s Toledo, Ohio assembly plant. It will begin crawling into Jeep dealerships in January.