You won’t get many detractors when you say Jeep has been one of the 4×4 pioneers, offering some of the most impressive four-wheel-drive systems ever over more than 70 years. The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler offers unmatched off-road capability with all the the expected benefits of their 4×4 system.
Long-awaited and already receiving awards for design and engineering prowess, the Wrangler has a body-on-frame design, front and rear five-link suspension system, live axles, electronic lockers, and is one of the few midsize SUVs that offer a 6-speed manual transmission as an option.
Three trim levels are available for the four-door Wrangler, which accounts for more than 75% of all Wrangler sales in the U.S. Make your choice from a base Sport, mid-level Sahara, and the top-of-the-line Rubicon. Traditional two-door Wranglers come in Sport or Rubicon trim.
The Wrangler offers a choice of improved tops. The convertible top now is motorized and can be opened and closed with the touch of a button. A new system for the soft top eliminates zippers and enables quick folding and removal of panels. Two hard tops also are available.
You already expect Jeep to be capable on the trail, but what you don’t expect is for a Wrangler to exceed expectations on the pavement. Welcome to the all-new Wrangler.
Compromise often happens at the expense of desirable traits, but Jeep would have none of that in the development of the Wrangler. It is still as rugged and sure-footed off-road as any previous model. Drop the windshield, remove the doors, drop the top, expose your body to the elements, and be one with the Jeep experience.
The four-door Sahara I tested proved to be an impressive family hauler that handled well in traffic and, unlike previous models, easily tracks in a straight line, delivering long-distance comfort that can eliminate sore backs and bums.
Design changes are meant to be subtle, after all, you don’t want to mess with a good thing. Look for the slight bending of the seven-slot trapezoid grille, larger windows, and a steeper racking of the easy-fold windshield. Even with the windshield down, the new Wrangler now has a rearview mirror mounted on a crossbar.
Weight reduction promises better fuel economy and Wrangler steps up with aluminum doors, hood, fenders, and the windshield frame, along with a magnesium rear swing gate. New handles make the doors easier to remove and carry away.
Wrangler has two engines and two transmissions. A 285-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 with 260 lb.-ft. of torque is standard, while a new 275-horsepower, 2.0-L turbo 4-cylinder with 295 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed manual gearbox and optional 8-speed automatic transmission are smooth handling gearboxes that provide capability to handle everything you might run into.
My tester featured lumbar support on the driver’s seat, pushbutton starting, and an upgraded infotainment system with optional Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto integration. I like the Jeep interface for touchscreens, I find them intuitive and easy to use.
Screens measure 7.0 or 8.4 inches, depending on the model.
While the back seat accommodates three adults with plenty of head and knee room, a floor hump makes it especially hard to get comfortable for any length ride.
My 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sahara four-door hardtop tester had a starting price of $38,540, an impressive number given the road manner it exhibited, the new tech offerings and the capability of the Jeep brand.