• Your First Look at the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon Off-Road! [Video Review]

    This is it – TFLcar’s first-drive review of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon is here!

    You’ve seen the spy shots and FCA’s official photos. You’ve seen spec leaks, pricing leaks and its official debut at this year’s LA Auto Show. Now, it’s show time. That’s right, it’s time for TFLcar to drive the all-new, 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon! In the video above, you join Roman an Andre in Arizona as they put the new Wrangler through its paces, doing what a Wrangler should – going off-road. Check out the video above for a first view of the acclaimed JK replacement! This video is sponsored by our friends at Bestop – the leading manufacturer of Jeep softtops since 1986. If you’re looking for tops or other hardware for your Wrangler, head over to their site to see what’s on offer!

    What’s new for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon?

    The Wrangler JL has a new face

    Everything’s new for the Jeep Wrangler in the upcoming model year. Much has been changed, and much has been improved over the old JK. It has a new front fascia. With a waterfall grille harking back to Jeeps of yesteryear, new headlamps with halo LED running lights, higher fenders, and marker lamps moved out to the fenders, the JL Wrangler is distinctively different, yet still shares lineage with the outgoing JK. Jeep also improved the hood latches – another issue in the old JK. They’ve redesigned the soft top to make it much easier to use, as well. On the Sahara models, you even get a power-sliding soft top that operates while the vehicle is moving up to 60 miles per hour.

    Interior Updates

    The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon, as all Wranglers, have a new, updated interior. It has a rugged and durable feel so it can stand up to your off-roading expeditions, but it’s also thoroughly modern. New Wranglers will feature FCA’s Uconnect system with up to an 8.4″ touchscreen display, much like the one featured in the new Compass. For those who don’t care much for touchscreen controls, don’t despair – it doesn’t replace eliminate physical climate control knobs that you’re used to.

    You can also control the diff locks and sway bar with buttons on the center stack. Four auxiliary switches come on new Wrangler models to fit ancillary hardware, such as aftermarket lights, to factory switch positions. And there’s a bonus for you who hate your off-roading experience being controlled by electronic overlords. The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon retains the physical transfer case shifter! FCA made sure this vehicle still looks and feels like a Wrangler, with vast improvements on the outgoing JK model.

    A new rear-end, as well

    Around the back, FCA moved many items from their positions in the JK Wrangler. For instance, they moved the wiper motor to give drivers better visibility out the back. FCA also offset the license plate holder. The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon and other models have new, revised tail lamps. A rear-view camera comes as standard, and is cleverly integrated into the mount for the spare wheel.

    2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon
    [Photo: Jeep]

    Your Options for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler

    Jeep went to great lengths to maintain the Wrangler’s heritage in the new JL model, despite several improvements. You can still get a two-door or a four-door. There’s still a softtop or a freedom hardtop, in addition to the power-sliding softtop mentioned earlier. You can choose from several different exterior colors, including Mojito Green, if you’re looking for something jazzy to turn heads in your new Wrangler.

    FCA also turned its eye to parts for the new Wrangler JL, as well. Several aftermarket manufacturers build parts for Jeep models and have done so for decades. FCA decided they wanted to cater to the Wrangler’s mod-loving crowd. To that end, Mopar features a full catalog of OEM parts you can fit to your Wrangler! Rather than turning to the aftermarket, you can now buy parts for your Jeep that you can roll into the price of the car and retain your new Wrangler’s warranty.

    Under the hood, you get two primary engine options right now. You can have a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 285 horsepower and 260 lbs-ft of torque, the quintessential Wrangler engine. If you want to go a new route, there’s also a 2.0-liter turbo with 268 horsepower and 295 lbs-ft of torque that will serve as the range-topping engine. Down the road, you’ll be able to get the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel model. Finally, FCA has confirmed there will be a plug-in hybrid variant in 2020. At present, you can mate either engine to an eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual.

    The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon has better approach, departure, and breakover angles than its JK predecessor. The Rubicon in our review has a 44° approach, 37° departure, and 28° breakover angles. To put that in perspective, the JK Rubicon has 42.2° approach, 32.3° departure, and 25.8° departure angles. As a result, the JL Wrangler Rubicon can tackle steeper obstacles straight out of the box than ever before.

    No *official* pricing for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon just yet

    FCA has not officially announced pricing for the new model, including the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon you see in the video just yet. For this first drive review, we also can’t specifically mention driving impressions. That will come next week on the 13th, so stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more Wrangler JL updates!

    If you’re anxious for the 2018 Wrangler JL to hit dealers’ lots, we have something to whet your appetite. The industrious fellows over at JLWranglerForums have leaked pricing details on all new JL models. If these details prove to be accurate, we’re looking at a $2,000-$2,750 price hike over the outgoing JK. And technically, while the JK is an “outgoing model”, there’s a bit of a twist. If, for whatever reason, you aren’t taking to the new JL and you want a JK, you can still buy it new for 2018. There is a 2018 JK model that you can buy before it finally goes to pasture after 11 years’ faithful service. So, if you’d like, you can take that alternative, less expensive as it is.

    Check back for more Wrangler JL updates!

    What do you think of the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon compared to its predecessor? Let us know in the comments below! Check back to TFLcar.com on Wednesday, December 13th for more impressions of the new Jeep Wrangler! If you don’t want to miss our videos, why not subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow on YouTube for updates on the Wrangler and all your favorite new models.

    Zach Butler
    Zach Butler
    Zach Butler is the Managing Editor for The Fast Lane Car. He spends a fair amount of time defending his use of the Oxford comma, and spends the rest of his time geeking out about the awesomeness of hot hatchbacks.
    http://tflcar.com

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    24 thoughts on “Your First Look at the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon Off-Road! [Video Review]

    1. *Ah, I responded similar to the other JL Wrangler posting, before this one was posted.*

      I hope Jeep honors your request to perform a review based on a mini road trip back to Colorado.

      1. Man, I can’t believe its 2017 and a brand new Jeep comes out with no real advancements like portal axles or hydroneumatics or electric drive (I know it is coming in a mild way soon).

        And its a total laughing joke that they kept the windshield folding down while keeping the a pillars. What! Thats the whole point! You put down the windshield down to gain visibility, and the A pillars don’t come down? They might as well have just affixed it and saved the wight and cost.How disappointing to find that Jeep is just pandering to a market they don’t respect the intelligence of.

        With all these unfortunate shortfall,s it is insulting to see the high price of this little rework. if there were actual advancements that were appropriate to the 21st century, the price “might” be justifiable, but Jeep is counting on people to be stupid(which unfortunately you are–yeah, YOU).

        If you think I am being a jerk speaking this way, just think for a while. Aren’t you being a jerk for paying so much for very little advancement and thus causing us who need and make a living with off-road tools to have to be stuck with this junk?

        And if I met you on the streets, I would treat you like family and a friend.

        This is a comment section of an auto site. There is work to be done here. No one is treating anyone like a jerk here. Its words on a page, if you didn’t notice.

        1. I hear you, but I don’t know, I’m inclined to think all the little improvements will add up to a nice overall update. Being somewhat conservative hopefully allows for better quality and reliability as well. At least resale will continue to be way better than the average vehicle.

        2. Terry,
          Obviously you’ve never really been Offroad on a hardcore trail like these Jeeps are capable of.

          The reason the windshield folds are none other than heritage and to look cool.

          The reason the A- pillers don’t are for rollover protection and strength!

          You see, in a real Offroad vehicle it gets taken Offroad beyond the Mall parking lot or ski resort.
          Offroad, rollovers happen frequently and safety is a very important concern.

          This was a major shortcoming in the previous Jeeps as the Windshield has always been folding, but it was also the A-pillar. Not very strong and tool a lot of time to lay down if someone wanted to look the cool iconic Jeep part.

          Jeep has managed to make this new Wrangler much stronger, safer, more efficient, more powerful, and lighter all at the same time!

          Job well done! 👍

    2. Nice little glimpse at the Sport, too. Very interested about the driving impressions of the 6speed- it has much wider gear spread than the NSG370, with more than 7:1 overall ratio. Media function of the base radio will be interesting, too. The steelies on the Sprt are the same size as the Rubicon, but with a different offset.

      1. You see, Jeep. You have hypnotized poor folks like this, who don’t even know you are ripping them off by not putting in modern advancement.

            1. Trust me Billy, if I took you for a ride in a Jeep with hydroneumatic suspension and portal axles and electric drive being fed with electricity by a little diesel engine, you would realize how dumb it is we are still giving our hard earned money away to these FIAT people who are putting one over on you.

            2. Jeep is always near dead last in dependability studies. I don’t think you and Billy would get very far in that Jeep you’re envisioning.

          1. Huh? Just look at his page. I wrote a variatable essay on it above.

            And the kind of Jeep I am envisioning would be waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more reliable than this new Jeep. THAT’S PART OF THE THE ADVANCEMENT!

            But you are right that Jeep is terrible with its reliability. But you also much give Jeep some credit since people tend to thrash their Jeeps more than other car brands. Nevertheless, people thrash their Toyotas, and you don’t see them complaining about their Toyota. But plenty of Jeep complainers.

    3. So nothing has changed AGAIN 🤦‍♂️ Jeep along with 1 or 2 other manufacturers are the only ones to get away with this and then have the nerve to charge more.

      1. There’s nothing to report yet. The 4th, electric one is not coming till 2020.
        The 2L has a mild hybrid setup, however.

      1. Brandon Srt4, take a look at the garbage under this vehicle at 2:58 in the video.

        Transmission damage, transmission fluid pan, low hanging differentials called pumpkin, driveshafts, exhaust damage, fuel tank and now a def tank, oil pan, axles, torque converter, headers, limited suspension travel due to axle vs yoke angle back to the rim, cross rails, transmission fluid lines, high center of gravity, poorly balanced front to back due to heavy engine, noisy and rotten egg smells from the exhaust, engine rpm vs transmission gear complexity with poor management of instantaneous torque, 4 wheel lock that binds, low hanging shock mounts, terrible mpg and slow 0-60 times, non of which comes with electric drive. Wake up man.

        Why does anyone still want to buy this garbage from Jeep when Bollinger is ten times better than this scrap, why would people not complain about no electric drive option? The benefits are astronomical. People slept outside overnight just to put a deposit on the new Tesla model 3. No other vehicle brings that kind of enthusiasm.

        1. If you’re looking at zero to sixty times in a Wrangler, you’re not in the market for one. As for electric, it’s coming. I just figure range anxiety might take on a whole new level when you’re off road and nowhere near a charge station. Tesla is great for the highway commute, but it’s not even in the same realm as Jeep. If you’re going to complain about quality, I don’t think you should use Tesla as an example, btw.

      1. You still don’t get it. You won’t have to be converted to electric drive. You won’t have the option, unless you are going to keep a classic going.

    4. First off electric will never never never replace gas engines it’s impossible to replace 99 percent of the vehicles on the road as electric makes up only less then 1 percent numbers don’t lie as in the majority of the public can care less about electric vehicles.

    5. To all you guys bagging on this new generation Jeep you are wrong and just don’t get it because you’ve never really driven technical Offroad trails!

      This new Jeep is by far the best new Offroad vehicle out there! Jeep addressed every little issues of the previous generation, power, mileage, ground clearance, tire size, strength, and even modern electronic gizmos all without compromising an ounce of their true heritage and image!!!

      There’s no other iconic vehicle left out there that’s been able to accomplish something like this and still be sold today and yet meet all of the necessary safety and emissions standards.

      I can only hope Ford see’s the attention Jeep is getting on this new Wrangler and steers their upcoming Bronco in a similar direction!

      There’s way too many of you that just don’t get it (true Offroad vehicle) and are constantly trying to turn everything into a luxury land yacht, soft roader, gadget gizmo box, that can’t get over an 8” curb without lift a tire let alone crawling up a real rock trail as this new Jeep just did!!!

      Grow up Rambro – Bollinger will be very cool and I think do well, but you can’t compare it because it doesn’t exist yet! When they can drive the B1 up that same rocky trail, or back to Colorado WITH the Jeep at the same time, then we can compare?

      The same crowd of babies that complain about the too simple Jeep, not enough technical gizmos, etc will complain about the spartan, simple and Offroad friendly Bollinger.

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