2018 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED ESSENTIALS: REFINED, NOT SOFT

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Our cousins from the USA, don’t seem to be that interested in stars – other than those they gaze at under a clear sky. No where in this story from Wes Raynal does he mention safety – he really comments on what the Jeep will do in the environment it’s designed for.
The images are stunning – forest scenes, tough river fordings – it’s where the Jeep Wrangler does its best work.
So sit back on read the review – 2018 Jeep Wrangler – coming to a Jeep dealership near you in 2019.

The new Wrangler is a well-thought-out upgrade

DECEMBER 21, 2018

What is it: According to the EPA the Jeep Wrangler is a midsize SUV competing with the likes of the Toyota 4Runner. Really, though, their off-road abilities pretty much mean Wranglers are in their own class. With 33-inch tires, locking front and rear heavy-duty axles and front/rear skid plates all standard, our tester, the Rubicon, is the arguably the most off-roady trim level. It is also the most expensive in the Wrangler lineup, over the Sport, Sport S and Sahara.Key Competitors: Toyota 4Runner, Land Rover Discovery SportBase Price: $42,940 As-Tested Price: $58,990Highlights: After years of spy shots and rumours the new-for-2018 Wrangler was finally introduced at last year’s LA show. Jeep’s challenge: Don’t screw up what for years has been a popular, distinctive and capable product. So what we have is a new truck top to bottom with refinement, not a radical change, to the formula. The doors, hood and fenders are aluminium now while the rear gate is magnesium. The windshield has a little more rake (better aero), and the window openings are a bit bigger. The Jeep also added almost two and a half inches between axles and three and a half inches to its overall length. Our tester had the optional 2.0-litre turbo four, delivering 270 hp and 295 lb.-ft. The four-cylinder has eTorque, including auto stop/start, electric power assist, extended fuel shut-off and regen braking.

All well and good. What about day to day driving around town — how does the Wrangler do? Isn’t that how many Wranglers are used? At its launch Jeep said engineers tuned the new Wrangler’s suspension for better on-road handling and ride comfort, with a special emphasis on cutting cabin noise.

A while ago I drove a new Wrangler Sahara around Detroit and it was indeed a little quieter and quite a bit more comfortable than the outgoing Wrangler. Wind noise wasn’t bad considering I was basically driving a box on wheels. Body control felt better, too, as did the steering — much tighter.

Now I’m in the Rubicon. It doesn’t drive quite as refined as the Sahara but is still better than the old Wrangler. My biggest beef is the off-road tires droning away on the freeway, the price one pays for off-road chops I suppose. Besides, the excellent Alpine stereo does its darndest to conquer the tire noise.

Both Wranglers I drive in Detroit have the new and optional 2.0-litre turbo four and eight-speed automatic, the only trans you can get with the four. The good news is it’s a smooth transmission and feels good with the turbo. Shifting for yourself is a big part of Wranglerness, I get it, though Jeep slappys have told me the really hardcore among them use automatics in their Jeeps.

Interior build quality is indeed better now, with more soft-touch materials. The dash has the latest, optional, 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, now more coherent and classier looking. The Rubicon’s interior has metal on the dash, as Wranglers used to have, instead of the Sahara’s leather. Don’t worry, if you don’t find a Wrangler trimmed exactly the way you want, Mopar is introducing more than 200 (!) new accessories and performance parts from lift kits to side steps to winches, so personalize away!

Nothing about the new Wrangler makes me slap my forehead and say “GENIUS!!! Why didn’t Jeep do this YEARS AGO?!?” The truck’s newness is about subtle upgrades and refinements. It’s less crude, more evolved. Not too much though: If you were concerned Jeep would soften the new Wrangler too much, don’t worry. It’s still got plenty of old-school chops. It’s just that now they’re wrapped in, let’s call it a more mature package. Nothing wrong with that.

–Wes Raynal, editor

Please remember that the comments in the story and the prices below are in the context of the United States. Lest you have a heart-attack, don’t expect to purchase a Jeep Wrangler for $42,990
ON SALE: Now
BASE PRICE: $42,940
AS TESTED PRICE: $58,990
POWERTRAIN: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 w/electric motor, 4WD, eight-speed automatic
OUTPUT: 270 hp @ 5,250 rpm; 295 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
CURB WEIGHT: 4,485 lb
FUEL ECONOMY: 22/24/22 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
PROS: Better on road and off
CONS: Pricier than ever

Read more: https://autoweek.com/article/car-reviews/2018-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-essentials-refined-not-soft#ixzz5aMKcYEiC

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