A number of upgrades on the new JL-generation Wrangler are aimed squarely at improving fuel economy and on-road performance, starting with a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional eight-speed automatic.
The eight-speed automatic delivered a 9 percent improvement in fuel economy over the current Wrangler's five-speed automatic, according to a regulatory filing by FCA, accounting for much of the redesigned Wrangler's improved fuel economy ratings. All Wrangler engines will now come standard with stop-start technology.
Fuel economy ratings have been revealed only for the four-door Wrangler Unlimited models, which earned ratings of 18 city/23 highway/20 combined mpg with the eight-speed automatic, and 17 city/23 highway/19 combined with the six-speed manual transmission.
Inside the cabin, the Wrangler's overhaul features a long-overdue upgrade of its infotainment system and information cluster. A 5-inch touch screen will be available on the low-end Sport models, with standard 7.0- or optional 8.4-inch touch screen displays available on upper trims, including optional Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto functionality. Top-end systems will also include new off-road performance and trail pages for the first time. The instrument cluster will feature either a 3.5- or 7-inch information screen, depending on the trim level.
The Wrangler will get push-button start for the first time, while its seats will have adjustable bolster and lumbar supports. Designers also engineered new easy-to-carry handles into the Wrangler's removable doors to make them easier to take off.
Visibility has been improved with larger windows, as well as a new four-bolt system that makes it easier to drop the Wrangler's windscreen, which now features a steeper rake to improve aerodynamics. When the windscreen is down, drivers will still be able to use the rearview mirror, which is now mounted to a new header bar connecting the A-pillars.
A new powered one-touch system will allow the driver to retract the Wrangler's canvas soft top with the touch of a button when the feature becomes available in mid-2018. Jeep will make body-colored hard tops available in Rubicon and Sahara trim levels.
Only the Sport and Rubicon trims will be available as two-door Wrangler models. Among the four-door Unlimited models, the trim walk is Sport, Sahara and Rubicon.
Wrangler JL production is underway in Toledo, Ohio. Soft- and dual-top four-door versions go into production in December. Production of export versions will start in January and two-door JL Wrangler output is to start in mid-February.
Pricing has not been announced. Production of the current JK Wrangler will end in late March to allow its assembly line to be retooled for the 2019 Jeep Scrambler, the Wrangler-based pickup. The 2018 JL Wrangler will begin arriving in U.S. dealership showrooms in January.