Without any warning, Jeep dropped the 2018 Wrangler JL as people were preparing for trick-or-treaters. That Halloween surprise has caused a stir. Predictably, some Jeep purists have wholesale rejected the JL as too soft, while others are excitedly pouring over what information we have at hand.
First, the JL obviously is an evolution in design from the JK. For example, the round headlights and slotted grille persist, while the taillights are now square and they wrap around the corners. Vents in the front fenders and hood keep things interesting. The evolutionary design isn’t shocking, thanks to all those spy photos floating around. That, of course, means some nods to the vehicle that won a war, which is always a smart move. Jeep claims some exterior tweaks have boosted aerodynamics.
Among the changes are more ways to have an open-air experience in a Wrangler. The windshield folds down, without affecting the A-pillars, which should get major kudos and be far easier to operate. You get more advanced safety designs. Finally, this is by far the most technologically advanced Wrangler to date, which riles the purists.
In addition, it looks like you can get a manual transmission, manual-actuated transfer case, and an analog hand brake.
We’ll get all the nitty-gritty details on the JL at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 29. Quite frankly, I’m surprised we got anything before then, but I think Jeep was trying to combat a growing wave of leaks.