With the Los Angeles Auto Show firing up, we’re getting the goods on the new Wrangler. First off, the two-door model is 2.8-inches longer than the JK, and the wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer. As for the four-door, it gained 3.8 inches in length and 2.4 inches in the wheelbase. All JLs are 2.5 inches wider in the track, while the body is a mere 0.2 inches wider. You won’t notice all that, because Jeep did a good job of making the JL look smaller.
Overall, the JL is 200 pounds lighter than the JK, thanks to aluminum body panels and a high-strength steel frame. Rubicon models finally come with steel bumpers, instead of the flimsy plastic. Removable end caps on the front bumper help with approach angles and might even accommodate bigger tires, but the Rubicon wears 33-inch tires. Mopar is offering a 2-inch lift kit, so you can run 35-inch tires without any other mods. The front bumper also has a wench mount on it.
Gone are zippers on the soft top, replaced by plastic sliders. A spring-loaded mechanism means one person can raise or lower the top, too. Four-door models can come with a power-folding top. You can get “half doors” that have an interesting port hole cut in the bottom. Some design elements come straight from the CJ-5, namely the grille and hood.
The interior sees some of the biggest changes. A push-button ignition is already controversial, but supposedly can get soaked and still work. Sahara and Rubicon models can have a tilt/telescoping and heated steering wheel. A lower beltline means all windows are larger.
The base 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 makes 285 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. An optional turbo 2.0-liter four-banger whips up 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. The real star, the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 produces 260 horsepower and a whopping 442 lb.-ft. of torque, but can only be had on four-door models. A plug-in powertrain is coming in 2020.
All but the Rubicon have Dana 30 front and Dana 35 rear axles. The Rubicon uses Dana 44s for the front and rear. There’s so much more about the JL, and we’re going to keep digging into this thing. And yes, haters are already lining up to take shots at it.