New 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited SUV New 2018
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited SUV

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

The new 2018 Jeep Wrangler successfully blends modern technology with one of the most iconic SUVs to ever travel our roads. The new Wrangler and Wrangler 4-door (which gained fame as the Wrangler Unlimited) retain their immediately recognizable design, yet manage to be all-new underneath, with new engines, drivetrains, interiors, technology, and everything else that comes with it. It is arguably the most significant update ever to this most classic Jeep, but all done without sacrificing one bit of the Jeep Wrangler's essential character trait: its ability to conquer any terrain, at any time. The solid axles in front and rear, torquey and powerful engines, and versatile 4-wheel-drive system make the new Wrangler unstoppable off road. And yet, at last, the Wrangler no longer feels like it was raised by wolves around town, offering up ride quality and refinement that were once anathema to the Wrangler. With no direct competitor, and 4x4 versions of the Toyota Tacoma pickup coming closest, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler 4-door SUVs stand alone.

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You'll Like This SUV If...

If you prefer the unblazed trail, have ever operated a winch, terms like "breakover angle" mean something to you, then the new Wrangler or Wrangler 4-door is just what you want. Thanks to its new urban civility, this SUV is no longer limited to being a weekend warrior.

You May Not Like This SUV If...

This is an off-road-ready SUV with a suspension to match, and while it's more civil than ever, its solid front and rear axles mean the ride can't match something with an independent suspension. Despite the use of lighter-weight materials and improved aerodynamics, fuel economy still isn't particularly great.

What's New for 2018

Virtually everything except the name "Wrangler" is new this year. It's longer, wider, offers new and updated engines, a wholly new interior, an easier to fold windshield, easier to remove doors, improved off-road capability, and better around-town drivability, too.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

Our experience driving the 2018 Jeep Wrangler was in the wilds of New Zealand, where rocks and boulders, rushing water, and rutted and muddy fields put the new Wrangler to the test. At least in theory -- the reality is that none of the varied terrain proved much of a challenge to the Jeep. The new Tru-Lok front and rear locking differentials helped make short work of the slick stuff, and both the V6 and turbocharged 4-cylinder provided plenty of torque and power whenever we asked for it. If more wheel travel is required, the anti-roll bars can be electronically disconnected. Rubicon models also come with tubular rock rails in addition to the standard four skidplates for extra undercarriage protection. Yet that's all expected from a Jeep -- what really surprised us was the new Wrangler's civility around town. The new steering, 5-link suspension, improved body mounts, retuned shocks, and even the drivetrain have all been upgraded for an around-town experience that belies this SUV's off-road ability.

Favorite Features

NEW 4-CYLINDER ENGINE
The new 4-cylinder engine puts out a little less horsepower than the V6, but lots more torque, and with a lower torque peak. Mated solely to the 8-speed automatic transmission, the 4-cylinder is likely all the engine you could need in the new Wrangler, and should get better fuel economy than the V6.

UPGRADED INTERIOR
With new materials, an updated and more modern layout, more passenger space, and even luxury touches like available leather dash and seats, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler moves into a premium territory that belies its rugged heritage. The Uconnect system also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Vehicle Details

Interior

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler interior manages to look modern and new, yet retain the kind of simple layout that's part and parcel of the Wrangler SUV experience. Modern touches like body-color dash panels with round vents flank the 21st-century touch screen, yet there's still a passenger-side grab handle mounted on the dash for when the going gets especially rough. Base Sport models are a little more Spartan, but upgrade to the higher trim levels and you'll get such niceties as leather seats with contrast stitching, and even a leather-wrapped dash. Wrangler 4-door models get extra rear-seat room thanks to the addition of more than two inches to the wheelbase.

Exterior

At first glance, the 2018 Wrangler's styling is purely evolutionary. However, there's a lot going on that you may not notice at first glance. The Wrangler is more than two inches wider and has more than two inches of additional wheelbase, all in the name of stability and comfort. The doors are now made of aluminum, making them easier to remove. Folding down the windshield only requires removing four bolts instead of 28 as in previous Wrangler models. LED headlights and taillights are available, and multiple roof configurations are also available, making it easier than ever to enjoy the open-top off-roading Jeepers want, but the kind of quick shelter from rain they need.

Notable Standard Equipment

The base-model Wrangler Sport comes standard with the V6 and 6-speed manual transmission. It also comes standard with 4-wheel drive, in this case Jeep's Command-Trac system. You also get standard fog lights, underbody skidplates, push-button ignition, and Jeep's new Sunrider with its clever sunroof panel. What's more noteworthy is what's missing: power windows, air conditioning, a touch-screen audio system and Bluetooth are only available as options or on higher trim levels. The Sport does come with an 8-speaker audio system though, with USB and AUX inputs. Wrangler 4-door models come with an extra set of doors, 5-passenger seating capacity, and additional rear-seat and luggage space.

Notable Optional Equipment

Factory options include your choice of an 8-speed automatic or 4-cylinder turbo engine in any model. The trim ladder goes up through Sport S, Sahara (4-door only) and Rubicon models, each with varying levels of equipment. The Sport S adds power windows, air conditioning and keyless entry; the 4-door's Sahara model adds upgraded trim and allows buyers to select the more advanced Selec-Trac full-time transfer case. Rubicon models are the most off-road ready, with tubular rock rails and an even more advanced 4-wheel-drive system. Option packages include different hardtop configurations, an 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system, and blind-spot sensors.

Under the Hood

While a diesel engine will be added for the 2019 model year, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler offers two engine choices First is the Pentastar V6 we know from so many other Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler vehicles. With 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, it comes with either an 8-speed automatic or a new 6-speed manual transmission Fun fact: This is the only way you can get a Pentastar with a manual transmission. New to the Wrangler family this year is a 2.0-iter turbocharged 4-cylinder. With 268 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, the new 4-cylinder comes solely with the automatic. However, for the vast number of buyers its likely to be a tempting choice, as it offers more torque lower in the rev range. Fuel economy figures aren't available for the 4-cylinder yet, but they are expected to beat the V6's best of 25 mpg on the highway.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
268 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

3.6-liter V6
285 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (manual), 17/23 mpg (manual 4-door), 18/23 mpg (automatic)

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Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sport 2-door starts at about $28,200, including the $1,195 destination charge. At the other end of the price spectrum, the Wrangler Rubicon 4-door starts at about $41,700. Naturally, options inflate that price, and if you want all the goodies on your 4-door Wrangler Rubicon, you'll easily pass the $55,000 mark, which is luxury crossover territory. That's not cheap, of course, but at least you can get into a fully capable rock-hopping Wrangler for considerably less. The Jeep Wrangler is a unique proposition in the market, with few direct competitors. The closest competition might be off-road versions of pickups, like the Toyota Tacoma TRD-Pro or Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 -- both are in the mid-$40,000 range, but they're a different type of vehicle than the Wrangler. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to find out what others in your area paid for their Wrangler. As for resale, the Wrangler is a consistent winner of our 10 Best Resale Value Awards.

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