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The Jeep Wrangler 2018: The Best Overall
The best Jeep Wrangler to date was introduced in 2018 as a continuation of the ongoing third generation of Jeep Wranglers. This year has it all — comfort, style, safety, performance, reliability, and durability. Even though it has dozens of modern upgrades, the authentic Wrangler feel is maintained in this vehicle, which is the main reason for its success.
The cruise feature makes this vehicle seamless on roads, and you can enjoy a smooth and speedy ride on asphalt. The eight-speed automatic transmission makes passing sedans easier than ever. On the other hand, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler also offers an incredible off-road experience with a six-speed manual transmission powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 285 hp. This provides enough power for you to maneuver over rocks, challenge steep terrains, and make your way out of mud pits.
Another feature that makes 2018 the best year for Jeep Wrangler is its astounding fuel economy. This power-packed beast returns a 25 miles average in the city and a 27 mile average on the highway. Is there anything more you can ask for from a 4x4? Like all other Wranglers, this year also has the Rubicon, Sahara, and Sports editions, along with Rubicon Recon, Freedom, Willys Wheeler, and High Altitude.
These top-notch features combined helped the 2018 Wrangler boast a 4.5-star rating on Kelly's Blue Book.
What's New In the 2018 Model?
The 2018 model has a lot more upgrades than it first shows. Firstly, a new line — the Wrangler JK was introduced in 2018; it has the Freedom, Willys Wheeler, and Altitude trims of the vehicle, which are more off-road-oriented for the adventurers out there. The regular version that we will focus on now bears the letters JL with its name, which is more spacious for comfort and has various features that the others lack.
Moreover, 2018 saw three base trims, further spreading into eight options for the same vehicle. So now, users have an even better range to choose from.
This year also saw the Wrangler sporting a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with a new FCA's UConnect infotainment system for the first time.
What Do the Different Trim Levels Offer?
The Wrangler is an off-road 4x4 SUV. The two-door model is simply called the Wrangler, while the four-door is the Wrangler Unlimited. However, it has four base trims that have varying specifications and features. The four trims of the Jeep Wrangler 2018 are:
The Wrangler Sport
The Wrangler Sports edition is the basic trim with a 17-inch steel wheelbase, cloth upholstery, fog lights, keyless ignition, an eight-speaker audio system, and a rear-view camera. The Wrangler Sport is available in unlimited and two-door models.
The Wrangler Sport S
For a little extra money, you can get the Wrangler Sport S version which is also available in unlimited and two-door models. Besides the base features, you will get 17-inch aluminum wheels, power windows, power door locks, keyless entry, and single-zone air conditioning.
The Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
You can tell by its name that the Wrangler Sahara is an all-purpose SUV with loads of additional features suited for a touring vehicle. The Sahara is only available in the four-door unlimited version. The center console has a 15 amp outlet for your electrical devices along with FCA's UConnect infotainment system with an HD 7.0-inch display. Not only that – more options take the shape of:
- 18-inch alloy rims
- Automatic headlights
- Dual-zone climate control
- USB ports
The Wrangler Rubicon
The Wrangler Rubicon is the top-of-the-line vehicle in the Wrangler JL range and is available in regular Wrangler and the unlimited model. The upgraded options for your comfort and luxury include a larger, 8.4-inch touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, navigation, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an Alpine audio system, leather seats, and rear parking sensors.
But that's not all. Being the top-of-the-line Wrangler, it also provides the best off-roading experience with an upgraded suspension system. This is made possible by the incorporation of heavy-duty Dana 44 solid axles on the front and rear. Moreover, it has the perfect combination of central locking differential and a low gear ratio of 4:1 to provide you with some extra throw-up when needed in stubborn conditions. With even the all-terrain tires equipped in this vehicle, Jeep hasn't missed a spot to give everything anyone can want from a 4x4 SUV.
How Does It Perform?
Engine & Transmission
Jeep carries on their hit 3.6-liter V6 engine as their first choice for the Wrangler 2018 model. As mentioned earlier, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is a new option introduced in 2018 as a lighter version for people who want the benefits of a Jeep but don't want to spend a ton of money – basically, a more affordable alternative. It is a partial-hybrid engine that the company calls eTorque, the first of its kind in the Wrangler range. The common option — 3.6-liter V6 that produces 285 hp and a torque of 256 lb-ft@4,800 RPM – comes in automatic and manual transmission.
The automatic transmission provides smooth and easy maneuvering with eight-speed gear and better fuel economy. However, if you like to control the torque of your vehicle, the six-speed manual transmission is also there for you. The 4x4 gear controlled by a separate gear lever beside the regular one helps you navigate challenging terrains with rocky surfaces, steep climbs, rivers, and even forests.
Another valuable feature of the Jeep Wrangler 2018 is the switchable drivetrain. The Sport, Sport S, and the Sahara trims are all 4X4, but you can switch the drive system to an All-Wheel-Drive with the help of front and rear locking differentials. You can choose to let the wheels spin all at once or at different speeds as needed on each side. On the other hand, the Rubicon trim is a full-time all-wheel drive as it is a strictly off-road option.
If you are looking for a boosted fuel economy and can compromise on power, the 2.0-liter automatic eight-speed has the best mileage with 23 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The Unlimited version of the same trim also gives almost the same average.
In comparison, the more juice-chugging but powerful drivetrains of the 3.6-liter automatic eighth-speed Wrangler give 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Its manual six-speed counterpart is 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The Unlimited options are just behind in all cases due to their slightly bigger size.
Despite getting a sleeker upgrade and dozens of features for comfort, the Jeep Wrangler 2018 has maintained its monstrous smooth driving capability on roads and an equally powerful performance on the most challenging terrains. The four-door Wrangler has a considerably smoother ride even over rough surfaces than the two-door, which has a stumbling ride; however, the latter is an even more robust machine and will take you to heights you couldn't have imagined.
Being in the driver's seat is a challenge you take on every time you hit that start button, and it's an even greater responsibility when you have other passengers riding along. Therefore, you need to have the best equipment on hand. We have tested the least powerful 2.0-liter four-speed manual and the more off-road 3.6-liter Rubicon through thick and thin. The results we got will surprise you.
Firstly, the Jeep Wrangler 2018 has better overall drivability than its previous models, with improved axles and suspension systems (mentioned above). Moreover, the electro-hydraulic steering wheel makes it easier to turn your vehicle in instances. Going deeper, the 2.0-liter provides immense power on rocky terrains, and driving over huge obstacles is not a problem thanks to the 295 lb-ft torque that it produces.
The short gear ratio is also helpful in climbing steep and bumpy hills. However, the only place it lacks is if you're cornering on elevated terrains, and it has a 2,000 pounds towing capacity. If you want a larger towing and loading capacity and going on full-on extreme adventures is your thing, the Rubicon Wrangler is a one-vehicle solution for all your needs.
The Wrangler Rubicon was tested on the most extreme and off-setting terrain ever used in a launch event, and without a doubt, it came home conquering it all. The locking front and rear differential make the hardest part easier for this vehicle. The Dana 44 solid axles help keep the ride stable, saving the passengers from a load of fatigue.
Safety, Quality, and Comfort
One would think a 4x4 SUV like Jeep Wrangler would have only so much in terms of safety and comfort. On the contrary, the 2018 model gives you all the modern amenities for the utmost comfort and makes the ride safe. Fortunately, the 2018 Wrangler is tested by the IIHS through multiple crashes and strength tests. It is safe to say that this model has a high overall safety rating and only lacks in less important areas.
Jeep Wrangler 2018 features:
- Automatic Locking Hubs
- Front/Rear Headrests
- Automated Headlights
- Six-way Adjustable Driver Seat
- Four-way Adjustable Driver Seat
- Front and Side Airbags
- Heated Mirrors
- Engine Immobilizer
- Fog Lights
- Post-Collision Safety System
- Stability Control
- Traction Control
- Cruise Control
- Tilt and Telescopic Steering Wheel
- Leather Upholstery
- Steering Wheel Controls
- Keyless Power Door Locks
- Front and Rear Cup holders
- ABS Brake Assist
- Premium Audio System
- Convertible roof
Note: Not all of these features are available in all trims of the Jeep Wrangler 2018. The features vary with the trim model, so ensure that you check the option list to know more about the features in your desirable trim. You can also buy feature packages for company-installed features.
About The Author
Working as a restoration tech on exclusively Mopar offerings of the late 60’s and early 70’s honed the skills to build what I consider the most prestigious make of American cars of that era. The iconic slant six, behemoth 426 Hemi and everything in between shaped my view on the automotive world. I’ve translated those skills towards vehicles that “everyman” has access to enjoy and Mopar influence still plays a significant role.Read More About Tyler Herndon