2018 Jeep Wrangler JK


The Jeep Wrangler JK survives to see another year, and its successor Wrangler JL will join it in the last quarter of this year. Preparations are underway to morph the JK facilities into JL setups. But before that, the JK has come out with some interesting updated versions in the two-door and four-door trim levels. They include Sport, Sport S, Sahara, Golden Eagle, Altitude, Rubicon and Rubicon Recon.


Check out the 2 video reviews of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (16 min) and the Jeep Wrangler Sahara (30 min).


The 2018 Jeep JK is known for its offroad prowess. Although negligent with modernity, the Wrangler still retains its heritage with not many changes to the shape. It is unmistakable to ignore the Wrangler's cult that is ingrained for decades and reigns the American psyche. So, if you're willing to sacrifice everything just for the rich off-roading experience, the 2018 new Jeep Wrangler JK is the real deal.


Looking for a more detailed review? Watch this video review of the Wrangler JK instead.




Engine and Powertrain

All the versions of 2018 Wrangler JK are equipped with FCA's familiar 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine generating 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. As a standard, a six-speed manual transmission is geared in all, while a five-speed automatic is optional across all trims. There are two four-wheel drivetrains available for the JK. The Command-Trac part-time system is typically present across the Sport, Sport S and Sahara models.


Additionally, the special trims of these variants also have the same four-wheel drivetrain. The engine system contains a 2.72:1 low range ratio for swarming its way through rugged terrains. Jeep purists in search of more off road capability can opt for the Rock-Trac part-time system introduced in the Wrangler JK Rubicon and Rubicon Recon. This drivetrain comprises front and tail anti-roll bars which can be detached just by pressing a button. It also has the ability to lock forward and backward differentials. It even brings out a tighter range ratio of 4.0:1. The fuel economy on the 2018 Wrangler JK is 17/21/18 mpg city/highway/combined. The revival of the Altitude and the introduction of the Golden Eagle editions are new this year with the same engine specifications.


Performance and Handling

The Wrangler is hardly cherished as an on-road vehicle. Its raw sloppiness makes it a hard choice for someone looking for a daily-drive. Nonetheless, we think it unleashes itself only when the asphalt ends. It is sufficiently loaded with the low-end torque required by the offroaders for faster-speeds on pavements. The six-speed manual transmission vibrates due to its long-hauling lever and deep pedal-travel. The gear ratios are lofty in a sense regardless of you opting the manual or the automatic transmission.


Say for a five-speed automatic, you only have to shift once during a 0 to 60 mph sprint with a gear ratio of 3.21:1. An even lower ratio is available on the Rubicon and Rubicon Recon off road variants. Started out with a recirculated ball-steering, the boxy JK is jiggly and noisy around corners. The JK's Achilles' heel is and has been its out-of-date handling.


Comfort and Safety

Both the two-door and four-door versions have four seats. The front seats are conditioned with fairly fat bolsters and are cushioned by enough space. The interior is somewhat boxy with a rough and tough readiness. In its similarity with the Land Rover Defender, the seats are uncomfortably upright bolting an authoritative existence. Every model of the new Jeep Wrangler is loaded with climate control, tubular side steps, automatic LED lights, Hill Descent Control, an Alpine Stereo System with subwoofers, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The two-door variant has a cargo space of 12.8 cu-ft following the back seats and 56.5 cu-ft behind the front seats. The rear seats on the two-door model are removable and foldable. The four-door models have a spacious 31.5 cu-ft behind the back seats and 70.6 cu-ft after the front seats. When appropriately equipped, the two-door variants can haul up to 2000lbs while the four-door can tow a payload of up to 3500lbs. There are no active safety features on the 2018 Wrangler JK.


Styling and Exterior

Looking at the Jeep Wrangler JK, not much changed over the years. Defying age, the Wrangler JK still has predominant military heritage and is sharply dissimilar to its opponents. Flat paneling, boxed fenders, and an old-school seven-slot sturdy grille are some of the remarkable features that create the front profile of the Wrangler JK. All Jeep Wrangler models house 18-inch alloy wheels.


The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK bumpers vary from light-weight to heavy-weight, the choice of which affects its fuel economy. Installing a heavy-weight bumper works great for an off-roading activity. We would recommend fixing the specialized Oedro bumper for Jeep Wrangler JK because it has two extra LED lights above for larger visibility radius. Having an anti-rust layer between steel and the paint, forget about the bumper oxidizing with water in fiercer terrains. Oedro also delivers the bumpers with guarded seven-layer corrugated cardboard, so don't even think the package's going to get mishandled.


Talking about LED lights, if you need strikingly brighter and farther light patterns, you have to ditch the regular LED lights. We would again recommend mounting the Oedro Jeep LED Headlights for this purpose. The Oedro headlights come with a lifetime warranty of more than 50,000 hours. Not bragging about its convenience but the lights are just plug-and-play and you can install them in just 30 minutes. Moreover, Oedro's products are offered with a 2-year warranty for any damage during delivery or factory defect.


Oedro's high quality upgrades and modifications simply cannot be resisted and urge us to recommend one of the finest running boards for Jeep Wrangler JK. These boards are packed with three base plates instead of two for a firmer grip. They are made of the same material as the bumpers with anti-rust properties. These boards are just a way to make your Wrangler JK look cool and adventurous.


2018 Jeep Wrangler JK


Pricing and Competition

The current lineup of JK comes in 2-door and 4-door versions. For the two-door trim levels, the Jeep JK price starts from $23,995 for the Sport and race up to $39,195 for the Recon. For the four-door versions, it is priced at $27,895 for the Sport and stretch up to $42,945 for the Recon. Similar to the previous year, starting prices of the two-doors are distanced slightly by $3,900 for the four-doors.


Compared with the Toyota 4runner, the Jeep Wrangler JK heads out with optimum all-terrain capability. It also has a lower base price than that of the 4runner; an approximate $4,000 difference. The Wrangler JK, however, comes with a standard 4x4 drivetrain whereas the 4runner has an optional four-wheel drive available at an extra cost. Unlike the 4runner, you can start Wrangler’s engine and regulate the climate inside the vehicle remotely before you step in. Shy of 450lbs to 650lbs, the Wrangler is lighter and faster than the 4runner. The 4runner only boasts an automatic transmission whereas the Wrangler JK comes with a manual transmission as well as five-speed automatic shift.


Conclusion

Equipped with removable doors, roof, and windshield, the four-wheel drive provides one of the finest off-the-asphalt experience. Although its off-the-road capability comes off at the expense of its on-road traits, the front, and rear axles qualify for a stiff ride on the road. Tested against a Mercedes-Benz G550 and Toyota Land Cruiser, the Wrangler JK fell short due to its slow-moving five-speed automatic transmission and insufficient power. Overall, it is hardly bearable on road but is essentially wanted offroad.


Still not decided on the Jeep Wrangler JK for your off-road need? Take a look at this video that compares the Top 5 Off-Road Vehicles (12 min).


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