With every leaked detail of Jeep’s next-generation Wrangler, hardcore enthusiast become a little more ravenous for information. But there has been one pressing question circling every shorts-tightening tidbit: when will it arrive?
The short answer is soon. The JL Wrangler may even launch as early as October, if a new report to be believed. That would place it almost full month ahead of its reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show — which Jeep CEO Mike Manley previously confirmed as the official debut.
However, there is a longer and more storied explanation of every major component addition as the 2018 model gradually takes shape. Entry-level variants appear to host a 3.6-liter engine with stop-start and a manual transmission. But production of the first round of quad-door hardtops will eventually open up to two-doors (and different engines) as previous-gen JK assembly ends sooner than expected.
According to the fine fellows at JLWranglerForums, JK assembly was supposed to run in tandem with the JLs for an entire year. The website’s newly leaked info now cites production ending in March of 2018 — followed by a heavily discounted sticker price.
As for the next-gen Wrangler, dealers were allowed to place JL ghost orders at a FCA dealer meeting earlier this month. Available powertrains included the 3.6-liter V6, available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic, and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder mild-hybrid with a belt starter-generator (BSG) but probably no manual.
The leaked details from FCA has the JL officially commencing assembly on November 13th as a four-door hardtop, but hoping for something sooner. Soft and dual top variants go into production roughly a month later. The 2.0-liter BSG is believed to arrive at the factory as an export unit in January, with domestic production starting in mid-February. Jeep will also begin tossing together two-door versions of the Wrangler equipped with both engines, starting with the hardtop.
While the timeline gets a little less reliable the further out you go, production should persist in that priority. By March, JK assembly should have ended, followed by retractable power top models in May. JLWranglerForums specified there may be a higher trim level for the JLs that would include the the power tops, though nothing has been confirmed. It’s also a little curious as to how Jeep would implement this.
Aftermarket power tops on the Wrangler created a lot of buzz among enthusiasts but haven’t been particularly well received, as most block all reward visibility when retracted and occupy a large amount of space at the rear of the vehicle. They’re also really expensive, with some going for $6,500. Hopefully, Fiat Chrysler’s solution is more practical and less costly.
On the tail end of the 2018 MY, Jeep is adding a 3.0-liter diesel with stop-start technology. The leaked details have the motor launching in August of 2018 but, being so late to arrive, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it wait until the following model year. There will also be a 2.2-liter diesel destined for export models.
Available customization will be extensive but individual trim levels are believed to be fairly basic for the 2018 model year, especially compared to present-day JK trims.
Jeep also has outlined a list of option bundles, which it called “groups,” including a heavy duty electrical group which the Wrangler forum speculates will add an upgraded battery and alternator along with auxiliary control switches. There will also be a new black powder soft top available, along with premium soft top and premium sunrider tops in either black or tan. Initial body color options for the JL are as follows, Nacho (orange), Firecracker Red, Acid Yellow, Bright White, Black, Granite Crystal Metallic, and Billet Silver Metallic.
[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Reddit]