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2018 Jeep Wrangler: A new standard, off-road or not

Time:2018-02-15 02:19Turbochargers information Click:

JEEP 2018 Standard of Wrangler

The redesigned 2018 Jeep Wrangler is on sale with a number of improvements intended to boost fuel economy and on-road performance. A six-speed manual transmission is standard while an eight-speed automatic is optional. The Wrangler receives push-button start for the first time, while its seats will have adjustable bolster and lumbar supports. Designers also engineered new easy-to-carry handles into the Wrangler's removable doors to make them easier to take off. Here is a roundup of reviews of various Wrangler configurations from the automotive media.

"I sampled both powertrains in my drive in, over, around and through the wilds of Tucson, Ariz., and found the V-6 to be adequately smooth and powerful. But the new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is even better. Mated only to the automatic transmission, it makes 270 hp and 295 pounds-feet of torque but feels amazingly torquey, punchy and quick around town. I drove a four-door model loaded up with a hardtop, three full-size humans and a lot of camera gear, and the turbo engine felt responsive and zippy, with the eight-speed auto shifting seamlessly and smoothly through the gears. Only on some low-speed corners did I find it in a gear lower than I wanted, but the transmission's quick-shifting nature and utter lack of turbo lag poured on speed with remarkable ease. As much as the addition of the 3.6-liter Pentastar engine transformed the Wrangler into a usable daily-driver in 2012, that's how much better the new 2.0-liter is for 2018.

"Ride and handling have also received a massive shot in the arm thanks to a revised suspension, wider axles, improved tires and a new electrohydraulic steering system (with an electric motor-driven pump). The Wrangler still drives like a light truck -- you won't confuse this for a car-based Toyota RAV4 or Jeep's own Cherokee -- but no longer does it feel ponderous or sloppy around turns. The Sport and Sahara models were well-controlled, provided acceptable steering feedback and even had a decently comfortable ride over rough pavement. It feels like a modern mid-size pickup truck, such as a Chevrolet Colorado or Toyota Tacoma, in that it's no longer a penalty box, but it's still not quite the smooth and well-damped environment of a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Only so much can be done to hide the fact that there are still two solid live axles front and rear, and in stiff crosswinds you'll still get blown all over the highway (you are driving something with the aerodynamic profile of a small single-family home, after all). But the Wrangler's on-road behavior is dramatically better than it used to be and is no longer a reason for shoppers to disqualify it from consideration."

-- Aaron Bragman, Cars.com

"It's the most mature Wrangler yet. Like Hulk on a desert rampage then showing up as Bruce Banner for work on Monday, the new Jeep is a weekend hell-raiser -- and a civilized, weekday commuter.

"I assaulted rocky hills, narrow canyons and washboard-rough trails. Last summer, I took on a similar ecosystem in Ford's F-150 Raptor pickup, another all-wheel-drive armadillo designed to do double-duty as an off-road sprinter and rock crawler -- at double the price of Wrangler. Wrangler can't hang with the twin-turbo V-6 Ford on the fast flats, but its narrower track, 44-degree front departure angle and short wheelbase provide superior maneuverability through the vertical stuff."

-- Henry Payne, The Detroit News

"The Jeep Wrangler makes every bit of sense and none at all, and it must be accepted by a wildly devoted fan base that will tolerate no weakness. Fortunately for everyone involved, it doesn't have many faults. In fact, it has so few we might as well just get them out of the way. First, the clutch take-up on the six-speed manual transmission is so vague even our officemates at JP and 4-Wheel and Off-Road were stalling. Second, the V-6 still feels a bit gutless at low rpm on pavement despite improvements. That about covers it.

"Back on that hillside, I was driving a two-door Rubicon with the standard 3.6-liter V-6 and optional eight-speed automatic. It makes the same 285 hp and 260 lb-ft as before but gets better fuel economy and low-end torque. At crawling speeds and with four-wheel-drive gearing advantages, torque wasn't an issue. Two days later, driving back into town in a heavier four-door Rubicon Unlimited with the same engine but standard six-speed manual, the lack of grunt was more apparent.

"The enormous improvement in ride quality was also more apparent on the road. Don't worry. It still drives like a truck, just one from this century. Moving the shocks farther outboard and raising the roll center have seriously reduced the head toss and impact harshness in everyday driving. Getting to the trail has never been so pleasant."

-- Scott Evans, Motor Trend

"The JL Wrangler has also upped its game with approach and departure angles of 44 and 37 degrees, respectively, a breakover angle of an almost improbable 27.8 degrees, and 10.9 inches of ground clearance. It'll also ford 30-inches of water like a champ, and look good doing it on big 33-inch wheels (standard on Rubicon).

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