10 Rumors About the 2018 JL We Hope Are True
According to industry insiders, we’re just a few months away from the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL unveil. Closing the chapter on the 2007 to 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK, the JL is one of the most anticipated Jeeps we can recall. With the Wrangler taking the No. 1 spot in the 2017 Cars.com "American-Made Index" list, the most historic American 4x4 has a lot riding on the new release. Maybe it’s the rumored new diesel engine or pickup truck variation, but there’s no doubt that the interwebs have been abuzz with talk of the JL over the past year.
With so much speculation, we’ve put together our list of 10 things we’re hoping to see and how the rumors support them.
(All Photos Courtesy of Jeep)
1. Large Wheelwells
With so many spy shots circulating the web, it doesn’t appear the JL will deviate drastically from the outgoing JK. At least, the fender-wheel openings appear to be very similar. This likely means that like the JK, you’ll be able to stuff a large tire (35 to 37 inches) with a modest amount of lift.
2. Lighter Doors
The concept vehicles Jeep usually drags out to Moab, Utah, for the annual Easter Jeep Safari often hold clues to future products and designs. More than one concept at this year’s 51st Annual EJS had some sort of radical or lightweight door design. We’re hoping this means the JL’s doors will be lighter. This would make them easier to remove, while shedding some pounds from a Jeep that’s grown quite portly.
3. More Power!
We’re getting word that three new mills will be under the JL hood. A turbocharged four-cylinder, new V6 and a diesel. Rumor has it that the four-banger will pump out nearly 300 ponies, which would put it 15 horses over the JK’s current 3.6L Pentastar V6. If that’s the kind of juice the small engine can squeeze out, we’re hoping to see some big numbers from the V6. We expect the diesel will likely be high on torque, but modest on horsepower.
4. A Real Bed
The JL will continue the body-on-frame construction legacy along with retaining front and rear solid axles. Given that’s the case, it’s likely the JL truck variant will have a real bed, not just a unitized body like some sort of modern-day El Camino. This could be great for two important reasons: 1) It would open up the door for the aftermarket to create custom bed offerings, and 2) it could mean that multiple bed lengths are possible, making way for two- and four-door pickup platforms. We suspect the four-door version will be all we see at first.
5. Electronic Nannies
Lane departure and crash avoidance sensors are heavily rumored to be part of the new Jeep. While the safety features will be a welcomed addition, it will likely prove challenging from a modification standpoint. We’re hoping that there will be some sort of electronic nannie override of defeat sequence. Something similar to what the Ford Raptor and Chevy ZR2 offers. This could be a game changer in the safety front, but may prove to be a serious hurtle for those looking to build their Jeeps to the extreme.
6. Better Axles
The JK axles are far better than the previous generation TJ axles, but they still leave plenty to be desired. Weak C end-forgings, thin-wall axletubing, and problematic ball joints are all well documented issues for the JK. We’re hearing that Dana has crafted an all-new JL axle set, which may not only fix the aforementioned JK axle problems, but increase the ring-and-pinion strength as well. While we don’t expect to see a 1-ton axle offering from the factory, we’re thinking the JL will see an axle upgrade.
7. Electronic Steering
Most auto manufacturers are shifting away from power-robbing engine-driven hydraulic steering pumps and moving to electric. Our inside sources are hinting that the new JL will have an electric steering pump as well. We’re also told this could be paired with an aluminum steering gearbox. For any hardcore off-roader, this may be a bit concerning. We’re guessing aftermarket steering manufacturers such as PSC Motorsports will be some of the first to come up with a steering upgrade.
8. Give Us a Stripper!
Jeep has teased us with a stripper in the past. Get your mind out of the gutter. We’re not talking about that kind of stripper. We’re referring the J7 Stripper Jeep teased us with in 2010. It was a stripped-down version of the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. You got all of the good ‘wheeling parts you need (front and rear lockers, Dana 44 axles, electronic-disconnect sway bar), without the high cost of entry of the higher-end Jeeps. Given we expect the JL to go up in price from the JK, a more bare-bones budget version would be great to see.
9. Reclining Backseats
Sitting in the back of a JK should only be done by small children or adults for short periods of time. We’re hoping that backseat passengers will finally get some relief with the JL. This could be as simple as reclining seats or as luxurious as a set of dedicated caption chairs.
10. Modular Tops
Anyone who owns a JK with a hardtop will tell you that they are a bear to store. Not only do they take up a lot of room, but it’s not a one person job. A modular hardtop with removable sides and roof panels could make pulling a hardtop a pain-free process. It would also make storing the top much easier.
Whatever the JL turns out to be, we’re sure there will be both love and hate for it. We’re excited to see how it unfolds. Hopefully, we will be one of the first to get behind the wheel.