2018 Jeep Wrangler Long-Term Road Test - New Updates

2018 Jeep Wrangler Long-Term Road Test

New Updates


2018 Jeep Wrangler: Wrap-Up

by Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing Operations

2018 Jeep Wrangler

What Did We Get?
We owned a long-term 2007 Wrangler Unlimited Sahara and we owned a 2012 Wrangler Sport. The introduction of the new JL body style was the only encouragement we needed to purchase a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited. It promised new technology in the cabin, more refinement, lightweight aluminum doors, prewired upfitter switches in the dash, and a stronger tailgate to support the spare tire.

Our Firecracker Red Wrangler had a 3.6-liter V6, the optional eight-speed automatic and all of the Rubicon pieces: Dana M210 and 220 axles, locking differentials, anti-roll bar disconnect, and a 4.10 axle gearing and more. We added the soft- and hardtop roof option and larger 8.4-inch Uconnect display. It cost $52,699. And we learned a lot over the past two years and 50,000 miles behind the wheel.

What Did We Learn?
Our most important takeaway from two years with a Wrangler Rubicon was that it was a heck of a lot of fun. The Jeep inspired us to go take an adventure. What more can you ask of a car than to make you want to get out and drive it more?

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for September 2019

by Dan Edmunds, Director, Vehicle Evaluation

2018 Jeep Wrangler

September was another uneventful month for our Jeep Wrangler, although it racked up a few more miles than it managed in August. Most of the 1,229 miles we added were close to home. That tends to happen around here in summer when desert temperatures soar and the coastal breezes beckon.

Another thing that held back the mileage was the state of the tires. Not only are they starting to wear down to the wear bars, but two of them began leaking at almost exactly the same time and at the same rate. Because both front tires were low by the same amount, we first thought someone had misfilled them. But after filling them up again, they gradually leaked back down to the same point over the next several days, so we took the Jeep in to have them inspected and, hopefully, patched.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for August 2019

by Dan Edmunds, Director, Vehicle Evaluation

2018 Jeep Wrangler

August was quiet for our Jeep Wrangler, but it did cross one important milestone. The 1,142 miles that we added during the month brought the total up to 36,886 miles, and that means that its three-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is history. The powertrain warranty lives on until 60,000 miles, so at least the expensive bits are still covered.

I find this end-of-warranty business ironic because one of the reasons this month's mileage is so low is that it sat on the sidelines a couple of days while we gathered up parts to repair some unexplained parking lot damage to the bumper. The miles that we did drive came close to home, and the Jeep even sat idle at the airport for a few days.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Installing and Wiring Mopar LED Off-Road Lights

by Dan Edmunds, Director, Vehicle Evaluation

2018 Jeep Wrangler

No doubt you've heard about the many design changes and new features that make the JL-series Jeep Wrangler much better than its JK predecessor.

But it's likely you've only heard about the auxiliary switch panel in passing. It's part of the optional "Trailer Tow and Heavy Duty Electrical Group" available for the Wrangler and Gladiator ($795), a package that includes a trailer hitch, a larger battery and a stronger alternator. I recently put the auxiliary switch panel to the test by installing a pair of cowl-mounted LED off-road lights.

What follows is a summary of the mechanical installation and electrical hookup of the Mopar 5-inch off-road LED light kit (P/N 82215385AB) using Jeep's lower A-pillar mounting bracket kit (82215427).

In this case, "lower A-pillar" is what I'm calling the cowl. The lights themselves can mount practically anywhere on the vehicle, so you need the bracket (sold separately) to mount them as I did.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for July 2019

by Dan Edmunds, Director, Vehicle Evaluation

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Our 2018 Jeep Wrangler remains a popular choice around the office. And our staff members continue to demonstrate that they are more than willing to take it on road trips even though everyone agrees the ride can be clompy and the steering has a mind of its own when cruising straight. They simply don't care if an off-road trip is on the menu.

But it's even sought after by those who plan to stick to the pavement, in part because the interior is easy to live with, but mainly because the JL Wrangler oozes personality by the bucketload. Why do our Edmunds ratings have a Wild Card section? It is because of this very phenomenon. Some vehicles are much more than the sum of their flaws.

We added another 2,556 miles in July, bringing the total up to 35,774 miles. Scott drove it to the Northern California mountains to spend time exploring trails near his family's cabin. Mark drove it north into the high desert to visit the Manzanar National Historic Site. And Brent took it home to the suburbs of Fresno for a couple of weeks. He also brought it in for a dealer visit for an oil change and a look at a couple of leaky shock absorbers we noticed somewhere along the way. With the basic warranty set to expire at 36,000 miles, there was no time to lose.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for June 2019

by Dan Edmunds, Director, Vehicle Evaluation

2018 Jeep Wrangler

It would be an understatement to say our 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon had a busy June. This month it accumulated a whopping total of 3,896 miles, and all but about 400 of them came in one massive working vacation by yours truly. My wife and I went north to visit my parents on the southern Oregon coast, and then I continued north into Washington for the reveal of the 2020 Ford Explorer. After that, we spent a couple of days sightseeing near Snoqualmie Pass before returning south to Bend, Oregon, for the reveal of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD pickups. Before heading home, we hung around a couple of extra days so I could write my First Drive stories on deadline in between visits to nearby relatives.

Why take the Wrangler on a trip like this? For one, my wife finds the seats to be agreeable. And even though the ride is busy, she finds that it does not aggravate her tendency for motion sickness. Both of these are rare to find in one vehicle, so I wasn't about to argue. Of course the Jeep always gives us the option to take off-road side trips. We did a fair bit of that because I have this obsessive hobby called geocaching, which usually involves lots of hiking and off-roading.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for May 2019

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2018 Jeep Wrangler

May was not a standout month for our 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. While we did take it on one local camping trip, the Wrangler didn't go on any extended road trips. Nothing truly epic happened, unless you count a trip to the movies to see Avengers: Endgame as epic. Grocery stores can be pretty awe-inspiring if you're hangry, too.

In all, we added just 1,251 miles to the Wrangler's odometer. But we added other things too, most notably a winch-capable bumper from Mopar. It's the same as the front half of the factory Steel Bumper Group option, but we couldn't find a Jeep equipped with this option when we rushed out to buy our JL in late 2017.

We always figured we could buy and add on the front one later, and now we have. Look for a full writeup on this after we top it off with a light bar in the coming weeks.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for April 2019

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2018 Jeep Wrangler

April was a busy month for our 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon and for a good reason. The middle of the month coincided with the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, and that was pretty much that. There was no way I was going to repeat last year's mistake and miss another opportunity to drive our own Wrangler Rubicon on the slickrock in and around Moab.

The round trip to Moab and back represented 1,800 miles on its own, but of course I added numerous side trips along the way and tackled a trail or two during the event. All told, I'm responsible for more than 2,100 miles of this month's tally. But I didn't hog the Jeep all to myself. Brent Romans, Jason Kavanagh and Caroline Pardilla added another 800 miles' worth of exploits to the tally.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Installing a Mopar Grille

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Few Jeep Wrangler owners keep their rigs in factory original condition for very long, so our 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is unusual in that we haven't modded a single thing. Our standard long-term test intervals of one year and 20,000 miles have long since past, so we've decided to have some fun with it.

We figured it might be best to start small with simple visual changes, then work up to beefier hardware tweaks later on. Our first order of business is what we hoped would be a simple grille swap. I've always liked the look of a black grille on a red or white Jeep, so we got our hands on a Mopar matte-black grille. It's a direct swap, and few tools are required.

In the process of installing it, I learned that the JL Wrangler's grille is a lot more complicated than I ever imagined, but in this case that fact worked in my favor.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for March 2019

by Calvin Kim, Vehicle Test Engineer

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
With California's torrential rainstorm season over, March proved to be a busy month for our 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. It was used as a support vehicle for two off-road comparison tests, and then promptly went on a road trip to Oregon at the hands of Dan Edmunds, our director of vehicle testing. Due to all the cargo-carrying requirements, we swapped back to the hardtop, which gave us easier access to the rear cargo area, as well as solid surfaces to attach suction cups and mount-rigging for camera equipment.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for February 2019

by Calvin Kim, Vehicle Test Engineer

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
Over hill and dale, and all around town, our 2018 Jeep Wrangler was used for everything from support vehicle to laundry hauler. And we were happy to have its beefy all-terrain tires in service thanks to the wetter-than-average weather that Southern California experienced in February.

With the rain and weather also came increased complaints about leaving the soft top in place, so we swapped back to the hardtop at the end of the month. Although it's easier to handle the rigid hardtop than the bulky soft top, we recommend you have at least two people to help move things into and out of position. Other than that, the included toolkit is all you need to complete the swap.

Aside from the obvious weather and noise protection that the hardtop provides, the flip-up hatch above the side-hinged door makes handling cargo much easier.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for January 2019

by Calvin Kim, Vehicle Test Engineer

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
January was a busy month for our long-term 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. After a big road trip up north at the end of the year, it straight away went on another road trip at the beginning of January. Then it finished out the month by getting dirty with some much-needed off-roading. After all of these miles, the consensus is that, no, the new JL-series of Wrangler is not the ideal on-road machine, but it is competent on pavement.

There's nothing we can do about the Rubicon's on-road handling behavior, but we certainly can do something to address the interior comfort issues our test drivers have been experiencing. Namely, that meant reinstalling the hardtop.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for December 2018

by Calvin Kim, Road Test Engineer

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
After a tepid November, we were looking forward to the long December break for an excellent opportunity to get our 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited out of the city and out on the open road. A long road trip around California involved a variety of conditions, including plenty of highway miles, a few high mountain passes, some light off-roading, and even some snow. How do the Rubicon's BFGoodrich KO2s perform in the snow? How good is the soft top when the outside temperatures dip below freezing? How comfortable are the seats for eight-hour stints? Read on to find out.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for November 2018

by Calvin Kim, Road Test Engineer

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
With a month filled with events, tests and holidays, our 2018 Jeep Wrangler sat idle for much of November. When we did drive it, it was mainly on the mean streets of Los Angeles rather than the dusty trail. So rather than talk about on-road steering or interior noise, we'll talk about an opportunity we had to take a two-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon over one of the most difficult off-road trails in America, the Rubicon Trail in Truckee, California. This Jeep had a twist: It was equipped with Jeep's new powertrain.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for October 2018

by Calvin Kim, Road Test Engineer

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
Our Rubicon spent October doing what Jeeps do best: Go off-road! That doesn't mean it didn't do any on-road driving, though. One of our editors took our 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited down south, beyond the Southern California bubble, while another took it east and off the beaten path. Both experienced the flexibility of the new soft-top mechanism and its various permutations. While our Wrangler was originally outfitted with a hardtop, we opted to switch over to the soft top for the warmer months. Should we switch back? Which do you prefer?

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for September 2018

by Calvin Kim, Road Test Engineer

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
The month of September saw our 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited used for both on- and off-road pursuits. Plus, one of our staffers had her first time behind the wheel of our red Rubicon. But she didn't come away with a great first impression due to a few issues that popped up during her time in the driver's seat. And after those issues, another arose: Our Jeep was subject to a recall, but more on that in the Maintenance section below.

We've already established the Wrangler isn't the best-handling SUV on the market. Even so, it's not without its legions of fans. It has a strong enough following that Wrangler drivers will acknowledge one another with a wave, not just on the trail, but on the highway, too. If you're a Wrangler driver, tell us how you wave to your fellow Jeepers.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for August 2018

by Calvin Kim, Road Test Engineer

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
The new JL model Wrangler benefits from many design and engineering updates intended to improve on-road comfort, which our drivers got to experience throughout August. Instead of exploring dirt roads or having adventures, our 2018 Jeep Wrangler spent the month on street duty commuting editors to and from the office, shuffling cargo to and fro, and otherwise doing its best impression of a crossover. Is it ideal for this role? Depends on whom you ask.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for July 2018

by Kurt Niebuhr, Road Test Editor

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
June was a busy month for our 2018 Jeep Wrangler, but things returned to normal in July when we covered about 1,000 miles. And with only 8,000 miles on the odometer, our Jeep is still new to some of us, so first impressions continue to trickle in.

The Wrangler also went in for an oil change in July. Place your bets as to how you think that went for us.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for June 2018

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
June was a strong month for our 2018 Jeep Wrangler. We drove it 3,335 miles, more than triple the previous month's total. Much of that — 2,539 miles, to be precise — was the result of a single road trip to Colorado and back.

My wife had business over the weekend in Denver, and she's not fond of flying. So I grabbed the keys to the Jeep and we headed out after work. We made a late-night stopover in Las Vegas, then completed the drive the following day.

I had pre-loaded the back with camping equipment with an eye toward overnighting in the mountains while my wife stayed in a Denver hotel. But when we arrived, weather forecasters were talking about powerful storms threatening heavy rain and hail. I decided on day trips out of Denver instead.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for May 2018

by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Manager

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
In contrast to April's camping adventure in Joshua Tree, our 2018 Jeep Wrangler spent the majority of May roaming the concrete jungle of the Los Angeles sprawl. We mentioned in the last update that we'd been rear-ended, which caused some damage to the rear bumper and landed the Wrangler in the body shop at the end of the month. 

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for April 2018

by Carlos Lago, Senior Writer

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2018 Jeep Wrangler is settling nicely into the long-term fleet. During its second full month of ownership, our JL spent time commuting and off-roading on a camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park. You know, typical Jeep stuff.

So far we appreciate our Jeep's entertainment interface, specifically the navigation system's ability to route to GPS coordinates and the inclusion of a USB-C port. On the downside, we also learned our Wrangler is no less susceptible to fender benders than any other vehicle on the road. We'll report about that experience and the subsequent bodywork soon.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Moab Easter Jeep Safari

by Travis Langness, Staff Writer

Moab Easter Jeep Safari

The Easter Jeep Safari is a yearly event in Moab, Utah, that hosts pretty much every kind of stock, modified and owner-loved Jeep you can think of, driving through the desert for a week. If it's got sand, mud, slick rock or dirt, you'll likely find a Jeep trying to conquer it during the week before Easter.

The Easter Jeep Safari has run for more than 50 years, and recently the folks at Jeep have used it as an opportunity to showcase their newest vehicles, display a few concepts, and get to know their customer base. After all, if this is where the world's biggest Jeep enthusiasts show up, why not ask them what they want on the next Wrangler?

This year, Jeep had a lot to show with the release of the new, redesigned 2018 Wrangler (JL) and invited us out to ride the trails in Wranglers, Cherokees and even a few concepts. As if by some stroke of luck, the Wranglers present were nearly identical to our long-term 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited, even down to the red paint, so I spent as much time in it as possible.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for March 2018

by Travis Langness, Staff Writer

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Where Did We Drive It?
In the first month of our one-year test, we drove our new 2018 Jeep Wrangler nearly 2,000 miles. It might be a bit early for predictions, but the way this one is going, the Jeep will hit the 20,000-mile mark well before a year is up. To get the odometer rolling, we drove the Jeep back to Los Angeles from the Las Vegas dealership where we bought it. Then we spent the next three weeks around town getting to know its character. Short freeway trips, runs to the grocery store, and commuting to work all added up to an odometer reading of 2,251 miles.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler: Introduction

by Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing Operations

2018 Jeep Wrangler

Wrangler No. 1: I just sold my JK to buy a new JL.

Wrangler No. 2: Nice. I am restoring a CJ right now. Sold my YJ and TJ to buy it.

Few car owners are as fanatical as those who drive Jeep Wranglers. Within this club, it is just as likely that a car be described by its two-letter chassis code as by the trim level or model year it was built. Aftermarket modifications are the norm. And there is that wave of camaraderie they give when passing each other on the road. It's a tight community that knows its stuff.

When the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL was announced, word traveled quickly. It was fully redesigned: The five-speed automatic transmission was now an eight-speed; its soft top was improved; it used lighter-weight construction; it had optional LED headlights; interior materials were nicer; there were many Rubicon-specific enhancements; and more. This was now the Jeep to have.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler Research

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