2018 Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler Review

It might look similar to the outgoing model, but the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler is better in every way.
7.8 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Redesigned for 2018, the Jeep Wrangler is more than just a dominating force off-road. Updated with refreshed styling, new engines, and a roomier and higher-quality interior, this year's Wrangler is a more practical SUV that can still go anywhere.

Jeep shoppers should note that two Wrangler models are on sale for 2018. Jeep is selling this new generation Wrangler alongside the old Wrangler. The new one might be referred to as the JL, while the old Wrangler is the JK. (These acronyms relate to Jeep's model designations for its Wranglers.) If you're shopping for 2018 Wranglers, you'll want to make sure you're aware of the difference.

The new Wrangler is now longer, wider and taller. It has the previous 3.6-liter V6 under the hood, but it can now be mated to an optional eight-speed automatic transmission that vastly improves the Wrangler's drivability. A six-speed manual is still standard. A new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine also debuts this year, and it adds even more appeal to the mix.

A big jump in comfort, the addition of several modern safety features, and more interior space make the 2018 Jeep Wrangler a serious competitor in the midsize SUV class. Of course, it still has unrivaled off-road prowess and aftermarket parts support, too. Overall, we're impressed with the new Wrangler. You can also read a more in-depth look about it in our Wrangler First Drive.



What's new for 2018

The Jeep Wrangler is completely redesigned for 2018. Note that this review covers the new Wrangler. The previous-generation model, the Wrangler JK, is covered separately.

We recommend

If you're looking for maximum out-of-the-box off-road capability, the Wrangler Rubicon is a no-brainer. But the base Sport trim is also very capable and very appealing, more so this year than ever before, and that's the one we'd recommend to most buyers. The optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine wasn't available at the Wrangler's debut, but it proved to be worth the wait. The additional torque and increase in fuel economy will likely make it worth the extra cost.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler is available in a pair of body styles: the two-door and four-door Unlimited. The two-door is available in Sport, Sport S and Rubicon trims, while the four-door is available in Sport, Sport S, Sahara and Rubicon trims. Both are available with a soft-top convertible or a hardtop. The Sport has a basic set of features, and the midlevel Sport S and Sahara add some convenience features. The Rubicon is the most capable off-road thanks to its special features, including shorter axle gearing and an electronically disconnecting roll bar.

Drawer: The 2018 Jeep Wrangler is available in a pair of body styles: the two-door and four-door Unlimited. The two-door is available in Sport, Sport S and Rubicon trims, while the four-door is available in Sport, Sport S, Sahara and Rubicon trims. Both are available with a soft-top convertible or a hardtop. The Sport has a basic set of features, and the midlevel Sport S and Sahara add some convenience features. The Rubicon is the most capable off-road thanks to its special features, including shorter axle gearing and an electronically disconnecting roll bar.

A 3.6-liter V6 (285 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque) is standard across the board. By default, it's paired to a six-speed manual transmission, though an eight-speed automatic is optional. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (270 hp, 295 lb-ft) with the mild hybrid eTorque system is available on any trim, and it's mated exclusively to an eight-speed automatic. A 3.0-liter diesel engine is on the horizon for 2019.

The Sport trim level, while somewhat basic, has much more equipment than previous Wranglers. Standard equipment includes 17-inch steel wheels, a full-size spare tire, skid plates and tow hooks. It also has foglights, keyless entry, removable full metal doors with crank windows, a fold-down windshield, manual mirrors and locks, cruise control, air conditioning (optional on the two-door Sport), a height-adjustable driver's seat (with two-way lumbar adjustment), cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a one-piece folding rear seat.

Also included on the Sport are a 5-inch Uconnect touchscreen display, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, an eight-speaker sound system with a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack. Besides its two extra doors, the Unlimited version also has a bigger gas tank, air conditioning, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat.

On top of the base Sport equipment, the Sport S adds 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, automatic headlights, keyless entry, heated power mirrors, power windows and locks, an alarm, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and sun visors with vanity mirrors.

The midlevel Sahara is only available in the four-door configuration and adds to the Sport S with 18-inch alloy wheels, painted exterior body panels and trim, automatic headlights, automatic climate control and a 115-volt outlet. It also comes with a bigger driver information display, an additional USB port, and an upgraded version of Uconnect with a 7-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, and satellite radio.

The most off-road capable of the Wranglers is the Rubicon. It gets the basic Sport equipment plus 17-inch alloy wheels, special off-road tires, a heavy-duty Dana M210 front axle and a M220 rear axle, shorter 4.10 axle gearing (the Sport and Sahara come with a 3.45 ratio), 4.0-to-1 low-range gearing, electronic front and rear locking differentials, an electronically disconnecting front roll bar, rock rails and an additional USB port.

Much of the upper-level equipment is available in groups or as stand-alone options for lower trim levels. Other options include remote start, LED exterior lighting (headlights, foglights and taillights), heated seats, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, an 8.4-inch Uconnect system with navigation, blind-spot monitoring, and a nine-speaker Alpine sound system. All trims are also available with a higher-quality soft top as well as a black or a body-colored hardtop.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (3.6L V6 | 8-speed automatic | 4WD) and 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.8 / 10

Driving

7.5 / 10

Acceleration8.0 / 10
Braking7.0 / 10
Steering6.0 / 10
Handling6.0 / 10
Drivability9.0 / 10

Comfort

7.0 / 10

Seat comfort7.0 / 10
Ride comfort6.0 / 10
Noise & vibration6.0 / 10
Climate control9.0 / 10

Interior

7.5 / 10

Ease of use9.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out6.0 / 10
Driving position7.5 / 10
Roominess7.0 / 10
Visibility8.0 / 10
Quality7.5 / 10

Utility

7.5 / 10

Small-item storage6.0 / 10
Cargo space7.5 / 10

Technology

8.0 / 10

Audio & navigation9.0 / 10
Smartphone integration9.0 / 10
Driver aids6.0 / 10
Voice control8.0 / 10

Driving7.5

There's no doubt the Wrangler is a five-star machine when it comes to off-road prowess. But everyday steering and handling suffer because of the ladder frame, solid axle suspension and old-school steering it uses to earn them. A stout 3.6L V6 engine is backed by an intelligent eight-speed automatic.

Acceleration8.0

The 3.6-liter V6 engine makes more than enough power to accelerate readily onto the freeway, pass other vehicles, or climb steep grades in the high mountains. Even the heaviest Rubicon feels quite willing. Our four-door Sahara scooted to 60 mph in a respectable 7.6 seconds at our test track.

Braking7.0

The brake pedal feels consistent and reliable underfoot, but the action is a bit long. While not ideal on the road, it makes for easy control during delicate off-road moves. The four-door Sahara stopped from 60 mph in 128 feet at our track, a bit long for an SUV but better than most pickups.

Steering6.0

Sacrifices were made in the name of off-road robustness. Its turning radius is admirably tight and it responds well in corners. But the Wrangler, particularly the big-tired Rubicon, tends to feel loose and aimless when driving straight. Crosswinds aren't much fun either.

Handling6.0

Despite its boxy shape, the Wrangler feels coordinated and willing on mountain roads, which is great because that's how you get to trailheads. But its solid axle suspension is a liability when cornering over cracks and potholes, which can cause it to twitch. This is particularly true for the Rubicon.

Drivability9.0

The engine is good, but the eight-speed automatic transmission is better. It shifts smoothly and always seems to find the right gear. Its lever-action manual mode is effective and easy to use when you want to downshift it yourself. Cruise control system is adept at holding speed, even on downgrades.

Off-road10.0

No stock vehicle is better off-road. The Rubicon has big 33-inch tires, lockable front and rear differentials, and a disconnectable front stabilizer bar. But even the Sport and Sahara benefit from solid axle suspension with good articulation and unrivaled approach, departure and underbody clearance.

Comfort7.0

Highlights include decent front seats and a surprisingly effective and straightforward climate control system. But there's no denying the Wrangler's rugged on-road ride comfort and somewhat high level of background noise at highway speeds. As they say, it's a Jeep thing.

Seat comfort7.0

The front seats are well-shaped and stay comfortable and supportive over the long haul. The angle of the lower cushion is proper, but the forward edge might seem a bit prominent considering the Wrangler's distinct upright seating posture. The rear bench is flatter and firmer but reclines a little.

Ride comfort6.0

The Wrangler's body does not bound or float much, making it easy to cruise at speed on wavy pavement without upsetting anyone's stomach. But the ride can get shaky when the road is cracked or lumpy, and potholes and sharp edges will likely send a shiver through the cabin.

Noise & vibration6.0

The Jeep is not a silent SUV, but you knew that by looking at it. Wind flows around its boxy body, and tire noise is apparent. But this new Wrangler is quieter than past models, and hood flutter has been eliminated. The significantly improved soft top is far less noisy and flappy than before, too.

Climate control9.0

Effective dual-zone climate control system reaches temperature quickly, and its round "eyeball" vents are prominently located and easy to aim, or close off. Rear passengers benefit from a similar pair of vents of their own. The main controls are refreshingly simple, attractive and easy to use too.

Interior7.5

Sure, it's narrower than other SUVs, and stepping into it is reminiscent of entering a pickup. But for once the interior is a logical, full-featured place instead of something you must tolerate to join the Jeep club. It has numerous convertible/removable top options to bring the outside inside.

Ease of use9.0

The new 2018 JL Wrangler (not to be confused with the last-generation 2018 JK Wrangler) greets the driver with straightforward and logical controls for just about everything. Every switch and knob has been rethought to be easy to find, self-explanatory and good-looking in a Jeep-themed way.

Getting in/getting out6.0

Wranglers require more of a step up than other SUVs because of their need for off-road clearance. This factor is offset by doors that open wide (or come off entirely) and prominent grab handles. It's no more difficult to enter and exit than a pickup, but it's clearly different from mainstream SUVs.

Driving position7.5

The JL Wrangler has the same upright seating position as its predecessors, but with pedals that are in a more agreeable position and a steering wheel that now tilts and telescopes. A comfortable place, all things considered. If only the seat height adjuster had a bit more downward range.

Roominess7.0

There's plenty and head- and legroom in a Wrangler, but the cabin is narrow and the doors feel quite close, especially at the elbow. The dash feels close, too, which isn't confining in a physical sense but does add to the coziness. Backseat legroom is better than past years, but not stellar.

Visibility8.0

It's easy to see out, and blind spots are few because of square windows and slender pillars. The spare tire sits lower than before and the wiper hides behind it. A backup camera is standard. The low front fenders give a clear view of obstacles, but some drivers can't see them to judge the corners.

Quality7.5

Unlike past versions, the JL Wrangler reflects that Jeep put real effort into the interior. Much of the old parts-bin switchgear has been replaced with satisfying new switch panels, buttons and knobs that were designed for the Wrangler. Dash and seat materials are attractive and feel nice.

Utility7.5

The Jeep's iconic narrow body is an off-road strength, but it ultimately limits cargo capacity. That said, the space it has is laid out efficiently. Car seats are easy to fit so long as they're not too bulky. The new Wrangler can tow a decent amount, and it can be flat-towed behind a motorhome.

Small-item storage6.0

This narrow cabin contains a reasonably sized bilevel center console and a decent glovebox, but the doors only have netting good for maps and small items. We found ourselves putting items other than beverages in the four cupholders (two front, two rear) and we used the little dashtop tray often.

Cargo space7.5

The Wrangler's narrow body limits cargo capacity relative to mainstream SUVs. But the decent amount of space that's there (31.7 cubic feet) is tall, squared-off and fully usable, the rear seats fold neatly into the floor, and the space has a power outlet, six rugged tie-down points and an underfloor compartment.

Child safety seat accommodation7.5

All three rear seats have top tethers and auto-locking belts, with very accessible LATCH anchors in the two outboard spots. Doors open wide, and you won't be stooping when buckling up. But small kids may need help climbing in, and bulky rear-facing seats will need the front seat to move forward.

Towing8.0

Our Wrangler's tow package includes an integrated hitch good for 3,500 pounds, with four-pin basic and seven-pin brake-compatible trailer wiring. Any Wrangler can be flat-towed on its wheels behind a motorhome if the transfer case is in neutral and the transmission is in a specified gear.

Technology8.0

The new Wrangler is surprisingly capable in the areas of touchscreen navigation and the integration of smartphones into the vehicle environment. But it still has one foot in the past when it comes to active safety gear such as automatic emergency braking or lane-keeping — you can't get them.

Audio & navigation9.0

Full-featured touchscreen navigation has reached the Wrangler, and the optional 8.4-inch Uconnect system offers sharp graphics and quick response. The controls are a mixture of buttons, knobs and touchscreen controls, and they're all easy to understand and use. Has AM/FM/HD radio plus XM satellite.

Smartphone integration9.0

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow full integration of your smartphone without having to pair it to Bluetooth, but Bluetooth audio and phone support are still present. There are four USB ports (two front, two rear) and three USB-C ports. We found it all to be seamless and dependable.

Driver aids6.0

The Wrangler offers basic driver aids such blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alerts, and parking lot proximity warnings as an option. Ours had them and they worked seamlessly. But you won't find adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking or lane-keeping assistance systems.

Voice control8.0

Pushing the voice button on the steering wheel gets you the standard voice interface, and it works decently and can understand most commands. But we found ourselves pressing through to reach Siri on our paired iPhone because that works directly with the phone and its data connection.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.