That bigger body nonetheless rides on a steel ladder frame, however in contrast with the JK’s, it makes use of more excessive-power steel. This allowed Jeep to cut back the number of crossmembers from eight to 5, saving roughly one hundred pounds, in keeping with the company. Regardless of that, Jeep says the brand new frame is extra resistant to flex than the previous one. The body bolted to the body is generally steel but with aluminum doorways and hood and a magnesium tailgate skinned in aluminum. Jeep estimates that it saved one other a hundred pounds in the physique and powertrain. Quickly we’ll get Wranglers of all stripes on our scales to affirm.
And by Wranglers of all stripes we imply every attainable permutation of the two- and four-door physique kinds, the four trim levels (Sport, Sport S, Sahara, and Rubicon), and the 2 out there gasoline engines: the acquainted three.6-liter V-6 that serves as the base engine on all variations as well as the brand new turbocharged 2.Zero-liter inline-four. The only significant adjustments to the corporate V-6, other than its now being inbuilt Mexico as an alternative of Michigan, are the next compression ratio (11.3:1 versus 10.2:1) and the addition of a standard stop/begin system. The intention was to enhance efficiency. The engine still runs on regular. In accordance with the EPA, the brand new V-6-powered Wrangler with the computerized achieves 18/23 mpg metropolis/highway—increases of 1 mpg in the city and a pair of on the freeway.
A large a part of the advance comes from the brand new eight-velocity computerized that replaces the outdated 5-speed, a relic from the DaimlerChrysler days. The V-6 can be accessible with a brand new Aisin-built six-speed handbook that replaces the previous Mercedes-based six-speed. Jeep says the Aisin is best isolated from vibration and noise. Okay, possibly. But it’s definitely no extra enjoyable to function. The one we drove resisted slotting into gear and wouldn’t be rushed. Further, the clutch engaged with an abruptness that noticed many skilled drivers stall the factor. As for the 3.6-liter, well, it’s a effective engine but not ideally suited to this utility. It lacks low-finish torque.
For torque, consumers may want to await the turbo-diesel three.0-liter V-6 that may come in 2019. For now, the torque king is the turbo 2.0-liter inline-4 with a slight electric assist. A hybrid Wrangler? Isn’t that like having your salsa produced in New York City? Kinda, yeah. However even iconic ruffians such because the Wrangler want to fret about gasoline economic system lately, hence the focus on weight reduction, sooner windshield angle, and so on. Like Normal MotorseAssist system, the Jeep’s replaces the alternator with a motor/generator unit that may enhance torque underneath acceleration as well as gather power through regenerative braking. It additionally permits the engine to be shut off when the automobile is stationary or coasting. How a lot boost the so-known as eTorque system can present and what gas-financial system features it achieves, the corporate isn’t but willing to say. However the turbo 2.Zero-liter produces 295 lb-ft of torque at 3000 rpm. The fuel V-6 produces 35 less lb-ft and then solely when it reaches naphtha 4800 rpm. And this new engine boasts plenty of tech, together with direct injection; a twin-scroll, low-inertia turbocharger mounted directly to the cylinder head; and a variable-displacement two-stage oil pump. Apart from filling the cabin with the uninspired noise of a workaday 4-cylinder, the engine feels nice. It’s a lot highly effective enough to inspire a 4-door automated Rubicon. And the eight-pace automated is the one transmission offered with the brand new engine.
The rest of the driveline is largely unchanged from the JK. The Rubicon comes with electronically locking front and rear differentials, an electronically disconnecting front anti-roll bar, and a four.00:1 low range for its half-time four-wheel-drive system. It also rides on strengthened Dana forty four axles entrance and rear. This is tried-and-true stuff. There aren’t any adjustable-ride-height air springs, no terrain-response system. As an alternative, the driver operates as the terrain-response system, selecting the vary, the driven wheels, which differentials are locked, and, properly, just about the whole lot else.
The worth-oriented Sport and comparatively ritzy Sahara mannequin include lighter-obligation axles (a Dana 30 up front; 35 out back) with open diffs and an ordinary 2.72:1 low-range. For the first time in the CJ/Wrangler’s long historical past, patrons can go for a transfer case with a full-time all-wheel-drive mode. It’s optionally available on Sahara fashions, all of which are 4-doorways.
How’d it all come together? Well, in four Low, the JL feels pretty very like Wranglers always have—capable properly beyond the intestinal fortitude of most of its drivers. On the highway, the Rubicons that we drove acquitted themselves admirably. The electrohydraulically assisted steering is a major improvement over the outdated purely hydraulic arrangement, helped little doubt by the superb KO2 tires. Braking efficiency is adequate because of upsized stoppers. Experience high quality and handling are good for a vehicle with a excessive heart of gravity and bound by huge, heavy stick axles entrance and rear. As vehicular anachronisms go, this one is pretty pleasant not least because the newly designed inside is moderately comfy and fully up to date.
And, sure, the doorways will come off, any of the out there roofs are removable or retractable, and even the windshield nonetheless folds down. Think about how unlikely a factor that’s in the fashionable world. Positive, lower or remove all that, and a bizarre-wanting skeleton of bars and frames is revealed. But rattling if it doesn’t feel good to go alfresco.
What’s more, the softtop no longer requires a decade of bundle-engineering experience to operate. The cargo-area side and rear plastic home windows slide out to kind an oddly appealing bikini-top arrangement. In a hardtop Wrangler, the panels over the driver and front passenger now require but a quarter turn on each of the latches to take away. The new front-fender vents evacuate underhood air to scale back hood flutter at pace. It is a fastidiously considered improvement, if not a wholesale rethink of the family jewel. In short, Jeep did not screw it up.