Vehicles that morph into icons over time tend to be a hassle when it comes to changes as the model years roll by. Automakers often struggle deciding what needs fixing, what needs enhancing, and just how many alterations can be made to a vehicle before it loses what made it an icon in the first place, but this is not the case of the latest Wrangler. Now in its second year since its last complete redesign, the Wrangler is a textbook example of how to improve a vehicle without losing its essence. Here are four things to rejoice about in the latest JL generation Wrangler:
Easy Access to Sunshine
It’s no secret that older tops on Wrangler vehicles were mostly an exercise in frustration thanks to the endless zippers that needed to be reassembled once that sunny joyride was over. Fast-forward to the redesign and the days of zipper windows and tops are now replaced by three new options. There’s a manual soft top, a hard top, and a power soft top that works at the touch of a button. The latest soft top is on a track that works very much like a convertible sports car top – all it needs is to be flipped back and secured in place, while the other panels (rear windows and windshield) are on channels that allow them to simply slide in and out of position. Hardtop panels were redesigned and are now lighter, while the front part is latched in instead of being awkwardly bolted. The new powered soft top is a gem as it rolls back the cloth top with the push of a button (even while traveling up to 60 mph), while the rear panels and windows remain removable on the same channels as the original soft top.
The previous generation Wrangler was a mess when it came to technology. Lacking basic features like a backup camera and with a tiny screen that was better suited to a mid-2000s sedan, Jeep knew they had to make technology an asset in the latest Wrangler. Rubicon and Sahara trims of the Wrangler now come standard with an 8.4-inch high-resolution touchscreen with the brand’s latest Uconnect infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto capabilities also come standard, as does a backup camera. Charging ports were also an area of much needed improvement and Jeep delivered with up to four USB-A (the USB ports everyone’s used to), plus three USB-C charging ports (offers better future-proofing), giving some models the ability to charge up to seven devices all at once!
Part of the fun in owning a Jeep Wrangler is the ability to completely customize it and take things off, whether it be the doors, the roof, or even lowering the front windshield. Bolt storage in the past wasn’t as convenient as it is now, with the trunk area having a specific spot to store bolts once they’ve been removed. Bolts now end up in designated slots under the cargo floor of the trunk, instead of being tossed around into the glove box or center console or lost altogether. Sometimes it’s the simplest solutions that are most welcome.
Back in the day the Jeep Wrangler only had one engine option, the 3.6L Pentastar V6 that’s carried over from the previous generation. In addition to the classic Pentastar Jeep also introduced a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine and a turbocharged 3.0liter EcoDiesel V6 engine – an option that’s programmed to arrive during the 2019 model year. No official gas-mileage figures are available yet, but experts believe that both new engine options should improve fuel economy on a vehicle that’s got a bad rap when it comes to efficiency. The added eTorque mild hybrid system will surely help point those figures in a more positive direction.