Reviews

2018 Jeep Wrangler Driving Impressions


The most surprising element of the new Wrangler’s public road performance is smooth ride quality. This is true on pavement, and, more impressively, on graded dirt with stretches of nasty washboard.

Similarly, the cabin is reasonably quiet in most situations, although some wind noise begins to intrude at freeway speeds. Design enhancements may improve the Wrangler’s progress through the air, but aerodynamic efficiency it not this vehicle’s strong suit. It’s still essentially a brick, and still punches a good-sized hole in the air.

Other small demerits: acceleration with the V6 engine is unhurried; weight reduction notwithstanding, the new Wrangler is still pretty chunky for a vehicle of its size. The two-door is just 166.8 inches long, the four-door is 188.4, but curb weights range from just under two tons to over 4300 pounds, according to Jeep.

The 2.0-liter turbo’s abundant torque yields a little more off-the-line enthusiasm, but acceleration nosebleeds are not a Wrangler concern.

On the plus side, the eight-speed automatic is a smooth operator. And Wrangler faithful will be pleased that this rugged individualist retains a manual transmission option.

Good marks on regular roads, which is where a lot of Wranglers spend most of their time.

But where the Wrangler continues to upstage every other vehicle with off-road pretensions is, yes, off road. Part of the experience at the Wrangler press introduction, near Tucson, included driving a Wrangler Rubicon up a slope consisting of small to medium-size boulders that didn’t even vaguely resemble a trail.

It was a slope that would have been difficult to climb on foot. But Like the Little Engine that Could, the Wrangler chuffed and snorted and marched up the hill, skid plates scraping, occasionally teetering on two wheels, sometimes with just one wheel delivering traction.

This is the environment that makes the Wrangler special.

* The advertised price does not include sales tax, vehicle registration fees, other fees required by law, finance charges and any documentation charges. A negotiable administration fee, up to $115, may be added to the price of the vehicle.

* Images, prices, and options shown, including vehicle color, trim, options, pricing and other specifications are subject to availability, incentive offerings, current pricing and credit worthiness.

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