NowCar Differences Jeep Wrangler JL and JK

Differences Between the Jeep Wrangler JK and Wrangler JL

Written By, Jordan R.

At the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL made its official debut, and we were all pretty psyched about it. Even with all the spy photos being released before its official debut, nothing could prepare us for all the changes we learned about. We thought it would be best to point out the last two letters - JL. The current 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK is wrapping up production while the Wrangler JL starts its new production line. So it may be best to talk about the differences between the two so customers don’t get confused if they choose to buy a Jeep Wrangler online with NowCar.

What’s Under the Hood?

Alright, so starting with the original Jeep Wrangler JK, there was surprisingly only one engine set for the lineup - the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine with VVT. It’s surprising because Jeep usually offers more than one engine per vehicle, but perhaps 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque was enough. For the Wrangler JL, the engine is the same, but now comes with electronic stop-start technology to conserve fuel economy and can be paired to a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic transmission, versus the six-speed manual and five-speed automatic for the Wrangler JK. This upgrade gives the Wrangler JL a fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway if paired to the manual transmission; otherwise it’s 18 mpg in the city with the automatic transmission.

In addition, the Wrangler JL comes with two more engine options. One of these is taking FCA by storm, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, able to generate its best-in-class 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, and paired to the eight-speed automatic transmission. Not only does a small turbocharged engine provide more power while conserving fuel economy, this engine also comes with a new hybrid technology, the eTorque system. This system is called hybrid technology because it provides this internal combustion engine vehicle with some hybrid features, such as auto stop/start, electric power assist, extended fuel shut-off, transmission shift management, intelligent battery charging, and regenerative braking. This engine may not be available until later into production.

The third engine option added is a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine, said to produce 262 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. Also not available until later, said to be as late as 2019, those looking for towing power may have to wait a bit. Otherwise, consumers may be happy with the standard towing capacity for all Jeep Wrangler JL trims - 3500 pounds.

What Else is New?

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL has some new specs to talk about aside from its powertrain. At the moment, the Wrangler still comes in a 2-door option and a 4-door option, but as it stands, it seems the name will remain the same. The Wrangler JK was only a 2-door model and the Wrangler JK Unlimited was the 4-door model. Moreover, the entire body of the Wrangler JL is different, constructed out of a lightweight, heavy-strength aluminum and steel blend versus pure steel, with several components made out of pure aluminum to lose a total of 200 pounds.

In 2018, the Jeep Wrangler JL lineup also changes, featuring three trims for the 2-door model and four trims on the 4-door model. They are as follows – Wrangler Sport, Wrangler Sport S, Wrangler Rubicon; the Wrangler 4-door also has the Wrangler Sahara trim available. That’s not all though. All of these trims come with more off-road functionality with a ground clearance of 10.9 inches, the ability to traverse water 30 inches-deep, and a crawl ratio of 2.72:1 - all standard features. Some differences do lie between the trims though.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon trims have a crawl ratio of 84.2:1 for the 2-door model and 77.2:1 for the 4-door model. Also added onto the Rubicon trims is a Rock-Trac 4×4 system with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1 and Tru-Lok locking differentials, along with skid plates, front and rear tow hooks, and rides on 33-inch tires. The Jeep Wrangler Sport and Sahara trims come with an extra feature for going off-road, the Command-Trac 4×4 system for off-road action.

One more new feature, or three in this case, is the three options for going topless. The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL comes with a new optional, convertible top known as the all-new premium Sunrider, providing another easy open-air option for partial and fully open positions via integrated tracks for easier removal and retrieval; a new powered soft top, known as the Sky One-Touch powertop, able to be retracted the full-length of the roof with the push of a button (not available until mid-to-late 2018); and the manually removable hardtop returns with a new design for easier removal of all three-pieces. Who doesn’t like some fresh air when out off the open road?

All that sounds great, and we bet we know what you’re thinking. When can we get one? Well, you can start shopping for a new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL now!

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