BIG LEAK: 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Owner’s Manual!
Probably the most in-depth leak of all time shows EVERY detail of the upcoming Jeepby Mark McNabb, on
Talk of the upcoming and all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL has been nearly limitless. At least once a week we’ve heard source-fed rumors or seen spy photos of Wrangler test mules running around. Well, the wait is finally over – sort of. A PDF copy of the new Wrangler’s user guide and owner’s manual turned up online. And as you’d expect, the books are full of nitty-gritty details showing everything from the exterior design and the updated interior to how the infotainment system works and the power-retractable hardtop operates. Yep, this is basically the Full Monty.
Of course, the 340-page User Guide and the 608-page Owner’s Manual don’t showcase the 2018 Wrangler’s full design details and don’t get into specifics like horsepower and torque. However, we now know just about everything else. It’s clear Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has kept the Wrangler’s off-roading spirit alive while creating a more livable, user-friendly SUV that doesn’t have so many compromises as the outgoing Wrangler JK. Most notably, the interior is much improved and includes a choice of the Uconnect 4 system in a 7.0-inch or 8.4-inch screen, dual-zone climate controls, push-button starting, a 3.5-inch or 7.0-inch driver information display in the gauge cluster, and door checks that prevent the doors from freely swinging. Don’t worry, though, the doors are just as easily removable as the JK’s doors. Oh, and there’s now a backup camera – finally.
Want to know more? Yes you do, so keep reading for the highlights.
The User Guide provides the best look at the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s exterior thanks to its full-color pictures. Still, there aren’t many glamour shots that showcase the JL’s sexy new body. Nevertheless, the User Guide’s cover has an orange Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon perched on some rocks for our enjoyment. The new seven-slot grille is clearly seen, including its kink towards the top. The new bumper is visible, too, and looks identical to those seen in spy shots. It’s also very close to the bumper seen on several special edition Rubicon’s during the JK’s last few years. The front fenders and their integrated turn signals are in view, along with the fender’s two-tone design.
Though nothing is expected to carry over from the outgoing Wrangler JK, the door openings look almost identical. That’s not a bad thing though, as there’s only so much upgrading Jeep could do with the Wrangler’s removable doors. Hopefully, they are now aluminum though. The JK’s steel doors are a bit heavy. The User Guide clearly shows the new door handles, though. They are now the pull-style to the relief of JK owners’ thumbs. The handles also include a push-button lock/unlokck switch for keyless entry into the Jeep.
Out back, new taillights, character lines in the body, and a new bumper help distinguish the JL from the JK. And thankfully, the Jeep now has a backup camera. It’s located at the center of the spare tire, replacing the spare’s center cap. How smart. It also seems like the pictured Jeep’s rear bumper is the Euro-spec version. Check out the long space for the Euro-style tag where the trailer hitch would normally reside. We’ve seen spy shots of U.S.-spec Wrangler’s with the American-style license plates mounted on the bumper to the left-hand side.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL has a new Sunrider soft top. Gone are the annoying zippers and Velcro. The side and rear windows now use sliding retainers that allow the windows to more easily come on and off, yet provide a more weather-tight seal. The front of the soft top can be opened and latched down, allowing a sunroof-like opening over the front row, just as the current Wrangler JK’s Sunrider top. Lowering the top from here uses tracks that slide the top rearward. The top is then locked into place using a ratcheting mechanism the holds the top’s arms in place.
The Wrangler’s three-piece Freedom Top returns for 2018 almost unchanged. The front top sections still use the plastic holder clips and the rear section is still retained by Torx bolts. Thankfully, Jeep now includes a protective case for the Freedom Top panels.
Power Sliding Hard Top
New on the 2018 Wrangler JL is the Power Sliding Hard Top. It’s not removable, so that means Jeeps with this top don’t have the option of switching to the Freedom Top or the Soft Top. However, the PSHT offers the best of both worlds. Not only does the center section of the top slide open like a panoramic moonroof, the hard-panel side windows are removable and storable inside in the cargo area. Neither the User Guide nor Owner’s Manual detail exactly how large the PSHT’s opening is or whether it uses glass, plastic, or metal.
While we’ve seen spy shots of the 2018 Wrangler JL’s interior cluttered with camo padding and testing hardware, this leak provides out clearest look yet. The pictured dashboard likely belongs to a low- or mid-spec trim level since it has the smaller, 7.0-inch Uconnect screen. (The 8.4-inch screen combined with the back dash color should look less like a CRT monitor from the 1980s.) The standard Uconnect system appears to be the 5.0-inch system. Despite the tan color and smaller screen, the dash is a huge improvement over the outgoing Wrangler JK. The steering wheel has more controls, there is push-button starting, the HVAC system has a ton of functionality including dual-zone and an automatic mode, and there are a ton more connectivity ports.
What’s more, the Rubicon’s locking rear and front differentials now have a toggle switch accented in red. There’s also a separate button for the front swaybar disconnect. Auxiliary buttons offer customers factory controls for aftermarket equipment like lights, air compressors, and other electron equipment. Detailed instructions are included in the owner’s manual on how to connect to these AUX switches.
The Wrangler comes with two gauge cluster options. The first uses a 3.5-inch information display while the optional cluster has a big 7.0-inch display. Analog dials for the tachometer and speedometer are still present. The Wrangler also finally gets a readout for individual tire pressures. Best of all, the system can be turned off if aftermarket wheels and tires are installed.
In addition to having dual-zone climate controls, the main bank of switches within the HVAC controls also have buttons for an available heated steering wheel, the automatic start/stop switch for the engine (likely on the 2.0-liter four-cylinder), parking sensors, and downhill descent control.
Elsewhere around the interior, we see Jeep has installed grab handles on the A- and B-pillars for easy entry. Four-door models now have the option for a fold-down center armrest in the back seat. The Wrangler’s roll bar appears to have body-colored panels running along the top and at the rear, visible when the tops are removed. In two-door models, gaining access to the rear seat is easier now thanks to a large release handle on the front seats. Folding the back seats flat use a similar seatback-mounted handle, too.
The big news under the hood is the addition of the turbocharged 2.0-liter Hurricane four-cylinder. While its horsepower and torque specs aren’t published in the owner’s manual, we see Jeep recommends 91-octane gasoline – something not uncommon with small-displacement, turbocharged engines. Returning is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. Again, we don’t know specifics yet, but it only needs 87-octane gas.
As for transmission choices, the Wrangler is available with a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, just as we expected. However, it seems the manual transmission is only offered with the V-6. Thankfully, the eight-speed has FCA’s “Auto Stick” function, allowing for manual shifting.
At the Wrangler’s heart are two – yes, two – transfer case options. The first is the common, four-position T-case like the outgoing Wrangler JK. Modes include 2H, 4H, N, and 4L – or two-wheel drive, 4WD high range, neutral, and 4WD low range. The second option is a five-position T-case with a 4H Auto mode in addition to the others. Just like it sounds, 4H Auto mode allows the Jeep to engage its front axle automatically when traction becomes an issue. When the road clears up, the T-case sends power to the rear axle only. Though we don’t know if Jeep will offer the 4H Auto T-case on low- and mid-grade trims, the owner’s manual shows the Rubicon having both T-case options.
And speaking of the Rubicon, it will continue offering locking differentials for its rear and front axles. The owner’s manual says the lockers are operational when in 4WD low range. The rear is locked first and can be run alone, or can be combined with the front diff lock. The front diff cannot be locked by itself. The electronic front swaybar disconnect also returns to the Rubicon, unsurprisingly, allowing it more suspension flex when off-road.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL can tow a maximum of 3,500 pounds and handle 350 pounds of tongue weight. That’s unchanged from the previous Wrangler JK, which is a bit disappointing but understandable given the Wrangler’s size and off-road biased suspension. Like before, towing 3,500 pounds requires the four-door Unlimited model. Surpassingly, the 2.0-liter Hurricane in the Unlimited can still tow the same. Dropping to the two-door Wrangler, the tow rating drops to 2,000 pounds with a 200-pound maximum tongue weight.
Wow, we can’t remember such an extensive information leak, if it’s ever happened. The users guide and owner’s manual provide nearly every detail of the 2018 Wrangler JL, answering a ton of questions and only leaving a few to the imagination. We’re still curious about horsepower and torque specs on the engines, along with fuel economy numbers. We’re also wondering what that Power Sliding Hard Top looks like and exactly how the soft top slides and locks back into its stored position. And we can’t forget about the upcoming 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 and the Wrangler-derived pickup, rumored to be called the Scrambler.
And while it’s hard to imagine a typical automaker being happy about a leaked owner’s manual spilling vital details about a vehicle before its debut, we know Jeep isn’t the typical automaker. It’s hard to believe all these leaks are organic – spurred from some corporate insider with a blatant disregard for his job should the management find out. We’d bet a pretty penny Jeep is “leaking” this information on purpose to raise awareness and peak interest in the upcoming Wrangler.
Regardless, the 2018 Wrangler will be on full display at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show in late November. Sales of the four-door Unlimited will begin in December and the two-door is said to be following in February. The interesting thing is a rumor suggesting Jeep will begin building 2019 model year Wranglers starting January 2, 2018. That would make it the earliest 2019 model on sale by nearly six months. Details aside, we’re extremely excited to see the new Wrangler finally hit showrooms. We’re even more excited to get behind the wheel.
What do you think of the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL? Do you like the updates or think it’s more of the same? What about this “leak?” Is it Jeep’s doing, or do they have big breach in security? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL.
Read our full review on the 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK.