The highly anticipated release of the 2018 Jeep JL Wrangler generated so much curiosity for all Jeep lovers. Hints of a redesign had some people waiting anxiously to see the new look and others grumbling about whether Jeep would change the look too much. Now that the JL is out, most enthusiasts agree that the design enhancements are pretty great. Best of all, that characteristic Wrangler look is still there in spite of some creative new details.
Jeep Logo Position
A lot of Jeep fans were annoyed when the last update moved that iconic logo from the side of the body up to the grille. The intended purpose was to make the vehicle more recognizable from the front, an idea purists have argued against since day one due to the very recognizable grille.
In an unexpected surprise action, the Jeep logo has been moved back to the side of the body. Even though the location of the logo does not affect the vehicle in any other way, it seems most Jeep lovers are delighted that it was moved back “where it belongs” on the new JL Wrangler.
New Soft Top
One of the biggest complaints owners have had with previous Wrangler models is that the zippers on the ragtop simply do not work after a short time. They misfeed easily and only work well at midrange temperatures, causing headaches in both hotter and colder conditions. This has all been fixed in the 2018 Jeep JL, which features a new soft top that has *no* zippers.
The new top works with an interior framework that uses built-in clock springs to raise and lower it. There is also a system of channels and retainers to hold the windows in place. So far, this design improvement is the favorite one, other than the change in logo position of course.
New Doors and Hinges
Other improvements making the Jeep JL easier to prep for a day on the trails is how they've changed the doors and most importantly, the hinges. Removing and replacing the doors is easier than it has ever been since these off-roaders are now equipped with lighter aluminum doors and staggered hinge pin lengths.
The inside of the door is also conveniently stamped with “T50” as a reminder that you need a Torx 50 bit tool to remove the doors in case you lose the one that’s included.
The New-Old Windshield
Another hotly debated pre-release topic was whether the new Jeep JL would still have the fold-down windshield or if Jeep would retire that idea. There were a few issues with the fold-down windshield on previous Wrangler models that had many thinking it would be gone in 2018. Surprisingly, Jeep kept and even improved it, to the delight of many Jeep lovers.
The new windshield frame folds down more easily than before, with the release of only 4 bolts that have been relocated inside the Jeep. There were 28 bolts on the last Wrangler that could only be released from the outside. Even better, the new design includes A-pillars that stay up even when the windshield is folded down.
The windshield, which is raked back a few degrees to improve aerodynamics, is easier to adjust back into place. Because the Jeep is painted with the windshield leaning forward, the factory paint job is unaffected when the windshield is lowered. This should eliminate the cracked paint that previously was inevitable the first time the windshield was lowered.
Front Wheel Angle Indicator
Totally new and perfect for novice off-roaders just learning the ropes, Jeep has also added a front wheel angle indicator to the gauge cluster. Because both the 2-door and 4-door Wranglers are slightly larger than before, you can look out of the window and see where the wheels are angled.
This nifty new gauge offers a fast look at how the front wheels are positioned if you want reassurance while negotiating different obstacles. Along with the handy Jeep JL specs info panel added to the inside of the tailgate, the indicator gauge is a nice addition if you plan on actually using your Wranglers they way they were intended to be used.
So, how do you think Jeep did with the 2018 design makeover of the JL Wrangler? In keeping true to the classic Wrangler design, it seems that Jeep has hit a home run in pleasing most Wrangler-loving enthusiasts, both purist and futurist!