The 2018 Jeep Wrangler has had its deepest secrets unceremoniously made public, thanks to the leaking of a US-market owner’s manual and user guide via an enthusiast forum.
Unearthed by eagle-eyed members of the JL Wrangler Forum – a forum dedicated to a car which has yet to make its official debut – the electronic copies of the Wrangler’s manuals lift the lid on many key details of Jeep’s newest offroader more than a month and a half ahead of its expected debut at the LA Auto Show.
The level of detail revealed is tremendous: from how it looks both inside and out, right through to which voice commands are recognised by the car’s infotainment system. It’s extensive, though it doesn’t feature any intel on the Wrangler’s ute-bodied offshoot, the Scrambler. That car will presumably get its own separate debut, not to mention its own user manual.
For now though, here are the biggest nuggets of information revealed in the leaked manuals:
Power retractable roof is fixed, but has removable quarter windows. Removable hardtop and manual soft top remain available across both two-door and four-door bodystyles.
The left and right extremities of the front bumper can be unbolted to improve approach angles and reduce the likelihood of damage when off road.
For America, there will be a 2.0-litre turbo petrol and a 3.6-litre naturally-aspirated V6 petrol. As with the current Wrangler, a diesel is expected for the Australian market but has yet to be confirmed.
In the USA, only the 3.6-litre engine will be available with a traditional manual transmission. An 8-speed automatic will be optional, but it’s as yet unclear which powertrains will receive it.
The Wrangler will continue to use a dual-range transfer case, but for the JL generation there will be two different systems on offer. One will be a traditional four-position transfer case with rear-drive, four-wheel drive high range, four-wheel drive low range and neutral, while the other will add a fifth position: four-wheel drive high range auto, which sends drive to the front axles only when the on-board systems deems it necessary.
Differential locks will be available, with front and rear differential locks reserved for the hard-core Wrangler Rubicon version. Operated by a toggle switch, they’ll help drag the Wrangler out of whatever muddy mess you point it at.
Jeep has done a lot of work to reduce fuel consumption. The 2.0-litre turbo petrol is a key part of that, but so is the use of lightweight aluminium in the doors and bonnet and the provision of auto stop-start on some powertrains.
The doors now get proper check straps, rather than simple fabric strips – no more doors banging against your bum when exiting on an incline.
The doors can still be removed, and the process has been made simpler. The windscreen can also be folded down against the bonnet, just like every other Wrangler – and indeed the original World War 2-era Jeep.
Instructions on how to remove the carpet are still part of the Wrangler owner’s manual, meaning Jeep very much expects Wrangler pilots to take their steeds well off the beaten track.
It’ll be more practical than before thanks to a more thoughtful cabin design that offers, among other things, integrated luggage rails in the boot area to help keep your cargo secure when bouncing along rocky trails.
The Wrangler will be a little more fancy than its brutally utilitarian predecessors, with features like keyless entry, keyless ignition and remote starting set to be available on some model grades.
That said, those typical Wrangler hallmarks like rubber hood catches, easily-removed rear seats and an integrated roll cage will remain. The only bit of modernity that we wish was present is curtain airbags – in the USA, only front, side and knee airbags will be offered.