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  • 2018 Jeep Wrangler Overview

    Matthew Pilgrim
    Automotive Editor - November 16, 2017

    The Jeep Wrangler remains a popular choice for those with a committed sense of adventure with its open-top, rugged drivetrain, and honest looks. The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK marches on with few significant changes, even as the new Wrangler JL is just around the corner.

    What's New for 2018

    All 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK models feature additional decals and badging to distinguish them from the upcoming Wrangler JL, which is a full-scale redesign of the long-running off-roader. The Golden Eagle and Altitude join several other special edition edition packages that carried over from 2017.

    Jeep Wrangler

    Choosing Your Jeep Wrangler JK

    There are three main trim levels: Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon. All trims are powered by a 285-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 and mated to either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic ($1,400). Four-wheel drive is standard while different axles, axle ratios, and differential types are available, all carrying a premium and all designed to enhance the Wrangler's off-road prowess. All Wranglers come with a two-speed transfer case with low range, for when the going gets very tough.

    The Connectivity Group (USB input, Bluetooth, voice command system, and leather-wrapped steering wheel) is the only option package available across all three trims, while the Dual-Top Group (which gives owners the best of both worlds – a removable hardtop and all its accoutrements for the chilly season, as well as an easy to stow hard top fo summer months) is an option on the up-level version of the Sport, the Sahara, and Rubicon.

    JK Sport

    The low base price of the Wrangler Sport ($23,995, including $1,095 destination charge) asks buyers to make a few sacrifices. Air conditioning is optional while power door locks are an optional extra. There is an eight-speaker audio system with an auxiliary connection, though, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. There's also a healthy level of standard off-road gear, including underbody armor. But if you want any degree of luxury on the base Wrangler, you're going to have to pay.

    The Sport S Package is a smart go-to package at $3,000, and includes 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, and a leather wrapped steering wheel. It also opens the door to the $1,595 Power Convenience Group, which finally adds power windows and locks, heated side-view mirrors, and remote keyless entry. If you're ever struggling to understand how utilitarian the Wrangler is, just know you need to spend $4,600 to get power windows on the base model.

    The Sport trim serves as the template for a number of special edition models, all thankfully well equipped relative to the base trim.

    The special edition Willys Wheeler Package costs $4,300 and balances a heritage-inspired look with some real-world performance improvements. The Wrangler gains a locking rear-differential, rock rails, BFGoodrich off-road tires mounted on black wheels, black trim pieces, and unique decals. The Connectivity Package and SiriusXM satellite radio is standard, but like the Sport, air-conditioning is optional while the Power Convenience Group requires the Willys Wheeler W (it's like a mix of the Willys Wheeler and Sport S packages) for $6,400 over the base price of the Sport.

    The Freedom Edition Package ($5,700) is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, painted fenders, and has unique decals and badging throughout, BFGoodrich rubber, steel bumpers, rock rails, and an available limited-slip ($495) or locking rear differential ($1,500). The interior features the Power Convenience Group and air conditioning while heated seats and navigation are optional.

    New for 2018, the Golden Eagle package offers a unique tan and bronze color combination applied to the wheels, grille inserts, and decals inside and out. Functional upgrades include steel bumpers, rock rails, and BF Goodrich off-road tires, while tan half doors are optional.

    JK Sahara

    The $32,940 Wrangler Sahara is a more luxury focused take on the Wrangler line and adds bright chrome trim, 18-inch polished alloy wheels, body-colored fender flares and bumpers, and LED headlights and taillights.

    The Connectivity Group remains an option, although owners can also grab a $2,000 Premium Sound and Leather Group that adds a nine-speaker Alpine audio system and heated seats, although despite its name, it doesn't seem to include leather upholstery – that remains a $1,350 option. Standalone options include navigation ($1,195), air conditioning with automatic temperature control ($395), and an upgraded rear differential ($495).

    The Altitude Package is new for 2018 and for $3,000 over the Sahara trim, the exterior features unique 18-inch wheels, dark accented trim, a new hood with a "power bulge", and a body colored hardtop while the interior is fitted with heated leather seats and titanium colored accents. Navigation and air conditioning with automatic temperature control remain options, although the nine-speaker Alpine audio system is a $995 standalone option.

    JK Rubicon

    The Wrangler Rubicon is built for one thing – managing any terrain its owner comes across. It features Jeep's most robust and capable off-roading equipment, making it inarguably one of the most capable factory-built vehicles on the market.

    Enhancements include electronically disconnecting sway bars for increased wheel articulation, an upgraded front axle, locking front and rear differentials, and an enhanced four-wheel-drive system with an even more capable two-speed transfer case and low-range gearbox. The base price of $33,645 (not including destination charge) does not include power windows or door locks, but you aren't paying for those things at this price point – you're buying capability, which the Rubicon has in spades.

    Optional extras include an even shorter, more aggressive 4.10 axle ratio ($695) that requires the $1,400 automatic transmission, a $2,495 Cold Weather Package (the Power Convenience Group, heated front seats, remote start, and an engine block heater), and a standalone, $495 heated seat upgrade. Navigation, the upgraded air conditioning system, and the Alpine audio upgrade remain options.

    The Rubicon Recon adds $5,500 to the Rubicon's already impressive price tag, but it takes Jeep's most capable product even further, adding winch-ready steel bumpers, beefier rock rails, an even stronger front axle to handle larger tires, and differential guards for the front and rear housings. The interior features heated leather seats, red seat belts, and red stitching throughout. If you want the ultimate factory Jeep, this is the way to go.

    CarsDirect Tip

    The Wrangler has been refined over the years, yet the trail is still where it still calls home. The Sport is a smart call for everyday use, but anyone that's seriously considering trail work should only consider the Rubicon or Rubicon Recon.

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