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First look: Jeep opens up on Wrangler

Open for fun: Jeep’s new-generation Wranger will get a fold-down windscreen and removable doors in its hard-core two-door Rubicon guise.

All-new Jeep Wrangler to take open-air driving to new heights in 2018


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1 Nov 2017

JEEP’S all-new fourth-generation Wrangler will be a breath of fresh air – almost literally – when it lands in showrooms in 2018.

Images released by Jeep at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas today reveal a two-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with the doors and roof removed and the windscreen folded flat for the full bugs-in-the-teeth outdoor driving experience.

A fully enclosed five-door Wrangler Sahara is also shown, confirming that the styling has not ventured far from the traditional iconic look drawn from the original World War 2 Willys MB.

Code-named JL, the new model will be formally released at the Los Angeles motor show late this month when Jeep is expected to reveal a raft of changes to make the Wrangler lighter, more efficient and technologically advanced.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia expects the new model to go on sale in Australia towards the end of 2018, with FCA Asia Pacific head of PR and corporate communications Lucy McLellan adding: “We’re really excited about the re-launch of our icon.”

Ultimately, the range will include a ute version, called Scrambler, that seems to be a no-brainer for Australia.

The current JK Wrangler has been around for a decade. So far this year, sales of Wrangler have slipped 17.9 per cent, which is better than the rate of decline of the overall Jeep range, which is down 35.4 per cent on the same period of last.

Jeep designers and engineers have been careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater in re-working the Wrangler for a new decade, retaining strengths such as Wrangler’s legendary off-road ability.

Says the company press release accompanying the three images: “The most capable SUV ever delivers even more legendary Jeep 4x4 capability, a modern design that stays true to the original, advanced fuel-efficient powertrains, more open-air options, and is loaded with more safety features and advanced technology than ever before.”

Full specifications are being withheld until the LA show debut, but Jeep executives have previously told GoAuto that the Wrangler will retain its rugged ladder chassis, but the body will employ stronger, lighter metals such as high-strength steel and aluminium to cut weight to improve performance and fuel efficiency.

Inside, a thorough revamp will bring the Wrangler into the 21st century, with the latest version of FCA’s Uconnect infotainment system.

American reports say the Wrangler will offer a pair of petrol engines – FCA’s ubiquitous 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 and a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four.

A 3.0-litre diesel V6 is also expected at some point, replacing the 2.8-litre unit in the current model in Australia.

That latter engine is expected to power the Scrambler which, according to US spy photos, is a 4x4 long-wheelbase, dual cab pick-up with greater load carrying capacity than the standard Wrangler.

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