You may have heard that Wrangler has been redesigned for 2018. But this is not it. The Wrangler JK refers to the Jeep name for the Wrangler generation that carries over from the previous year. It should appeal to the Jeep Wrangler fans for all its authentic and glory.
Forget the more modern 2018 Jeep Wrangler, the Wrangler JK is the best choice as an entertaining off-road vehicle. It’s more capable than any other SUV, and its relatively low price is hard to beat. However, its sacrifices modernity along the way. The Wrangler JK is very uncomfortable, the safety scores are very low, and most modern technology that commonly found on other cars is not available in the Wrangler JK.
You may be interested in the 2018 Wrangler JK if you are not satisfied with the new Wrangler design or if you want off-road capability above and all else willing to sacrifice comfort for a price discount.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK is an off-road-focused SUV offered in the two-door, four-passenger Wrangler and the four-door, five-passenger Wrangler Unlimited. Both are available in three trim levels: Sport, Sahara and Rubicon.
Standard equipment for the two-door Sport includes on and off-road tires, 16-inch steel wheels, tow hooks, skid plates, a full-size spare tire, foglights, a fold-down windshield, removable doors, full metal doors with manually operated windows, manual mirrors and locks, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, a one-piece folding, tumble-forward back seat, an eight-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack and a CD player. The Sport Unlimited (four-door) gets a bigger gas tank, air conditioning and a 60/40-split folding, tumble-forward rear seat as standard.
The Sport optional Power Convenience Group adds keyless entry, power windows and locks, heated power exterior mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an alarm. The Cold Weather package adds the Power Convenience Group content along with heated seats and remote start. Also available for the Sport are 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and air conditioning (two-door).
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK Sahara include the Power Convenience Group plus 18-inch alloy wheels, additional painted exterior body panels and trim, LED foglights, automatic LED headlights, hood insulation for reduced noise, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, air conditioning and satellite radio. The Sahara Unlimited adds tubular side steps and grab handles for rear passengers.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK Rubicon adds special tires, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlamps, a heavy-duty Dana 44 front axle, electronic front and rear locking differentials, an extra-low crawl ratio, rock rails, an electronically disconnecting front anti-roll bar, shorter 4.10 axle gearing (optional with the automatic and standard with the manual transmission) and the underhood insulation. Inside, you get standard air conditioning, satellite radio, a 115-volt outlet, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The Power Convenience Group is optional for the two-door Rubicon, but standard on the Rubicon Unlimited.
The Sport and the Sahara are eligible for an upgrade to a 3.73 ratio along with a limited-slip rear differential, and for the Sport and Rubicon can be equipped with half doors that include manual locks and plastic side windows.
Available on every 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK is a nine-speaker Alpine sound system and the Connectivity Group, which adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a tire-pressure monitor display, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone connectivity, an upgraded Uconnect touchscreen with navigation, media player interface and a USB port. Also available is a black or a body-colored hardtop and a high-quality soft top.
There are several special-edition packages available such as the Altitude, Freedom Edition, Golden Eagle and Willys Wheeler that adds a limited-slip rear differential, unique badging, mud terrain tires, various wheel and exterior trim choices, varying crawl ratios, privacy glass, rock rails and specialized seat embroidery.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission with hill start assist is standard, while a five-speed automatic with hill start assist and hill descent control is optional. Four-wheel drive is standard and includes high and low-range gearing. The Rubicon models have a unique short gearing and an upgraded transfer case with an extra-low crawl ratio.
In performance testing, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK with manual transmission accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which is pretty quick given the sluggish acceleration of past Wranglers. The Wrangler Unlimited with the automatic hit 60 mph in 8.1 seconds.
EPA fuel economy rating stands at 18 mpg combined (17 city/21 highway) for either transmission. The Unlimited rated at 18 mpg combined (16 city/21 highway). The maximum towing capacity of 2,000 pounds for the Wrangler and 3,500 pounds for the Unlimited.
As its overall design, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK interior is simple and functional. Sure you will find bright interior accents in highest trim level, but the Wrangler is still a purpose-built vehicle. The controls are clear and well laid out, but the interior feels as if the attention is minimal to aesthetics. Touchscreen navigation is available if you want it, although it looks dated, but the rest of the Wrangler interior is about as basic as it gets. To be honest, anything will feel a little out of place. If you want luxury, upscale Jeep models may be the right choice.
Taking four adults in a two-door Wrangler can be difficult. The rear low seat means limited knee and leg room, which makes long trips unpleasant. Access to the rear seats is also awkward unless the top off, so nimble rider can only climb sideways. The Unlimited back seats offer space for three passengers and regular access through an extra set of doors, though still not spacious and comfortable.
The cargo space is not really suitable for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK, although the Unlimited has a decent amount of space. The two-door Wrangler provides 12.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 55.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The Unlimited has a 31.5 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 70.6 cubes with rear seats folded.
Release dates and price
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK price list for: Sport $25,090; Sport S $28,090; Unlimited Sport $28,990; Sahara $31,540; Unlimited Sport S $32,190; Rubicon $34,740; Unlimited Sahara $35,340; Unlimited Rubicon $38,540.