Although the Jeep Wrangler seems to have been around approximately forever, in point of fact the vehicle has been around only since 1986, and the 2018 model, the JL, is but the fourth generation of the vehicle that truly speaks of the “go anywhere, do anything” brand promise, a promise that from its design through engineering and production maintains. Here are some things that you might want to know about the Wrangler.
Obviously, it has to have a seven-slot grille, which Jeep chief designer Mark Allen and his team made sure is in place. But look closely at the circular headlamps and the outermost slots: note that here is a bit of an intersection between the two, which is said to be an homage to the Jeep CJ (the model that was succeeded by the original Wrangler). What isn’t discernable from this angle is that both the top of the grille and the windshield are slightly canted backward to improve aero.
Speaking of the windshield, there is a four-bolt design at the top of the frame that allows the windshield to be folded down onto the hood of the vehicle (which was originally done in order to facilitate shipping without glass breakage and now is arguably the proverbial “Jeep thing”). It is worth noting that there is a header bar that links the top of the A-pillars so that when the windshield is folded, the rearview mirror is in place.
Just as there are people who like to fold their windshield down, there are people who like to remove the doors of their vehicles. Two points about that:
1. The doors are aluminum so they are easier to heft. And speaking of aluminum, it should be pointed out that in addition to the doors, the door hinges, hood, fenders and windshield frame are aluminum. The swing gate is produced with magnesium.
2. To make it easier for the doors to be removed, the Torx bit tool size required for the job is stamped into the door hinges. This is completely indicative of the level of functionality that went into the design of this Jeep.
There is a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four available for the 2018 Wrangler. What’s interesting is that it is connected with a mild hybrid system, called “eTorque.” It provides auto start/stop capability, electric power assist on starts, extended fuel shutoff (even during coasting), transmission shift management, intelligent battery charging, and regenerative braking. The 2.0-liter is produced in plants in Termoli, Italy, and Trenton, Michigan. Coming in 2019 will be a 3.0-liter diesel.
This EcoDiesel V6 is like the one currently available in the Grand Cherokee. It is upgraded with low-friction pistons, new injector nozzle, piston bowl and glow plug. This diesel produces 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. The engine is produced by FCA-owned V.M. Motori in Cento, Italy. There is a third engine, which is standard across the models, a 3.6-liter, 285-hp, 260 lb-ft of torque V6. It is produced in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. As for transmissions, both an eight-speed automatic and a six-speed manual are available. (And there are three different transfer cases, depending on how rock-oriented one might be.) Speaking of manufacturing, the Wrangler is being built in Toledo, Ohio. Wranglers have been manufactured in Toledo at the south plant of the Toledo Assembly Complex since 2006. But now it is being produced in the north plant, where the Jeep Cherokee had been produced. Cherokee is now manufactured in Belvidere, Illinois, and Wrangler—after the facility has undergone a $700-million retooling—has north. More than two-million Wranglers have been built in Toledo.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
Mercedes has been putting diesels in vehicles since 1926. It has been offering them in the U.S. since 1949. And 2013 is seeing a range of offerings, including in its popular GLK SUV.
The engineers at Munro & Associates have taken a perfectly sound BMW i3 and taken it apart. Completely apart. And they are impressed with what they’ve discovered about how the EV is engineered.