2018 Jeep Wrangler: The Inside Story

When the 2014 Jeep Cherokee came out, there were some of the Jeep faithful that had a hard time believing their eyes, as here was a vehicle that looked exceedingly avant garde, even though it was still a Jeep.

When the 2014 Jeep Cherokee came out, there were some of the Jeep faithful that had a hard time believing their eyes, as here was a vehicle that looked exceedingly avant garde, even though it was still a Jeep. You could just hear the cries through the evident shudders: “What were they thinking?!”

It’s not that the Cherokee can’t do what a Jeep does because it is a Jeep. A bona-fide Jeep. But to circa 2013 eyes, it didn’t look like a Jeep.

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So there was undoubtedly a lingering fear that when the Powers That Are at Jeep came out with the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler—what is arguably the Jeep sui generis, the vehicle from which all Jeeps, even the arty-looking ones, emerge—they would bring something to Moab that didn’t look, well, like a Jeep.

Their concerns were put to rest when the sheet was taken off the Wrangler last week at the LA Auto Show.

Los Angeles – November 29, 2017 – Mike Manley, Head of Jeep® Brand – FCA Global, introduces the 2018 Jeep Wrangler at the Los Angeles Auto Show.  The all-new 2018 Wrangler builds on its legendary history with an unmatched combination of off-road capability, authentic Jeep design, open-air freedom, advanced fuel-efficient powertrains, superior on-and off-road dynamics and innovative safety and advanced technology features. The all-new 2018 Wrangler is available in 2-door and 4-door models in multiple trim configurations.

Mike Manley, head of Jeep, revealing the 2018 Jeep Wrangler at the LA Auto Show

That is a Jeep.

A Jeep at first read. Second read. Hell, inside, outside and everywhere else a Jeep.

A vehicle that has the obligatory cues (e.g., seven-slot grille, trapezoidal wheel arches). A vehicle that has something that seems impossible to have survived in another iteration: a folding windshield. A vehicle that still has doors that can be removed. A vehicle that has the wherewithal to deal with the rocks, ridges and all the rest on the Rubicon.

A real Jeep.

But a Jeep with its share of contemporaneity, to boot, like the use of high-strength aluminum for the doors, hinges, hood, fenders, and windshield frame, and magnesium for the swing gate. And fourth-generation Uconnect system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the choice of 5.0, 7.0- or 8.4-inch touchscreens with pinch-and-zoom capability.

On this edition of “Autoline After Hours” from the floor of the LA Auto Show, Autoline’s John McElroy and I have the chance to speak with two of the key individuals who helped bring the 2018 Jeep Wrangler to life in all of its authenticity.

We talk with Mark Allen, head of Jeep Design, and Scott Tallon, director of Jeep Product Marketing.

They provide some great insights into how the vehicle came to be and how it is being positioned in the market.

In the second half of the show John and I are joined by Tony Quiroga of Car and Driver and freelance automotive journalist Aaron Gold to get their insights on some of the products that were introduced at the LA Show—the hits and misses—as well as their impressions of the finalists for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards, which had just been announced (car: Honda Accord, Kia Stinger, Toyota Camry; truck: Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator; utility: Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Honda Odyssey, Volvo XC60). And for full disclosure: McElroy, Gold, Quiroga, and I are all NACTOY judges.

You can see it all here.