This week, TeraFlex took delivery of an all-new 2018 JLU Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon finished in Billet Silver Metallic Clear Coat paint over Black leather interior.
Our engineers haven’t wasted any time taking the stock rig off-road for baseline testing as well as compare its capabilities to the outgoing JK/JKU model. They’ve also been busy poking and prodding and taking measurements of the new JLU so we can bring new and innovative products to market.
Motivation comes from a revised 3.6-liter Pentastar DOHC V-6 engine rated 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque backed by an all-new ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. A Heavy-Duty Rock-Trac Part-Time 4x4 System (with a 4:1 4LO ratio) routes power to the 3rd-Generation Heavy-Duty Wide Dana 44 Front and Rear Axles featuring a 4.10:1 gear ratio and Tru-Lock Electronically Locking Differentials.
With its 4.10:1 axle gear ratios, the Rubicon with the automatic transmission features a 77:1 crawl ratio (84:1 for the manual transmission).
Although the Pentastar engine’s power ratings carryover from the JK/JKU era Wrangler, Jeep revised the engine to provide more low-end torque. The engine also gains Engine Stop / Start (ESS), which improves fuel economy by shutting down the engine while stopped at a red light. Additionally, the new 8-speed auto further improves fuel economy from the JK/JKU model’s 5-speed automatic.
Our JLU Wrangler Unlimited is EPA-rated 18/23/20 mpg city/highway/combined – an improvement of 2/3/2 mpg over the JKU Wrangler Unlimited. The new JLU features a 21.5-gallon fuel tank.
Other standard Rubicon performance and off-road equipment includes front disconnecting sway bar, performance suspension, rock rails, skid plates (fuel tank, transfer case, and transmission), heavy-duty 4-wheel disc brakes, and a Torx toolkit. The JL/JLU Rubicon rides on 33" tires.
Active safety equipment includes an anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), electronic roll mitigation (ERM), trailer sway damping, hill start assist, and ParkView rearview camera. Other safety equipment includes advanced multistage front airbags and supplemental front seat side airbags.
Standard convenience and interior features include 7” TFT color instrument cluster display, remote keyless entry, universal garage door opener, 115-volt auxiliary power outlet, power windows with front 1-touch down, and air conditioning with auto temp control. The infotainment system features the automaker’s Uconnect 4 with 7” display, Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto compatibility, SiriusXM satellite radio, Media Hub (USB, Aux), and integrated voice command with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.
Base price for our JLU Rubicon starts at $43,690 including $1,195 destination charge and $2,000 8-speed auto(w/ hill descent control & tip start).
Options include $1,495 Leather-Trimmed Interior (seats, park brake handle, shift knob, instrument panel, door trim panels), $895 Cold Weather Group (heated front seats, heated steering wheel, remote start, engine block heater), $795 Trailer Tow and Heavy-Duty Electrical Group (auxiliary switches, Class II receiver hitch, 7- & 4-pin wiring harness, 240-amp alternator, 700-amp maintenance-free battery), $895 LED Lighting Group (LED reflector headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lights, LED taillights), $795 Jeep Active Safety Group (ParkSense rear park assist system, blind spot & cross path detection),$1,295 Steel Bumper Group (steel front & rear bumpers), $1,095 Black Freedom Top (3-piece hard top in place of soft top, rear window wiper/washer, rear window defroster, Freedom panel storage bag), and $1,195 Alpine Premium Audio System.
With options, our 2018 JLU Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon came to $52,250. Although pricing is higher than the outgoing JK, the new JL features lots of new standard and available equipment never before offered on a Wrangler.
JL/JLU DRIVETRAIN OPTIONS
In addition to the revised Pentastar engine and new 8-speed auto, the all-new JL/JLU platform gains several drivetrain updates. The Pentastar engine is also available with an all-new cable-operated 6-speed manual transmission featuring many upgrades over the outgoing 6-speed manual including revised gear ratios, new gear pattern with improved shift accuracy, a more comfortable shifting position, and 50% shorter shifter throws. A 4.41 gear ratio spread improves highway fuel efficiency while providing quicker acceleration.
The standard Pentastar engine is joined by two all-new engines: a turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC I-4 with eTorque technology and a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6. Both engines are mated exclusively to the new 8-speed automatic.
Power for the new turbo 2.0-liter is rated 270 hp and 295 lb-ft. The new engine features direct-injection combined with a twin-scroll, low-inertia turbocharger featuring an electronically actuated wastegate for better response and performance, while an intercooler lowers intake air temperature. The eTorque hybrid system features auto Engine Stop/Start (ESS), electric power assist, extended fuel shut-off, transmission shift management, intelligent battery charging, and regenerative braking.
The automaker’s revised 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 will be available for the 2019 model year JLU Wrangler Unlimited. The turbodiesel is now rated 260 hp and 442 lb-ft – an increase of 20 hp and 42 lb-ft over the EcoDiesel available in the current RAM 1500 pickup. The revised turbodiesel engine gains Engine Stop / Start (ESS) and is mated exclusively to an 8-speed auto.
The JL/JLU Rubicon features a heavy-duty Rock-Trac part-time 4x4 system with a 2-speed transfer case and 4:1 low-range gear ratio, while JL/JLU Sport and Sport S and JLU Sahara models feature a Command-Trac part-time 4x4 system with a 2-speed transfer case and 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio.
The JLU Sahara model is available with a new Selec-Trac full-time 4x4 system with a 2-speed transfer case and 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. In 4Auto the Sahara normally sends 100% of engine torque to the rear wheels, but the transfer case’s electronically controlled clutch pack can route up to 50% of the engine’s torque to the front wheels as needed.
While the JL/JLU Rubicon rides on heavy-duty wide Dana 44 front and rear axles, Sport, Sport S, and Sahara models ride on next-generation Dana 30 front and Dana 35 rear axles with a 3.45 rear axle ratio. A limited-slip differential is optional on the rear axle.
Though the front and rear 5-link, coil spring suspensions carry over, the geometry has been revised and the mounting points have been beefed up. The steering and braking systems have also been improved.
The all-new JL/JLU Wrangler features a 10.9” of ground clearance resulting in a 44-degree approach angle, 27.8-degree breakover angle, 37-degree departure angle. The new model can also ford up to 30” of water.
Other updates include a more aerodynamic shape with lighter aluminum body panels. Additionally, the removable body panels are also easier to remove than before, while LED exterior and interior lighting are now available.
Stay tuned to our website,YouTube channel, and social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram) to stay up-to-date as we develop new and exciting products for the all-new JL Wrangler and JLU Wrangler Unlimited.
Check out the 4-door JLU JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED RUBICON full gallery HERE!
- Jason Udy
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