Does the Jeep Wrangler Live up to the Hype?
A Review of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport S JL
Jeeps have been around for about 80 years now, and have amassed quite a fan base. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible to go for a drive without seeing one on the road. I really struggled with finding a location to film this review, because Jeep owners will tell you that when you drive a Wrangler you can only park on a snowbank, and unfortunately I couldn’t find one. The Jeep has some good history so let’s get into it.
So as you know the Jeep got its start in WWII. Basically, America was like "Yo, we need a vehicle to transport some stuff, here are the requirements, give me a prototype in 50 days." The US Army asked 135 companies and two responded, Bantam and Willys-Overland. Then the Army goes, "Hey, Bantam’s too small so Ford and Willys go work on that thing for us." Ford came out with the Pygmy and Willys came out with the Quad which both looked very similar to Bantam’s prototype, the BRC. The US Army liked Willys’ version the best but needed a lot of vehicles so both Ford and Willys made their vehicles using the Willys blueprint . Willys called theirs the MB, whereas Ford called theirs the GPW. Ironically Ford ended up changing the front grille from an 11-slot that was on the original prototype to a 9-slot because it was cheaper and faster to manufacture. This would be the start of Jeep’s famous grille which would eventually have seven slots. Post-war Jeep would trademark their 7-slot grille and Ford would unsuccessfully try to use it for their M151 design, so they switched them from vertical to horizontal bars.
The first vehicle to ever receive the Jeep name was the CJ, which stood for Civilian Jeep. They came out right after the war and were around until 1985. That’s when the YJ took over, setting the world ablaze with its square headlights. Then the TJ would take over in 1997, leaving no Jeeps to be made for the 1996 model year. The JK would take over in 2007 and would leave in 2018 for the latest model, the JL. These two are really hard to tell apart, but here are the differences I use to distinguish between them. In the front, the headlights go into the grille, the marker lights are on the fender, and there’s no Jeep emblem . For the sides, there are vents behind the fenders, and pull handles instead of buttons. In the rear, honestly, only the taillights look different.
As I said, this is the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sport S Unlimited with 17” alloy wheels and in Granite Crystal Metallic :
2018 Jeep Wrangler Trims
2018 Jeep Wrangler Engines
The 4-door version comes with a 21.5-gallon fuel tank, whereas the 2-door version comes with an 18.5-gallon fuel tank. It comes with either a 6-Speed manual or an 8-speed auto transmission and has a max towing capacity of 2,000 lbs.
What it’s like to drive
The Jeep is a different vehicle, so that being said it’s nothing like driving a car. Especially because in a car I don’t have to wave to everyone who drives a similar vehicle. As you may know, there are several Easter eggs around the Wrangler, video on this below:
Let’s start on a positive note with what’s good about the Wrangler. There’s a lot of seating space in the front and rear. The suspension is great and you don’t even feel bumps. It has floor drains for when you’re getting wild. There are several secret compartments that are useful for hauling your gear. The Jeep sits decently high so you can see very well, vision isn’t an issue. The 3.6L V6 provides more than enough power.
This Jeep is pretty barebones with the minimal amount of tech that you would want and the sound system is nothing to write home about, I’ve heard better sound out of Bluetooth speakers.
My biggest complaint with this Wrangler is its steering. Turns out I’m not alone, of its 1,100 complaints the NHTSA received over 800 involve the steering. Not to mention having over ten recalls, this thing doesn’t seem to be the most reliable. I’m constantly adjusting the wheel just to keep it in the lane. This Jeep is a chore to drive. Also, because Jeep has never heard of the word aerodynamics, every gust of wind tries to pull you out of your lane. A dumb complaint I have is the interior lighting. When it’s dark out you can’t see anything inside upfront. It didn’t receive a top safety pick from the IIHS and received a marginal mark in the small-front overlap. So it’s marginally safe in certain crashes, that’s reassuring, right?
Unfortunately, there isn’t anything on the road to compare the Jeep to. There’s other 4x4’s, sure, but none that you can remove the roof and doors like a Jeep. So it wins by default… for now.
- Great Vision
- Steering is awful
The purpose of the Jeep is to be off-road capable and alright on the pavement. I can assure you that the Jeep is very much alright on the pavement. Sure the steering sucks but it’s probably due to the fact that it makes off-roading easier and it’s so loose it keeps you from rolling over after hitting a bump at highway speeds. All things considered, I wouldn’t bet on it being too reliable either. But hey it’s a Jeep thing and I guess I just don’t understand. So for now the Wrangler sits at the top, like the valedictorian of homeschool, until it receives a worthy competitor this year.