Want to get people riled up? Tell them Jeep has redesigned the Wrangler. That's what Jeep's parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has done for 2018, and while the changes are small on the surface there are some more notable changes under the skin.
For one, there's a new optional four-cylinder engine, a 2.0L turbocharged unit that comes with an eTorque mild hybrid system conceived both to provide a small boost to performance and a more significant improvement to fuel economy. Jeep quotes performance ratings of 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque; they don't specify whether those figures include electric assist so we presume they do.
Carried over is a 3.6L "Pentastar" V6 making the same 285 hp and 260 lb-ft as it did in 2017, but it gains an auto stop/start function to help reduce fuel consumption.
The V6 comes standard with a redesigned six-speed manual transmission; optional with the V6 and standard in four-cylinder models is a new eight-speed automatic.
As usual, 4WD is standard, but there's news here too in an optional full-time system that sends power to all four wheels all the time. Standard equipment continues to include a part-time system you have to have engage manually when you want it. As before, the Wrangler is a body-on-frame design to which are bolted front and rear solid axles with coil spring suspension.
In a further bid to help the Wrangler quench its thirst for gasoline, the doors, hood, windshield frame and hinges (yes, the windshield still folds down) are now made of aluminum, and the rear swing gate is formed from aluminum. Jeep says both the angle of the windshield and the iconic seven-slot grille were optimized for aerodynamics.
A four-door Unlimited trim is once again part of the model mix, but it's covered in its own buyer's guide entry.
And if all that wasn't enough change for this legendary little truck, Jeep promises a diesel engine option is coming next year.
Jeep calls the new Wrangler's interior "authentic," but includes modern touches like a gauge cluster with either a 3.5-inch or a 7.0-inch LED display, the (optional) larger of the two letting the driver customize what information it conveys. Then, the centre stack can be built around a choice of available 7.0- or 8.4-inch touchscreens that host the Uconnect infotainment system and the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration platforms.