The go-anywhere ability of the Jeep Wrangler has made it the vehicle of choice for many off-road fanatics. You can be forgiven for enduring its minor hitches considering the generous full package it comes with. The only tough decision would be whether to upgrade to the JL or stick faithfully to the open-air, motoring-enabled JK.
Although the cost implications may keep you from upgrading, the decision whether to purchase the JL will still tempt you like Eve in the Garden of Eden. Why? Because the 2018 Wrangler JL has a host of features that are as enticing as an undiscovered trail and as a result may make the extra cost seem well worthwhile. Read on to find out 10 things you can do on the JL that you probably can’t with the JK.
FOLD THE WINDSHIELD WITH RELATIVE EASE
If you’ve tried folding the windshield on the JK, then you know that the task can be as daunting as attempting a rock climb with a broken gear box. All those trim pieces and 24 bolts—dude, come on. On the JL, once you pull off the wipers and get rid of four bolts, you are good to go. The whole process takes just a couple of minutes vs the hour that’s required on the JK.
EASILY TAKE DOWN THE TOP
Just like the JL’s windshield, ingenious engineering allows you to raise and lower the top of the JL with incredible ease. Tongue-and-groove fasteners make the process real quick. The days of struggling with zippers are long gone in the rear view mirror which means you won’t be bamboozled when the next time there’s a surprise downpour.
ENJOY SPECIALIZED ROOF OPTIONS
Jeep kept in mind their community’s diversity when they designed the JL’s roof options. There are three configurations available. The Sunrider Soft Top is the standard option. It easily stores behind the rear seat and to lock it down into position you just push a lever. The Sky One-Touch Power Top is already being called a giant sunroof among the Jeep community. Catching some rays and air is a breeze with this power-retractable top. Lastly, for full-on, top-down exposure, there’s the super-easy-to-lift Freedom Top hardtop.
RUN AFTERMARKET SYSTEMS PROMPTLY
Once in a while, you may want to outfit your rig with winches or lights. Great news, you no longer have to drill through the firewall of your Jeep to bolt on accessories like these. Programmable AUX switches that were part of the aftermarket category are now integrated into the JL. Sweet stuff. The Jeep’s hood has a power box to which you can hook up different aftermarket systems. From a safety perspective, it’s nice to know that you won’t need to go Dr. Frankenstein with the built-in electrical system anymore.
GET A BETTER VIEW OF THE REAR
The re-imagined shape of the rear view mirror of the JL gives you a better view out the back window. You won’t need to remove the backseat head restraints either. They drop onto the seat and clear up the view. Compared to the old JK, the back windows are broader. This is the case with both the Soft Vinyl top and the Freedom Top hardtop. The latter’s rear wiper is relocated as well guaranteeing an even more expansive rear view. And if all this wasn’t enough to provide you with a clear view, the JK comes with a rear backup camera, standard, too.
SPEND LESS ENERGY ON THE REMOVABLE BITS
Jeep Engineering has ensured that everything removable on the new JL is lighter. You no longer need a set of guns to remove the various panels. Leading the lightweight brigade are the aluminum doors. Best of all with the convenient inner grab handles, you can remove and install doors quicker than you can scrape bottom on a gnarly rock climb. To top if off, the panels of the Freedom Top hardtop weigh much less as well.
MOUNT ACCESSORIES IN REAL-TIME
In life you can count on three things: death, taxes and that once a Jeep leaves the showroom, it won’t be long before the owner beefs it up with an accessory or two, or three, or four, or…. With the JK, mounting accessories on your vehicle meant that you had to drill into the Jeep. With the JL you can kill the drill. The JL has exterior bolt holes that make adding on accessories a civilized, straightforward process. The threaded holes on the entirety of the cowl are especially helpful for impulse accessory connoisseurs. Simply buy it, and try it.
MOUNT BIGGER TIRES WITH NO LIFT
If you have a couple extra bucks and pick yourself up a Rubicon, you’ll get 33-inch tires and higher-sitting fenders standard. This means the JL stands a few inches taller than previous Wrangler models and the higher-sitting fenders allow you to mount 35-inch tires without a lift. Upgrade to the latter option, and you’ll be ridin’ high. Note: If you’re planning to wheel your JL on anything rougher than a country road, you can expect your tires to make contact with your fenders.
ROCK-CLIMB LIKE A PRO
Jeep Wranglers have, for a long time, been the vehicle of choice for die-hard four-wheelers. From rambling through riverbeds to rock-climbing the unthinkable, the Jeep Wrangler has continued to prove its worth. The JK model has forever been the point of reference for approach and departure angles. The new JL has taken over the crown, with better climbing angles and Jeep insisting that it can conquer near impossible slants. Plus, its efficient defeat switch means that the start/stop system is no longer a pain in the ass.
ENJOY MORE FREEDOM WITH THE INTERIOR REFRESH
The JL has a fresh feel with its full interior makeover. Top on the list of changes are the securely mounted grab handles. You can now get into your Wrangler with much more ease. The updated interior space boasts a large 8.4″ head unit. You also get to toss in more cargo thanks to the boost in storage. Plastic panels have taken the place of the quite-annoying fabric covers that previously adorned the sports bar. Basically, it’s like the Wrangler has been on an episode of The Swan and had all of its touch points nipped, tucked and enhanced.
The JL is a smoother ride, weighs 200 pounds less (thanks to the aluminum and magnesium parts) and has an eight-speed transmission. All of these features, coupled with advanced technology, make the new Jeep Wrangler JL a significant improvement over the previous model for performance and capabilities while still reflecting the tradition and legacy of the original Jeep Wrangler.