We just got our hands on some crisp, clear photos of multiple 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited prototypes running around with nearly no camouflage. You can check out every photo in the gallery here—but let's take a closer look and see what we can learn about the hotly-anticipated all-new JL Wrangler.
Whoever applied this camouflage made a point of highlighting the next-gen Wrangler's exposed door hinges—or at least, not glomming them up with vinyl wrap. Exposed hinges have been a staple feature of every generation of Wrangler and the many CJs that preceded them, the better to remove the doors completely.
What's more interesting is the clear view of what looks like hinges at the base of the windshield. There was some consternation among Jeep fans over whether the all-new Wrangler would continue to offer a fold-down windshield, a tradition that began with the original Willys of World War II to make the vehicle easier to fit in a shipping crate. The current (and rather aged) JK-generation Wrangler has a fold-down windshield, but the curvature of the glass and the complexity of detaching it from the roll bar makes it kind of tricky to use the feature. The new Wrangler seems to go back to a nearly flat windshield, as seen on the YJ and TJ generations. Call me suspicious, but I'm slightly curious about these hinges. Maybe they're nonfunctional, just there for decoration? We don't have a clear enough view to really tell at this point.
Our spy photographer caught images of two Wrangler mules driving around. The red model, wearing BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires, is assumedly an off-road spec—these are the same tires used on the Ford F-150 Raptor, though the current Wrangler Rubicon uses the more aggressive BFG Mud Terrain T/A. The silver model shown here, with body-color fender flares, wears a decidedly pavement-oriented tire.
The final detail worth noting here has to do with the front-end design. The JL Wrangler gets a more bulbous, rounded nose than the current model, likely due in part to new requirements for pedestrian impact safety. The front turn signals, previously integrated into the grille surround, are now back on the front of the fender, as they were on the TJ model. We're not sure what's under the hood of these mules—we've heard rumor of everything from a turbo four-cylinder to a diesel to a hybrid joining the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6.
What we do know is that the Wrangler stays true to its boxy roots in its next generation. Expect to see the all-new model debut at the LA Auto Show this fall.