Jeep has been working hard to keep the all-new 2018 Wrangler under wraps until its official debut, but we've gotten plenty of glimpses at what's in store for the legendary 4x4 model. Our latest look gives us a pretty clear view of the upcoming Wrangler's interior. Here's what we can deduce from the latest spy photos.
Like previous Wranglers, it seems from these photos that the all-new 2018 model will have a shallow, largely vertical dashboard. This kind of design harkens back to the flat metal dash of the earliest military and civilian Jeeps, and helps maintain a minimalist air in what is, admittedly, becoming a more and more luxurious 4x4.[contentlinks align='left' textonly='false' numbered='false' headline='Related%20Stories' customtitles='CONFIRMED:%202017%20Jeep%20Wrangler%20Gets%20a%20Stick%20Shift%7CThis%20Is%20the%202018%20Jeep%20Wrangler' customimages='|' content='article.29711|article.33071']
In particular, we note the large central infotainment screen, likely Fiat-Chrysler's UConnect system that handles navigation, music and heated seats, and displays information on vehicle settings and climate control. Previous Wranglers have boasted a (somewhat) weatherproofed dashboard, to allow owners to pull the drain plugs from the floor and hose out the interior; we're curious as to whether Jeep will offer some kind of waterproofing to save the touchscreen from downpours and mud splashes.
Below the new infotainment screen we see the familiar FCA controls for heat and air conditioning—in this case, what looks like a dual-zone automatic climate control system, perhaps indicating that the vehicle spied here is a higher trim-level. Below that, we see four centrally-mounted power window switches, similar to the layout in the current JK-generation Wrangler. This would seem to confirm that the next-generation "JL" Wrangler will retain its removable doors, a feature we expected the model would have, but it's good to have it confirmed nonetheless.[contentlinks align='left' textonly='false' numbered='false' headline='Related%20Stories' customtitles='How%20the%202018%20Jeep%20Wrangler%20Will%20Probably%20Look%7CJeep%20Boss%20Says%20a%20Hybrid%20Wrangler%20Could%20Happen' customimages='|253448' content='article.31472|article.32289']
And then, of course, we see what looks for all the world like a stick shift with a leather boot, possibly flanked on the driver's side by a manual shift lever for the 4x4 transfer case. In 2016, that between 10 and 20 percent of JK Wranglers were sold with manual transmissions. With the Wrangler being one of FCA's best selling vehicles, even a relatively small manual take-rate represents sizable sales. We had trouble believing rumors in 2016 that said the next Wrangler could go automatic-only; consider this spy photo a sign that the stick-shift JL is a near certainty, available with at least one of the multiple engine options we're expecting.
Other, smaller details: The photos seem to indicate that the Wrangler's dashboard will be painted either to match or contrast with the exterior of the vehicle (we can't see whether the vehicle photographed here wears an exterior color to match the red accents on the dashboard). Perhaps the color-keyed dashboard will be a feature of higher-end Wrangler variants (the dual-zone climate control and four power window switches are because the model seen here is an upmarket Wrangler Unlimited, perhaps a Sahara or Rubicon).
To get the full update on everything we think we know about the upcoming 2018 Jeep Wrangler—including the long-awaited factory pickup truck variant—check out our continuing Wrangler coverage right here.