JK vs. JL: Which One is Right for You?

by Ike Eguzouwa 6 min read

JK vs. JL: Which One is Right for You?

After years of record-breaking success with the Wrangler JK, Jeep enthusiasts can celebrate the launch of the brand-new Jeep Wrangler JL.

The fourth generation of the legendary compact SUV was announced nearly a year ago to date, at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. Jeep CEO Mike Manley described this new model as “the most-capable SUV currently on the market”.

On first impression alone, it’s hard to accurately gauge the updates that have been made to the new JL over the previous JK. We’ve compiled a list of the differences between the two generations of the Wrangler to help you make an informed buying decision next time you’re in the market.

 

Jeep Wrangler Interior Design

As the demand for car technology increases in the market, enthusiasts have been disappointed with the Wrangler’s lack of interior features. Jeep took note and made sure to reverse their barebones approach to where every Wrangler owner spends the majority of his/her time.

The Jeep Wrangler’s interior includes a large screen displaying and infotainment center powered by the latest in UConnect technology. Jeep offers upgrades to buyers, such as a nine-speaker stereo system with a powerful subwoofer, among a sleuth of other Jeep Wrangler storage modifications. The instrument panel contains tons of redesigned buttons, knobs, and switches that feel just as solid as they look.                                                                                                                 

Steering wheels, while often overlooked, are at the forefront of the driving experience for everyone on the road. Therefore, it is important that they are constantly evolving to meet the everchanging needs of the modern Jeep enthusiast. The Wrangler now gives drivers access to everything from music to cruise control right where they need it most.

The Jeep Wrangler interior storage space has been increased to allow for much larger cargo capacity. Adventurers will certainly benefit from all the amazing opportunities that a couple extra square feet could provide for their next expedition. Rubberized Jeep Wrangler integrated storage units in the form of cup holders, screen holders, and storage cubbies, make it incredibly easy to clean your vehicle, keeping it from dirt and debris.

jeep wrangler 

Jeep Wrangler Exterior Design

 

One of my personal favorite features on the new Jeep Wrangler JL is the added LED running lights and turn signals installed into the front fenders. These allow for increased visibility in the day time and at night, while also providing a sleek new design element to the frame of the vehicle. Vents behind the front bumper effectively reduce road noise and allow for increased air circulation.

The JL has a slight sleeker, more modern grill design that further vary itself from the JK. While the might not be immediately noticeable to most people currently, this slight difference will become easier to spot as enthusiasts begin to get ahold of the new generation of Wranglers. Jeep made sure to stick true to the successful body aesthetic that has helped the American automobile company break records year after year.

Additionally, the Jeep boasts a much stronger steel frame and newly introduced aluminum body panels that allow the Wrangler to keep its familiar heavy-duty frame, while keeping unnecessary weight to a minimum.

An added feature Jeepers will certainly write home about is the new rear-view camera included in the new generation of Wrangler off road vehicles. The blind spot tracking system located inside the taillight will also improve some of the safety issues prominent press reported on when reviewing the previous JK models.

Although a minor adjustment, the material on rear swing gate of the new JL has slightly altered to a lightweight magnesium composition. For us adventurers, this allows us to get in and out of our Jeep Wrangler integrated storage with ease. Feel free to grab all your emergency items and throw them in the back.

 

jeep wrangler

 

Jeep Wrangler Performance

 

Increased Jeep Wrangler storage space is not the only improvement from last year’s JK model – the JL is one of the most powerful compact SUVs on the market. The newer Wrangler does not sacrifice a powerful machine for a luxury Wrangler interior. In fact, the 2018 may actually outperform its predecessors in on and off-road situations.

For the first time ever, Jeep is offering their Wrangler with three different engine options – the 3.6l Pentastar V6, 2.0L Turbocharged I4, and 3.0L EcoDiesel V6.

Mechanics familiar with the Jeep line of vehicle often call the Pentastar a go-to engine for engineers involved in the design process – and for good reason.

The Pentastar V6 has been featured in the Jeep Wrangler JK since its introduction in 2012. However, with 285 horsepower and 260-feet pounds force of torque, it’s clear that Jeep has made the necessary adjustments to create an engine that is leaps and bounds ahead of its previous generations. The powerful workhorse contains energy saving stop/start technology, transmission shift management, along with dozens of other sustainable and simply practical added features that truly make it shine. While the Pentastar will have some competition this time around, it’s new additions will keep many fans loyal to the machine. 

Jeep announced their two brand new engines at last year’s LA Auto Show in November. The 2.0-liter Turbocharged I4 boasts a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with electric power assist and a new, intelligent battery charging system. This option comes standard with engine stop-start technology with 270 horsepower and 295-feet pounds force of torque offering the best in both efficiency and performance.

Last, but certainly not least, the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine will surely be a hit for those looking to add some real power to their vehicles. Like the two previous options, the EcoDiesel will come standard with engine stop-start capabilities and an eight-speed automatic transmission to keep up with its immense torque, rated at nearly 450-feet pounds force.

Jeep is looking to also try its hand at a full plug-in electric Wrangler in the near future. Not much information was given at the LA Auto Show by Jeep CEO Mike Manley, but we can expect to see it debut in 2020.

 

Jeep Wrangler Storage

 

The lack of Jeep Wrangler integrated storage space in many of the past year’s editions has been a big issue for enthusiasts. Finding a suitable area to keep your gear for adventures, as well as personal belongings has proven to be a difficult task for the travelers and enthusiasts worldwide.

How much bigger did the Jeep Wrangler storage get in the new JL model? 

The answer is – unfortunately not much.

With rear seats up, the Wrangler JL Unlimited measured at about 31.7 cubic feet. Folding the seats nearly doubled the vehicle’s trunk space for a total of 72.4 cubic feet.

When comparing to previous JL models, we see that Jeep could only make room for about 1.8 cubic feet of extra space with the seats folded down. This, of course will not make much difference to most people, but it’s reassuring to witness the brand making a conscious effort to remedy this issue for adventurers. 

While Jeep figures out to maximize their Jeep Wrangler storage space, there are tons of third-party alternatives to help you make the most out of your vehicle’s rear cargo area.

XG Cargo has an incredible line of sleekly design cargo tools that allow you to make the most of the most unassuming features in your Jeep Wrangler storage. Their team has developed interior storage for a multitude of well-known automotive manufacturers.

Who would’ve thought to attach tool bags to the stock rollbar? Probably quite a few brands, but not many could develop a product with top quality materials and an incredible eye for design.

 

 

For those looking to increase the power and potential workload of your Jeep, the next generation will provide you with a pleasant surprise.

 

From the interior and exterior design to the new engine options that boast performance never before seen in the Jeep line of vehicles, the JL model will be one to look out for as they become commonplace in the Wrangler community.

 

The new JL is sleek and lightweight, yet still provides the same aggressive look and feel that has made Jeep a household name is in the industry.

 

Which model do you prefer? – The Jeep Wrangler JK or the new Jeep Wrangler JL? Let us know below in the comments! As always, we look forward to reading your responses!

 

 

 

Ike Eguzouwa
Ike Eguzouwa


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