2016 Jeep Wrangler
  • Image Credit: Jeep

2016 Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most beloved SUVs on the market. For the 2018 model year, Jeep has a lot of changes in store for the off-roading oriented vehicle, which include aluminum parts, a pickup truck variant, and a new powertrain.

The vehicle pictured here is the current 2016 model, but big updates are just around the corner. Here are all of the large changes we expect to take place for the upcoming Wrangler JL.

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Jeep Wrangler Pickup Truck Spy Shots
  • Image Credit: Chris Doane Automotive

Jeep Wrangler Pickup Truck Spy Shots

After years of rumors and reports that didn't go anywhere, photographers finally capture Jeep testing out a pickup truck variant of the Wrangler. Jeep is seen hard at work on testing the truck model for the next-gen Wrangler JL with a similar front end to the SUV with a large pickup bed in the back. 

The seven-slot grille is still prominently placed onto the front end of the SUV, but features smaller ribs. At the back, the taped-off taillights imitate the same shape as the units found on Ram's trucks. The pickup truck is actually real and it's coming. 

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Jeep Wrangler JL Aluminum Components
  • Image Credit: Brian Williams / SpiedBilde

Jeep Wrangler JL Aluminum Components

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne spilled the beans on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL getting aluminum earlier this year, but the head of FCA failed to state what components would get the lightweight material. According to JL Wrangler Forumsthe upcoming Wrangler JL will utilize aluminum from supplier Alcoa on the hood, as well as the SUV's front and rear doors. 

The report claims the next-gen Wrangler will use 6022 alloy sheet on the aforementioned components, Alcoa's A951 pre-treatment aluminum sheet boding technology, as well as C6A1 high-form alloy. Why go to aluminum? FCA is looking to make the rugged SUV more fuel efficient and the lightweight material would help the vehicle save some trips to the gas station.

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2018 Wrangler JL EcoDiesel V6 Engine
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2016 KGP Photography / AOL

2018 Wrangler JL EcoDiesel V6 Engine

In addition to getting aluminum parts and a new truck variant, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL is also expected to get a new powertrain. Photographers capture the next-gen Wrangler testing and note the unmistakable sound of a diesel under the SUV's hood. With the recognizable note of a diesel humming away, all things point towards the next-gen Wrangler getting an EcoDiesel V6 option. 
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2018 Wrangler JL Turbocharged Four-Cylinder Engine
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2016 KGP Photography / AOL

2018 Wrangler JL Turbocharged Four-Cylinder Engine

The EcoDiesel V6, though, isn't the only new engine for the next-gen Wrangler JL. The SUV is also rumored to get a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is code named "Hurricane." The turbocharged engine could replace the current SUV's V6 motor or be offered as an option. 
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2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Interior Spy Shots
  • Image Credit: Brian Williams / SpiedBilde

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission

To help the next-gen Jeep Wrangler JL's fuel economy, reports point towards the SUV getting an eight-speed automatic transmission. FCA currently uses a ZF-sourced eight-speed gearbox on a few of its models, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, and Ram 1500. 

Photographers managed to snap some pictures of the upcoming Wrangler JL's interior with a similar gearshift design as the transmission found on the other ZF-sourced, solidifying the rumors and reports. 

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2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Dealer Leak Spy Shots
  • Image Credit: KGP Photography

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Dealer Leak Spy Shots

Even though our photographers have managed to capture Jeep testing the next-gen Wrangler JL on multiple occasions, the automaker has been able to hide the SUV's overall design. Thanks to some leaked dealer spy shots, we get our best look at the Wrangler JL's front- and rear-end design. 

From the renderings, we can see that the next Wrangler JL will have the same seven-slot grille and round headlights as the current model. The front end, though, now features LED lights on the front fenders, while the taillights mimic the same design found on the Jeep Renegade crossover.

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2016 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock Rear Exterior
  • Image Credit: Andrew Ganz | AOL

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Similarities

A host of changes are in store for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL, but don't expect a wholesale redesign of the iconic off-roader.

The overall shape and design of the SUV will stay true to its roots and fans, while the vehicle's off-roading prowess will remain intact. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if Jeep were able to make some small improvements to make its most recognizable vehicle even more capable than before.

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