These spy photos of a 2018 Jeep Wrangler prototype should be a big relief to diehard Wrangler fans. That’s because the photographer managed to snap a few shots of the prototype’s undercarriage, revealing a rear solid axle setup still favored by off-road enthusiasts.
There have been plenty of rumors regarding the next-gen Wrangler, though one of the most radical and controversial is Jeep‘s decision to go ditch the solid axles in favor of a independent suspension system. The more sophisticated setup would no doubt improve the Wrangler’s road handling characteristics, but enthusiasts argued it wasn’t worth the sacrifice in off-road capability.
Earlier this year a number of reports dispelled those rumors and this prototype is yet another confirmation that the 2018 Wrangler will stick to its tried and true suspension setup. Other changes are less apparent, since the prototype is sporting the current-generation JK-series body shell. According to the photographer, the prototype appears to have notable body modifications just ahead of the windshield, along with a longer dash-to-axle ratio than then current Wrangler. The new model will reportedly feature aluminum components and body panels to save weight.
Powertrain details are mostly speculative at this point, though rumors suggest the current 3.6-liter V-6 will be replaced by a smaller, more efficient engine that could be turbocharged. Also improving fuel economy will be an eight-speed automatic.
The new Wrangler was originally slated to go into production in early 2017, but reports claim Jeep has pushed the date to July 2017. Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has confirmed that Wrangler production will remain at its Toledo plant, which will soon receive a big upgrade in preparation for the new off-roader.
Photo Source: KGP Photography