2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Engines and Drivetrain Reviewed – In Depth Look At The JL’s New Engines


I’m Ryan from ExtremeTerrain.com and in this
video, we’re gonna talk all about the engine and drivetrain options in the brand new 2018
Jeep JL. Make sure that you’re subscribed to our YouTube
channel. That way, you’re gonna be able to check out
all of the other review videos that we’ve done, the compare of the JL to the JK and
all of the great stuff to come. So, with the new JL, every part of the Jeep
has been completely redesigned on the inside and the outside. And that means the engine and the drivetrain
as well. So, there are a couple of engine options available
in the JL as opposed to the one engine option that you got in the JK, as well as a few different
transmission and transfer case options that I want to tell you about. So, let’s jump into it. There are going to be a total of four different
engine options in the JL. The first one is available now, that’s what
you’re looking at here. Two more are going to be coming soon. And then in 2020, we’ll see the final one. And I’ll go through each one of them individually. So, the first one, as I said, is what you’re
seeing here. And this is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. And this has been redesigned a little bit
from what we were used to seeing on the JK. However, mostly it is going to be pretty much
the same engine. And this is what the JLs are shipping with
now. If you’ve ordered one, this is going to be
the only engine option that you have. So, this is going to be about 6% more efficient
than the old Pentastar engine. Part of that has to do with the fact that
this has engine start/stop. So, when you stop at a red light, if the engine
is fully up to temperature, it’ll shut the engine off for you. You let off the brake, it starts the engine
again. This isn’t new technology. It’s been around for a while now. Personally, I’ve never had a vehicle that
has it as a daily driver. And just driving this thing around for the
few times that I have, it drives me absolutely nuts. I’m very glad that they put a button on the
dashboard to be able to disable that. Unfortunately, even if you disable it, you
turn the engine off and start it again, the next time you go for a drive, it is going
to be re-engaged. So, every time, you’re going to have to turn
it off if you don’t want that feature. However, if it doesn’t bother you, it is going
to provide some additional efficiency. So, you can go ahead and just leave that in
the on position. This engine is going to have about 285 horsepower
and 260 foot-pounds of torque, which for a V6 gas engine, isn’t gonna be bad. It’s gonna be more than enough to turn some
big tires off-road, especially if you have the proper gears. The next engine that’s going to be available
in the JL, but it’s not shipping with yet, is going to be a 2-liter inline 4 turbocharged
gas engine. And again, this is all new for the Jeep. This hasn’t been offered before. But it’s not a brand new engine. It’s been around for a little while, so they
have had a lot of chances to tweak on it and make sure that it’s going to do everything
that they need it to do. Now, this engine is going to be considered
a mild hybrid because it has a belt start generator on it. And essentially, what that does is take the
alternator and put a generator in its position. So, it’s still going to charge up the battery
when it needs to. But when the battery is fully charged, it
can actually provide some additional power, helping the engine spin and giving you a few
more miles per gallon. That engine is going to produce 270 horsepower,
295 foot-pounds of torque. So, a little bit more powerful than the V6
that we’re looking at here. Now, one of the things I’m excited about with
that engine is generally when you have a small turbocharged engine like that, it’s detuned
a little bit from the factory. So, with just a tuner, you can really uncork
that engine and get a lot more power out of it. So, we’ll see what the aftermarket can do,
but chances are, you’ll see the power and horsepower numbers going up with a quick and
easy tune. The third engine option is a 3-liter V6 Eco
diesel engine. So, this is going to be the first time that
a diesel has been offered in a Wrangler in North America, and that is very exciting. A lot of people have wanted the diesel for
a long time because of the very high torque numbers that you can get at a very low RPM. And that’s really what you want when you’re
spinning big tires off-road. This engine is going to produce around 260
horsepower but 442 foot-pounds of torque, which again, is a massive number for a Jeep. This should also offer right around 30 MPG,
even though it hasn’t been tested yet. So, you’re gonna get some efficiency and a
lot of power out of that diesel. Now, the diesels are very similar to the small
turbo engines that I talked about before. Usually, you can uncork even more out of those
with a simple tune. So, I’ll be very excited to see what happens
there. Now, that motor being so torquey at low RPMs
is also going to pair really well with some of the new drivetrain options that we’ll talk
about in just a minute. The final engine option, the fourth engine
option, isn’t going to be available until 2020 and that is going to be a full plug-in
hybrid. And that’s something that I feel Jeep really
needed to do to stay relevant. Everybody is going with efficiency. And that’s what these three engines are gonna
give you. But a full plug-in hybrid is a whole nother
level. The torque that you can get from a full electric
is instant and it’s really something that you can’t get from a gas engine or even a
diesel engine. So, we’ve talked about torque a couple of
times now, spinning big tires off-road. It would be really interesting to have a full
electric off-road Jeep. And I personally am pretty excited to see
what it feels like and what it handles like when it finally comes out in 2020. So, along with the multiple engine options
that you’re going to get on the JL, you’re also going to have a couple of different choices
when it comes to transmission and transfer case. So, you’re still going to have a 6-speed manual
if you’re somebody who still likes to row through gears and have that very mechanical
connection to the engine. You can still get that. And that has been really optimized for efficiency,
just like everything else when it comes to the new JL. The new option is going to be the 8-speed
automatic transmission. And those additional gears are there for a
reason. When you drive this thing, you are going to
be going through gears very quickly. It’s going to be keeping you exactly in the
powerband where you need to be. So, when you’re on the highway, it can drop
you down into a lower RPM, giving you more efficiency. And when you’re taking off around the city,
you are going to be in a little bit of a high RPM band where you need that power. But having those additional gears really lets
the RPMs match the need of the driver at the time, giving you maximum efficiency. And that’s what that’s really all about. I noticed, when driving this Jeep around,
that does have the 8-speed auto, that it hangs in first gear a little bit longer. But again, it’s designed to do that. It’s designed to keep you in exactly the RPM
where you need to be. Now, directly behind that transmission, whether
you go automatic or with the stick shift, is going to be the transfer case. And you are going to have three different
options. So, you have the command track. That’s going to be the transfer case that
is going to be in most of the Jeeps without getting any additional options. That’s going to be the standard. And you’re going to have a 2 High, a 4 High,
a neutral, and a 4 Low. So, that’s pretty much what we’re used to
having on a transfer case in a Jeep. Now, if you want to go up to an optional transfer
case, you can do that in the Sahara model. And what that’s gonna put you in is the select
track. And that’s going to give you a 2 High, a 4
High auto, a 4 High part-time, a neutral, and a 4 Low. So, you’re gonna have one additional transfer
case option. And the idea behind that is you can put it
in there if you’re driving on a road that’s a little slushy but also has some dry spots
so you’re not constantly shifting from two to four. The Jeep is automatically switching for you,
changing whether it has the transfer case locked and is putting power to both the front
and the rear wheels or just one or the other. It’s doing all of that for you. I personally come from a TJ. I have the old MP231. Sometimes I am in that situation where I’m
driving around with a hand on the transfer case, going from 4 High to 2 High because
you don’t want to put any additional undue stress on the transfer case. And that 4 High auto is going to do all of
that for you. So, that’s going to be a nice option. And then finally, if you do step up to the
Rubicon, you’re going to have the rock track transfer case. That’s going to give you a very, very low
crawl ratio, 84:1 from the factory with the 4.10 gears in that Rubicon. So, even with the 33-inch tires that are on
that thing, you’re going to have a ton of power and the ability to really crawl that
Jeep. Now, if you pair that with the 3.0-liter diesel
engine, which has 442 foot-pounds of torque, you’re going to have an absolute monster when
you’re crawling off-road. That’s going to be a crazy combination. So, I mentioned that the Rubicon does have
4.10 gears. All of the other Jeeps are going to come from
the factory with 3.45 gears, which is going to be a little bit of a higher gear ratio
than we saw on the JK. So, that’s gonna help with spinning those
tires, especially down low. You pair that with all of the gear ratios
in both the automatic and the manual transfer case, and again, word of the day, efficiency,
it’s all about getting more MPG out of the JL than you were able to get out of some of
the past Jeeps. So those are all of the engine and drivetrain
options available on the Jeep JL. Obviously, a lot more options and a lot more
decisions to be made if you plan on purchasing a JL for yourself. And hopefully, this video helps you make that
decision just a little bit easier. Make sure you’re subscribed to our YouTube
channel to check out all of the other review videos that we have on the JL. And make sure you comment below to let us
know which engine and drivetrain options you’d want on your 2018 JL.

About the Author: Michael Flood

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