2018 Jeep Wrangler JL vs Jeep Wrangler JK – Official Comparison & Review

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL vs Jeep Wrangler JK  – Official Comparison & Review


I’m Ryan from extremeterrain.com, and in this
video, we’re gonna be comparing the brand new 2018 JL to the JK that you all know and
love. The JL is very, very different from the JK. Some of those differences are very obvious. Some of them not so much, so we’re gonna put
them side by side and compare interior, exterior, driving, suspension, even take some measurements
for you and really give you a good idea of what’s different, and what’s the same. Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel
to check out other JL review videos as well as our full comprehensive review. Now, let’s get into it. So the two Jeeps that I have to compare are,
of course, the brand new 2018 JL. This is our Sahara, which is going to be a
four-door in the new JL. And on this side, the JK is a 2015. This is also a Sahara. It has a couple of minor aftermarket parts
on it, but it’s still very much gonna work for us for this comparison. So the first thing I wanna talk about on the
front of the JL is right up here on the grille, and that is going to be the big thing that
you’re gonna see as you’re walking toward the Jeep that is very different from what
you saw on the JK. Of course, you still have that iconic seven-slot
grille. That’s never going to go away, but you don’t
have the Jeep badge on the top anymore, and the headlights actually protrude into that
first slot a little bit on both sides. So giving a little bit of a different look,
really a nod back to some of those original Jeeps way back in the day. They had a similar setup with the headlight
coming into that first slot, so Jeep brought that back a little bit. Of course, you don’t need a nameplate on the
Jeep. That front end is so iconic. Everybody knows that it’s a Jeep as you’re
rolling toward them. So, that is going to be one of the big things
looking at the front grille. And then, when you actually look at it from
the profile, you can see that it’s not on one plane anymore. So, it’s actually pretty much straight up
and down here, and then a little bit more of a rake back in the front. What that’s designed to do is give you a little
bit more aerodynamics because a lot of the stuff they built into this Jeep is very much
about MPG and efficiency. If you flip over to the JK here, this grille
is pretty much one plane. It doesn’t have that bend at the top, and
even the angle that the grille sits at is less of a severe angle than the top of the
JL. So this is going to be a lot more straight
up and down, and that’s something that people have commented on. In my opinion, the JL certainly doesn’t look
bad like it is. A lot of people like the boxier look of the
JK. That’s certainly up to you, what you like. The other thing that we’ll talk about on the
JL is the front fender flares. So these flares have a running light, and
a turn signal built right into those front fenders. This Jeep has the LED lighting package, so
these are gonna be LED as well, as the headlights, and the fog lights. That is going to not be the case with a Sport. If you flip over to the JK here, the headlights
don’t protrude into that first slot there. These fender flares are going to be straight
across in the front, no marker lights, no running lights. So you have your turn signal and your marker
lights here in the grille, so definitely, a little bit of a different feel there. Coming back over to the JL, you can see that
this bumper is going to be significantly different. You still have your fog lights built into
it. You still have a couple of tow hooks on the
front here, but the rest of the design of the bumper is different. Again, this is a Sahara. If we had a Sport model, you would actually
have a small piece of plastic lights that sits right here between the bumper and the
fender flare, almost giving the look of a European-style bumper. Over here on the JK, again, very different. You don’t have the inserts here. This being led has some Sahara trim pieces
on it. It has the painted black applique in the center. This doesn’t have that European-style front
bumper on it. Now we’ll talk about the hood. Right up here, this is an area that’s been
redesigned on the JL. This has a much larger rubber bump stop on
the hood, and it has integrated washers right into that bump stop. So, that’s gonna be for folding down that
windshield, to protect the windshield, and also protect the hood. And this hood is not going to be a factory
Sahara hood on our JK here, but it is very much like the power bulge on the 10th anniversary
Rubicon. So this one isn’t going to have any bumps
on it at all because of the way that this power bulge is, but in general, on a JK, you
would have seen foot middle loop on the middle, and two small rubber bump stops on either
side of it. And then you have your washers here that are
completely separate. So, a lot more stuff going on even on the
factory hood than on the JL. They definitely smooth that out a little bit. Moving back to the windshield itself, this
area has also been raked back, right about 6 degrees over what you saw on the JKs. So again, that’s about efficiency, that’s
about MPG, and that’s about aerodynamics. And you still can fold this windshield down,
which is something that in the early days was rumored you might not be able to. What’s interesting about this is the windshield
is not the structural part of the Jeep. There’s actually still a hoop that exists
here even after you fold the windshield down. So you still have your sun visors, and you
still have your rear-view mirror attached to that even when you have the windshield
folded down. And that process is very easy on the JL, there
are just four screws across the inside of the top of the windshield frame. Of course, you have to remove your freedom
panel, but once you got those four screws removed, you simply fold this down, of course,
after you get the wipers out of the way. Over here on the JK, the windshield is much
more straight up and down, as we mentioned. It is folding, as you know, but in order to
get this folded, it’s a much longer process. You have to remove a bunch of screws here
on this windshield hinge cover, as well as some screws on the interior of the Jeep. And then when you flip the windshield down,
you really have nothing in that area. There’s no hoop, there’s no frame, there’s
nothing, everything folds down onto the hood. Definitely, a different flavor there. So those are the main things I wanted to point
out on the front end of the Jeep. Now, let’s move onto the side. So one thing that’s on both kind of front
and the side of the Jeep are the hood latches, and there’s something that Jeep completely
redesigned. As you can see, they look different, they
also function differently. There’s no more rubber on the inside of the
hood latch like back on the JK, and really, a lot of the generations before. That rubber can stretch out, it can dry rot,
it can break, you can get hood flutter. Those guys with the JKs know about the hood
spring delete to try and get rid of some of that hood flutter. This is going to eliminate all of that. We talked about the fender flares from the
front, but you can also see from the side, how they do have a little bit of a different
look to them. The marker light especially, going from round
to something that’s integrated with the front-running light is going to be a completely different
look. Working our way down the side of the Jeep
a little bit, you have one of the biggest design features that really differentiates
this Jeep from a lot of the other ones that we’ve seen, and it’s this vent here on the
front quarter panel. So the JKs were really known for their heat
soak. They had a lot of heat underneath the hood
of the Jeep. So this is going to be a functional piece. It’s actually going to help to vent some of
that hot air, but it also adds a lot of style and definitely changes up the look of the
Jeep a lot. One of the other things that falls very much
into that same category is this line down the side of the Jeep. So instead of just having a big flat door,
this has a little bit of a body line running through the door all the way to the back of
the Jeep. Looks a little bit like a TJ. That’s something a lot of people have picked
up on, myself as well, being a TJ owner. And so again, something I like. Here, this was a change that Jeep made as
well instead of having a push button on the JK that will take a look at in a second. This is going to pull… The whole handle pulls open, and this also
has a running board down the side. That’s going to be something that is standard
on the Saharas just like anything else. You go up to the Rubicon, you have a rock
slider, and if you step down to a Sport, this is going to be an option for you. So we’ll go over to the JK here, and show
you a couple of the differences between what we just looked at. In this, of course, there’s no fender vent
here. This is just big flat. That’s kind of the theme of the JK. The door, no body line here, big and flat. The doors handle with that old-school button
here. So definitely going to be a different look
with the new JL. So let’s spin these things around and we’ll
take a look at the back. Like most of the other parts of the new JL,
it is almost completely different from the JK. Taking a look back here, the first thing I’ll
notice up top is a little bit of a spoiler built into the hard top. Now there are a couple of different top options
available for the JL that weren’t available on the JK. This one is most similar to what we see on
the JK, but again, they redesigned. And this spoiler here is for aerodynamics
and for efficiency. Over here on the JK, you don’t have that. Again, going with the little bit more on the
boxy look that we saw on the front, with everything being straight up and down with a few less
curves over here. Something else that is going to be a very
major difference is going to be the tail lights. This Jeep again has that LED lighting package,
so these are gonna be LED while some of the other ones might not be. In which you have here is around the outside,
a bit of a…almost a fiber optic-style where there’s one consistent light around the outside. That’s your marker light. Then you have at the top and the bottoms are
going to be your brake, and your turn signal lights. And then, the middle, an LED reverse light. As we go over here to the JK, a little bit
more of a simple light. Again, these are incandescent. You don’t have the border. It’s just your tail, stop, turn, and then
your white reverse light there. So, a little bit more involved light on this
Jeep. You can also see when you look over here onto
the driver side, that they’ve moved the license plate down onto the bumper. So that’s going to be something that dramatically
changes up the look of the back of the Jeep as well. Now initially, I was thinking, they may have
done that because a lot of people, especially when you take your Jeep off-road, will end
up catching that license plate holder and breaking it off, but looking at how far these
lights stick out, I don’t think that is the reason. The light still sticks out very, very far. If you are gonna go wheeling on some narrow
trails, there’s always a chance you’re gonna hook that light and break it. If we go back over to the JK here, you can
see what we used to have, which is a license plate bracket that’s here on the body, and
down here on the bumper, a little bit cleaner not having that license plate bracket there. Something else that’s a little bit different
is the third brake light. This has the third brake light that comes
up almost like a pedestal-style directly into the center of the spare tire. And if we look back over here at the JL, this
wraps around a little bit more. It has a little bit of a different style to
it, a little bit of a different design. Down here in the center of the spare tire,
you’ll see the reverse camera. Even though they tried to integrate and camouflage
it a little bit, this is still a big camera, and it is something that you’re most likely
going to notice. Now, the good thing about this camera mounting
location is that it is nice and high, and it is also the furthest thing out on the back
of the Jeep, so it gives you a very good viewing angle. So, it is very, very functional even if it
doesn’t look all that great in my opinion. As we work our way into the interior of this
Jeep, there’s one other thing that I did wanna talk about concerning the doors. Now on the JK, you have a vinyl limiting strap,
and that’s pretty much all like keeps the door from swinging all the way open, ending
in the cowl, and it’s also the only thing that really holds the door in position. There’s nothing else that tensions it, and
there’s nothing else that auto-closes the door. Now, while this door is still absolutely removable,
there is one additional component that helps to keep the door in position, kind of lock
it in position, more like a traditional car, and will also help to close the door. So, when you have the door open completely,
it does stop right there. And then, if you get it to about 50% of the
way closed and let it go, it closes just like a regular car. Again, just something that Jeep did to add
in another creature comfort and make this a little bit more of a modern vehicle. One of the areas that they completely, completely
redesigned, nothing is the same, is the interior of this Jeep. Now, I do wanna point out again that this
is a Sahara, so this does have a few additional creature comforts on the inside than, you
might get what you say a Sport or a Sport S, and this also does have the upgraded Infotainment
system, so this has the larger 8.4-inch screen, but even without those additional option packages,
this whole interior has a very different feel from the JK and a very, very comfortable feel. So, the steering wheel is going to be leather,
still has the buttons on the back side here, so you can change your volume, and your radio
station. The buttons on the front have been redesigned
slightly, but you have all of the same major stuff including your phone and your voice
control. And then over on the other side, of course,
your cruise control. The center section of the dash is, of course,
completely different as well. You have your speedometer and your tachometer. [00:12:22]
[silence] [00:13:38] So that covers the big interior changes. Now let’s pop the hood of this thing and we’ll
talk a little bit about the differences in the engine bay. Our JL came with the 3.6-Liter Pentastar engine
and that is the engine that you would have gotten in your JK. Back in the JK days, there was only one engine
option. The early JKs have the 3.8-Liter, the newer
ones, the 3.6-Liter, but you couldn’t get any other options even if you wanted them. In the JL right now, the only engine they’re
shifting with is a redesigned 3.6-Liter Pentastar. However, in the future, you will also be able
to get a diesel and also a 2-Liter gas turbo engine. So a couple of different options there. Now, even though this has pretty much the
same 3.6-Liter Pentastar as you saw in the JK, it has been redesigned. It’s approximately 6% more efficient. It does have an exhaust gas recycling system,
again, for some efficiency. It’s gonna have a little bit more power as
well, so they did make a couple of minor tweaks to that engine. Behind those engines, in the JK, you are able
to get either a 5-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed stick. On this, you can still get that same 6-speed
stick shift, but you can also get an 8-speed automatic, and that’s what in our Jeep here. So now, let’s get these things up on the lift,
and we’ll take a look at some of the differences and similarities underneath the Jeeps. So I’ve got both of these Jeeps up in the
air, and I wanna go over the JK from the front to back, and then we’ll jump over to the JL,
and point out some of the differences, and some of the similarities. So the JKs came with a Dana 44 rear axle,
in pretty much all of the Jeeps, certainly all of the four-door Jeeps. And up front, they have a Dana 30 axle. The gear ratios were a factory 3.21. You could also get a 3.73 or a 4.10 in a Rubicon,
but looking at the underside of the Jeep, the Jeeps are fairly similar in suspension. They’re all going to be coil spring suspensions,
they’re all going to be five-link suspensions, so you’re gonna have four control arms and
a track bar. The steering components, the steering links
on the JL do appear to be a little bit thicker, so you can see that they have beefed that
a little bit, but I think that also has to do with the fact that that has a new hydraulic
electric power steering system that puts out a little bit more pressure, and we’ll look
at that when we get to the JL. But, other than that, as you can see, the
cross-members and the factory skid plates are pretty similar. You still have the gas tank in pretty much
the same location with a same factory gas tank skid plate. One thing that is different here on the JK,
you can see that there is an EVAP canister right here, which is an area where you can
get busted up quite often on the trail. They did sell some additional aftermarket
skid plates for this piece to try to protect that. With the JL, they have moved that, so it’s
not going to be here in the way, which is really nice. One thing that they did change up back here
is they out-boarded the rear shocks a little bit more. So these rear shocks at the top will mount
to the body of the Jeep in the side of the frame rails on the JL, that actually mounts
to a bracket mounted to the outside of the frame rail. So that’s going to give you a little bit more
stability and just goes into the geometry of the rear of the Jeep, giving you the best
possible ride. So here we are underneath the JL, and things
are going to look fairly similar, but they do have a little bit of a different axle underneath,
and a couple of things I do wanna point out. So this Jeep is going to come with a factory
Dana 35, Dana 30 combination, but they have been reworked, so they’re going to be a little
bit stronger than the old 30, 35s that you might be used to. And these are also going to come with a factory
3.45 gear in them. If you get the Rubicon, you’re gonna step
up to a 4.10, but even that 3.45 is going to be higher than a gear ratio that you saw
in the JK from the factory. So that’s going to help out if you do wanna
put a little bit of a bigger tire on an otherwise stock Jeep. One of the things that I do wanna point out
to you is right up here in the front of the Jeep on this Dana 30, and that is a front
axle disconnect, and that’s something that the YJ guys are going to be used to seeing. And, essentially, what it is is this front
axle shaft is a two-piece axle shaft, and this allows those two pieces to completely
disconnect. So when you’re driving in two-wheel drive
mode on the road, this tire can completely free spool. There’s nothing connecting it to the differential
and that’s going to give you maximum fuel efficiency, and really create less drag on
the Jeep, but when you shift it into a four-wheel drive, this mechanism goes into action. It connects the two axle shaft together, so
then you can power this wheel when you’re in an off-road four-wheel drive situation. But working our way back and you’ll see this
is a five-link suspension just like the JK was. You have a similar cross-member a factory
transfer case. Skid plate here, like I said before, fuel
tanks are pretty much in the same spot. Right here is where that EVAP canister was
on the JK, I mentioned before that that’s gone now. So one less thing to smash up when you are
on the trail. So on a factory JL, whether you’re getting
a Sport or a Sahara, you can upgrade to the Dana 44, and that’s what this Jeep has here. That does have the optional package. This is gonna be the Dana 44 out back, and
this is Jeep’s anti-spin rear axle, which is essentially their limited slip differential. So you are going to be powering the tire with
the most traction instead of the least. So, you are going to get a little bit more
traction with this setup. Of course, if you step up to the Rubicon,
you’re also going to have a Dana 44 in the front, so you’re going to have the strongest
axles that you can get. Now, something else that’s gonna change with
the Rubicon is the transfer case. So, when you have a factory JL, you’re going
to have a command track transfer case, and that’s going to give you a four-high, a four-low,
a neutral, and a two-high. This is going to have the optional select
tract transfer case. So that’s going to be an optional package
that you can get on the Sahara here, and what that gives you is also a four-high auto. So you have four-high auto where the Jeep
will still select if you’re in two-wheel or in four-wheel drive. You’ll have a four-wheel high part-time, which
is akin to your standard four-wheel high on that old transfer case. And then, of course, you’ll still have a neutral
and a four-low. So, if you’re like me, you might have an older
Jeep, you might be driving around constantly shifting from four-high to two-high because
you don’t wanna put additional stress on the transfer case when you aren’t in a slick condition. Here that four-high auto is going to do that
for you. And then, like I said, when you step up to
the Rubicon, you’re going to get a rock track transfer case that’s going to change up the
gear ratios in the transfer case plus it’s going to give you a crazy 84:1 crawl ratio. In the Rubicon, you’re gonna be able to crawl
over anything you point that Jeep at. It’s really gonna keep you at a higher RPM
range, we have a ton of torque and a ton of power all at a low speed when you’re crawling
on the rocks. So now, we’re gonna take this thing out, flex
it a little bit, take a couple of measurements, so you can see what type of articulation this
Jeep has versus the older JK. So we disconnected the sway bars on both our
JL and our JK, brought them out here in the parking lot to see how much they would flex
before pulling that fourth tire off the ground, to see if one is dramatically different than
the other. I suspected they would be similar being that
they both have the same five-link suspension, but we wanted to test it out, and it does
look like they’re pretty much exactly the same. I took a measurement from the bottom spring
perch to the top of the stretched out side, and you get about 13-inches on both Jeeps. So from the factory, they’re both going to
flex, and they’re both going to articulate in pretty much the same way. We’ll have to wait and see what the aftermarket
does when they’re able to finally catch up to the new JL, and get some new lift kits
and some new suspension parts out there on the market. So, that points out a lot of the differences
and the similarities between the brand new 2018 JL and the JK that we’ve had for about
the last 10 years. For any of you that are on the fence about
buying one of the new JLs versus one of the older JKs, I hope this helps you make that
decision. Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel
to check out other JL review videos as well as our full comprehensive review.

About the Author: Michael Flood

68 Comments

  1. Which are you voting for? The Wrangler JL or JK?
    Subscribe for more 2018 JL Wrangler videos: http://terrain.jp/SubscribeXTyt

  2. Saw the JLs at the dealership and thought I liked them. I was wrong. JL looks like a Liberty. JK is just so much better and "Jeep-like".

  3. I literally cannot thank you enough for this video!!! I am about to purchase my first wrangler and was trying to find the best way to compare the two. While the new JL has a lot of great going for them (new instrument clusters and the awesome LED lighting options) the JK has the best look and what seems to be traditional aspects for me personally growing up in life where family and friends have had jeeps many times. Im not a fan of the on/off motor features in the JL and only hope the only choice isnt just a button feature to keep it off every time i enter my car if i went with the JL. I love the boxed look of the JK, even though I'm a curvy girl myself like the JL its just not me. THANK you for the review video! Now to find the perfect one out there for me!

  4. how about we just bring back a tj style? i dont need more than a shifter, clutch, and steering wheel. maybe a fuel gauge and speedo. we dont want a touch screen, we dont want all this luxury bs, we dont want it to end up looking just like every other SUV out there. nobody buys a wrangler expecting high gas miles. we buy them to be reliable, and to go anywhere, not so soccer moms can hit a pot hole and say she went off roading.

  5. Stupid guy jk is a older model . New jk has,led headlights fog lights better rims etc .. I hate JL front bumper looks,so cheap doesn't match the jeep..

  6. Take it from me and every other 2nd gen Ram owner, the center axle disconnect is a worthless, infuriating, cluster f#@$ of a design that should be banned

  7. For years never thought the JK was very impressive with the look unless modified with aftermarket accessories and so forth, but when JL hit the market and the whole new revision and design of the Jeep I was in shock and that's when I went out and bought a jeep.I did test drive both very thoughtfuly and I made up my mind for the JL.

  8. So annoyed by how horrible this guy explains and repeats himself? It’s like he’s trying to teach math to a dog.

  9. Went shopping to trade my '06 Rubicon in last fall. Loved it, but the rust and OPDA issues just killed it. I compared the JK/JLs. Just on looks, the JK looks more classic as shown above. JL has more car/SUV like quality, the grill, turn signals, sculpted panels..look like they belong on a car, not a Wrangler.. JLs sloped windshield gives it a mini van type look. But comparing the quality, the plastic fenders and JL door handles are very flimsy and cheap. I went back/forth bending them and the handle made a cracking sound! I do like the improved MPG. The huge price increase was the killer. I was able to get a JK for so much less. If I could, I'd go back in time and buy a new TJ, but do like the JK because it has more of the simple/classic look. I don't like the fancy electronic crap, but the JL has 10X more. A start button!!, insane pricing!.assisted passing,..I pass.

  10. i know this is an older video but thanks. i just got a jl sport s. i've had a tj and two jk's. i'm really liking the jl after 2500 miles. great explanation between the two

  11. Jl is $2-3k more than the JK. The question is if you took a JK and put 3000 into it after market, which would be better then?

  12. The new Jeep is trying to hard to be something it’s not, the jk is just chilling and ready to have some fun, they changed to much to fast 😥

  13. If you go back when the jeep was founded ford designed the jeep with willies ford was the main designer of the jeep !!!

  14. Seems like Jeep is going more for the "City Jeep" vs Off road. Since most never really go off road I guess it makes sense… Although I will keep my JK 🙂

  15. I'd HATE to see what happens with that ultra high tech sissy soccer mom interior when it gets wet. These jeeps are getting pathetic and are getting completely geared towards Soccer moms. My JK (first gen, old school interior) has been rained on and covered in mud numerous times and everything is still fine. I'd love to see any JL owner say that in a few years.

  16. I have this weird desire to buy a Jeep the last few weeks. I don’t know where it came from but I’ve always wanted one. I’m surprised they cost so much!!!

    Why are these so expensive?

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