The new Wrangler retains its storied rustic charm while making improvements to its powertrain, amenities, and connectivity.

This iconic vehicle still has the features that make it a rugged classic: removable doors, body-on-frame construction, solid axles, a roll cage, lots of ground clearance, and more.

But the Wrangler remains out of its element on the highway. Above 50 mph, its boxy shape and unlined, removable top add to the overwhelming wind noise. While better than before, the new version’s handling still lacks precision. Regardless of the type of road this Jeep is on, the ride is stiff and unsettled. Acceleration from the V6 is strong, and the transmission shifts smoothly. 

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Almost counter to its bare-bones tradition, our Wrangler has a heated steering wheel and seats, and a stellar infotainment system that’s easy to use. Other modern touches include keyless entry and remote engine start.

The front seats are spongy, compromising support. The rear seat has ample space. Rear visibility is quite good because of large windows.

The Wrangler has design features that reinforce its adventurous personality, such as a silhouette on the gear selector of the original WWII Jeep.

It has full-time four-wheel drive and blind-spot warning, which adds peace of mind, but it doesn’t have automatic emergency braking. This Jeep is built for the trail, but the journey is better in almost every regard.

Read the complete Jeep Wrangler road test.

2018 Jeep Wrangler

HIGHS: Off-road ability, strong V6 powertrain
LOWS: Stiff ride, lots of wind noise, awkward access, automatic emergency braking not offered, fuel economy
POWERTRAIN: 285-hp, 3.6-liter V6 engine; 8-speed automatic transmission; selectable four-wheel drive
FUEL: 18 mpg on regular fuel
PRICE AS TESTED: $48,400

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the June 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.