Dig under the surface of the new-for-2018 JL Jeep Wrangler, and you’ll find the kind of details you should expect from a model that’s redesigned no more than once every decade.
While the 2011 JK Wrangler face-lift introduced such hidden details as the tiny black World War II Willys Jeep MB image found crawling up the passenger-side vertical edge on the windshield glass, the new JL Wrangler pretty much adds up to one big Easter basket full of eggs.
Speaking of Easter, Jeep isn’t planning to let up on the Moab Wrangler special concepts for its big annual off-road extravaganza next spring—as long as brand design chief Mark Allen can get his hands on a half-dozen or so production models. While you’re waiting for more Easter eggs within this big Easter egg unveiled between Thanksgiving and the new year, here are a few details under the surface.
1. Designers raked the windshield back in 1-degree increments before finding the right angle. Allen’s JL design team tried everything from nearly upright to a very raked-back windshield, moving it in increments to everything in between before choosing the angle you see here. It’s the most raked-back windshield ever on a Jeep, but it’s still conservative for a new model.
2. The hood prop-rod is, once again, permanently attached to the hood instead of the body as on the last model. This makes it easier to lay back the hood against the windshield with the prop-rod.
3. Don’t worry about the standard start/stop system when rock climbing. There is a defeat switch, and the system is automatically disabled in 4Lo.
4. Exterior hinges were never much of an issue. Jeep clinic-tested a TJ in the mid-1990s without exterior hinges. “It was hated,” Allen says.
5. “T50” is stamped into the door hinges. This tells you the Torx bit size needed to remove the doors.
6. The Wrangler Rubicon’s high fenders were inspired. “That is really a direct descendant of what we learned out of Moab … if you know our Lower Forty vehicle,” Allen says, referring to an Easter Moab special concept from 2009. “One of my favorite things.” The higher fenders on the Rubicon allow standard 33-inch outer-diameter tires (17-inch wheel diameter) and after-market off-road tires up to 35 inches. Mopar will offer a 2-inch lift kit.
7. Ends of the front and rear bumper come off. The ends of the bumpers forward of the tires are removable to make way for those 35s.
8. The light-colored steering wheel hub trim recalls the Willys MB’s. The trim color in the steering wheel hub depicts spokes at 10 o’clock, 2 o’clock, and 6 o’clock, like the original thin, steel WWII Willys MB wheel.
9. May the force be with you. Luke Skywalker’s snow goggles inspired the headlamp lens design.
10. Burrito holders on the JL’s exhaust manifold didn’t make the cut. “You know, you throw your frozen burrito on here,” Mark Allen explains, pointing to the top of the engine, where the burrito holders were to be. “And we don’t have them, but at some point we had them baked in, and there was this little icon of a burrito with steam coming off it, and the safety office called and said, ‘You can’t do that.’ One of the engineers came to me and said, ‘It sounds like they’re serious. We can’t do it. What do you want to do?’ I said, ‘Simple. We’ll draw a circle around the burrito and put a slash through it.’ We did that, and they sent it back. They’re on to us.” Perhaps next Easter.
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