Our intrepid photographer Patrick Hoey has caught a heavily camouflaged 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited prototype near the company’s Chelsea Proving Grounds in Michigan. Like the leaked CAD renders we saw recently, and from what we can deduce from the cladded Jeep here, the upcoming 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited still very much maintains the Jeep formula.
While the heavily padded prototype makes it difficult to spot any minute details, major pieces of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s architecture are on display. These include the rugged sill step, removable doors, heavy-duty front and rear bumpers, and a full-size out-rigged spare. They are all commonalities it shares with its previous generation.
From those aspects, you may be wondering what the difference between the current Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is and this test mule? For that, we’ll need to wait, but the upcoming Jeep’s architecture is expected to make use of more high-strength steel and lightweight aluminum to help curb the vehicle’s weight and improve fuel economy.
Expect to see a range of engine options, including the current generation Pentastar V-6, a new 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, as well as Jeep’s lovely 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. We wouldn’t be surprised if a V-8 found its way under the Wrangler’s hood at some point given the propensity of Jeep and FCA to stick a massive V-8 under the hoods of almost every single vehicle in its lineup.
One thing we can’t see, but is likely hiding under the camo is the Jeep’s removable hard top. From those leaked CAD renderings, we can see that the upcoming 2018 Jeep Wrangler could see a slight departure from the style we’ve come to know over the current generation’s lifecycle. It could also become more influenced by the Jeep Shortcut concept first seen on last year’s Easter Jeep Safari.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited will likely debut sometime this year, possibly at the Los Angeles auto show in November. However, Fiat Chrysler has confirmed nothing as of this time.