You’re looking at a development mule of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler, which our spy photographers recently caught testing in both two-door and four-door forms. Though the prototypes are still using current-generation Wrangler bodies, a few notable modifications signify that new underpinnings are in play.
Up front, we can see that the hood is extended a bit aft of the front fenders, suggesting a different dash-to-axle ratio for the new off-roader. A matte finish on some of the prototypes also hints that certain body panels may incorporate aluminum to save weight, as we previously reported. The new Wrangler isn’t likely adopt a fully aluminum body like the Ford F-150 pickup, but certain parts like the doors, tailgate, fenders, and hood are expected to use the lightweight material.
Another significant change is a new suspension setup that’s visible in the rear. The current Wrangler’s rear crossmember is absent from these mules, making us think that the new SUV will use a different rear suspension geometry, though it’s too early to tell what that might be. The Jeep Wrangler currently uses a live axle with coil springs, trailing arms, and a stabilizer bar.
Expect the 2018 Jeep Wrangler to arrive in early 2018, possibly at that year’s Detroit auto show. It’s likely to shed weight compared with the current car, though it will retain the body-on-frame, off-road-oriented construction that makes it such a unique proposition in the automotive world.
Stay tuned for more news to come about the next Wrangler, and check out the photos of these prototypes in the meantime.