Jeep Wrangler Old v New: Styling face-off

The new-generation 2018 Jeep Wrangler has now been revealed inside and out, but many will have trouble picking the difference between the old and new models.
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While full details about the new-generation off-roader won't be revealed until the Los Angeles motor show at the end of the month, we do know the new Wrangler will offer an evolved look, a more contemporary and higher-quality cabin, and Jeep's latest infotainment system.

For now, let's play spot the difference between the new Wrangler and its predecessor.

Top: the new Wrangler, bottom: the old one


Like other signature off-roader models - think Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Class - the Wrangler's overall look and shape hasn't really changed for decades. However, there are subtle differences between the third- and fourth-generation models that become clear after more than a mere glance.

Up front is the signature Jeep seven-slot grille, flanked by the company's iconic round headlights. It's a styling feature that has been around since the first Willy's Jeep half a century ago, and it gives the Wrangler an undeniable presence even in 2017.

Changes on the new car, though, include a more prominent kink at the top of that grille, while the headlights are deeper-set in the bumper.

Additionally, high-spec versions of the new car get a new headlight unit with LED daytime-running lights and what appears to be a more powerful xenon or LED main beam, which should be brighter than the old-school halogen units of its predecessor.

The front fog-lights also have new chrome surrounds, which give the Wrangler a classier aesthetic, and there's also a new strip of LED daytime-running lights incorporated into the front wheel arch - something the old model lacked.

Top: the new Wrangler, bottom: the old one (and Dom Wiseman...)

Here we have the new two-door Wrangler Rubicon and the previous Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. While there's obvious changes between the two- and four-door bodies, the new car's wheel arches look slimmer and sit higher in relation to the bonnet line, while the tail-lights on the new-gen vehicle are more prominent and don't feature as much black plastic cladding.

The windscreen looks to be more raked on the new car, which will no doubt contribute to the company's claims of improved aerodynamics, while the overall shape of the new car is a little softer at its corners, with more rounded edges than its predecessor.

Comparing the red four-door Rubicon to the new Sahara variant finished in bronze (top) also shows the door handles have been slimmed, while the three-quarter line running from the rear doors to the tailgate is higher on the new car, for the impression of a slimmer set of rear windows.


The biggest changes, though, are on the inside. Where the old car was very utilitarian and sparse, the new-generation car brings the Wrangler into the 21st century thanks to the inclusion of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' (FCA) latest Uconnect infotainment system – and an overall spruce up, with more colour. The look is also far more retro-themed than before.

Headlining the upgrades are a new multi-function steering wheel, a high-resolution display between the tacho and speedo dials (likely reserved for higher grades), a large central infotainment screen shared with numerous stablemates like the Grand Cherokee and Compass, and a new body-coloured dashboard fascia that adds a pop of colour.

Unfortunately the only interior shots we have of the new car feature a doorless version, meaning we can't comment on the door trims nor can we see differences between the old and new cars in terms of rear-seat accommodation. However, we'd expect the new-generation model to make subtle improvements all round.

Which do you prefer?

Tell us whether the changes are worthwhile in the comments section below, and check out all our Jeep Wrangler coverage here.