Fear not: the Wrangler is not going soft.
A pair of dark, grainy images that allegedly show the brand-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler have surfaced online.
Published on enthusiast website JLWranglerForums, the pictures look like they came out of a 25-year old Xerox machine. They nonetheless provide valuable insight into what we can expect from the next generation of Jeep's emblematic off-roader.
Notably, the top and the doors still come off, and a pair of hinges located right above the hood confirm the windshield still folds down. These two features will reassure the enthusiasts who were worried about the Wrangler going soft.
A closer look reveals the grille is up more upright, and the headlights are recessed into the outer slots, a design feature last seen on the CJ-7. The turn signals have moved from the grille to the fenders. The pictures show the range-topping Rubicon trim, so more basic variants will undoubtedly look less rugged.
Air breathers reduce turbulence in the front wheel wells. Out back, we can tell the lights stretch into the quarter panels, another first for the Wrangler. The spare tire isn't pictured, but earlier spy shots of a fully-camouflaged test mule it will be rear-mounted.
The changes under the hood will be equally important. While the current model's Pentastar V6 engine will most likely carry over, the optional powerplant will be a new, 2.0-liter turbo four rated at about 300 horsepower. Four-wheel drive and a manual transmission will come standard, and an automatic gearbox will be offered at an extra cost.
Production of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler is expected to kick off in November, meaning the off-roader will almost certainly make its public debut during this year's Los Angeles Auto Show. Keeping a secret in the auto industry is easier said than done, so expect more leaks and spy shots in the coming months.