I'm Ryan from extremeterrain.com, and in this video, we're gonna be comparing the brand
new 2018 JL to the JK that you all know and love.
The JL is very, very different from the JK.
Some of those differences are very obvious.
Some of them not so much, so we're gonna put them side by side and compare interior, exterior,
driving, suspension, even take some measurements for you and really give you a good idea of
what's different, and what's the same.
Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel to check out other JL review videos as well
as our full comprehensive review.
Now, let's get into it.
So the two Jeeps that I have to compare are, of course, the brand new 2018 JL.
This is our Sahara, which is going to be a four-door in the new JL.
And on this side, the JK is a 2015.
This is also a Sahara.
It has a couple of minor aftermarket parts on it, but it's still very much gonna work
for us for this comparison.
So the first thing I wanna talk about on the front of the JL is right up here on the grille,
and that is going to be the big thing that you're gonna see as you're walking toward
the Jeep that is very different from what you saw on the JK.
Of course, you still have that iconic seven-slot grille.
That's never going to go away, but you don't have the Jeep badge on the top anymore, and
the headlights actually protrude into that first slot a little bit on both sides.
So giving a little bit of a different look, really a nod back to some of those original
Jeeps way back in the day.
They had a similar setup with the headlight coming into that first slot, so Jeep brought
that back a little bit.
Of course, you don't need a nameplate on the Jeep.
That front end is so iconic.
Everybody knows that it's a Jeep as you're rolling toward them.
So, that is going to be one of the big things looking at the front grille.
And then, when you actually look at it from the profile, you can see that it's not on
one plane anymore.
So, it's actually pretty much straight up and down here, and then a little bit more
of a rake back in the front.
What that's designed to do is give you a little bit more aerodynamics because a lot of the
stuff they built into this Jeep is very much about MPG and efficiency.
If you flip over to the JK here, this grille is pretty much one plane.
It doesn't have that bend at the top, and even the angle that the grille sits at is
less of a severe angle than the top of the JL.
So this is going to be a lot more straight up and down, and that's something that people
have commented on.
In my opinion, the JL certainly doesn't look bad like it is.
A lot of people like the boxier look of the JK.
That's certainly up to you, what you like.
The other thing that we'll talk about on the JL is the front fender flares.
So these flares have a running light, and a turn signal built right into those front
This Jeep has the LED lighting package, so these are gonna be LED as well, as the headlights,
and the fog lights.
That is going to not be the case with a Sport.
If you flip over to the JK here, the headlights don't protrude into that first slot there.
These fender flares are going to be straight across in the front, no marker lights, no
So you have your turn signal and your marker lights here in the grille, so definitely,
a little bit of a different feel there.
Coming back over to the JL, you can see that this bumper is going to be significantly different.
You still have your fog lights built into it.
You still have a couple of tow hooks on the front here, but the rest of the design of
the bumper is different.
Again, this is a Sahara.
If we had a Sport model, you would actually have a small piece of plastic lights that
sits right here between the bumper and the fender flare, almost giving the look of a
Over here on the JK, again, very different.
You don't have the inserts here.
This being led has some Sahara trim pieces on it.
It has the painted black applique in the center.
This doesn't have that European-style front bumper on it.
Now we'll talk about the hood.
Right up here, this is an area that's been redesigned on the JL.
This has a much larger rubber bump stop on the hood, and it has integrated washers right
into that bump stop.
So, that's gonna be for folding down that windshield, to protect the windshield, and
also protect the hood.
And this hood is not going to be a factory Sahara hood on our JK here, but it is very
much like the power bulge on the 10th anniversary Rubicon.
So this one isn't going to have any bumps on it at all because of the way that this
power bulge is, but in general, on a JK, you would have seen foot middle loop on the middle,
and two small rubber bump stops on either side of it.
And then you have your washers here that are completely separate.
So, a lot more stuff going on even on the factory hood than on the JL.
They definitely smooth that out a little bit.
Moving back to the windshield itself, this area has also been raked back, right about
6 degrees over what you saw on the JKs.
So again, that's about efficiency, that's about MPG, and that's about aerodynamics.
And you still can fold this windshield down, which is something that in the early days
was rumored you might not be able to.
What's interesting about this is the windshield is not the structural part of the Jeep.
There's actually still a hoop that exists here even after you fold the windshield down.
So you still have your sun visors, and you still have your rear-view mirror attached
to that even when you have the windshield folded down.
And that process is very easy on the JL, there are just four screws across the inside of
the top of the windshield frame.
Of course, you have to remove your freedom panel, but once you got those four screws
removed, you simply fold this down, of course, after you get the wipers out of the way.
Over here on the JK, the windshield is much more straight up and down, as we mentioned.
It is folding, as you know, but in order to get this folded, it's a much longer process.
You have to remove a bunch of screws here on this windshield hinge cover, as well as
some screws on the interior of the Jeep.
And then when you flip the windshield down, you really have nothing in that area.
There's no hoop, there's no frame, there's nothing, everything folds down onto the hood.
Definitely, a different flavor there.
So those are the main things I wanted to point out on the front end of the Jeep.
Now, let's move onto the side.
So one thing that's on both kind of front and the side of the Jeep are the hood latches,
and there's something that Jeep completely redesigned.
As you can see, they look different, they also function differently.
There's no more rubber on the inside of the hood latch like back on the JK, and really,
a lot of the generations before.
That rubber can stretch out, it can dry rot, it can break, you can get hood flutter.
Those guys with the JKs know about the hood spring delete to try and get rid of some of
that hood flutter.
This is going to eliminate all of that.
We talked about the fender flares from the front, but you can also see from the side,
how they do have a little bit of a different look to them.
The marker light especially, going from round to something that's integrated with the front-running
light is going to be a completely different look.
Working our way down the side of the Jeep a little bit, you have one of the biggest
design features that really differentiates this Jeep from a lot of the other ones that
we've seen, and it's this vent here on the front quarter panel.
So the JKs were really known for their heat soak.
They had a lot of heat underneath the hood of the Jeep.
So this is going to be a functional piece.
It's actually going to help to vent some of that hot air, but it also adds a lot of style
and definitely changes up the look of the Jeep a lot.
One of the other things that falls very much into that same category is this line down
the side of the Jeep.
So instead of just having a big flat door, this has a little bit of a body line running
through the door all the way to the back of the Jeep.
Looks a little bit like a TJ.
That's something a lot of people have picked up on, myself as well, being a TJ owner.
And so again, something I like.
Here, this was a change that Jeep made as well instead of having a push button on the
JK that will take a look at in a second.
This is going to pull...
The whole handle pulls open, and this also has a running board down the side.
That's going to be something that is standard on the Saharas just like anything else.
You go up to the Rubicon, you have a rock slider, and if you step down to a Sport, this
is going to be an option for you.
So we'll go over to the JK here, and show you a couple of the differences between what
we just looked at.
In this, of course, there's no fender vent here.
This is just big flat.
That's kind of the theme of the JK.
The door, no body line here, big and flat.
The doors handle with that old-school button here.
So definitely going to be a different look with the new JL.
So let's spin these things around and we'll take a look at the back.
Like most of the other parts of the new JL, it is almost completely different from the
Taking a look back here, the first thing I'll notice up top is a little bit of a spoiler
built into the hard top.
Now there are a couple of different top options available for the JL that weren't available
on the JK.
This one is most similar to what we see on the JK, but again, they redesigned.
And this spoiler here is for aerodynamics and for efficiency.
Over here on the JK, you don't have that.
Again, going with the little bit more on the boxy look that we saw on the front, with everything
being straight up and down with a few less curves over here.
Something else that is going to be a very major difference is going to be the tail lights.
This Jeep again has that LED lighting package, so these are gonna be LED while some of the
other ones might not be.
In which you have here is around the outside, a bit of a...almost a fiber optic-style where
there's one consistent light around the outside.
That's your marker light.
Then you have at the top and the bottoms are going to be your brake, and your turn signal
And then, the middle, an LED reverse light.
As we go over here to the JK, a little bit more of a simple light.
Again, these are incandescent.
You don't have the border.
It's just your tail, stop, turn, and then your white reverse light there.
So, a little bit more involved light on this Jeep.
You can also see when you look over here onto the driver side, that they've moved the license
plate down onto the bumper.
So that's going to be something that dramatically changes up the look of the back of the Jeep
Now initially, I was thinking, they may have done that because a lot of people, especially
when you take your Jeep off-road, will end up catching that license plate holder and
breaking it off, but looking at how far these lights stick out, I don't think that is the
The light still sticks out very, very far.
If you are gonna go wheeling on some narrow trails, there's always a chance you're gonna
hook that light and break it.
If we go back over to the JK here, you can see what we used to have, which is a license
plate bracket that's here on the body, and down here on the bumper, a little bit cleaner
not having that license plate bracket there.
Something else that's a little bit different is the third brake light.
This has the third brake light that comes up almost like a pedestal-style directly into
the center of the spare tire.
And if we look back over here at the JL, this wraps around a little bit more.
It has a little bit of a different style to it, a little bit of a different design.
Down here in the center of the spare tire, you'll see the reverse camera.
Even though they tried to integrate and camouflage it a little bit, this is still a big camera,
and it is something that you're most likely going to notice.
Now, the good thing about this camera mounting location is that it is nice and high, and
it is also the furthest thing out on the back of the Jeep, so it gives you a very good viewing
So, it is very, very functional even if it doesn't look all that great in my opinion.
As we work our way into the interior of this Jeep, there's one other thing that I did wanna
talk about concerning the doors.
Now on the JK, you have a vinyl limiting strap, and that's pretty much all like keeps the
door from swinging all the way open, ending in the cowl, and it's also the only thing
that really holds the door in position.
There's nothing else that tensions it, and there's nothing else that auto-closes the
Now, while this door is still absolutely removable, there is one additional component that helps
to keep the door in position, kind of lock it in position, more like a traditional car,
and will also help to close the door.
So, when you have the door open completely, it does stop right there.
And then, if you get it to about 50% of the way closed and let it go, it closes just like
a regular car.
Again, just something that Jeep did to add in another creature comfort and make this
a little bit more of a modern vehicle.
One of the areas that they completely, completely redesigned, nothing is the same, is the interior
of this Jeep.
Now, I do wanna point out again that this is a Sahara, so this does have a few additional
creature comforts on the inside than, you might get what you say a Sport or a Sport
S, and this also does have the upgraded Infotainment system, so this has the larger 8.4-inch screen,
but even without those additional option packages, this whole interior has a very different feel
from the JK and a very, very comfortable feel.
So, the steering wheel is going to be leather, still has the buttons on the back side here,
so you can change your volume, and your radio station.
The buttons on the front have been redesigned slightly, but you have all of the same major
stuff including your phone and your voice control.
And then over on the other side, of course, your cruise control.
The center section of the dash is, of course, completely different as well.
You have your speedometer
So that covers the big interior changes.
Now let's pop the hood of this thing and we'll talk a little bit about the differences in
the engine bay.
Our JL came with the 3.6-Liter Pentastar engine and that is the engine that you would have
gotten in your JK.
Back in the JK days, there was only one engine option.
The early JKs have the 3.8-Liter, the newer ones, the 3.6-Liter, but you couldn't get
any other options even if you wanted them.
In the JL right now, the only engine they're shifting with is a redesigned 3.6-Liter Pentastar.
However, in the future, you will also be able to get a diesel and also a 2-Liter gas turbo
So a couple of different options there.
Now, even though this has pretty much the same 3.6-Liter Pentastar as you saw in the
JK, it has been redesigned.
It's approximately 6% more efficient.
It does have an exhaust gas recycling system, again, for some efficiency.
It's gonna have a little bit more power as well, so they did make a couple of minor tweaks
to that engine.
Behind those engines, in the JK, you are able to get either a 5-speed automatic transmission
or a 6-speed stick.
On this, you can still get that same 6-speed stick shift, but you can also get an 8-speed
automatic, and that's what in our Jeep here.
So now, let's get these things up on the lift, and we'll take a look at some of the differences
and similarities underneath the Jeeps.
So I've got both of these Jeeps up in the air, and I wanna go over the JK from the front
to back, and then we'll jump over to the JL, and point out some of the differences, and
some of the similarities.
So the JKs came with a Dana 44 rear axle, in pretty much all of the Jeeps, certainly
all of the four-door Jeeps.
And up front, they have a Dana 30 axle.
The gear ratios were a factory 3.21.
You could also get a 3.73 or a 4.10 in a Rubicon, but looking at the underside of the Jeep,
the Jeeps are fairly similar in suspension.
They're all going to be coil spring suspensions, they're all going to be five-link suspensions,
so you're gonna have four control arms and a track bar.
The steering components, the steering links on the JL do appear to be a little bit thicker,
so you can see that they have beefed that a little bit, but I think that also has to
do with the fact that that has a new hydraulic electric power steering system that puts out
a little bit more pressure, and we'll look at that when we get to the JL.
But, other than that, as you can see, the cross-members and the factory skid plates
are pretty similar.
You still have the gas tank in pretty much the same location with a same factory gas
tank skid plate.
One thing that is different here on the JK, you can see that there is an EVAP canister
right here, which is an area where you can get busted up quite often on the trail.
They did sell some additional aftermarket skid plates for this piece to try to protect
With the JL, they have moved that, so it's not going to be here in the way, which is
One thing that they did change up back here is they out-boarded the rear shocks a little
So these rear shocks at the top will mount to the body of the Jeep in the side of the
frame rails on the JL, that actually mounts to a bracket mounted to the outside of the
So that's going to give you a little bit more stability and just goes into the geometry
of the rear of the Jeep, giving you the best possible ride.
So here we are underneath the JL, and things are going to look fairly similar, but they
do have a little bit of a different axle underneath, and a couple of things I do wanna point out.
So this Jeep is going to come with a factory Dana 35, Dana 30 combination, but they have
been reworked, so they're going to be a little bit stronger than the old 30, 35s that you
might be used to.
And these are also going to come with a factory 3.45 gear in them.
If you get the Rubicon, you're gonna step up to a 4.10, but even that 3.45 is going
to be higher than a gear ratio that you saw in the JK from the factory.
So that's going to help out if you do wanna put a little bit of a bigger tire on an otherwise
One of the things that I do wanna point out to you is right up here in the front of the
Jeep on this Dana 30, and that is a front axle disconnect, and that's something that
the YJ guys are going to be used to seeing.
And, essentially, what it is is this front axle shaft is a two-piece axle shaft, and
this allows those two pieces to completely disconnect.
So when you're driving in two-wheel drive mode on the road, this tire can completely
There's nothing connecting it to the differential and that's going to give you maximum fuel
efficiency, and really create less drag on the Jeep, but when you shift it into a four-wheel
drive, this mechanism goes into action.
It connects the two axle shaft together, so then you can power this wheel when you're
in an off-road four-wheel drive situation.
But working our way back and you'll see this is a five-link suspension just like the JK
You have a similar cross-member a factory transfer case.
Skid plate here, like I said before, fuel tanks are pretty much in the same spot.
Right here is where that EVAP canister was on the JK, I mentioned before that that's
So one less thing to smash up when you are on the trail.
So on a factory JL, whether you're getting a Sport or a Sahara, you can upgrade to the
Dana 44, and that's what this Jeep has here.
That does have the optional package.
This is gonna be the Dana 44 out back, and this is Jeep's anti-spin rear axle, which
is essentially their limited slip differential.
So you are going to be powering the tire with the most traction instead of the least.
So, you are going to get a little bit more traction with this setup.
Of course, if you step up to the Rubicon, you're also going to have a Dana 44 in the
front, so you're going to have the strongest axles that you can get.
Now, something else that's gonna change with the Rubicon is the transfer case.
So, when you have a factory JL, you're going to have a command track transfer case, and
that's going to give you a four-high, a four-low, a neutral, and a two-high.
This is going to have the optional select tract transfer case.
So that's going to be an optional package that you can get on the Sahara here, and what
that gives you is also a four-high auto.
So you have four-high auto where the Jeep will still select if you're in two-wheel or
in four-wheel drive.
You'll have a four-wheel high part-time, which is akin to your standard four-wheel high on
that old transfer case.
And then, of course, you'll still have a neutral and a four-low.
So, if you're like me, you might have an older Jeep, you might be driving around constantly
shifting from four-high to two-high because you don't wanna put additional stress on the
transfer case when you aren't in a slick condition.
Here that four-high auto is going to do that for you.
And then, like I said, when you step up to the Rubicon, you're going to get a rock track
transfer case that's going to change up the gear ratios in the transfer case plus it's
going to give you a crazy 84:1 crawl ratio.
In the Rubicon, you're gonna be able to crawl over anything you point that Jeep at.
It's really gonna keep you at a higher RPM range, we have a ton of torque and a ton of
power all at a low speed when you're crawling on the rocks.
So now, we're gonna take this thing out, flex it a little bit, take a couple of measurements,
so you can see what type of articulation this Jeep has versus the older JK.
So we disconnected the sway bars on both our JL and our JK, brought them out here in the
parking lot to see how much they would flex before pulling that fourth tire off the ground,
to see if one is dramatically different than the other.
I suspected they would be similar being that they both have the same five-link suspension,
but we wanted to test it out, and it does look like they're pretty much exactly the
I took a measurement from the bottom spring perch to the top of the stretched out side,
and you get about 13-inches on both Jeeps.
So from the factory, they're both going to flex, and they're both going to articulate
in pretty much the same way.
We'll have to wait and see what the aftermarket does when they're able to finally catch up
to the new JL, and get some new lift kits and some new suspension parts out there on
So, that points out a lot of the differences and the similarities between the brand new
2018 JL and the JK that we've had for about the last 10 years.
For any of you that are on the fence about buying one of the new JLs versus one of the
older JKs, I hope this helps you make that decision.
Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel to check out other JL review videos as well
as our full comprehensive review.