Over the past eight decades, the Jeep Wrangler has steadily evolved from a military utility truck to a modern off-roading vehicle. Currently in its fourth generation, the best-selling off-road SUV is getting a facelift for its 2024 model year.
Several years ago, the popular Jeep Wrangler transitioned from the JK variant to the JL, offering a whole new look. Here is everything you need to know about the model change and how to tell the two Jeeps apart.
What do all the Jeep abbreviations mean?
The Jeep Wrangler’s roots go back to 1945 when wartime vehicles made way for civilian versions of the iconic Jeep product, which in the 1950s became known as the Jeep CJ.
It took another three decades until Jeep officially announced the Wrangler nameplate, and in 1987, the Jeep Wrangler YJ was born. The two-door convertible off-roader had a sleeker overall look than its predecessor, offering more comfort for drivers and passengers than ever before.
In 1997, the Wrangler TJ became a product of the Chrysler takeover, which included a return to round highlights and new coil springs. The TJ model stayed in production for 10 years.
In 2007, the four-door Wrangler JK arrived with a redesign that included a powerful 3.6-liter V6 engine, a new chassis, and updated interior components. The Wrangler JL emerged in 2018 with significant fourth-generation performance updates and a turbocharged engine.
In addition to subtle design changes, the Wrangler JL received a V8 option and became the first hybrid variant of the product line.
The 2024 Wrangler will continue as the JL but offer new features and a highly-anticipated facelift.
How to tell the difference between a JK and a JL
In 2018, Fiat Chrysler rolled out the new Jeep Wrangler JL edition, but in the early part of the year kept producing JK models. If you are looking at a 2018 model year, it can be difficult to tell which version it is. Anything after that year is undoubtedly the current Wrangler JL.
There are a few subtle features that can help you make the distinction. The easiest and most noticeable way to tell the difference is the ignition. The JK requires a key to start the vehicle, while the newer JL has a push-button start.
Next, look at the front grille. The JK edition is smooth from top to bottom, with a narrow space between openings and a chrome Jeep logo. The grille on the JL edition pushes slightly forward with wider spaces between the slats.
The fender vent and signal lights are another way to distinguish between the models. The JL model has small vents behind the passenger and driver side front fender flares to keep the engine cooler with better airflow. Also, the signal lights on the JL model are on the front flare face as opposed to under the headlights, where they are placed on the JK model.
Lastly, look at the infotainment system. The JK models do not have multimedia consoles. According to Quadratec, if the vehicle has a “touchscreen system complete with backup camera ability, then you have a 2018 JL Wrangler.”
When we can expect to see the 2024 Jeep Wrangler
The facelift for the fourth-generation 2024 Jeep Wrangler JL will include updated features and redesigned exterior elements. The starting MSRP is $31,895 for the entry-level trim, going as high as $85,095 for a fully-loaded 2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon X 4xe.
Changes for the 2024 model year on various Jeep Wrangler trim levels include a newly redesigned seven-slot grille, a factory-installed winch paired with a steel front bumper with an 8,000-pound rating, new wheel designs, full-float axles with a 5,000-pound towing capacity, new 12-way power seating, and standard first and second-row side-curtain airbags.
The newly-redesigned 2024 Wrangler JL will be available at Jeep dealerships nationwide later this year. The build and order process has already begun.