The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Moab Is the First JL Special Edition, but It’s Not Quite Rock Crawler-Spec

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The new Jeep Wrangler JL’s very first special edition is upon us, and it’s called the Jeep Wrangler Moab Edition. But though its name may imply the ultimate in rock crawl-ability, the equipment list is geared more towards comfort than bashing through Pritchett Canyon.

Over the long lifespan of the previous generation Jeep Wrangler, the JK, Jeep rolled out probably over a dozen special edition “buzz models,” so it was about time that the brand did the same for the replacement, the JL. Shown in the picture above is the new Moab Edition, which shares its name with a previous JK Wrangler buzz model.

But unlike that JK, the new Wrangler Moab Edition is not available as the shorter, better breakover angle-having two-door model, and it does not get an optional locking rear differential—a helpful feature for any sort of Moab-ing, as it ensures that both rear wheels always receive torque and spin at the same rate, helping propel the vehicle forward in a controlled manner through uneven or slippery terrain.


Plus, unlike the old Moab Edition Wrangler JK, the JL’s first buzz model, and one named after a rock crawling Mecca in Utah, comes standard with a full-time transfer case, which includes front axle constant velocity (CV) joints instead of universal joints.

Illustration for article titled The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Moab Is the First JL Special Edition, but It’s Not Quite Rock Crawler-Spec

If that last bit sounded like a different language, just read my initial review on the JL Wrangler. In short, there’s nothing wrong with a transfer case that has a full-time mode, but CV joints are not only generally considered to be more prone to failing on off-road trails (in part because of their large exposed rubber boots), but when they do fail, replacement can be a hell of a job. U-joints, on the other hand, are the size of a deck of cards, and can be swapped quickly using a big rock. They’re usually preferred in the rock-crawling community.

So the new “Moab Edition” may not quite be equipped to be as true to the “Moab” name as its predecessor, but it still gets some great off-road hardware, including 32-inch mud-terrain tires, steel bumpers, rock rails and a standard limited slip rear differential. These, on top of the fact that all Wranglers have two solid axles, excellent ground clearance and approach/departure/breakover angles, and low-range gearing, mean that this thing will definitely be decent on the trails of Moab, even with those CV joints, and even without a locker.

Illustration for article titled The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Moab Is the First JL Special Edition, but It’s Not Quite Rock Crawler-Spec

Other features for the Sahara-based Moab Edition include a Rubicon hood with a big Moab decal, LED headlights and taillights, 17-inch Rubicon wheels, a body-color hardtop, and black painted headlight surrounds, grille “throats” and tow hooks.


Inside, the seats are leather, there’s Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection, an 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation, a fancy Alpine sound system and a bunch more comfort features. And really, that’s what this Moab Edition seems to be geared towards: comfort. It’s basically an optioned-up Sahara with a big decal and some Rubicon bits bolted on.

The four-door only Moab Edition starts at $52,695 with destination, and is already rolling out to dealers.

Sr. Tech Editor, Jalopnik. Owner of far too many Jeeps (Including a Jeep Comanche). Follow my instagram (@davidntracy). Always interested in hearing from engineers—email me.

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Let’s say I own a farm (I don’t), and I want a Jeep to drive around my fields. Would I really need a Rubicon, or would any old Jeep be good enough?

I keep getting this feeling that even the most basic Wrangler is insanely capable—more than anyone really needs, except maybe the most extreme off-road hobbyists.