A render on what the next Wrangler might look like based on the newly discovered grille. (Photo Credit: JL Wrangler Forums)

You could argue that the entire Jeep brand is built around the face of the Jeep Wrangler. Can you think of an automotive design more distinctive? With a redesigned 2018 Jeep Wrangler on the horizon, we’re all keen to see the new grille. And it looks like we might have our best look at it yet right here.

(Photo Credit: JL Wrangler Forums)

This image reportedly comes to us from an anonymous “sheet metal fabricator.” Where exactly said fabricator works was undisclosed, “but based on what was shown to us it appears to be authentic” according to JL Wrangler Forums, which shared the image.

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The photo itself looks real enough. How likely is it that this is indeed the face of the next-generation (JL chassis code) Jeep Wrangler versus some freelance mockup or aftermarket component is murkier. But it does appear to be consistent with what we expect the new Wrangler to look like– namely, with a kink at the top of the grille and turn signals relocated to the fenders.

With that, let’s break down the significant changes here assuming this really is the next face of the Jeep Wrangler:

  • There’s no room for a “Jeep” badge. It’s either 86’ed completely or moved up to the hood, the latter of which seems more likely.
  • Headlights eat into the grille slots. This suggests the slots themselves are wider, and calls back to the pre-“Wrangler” CJ Jeep style of the 1970s and early 80s.
  • No more blinkers below the headlights. Past hints and leaks have indicated that the turn signal lights will be LED strips on the fenders in the next Jeep Wrangler, as opposed to circles on the face.
  • The kink in the grille slots curving inward is reminiscent of the first Jeep to be called “Wrangler,” the YJ style, which most famously had square headlights and ran from the late 1980’s into the 1990’s.
  • The whole grille-surround piece is significantly wider at the top than the current unit, suggesting the front fenders will be noticeably reshaped as well.
Comparison between the alleged new grille and the current one, by JL Wrangler Forums member “Brandon.” (Photo Credit: JL Wrangler Forums)

Here’s where I’ll reiterate just once more that we won’t get official confirmation on the validity of this design from Jeep’s representatives (though of course we have reached out for comment) so we cannot guarantee this “leaked” part picture is a bonafide component of the next Wrangler.

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However, it sure looks like it. It seems too wide to be an aftermarket piece, too much effort for somebody to make “just because” and it is consistent with the intel we have on the new Wrangler. And I think it looks pretty sweet.