Image rendered by the author with graphics from Jeep. The panoramic sunroof is PhotoShop’d off a Land Rover.

It seems almost certain that the new Jeep Wrangler will hang on to the model’s signature solid-axle off-road orientation and pretty much keep the styling we know and love. But now I’m hearing that the 2018 will have three roof configurations never seen on a stock Wrangler before.

At the beginning of 2015 “jlwranglerforums” came online, dedicated to – you guessed it – the next Jeep Wrangler which will have the chassis code JL. Just a few days ago a user simply called “Administrator” posted a thread listing release dates, engine, transmission and feature options attributed only to “our dealer source.”

“The information comes from our inside source who has provided us with credible information in the past,” Administrator explained me in an email.

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They also said– “Our source has told us the traditional soft top will be replaced by powered soft top panels that fold down. There will be an optional hardtop glass panel resembling a panoramic sunroof but likely to not be completely unobstructed view due to the substructure. The next Wrangler will also come in a true 3-piece steel roof hardtop.”

Let’s talk about these.

Power soft top

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Polish your pitchforks, purists! Administrator here says the traditional soft top will be replaced. You’ll take another dollop of mass and breakable mechanics and you’ll like it. The strong majority of Wranglers’s market, people who drive them for the general fun they provide rather than extreme rock-crawling ability, definitely will.

Remember how long it took that idiot on YouTube to take down the manually folding soft top for the first time? Replacing even thirty seconds of screwing around with zippers and velcro with the touch of a button is going to be a big plus for a lot of people.

That said, I hope Jeep leaves a manual version on the options list.

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Hardtop glass panel

Pickup trucks are getting panoramic sunroofs, why not Wranglers?

Real talk: this is a concept I’ve never even considered, but now that I’ve heard about it it’s going to tantalize me in dreams more than any other rumored Wrangler feature.

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A glass roof is a fantastic solution for Wrangler drivers who want to appreciate the vehicle’s “openness” in relatively quiet, temperate conditions. Like myself on a ski trip. I wish I’d thought of it sooner so I could have added it to the long list of things I regularly rant about.

Surprisingly this seems to be one feature even the mighty Wrangler aftermarket has not cooked up yet. I would expect serious popularity if Jeep pulls this off.

True 3-piece hardtop

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“What’s the current one... false?”

The current (JK) Wrangler’s optional “three-piece” hardtop is identified as such because the left and right sides over the front seats come off separately, allowing the Jeep to be driven “targa style.” The third piece would be the big section covering the rear seats and coming down to form the sides of the rear cargo area.

I hypothesize the phrase “true three-piece” is either PR hogwash that translates to “regular-ass three-piece” or it means the new one has some kind of functionality that allows it to sit in three distinct stages.

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You wouldn’t really drive around with just the left or right front bit of the roof out but if the top were divided into front, rear, and cargo covering-parts there could be some added utility.


Of course, we’ve got to take any and all information from anonymous sources with a coarse lump of salt, but I think all three of these roof-ideas are sound and plausible.