The 2018 Jeep Wrangler vs 2018 Toyota Tacoma

 

Introduction

It's a decision that many any of us have agonized over: SUV versus pickup truck. Both are capable vehicles, both can off-road, and both have engines that can haul and tote and carry. But one features more interior cargo space, and the other offers bed space. Normally, the question would be what do you want to carry, and how? But in the contest between Jeep Wrangler and Toyota Tacoma, the question is even simpler: do you want one of the best vehicles on the planet… or something else?

The Jeep name has earned its street cred in the off-road world, and the Wrangler is the icon of the Jeep brand. There's a very good reason for that. After exhaustively comparing the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler to the 2018 Toyota Tacoma, we can safely say that once again Jeep has outperformed the competition. Your Kansas City Jeep dealer has them in stock, so come take one for a test drive and see what all the fuss is about.

Trim Levels

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler comes in four different trims: the Sport, the Sport S, the Sahara, and the Rubicon. A 285-horsepower 3.6L V6 engine is standard, and most trims are available as either a base two-door model or a roomier four-door upgrade. With an MSRP of less than $27,000, the base Sport trim offers an affordable entry point into the Wrangler world.

Jeep Wrangler Sport. This base trim features a 6-speed manual transmission with Command Trac two-speed transfer case. Other standard features include the Uconnect 3 system with 5-inch touchscreen, a Bluetooth-ready eight-speaker sound system, and both auxiliary and USB ports. The Sunrider soft top is zipperless and easy to use. A back-up safety camera comes standard, and the Sport can be upgraded to include an 8-speed automatic transmission and an anti-spin differential rear axle.

Jeep Wrangler Sport S

This trim offers all of the same great features of the Sport, and it also boasts additional amenities such as air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry, and power windows. The infotainment system can be upgraded to a Uconnect 4 with 7-inch touchscreen that is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay ready. Additional upgrade packages are available.

Jeep Wrangler Sahara

This deluxe trim is only available as a four-door. In addition to a performance suspension for off-roading, it features a customizable 7-inch driver information display, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 115-volt power outlet, Satellite radio, and an upgraded Uconnect system with 7-inch touchscreen. Side steps and body-color fender flares enhance the exterior while the sophisticated cabin design sets the interior apart. Upgrades include the Selec-Trac Full-Time 4x4 system, signature LED exterior lighting group, and a hardtop.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

This is the ultimate off-roading vehicle and is available in both four-door and two-door models. Locking front and rear Dana 44 heavy-duty axles, an electronic front sway bar disconnect, steel off-road rock rails and skid plates, and 17-inch wheels with 33-inch BFGoodrich KO2 off-road all-terrain tires are all standard. The trademark Rock-Trac 4X4 system offers a stunning crawl ratio of 84.1:1, which makes this an off-road machine like no other. Winch-capable steel bumpers are also available.

When it comes to the competition, the 2018 Toyota Tacoma offers half a dozen trims. The base model, the Tacoma SR, clocks in at $25,200. You get what you pay for, though: the 2018 Toyota Tacoma comes with a four-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive. You need to substantially upgrade it to even come close to the starting specs of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.

Performance

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler comes standard with the beloved 285-horsepower 3.6L V6 engine that has been powering the model for years. This year Jeep has also introduced an alternative: this turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder alternative generates 270 horsepower and features an electric power assist for better gas mileage. The Rubicon features Jeep's outstanding Rock-Trac 4X4 system, as mentioned, and the other trims feature the Command-Trac NV241 4X4 transfer case. It can be upgraded to include the Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential.

The standard engine in the 2018 Toyota Tacoma is a 159-horsepower four-cylinder, which can be upgraded to a 278-horsepower V6 engine. This doesn't exactly put it in the same class as the 2018 Jeep Wrangler. Despite these shortcomings under the hood, its fuel economy is actually worse on the highway: the Wrangler Sport gets 25 miles per gallon, but the Tacoma SR only gets 23 miles per gallon.

Exterior

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler has undergone some upgrades but remains as iconic as ever. It's a little bigger and more muscular than previous Wranglers, with slightly longer wheelbases and doors on both the two-door and four-door models. The finely chiseled hood and grille design is an eye-catching tribute to the CJ-5. Slightly increasing the size of the fender flares and headlights to offset the larger size of this year's Jeep Wrangler has kept everything symmetrical. The doors remain removable, of course, and by using aluminum the designers have lightened them by several pounds.

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma, by contrast, has not substantially revised its design over the last few years. It's not quite old fashioned, but it's hardly cutting edge.

Interior

The cabin of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler represents a serious step up from both previous models and the competition, with everything from more comfortable seats to a push-button start. It is the definition of spacious, with over 72 cubic feet of cargo space available when you fold the rear seats down. Even when the rear seats are up, you have 32 cubic feet of room to play with. Not only is the interior big, it's also stylish and comfortable. A full-color LED display on the instrument panel provides everything you need for navigation and general information, and the standard 7-inch touchscreen can be upgraded to an 8.4-inch model. A push-button start rounds out the cabin.

When it comes to the competition, the 2018 Toyota Tacoma can't help but fall a little short in this category: it's a truck, so there isn't much cabin to work with.

Safety Features

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler has a wide array of safety features. Many of them, such as the back-up camera, come standard on all trims. Other features vary according to the model and option packages, but they include rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, anti-lock brake systems, hill start assist, cross traffic alert, and a state-of-the-art electronic brake control system.

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma also utilizes both active and passive safety features. Back-up cameras are likewise standard in all trims.


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