Whether it’s the hybrid powertrain, the lightweight aluminum body parts or the fourth-generation Uconnect touchscreen in the dashboard, the all-new ’18 Wrangler represents a bold leap forward for Jeep’s iconic off-roader.

Designated model “JL” alphabetically following predecessor “JK,” the Wrangler debuting at the Los Angeles auto show represents the SUV’s first tread-to-top makeover in a decade.

“It’s like Halley’s Comet – it doesn’t come around that often,” says Ralph Gilles, head of design for FCA US. The current Wrangler arrived in 2007, greatly expanding utility with the addition of the 4-door Unlimited model. Prior makeovers have come about every 10 years since the mid ’70s.

The Wrangler’s once-a-decade redo can’t come quickly enough as North American Jeep sales are down 11%, although strong global deliveries have offset that decline, says Jeep brand chief Mike Manley. Wrangler U.S. deliveries dipped 5.2% in 2016, the first downturn for the nameplate since 2008-09, WardsAuto data shows. Sales are holding steady year-over-year through October at about 163,000 units.

Wrangler sales spiked nearly 50% when the previous all-new model was introduced.

Despite the Wrangler’s heritage as a do-everything, go-anywhere military-derived general purpose vehicle dating back to WWII, this time around Jeep designers and engineers are more cognizant of aerodynamics, saving weight and fuel efficiency.

Starting up front, the grille and windshield are raked, corners are softened and headlight surrounds are integrated into the seven-slot grille to reduce wind resistance without diminishing the Wrangler’s throwback appearance. Overall, aerodynamic drag is reduced 9%.

“Aero was a challenge,” says Mark Allen, head of Jeep Design. “It was a lot of work, but we tried to hide it. The windshield rake is key – you can’t lean any deeper. Come back in 10 years and that’s where we’ll be.”

Farther back, the beltline is lowered, giving the Wrangler a taller greenhouse and much better outward visibility. The rear glass and tailgate are wider and the spare tire is lower and incorporates the model’s first rearview camera, mounted in the spare tire hub. The camera will be standard on all JLs. Also available are blindspot detection built into the rear turn signal pods and park-assist sensors.

Trimming weight is another priority, with lighter-weight aluminum replacing steel for the hood, doors, front fenders and the windshield surround, while high-strength steel is incorporated into key frame members, knocking about 200 lbs. (91 kg) off the curb weight. Another first: the aluminum doors now close themselves.