• Aug 1, 2011
Chrysler has managed to squeeze a little extra fuel economy from the 2012 Jeep Wrangler. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the model now gets up to 17 mpg city and 21 mpg highway, good for 18 mpg combined when saddled with a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. That's a thirteen-percent improvement over the 2011 model's 15 mpg city and an 11 percent boost over the old bruiser's 19 mpg highway. Not surprisingly, the increases come from the fact that the Wrangler now boasts the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine.

The better fuel economy doesn't come at the cost of horsepower, either. In fact, the new V6 rocks 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The old 3.8-liter V6 was only good for a comparatively asthmatic 202 horsepower and 237 lb-ft of twist.

The four-door Wrangler Unlimited shown above has also benefited from the Pentastar engine – its fuel economy has increased to 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.


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  • 55 Comments
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      They would improve even more if the people over at Chrysler stopped screwing around and gave us AMERICANS our damn well-deserved Diesels.
      guyverfanboy
      • 3 Years Ago
      When will the Jeep Wrangler get the 2.8 diesel? 2013? 28/36 MPG would be a hell of an improvement for this measly 17/21 MPG! Diesels are a no-brainer Chrysler!
        Joe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @guyverfanboy
        As the owner of a Liberty 2.8 CRD I wouldn't push for that engine. Chrysler needs to find another source for their small diesel engines. In an ideal world maybe they could work out a deal with VAG... no more Italian engines. You're more likely to see 22/28 on a Wrangler 2.8 CRD. That's about what I get with my Liberty after an ECU tune that also disables exhaust recirculation.
          guyverfanboy
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Joe
          Still, even with 22/28 fuel economy, it is much better what it has now!
        Joe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @guyverfanboy
        Yeah, I'm not complaining on fuel economy necessarily. We drove from Las Cruces to Colorado Springs and back last weekend and got 25.7 mpg overall at 75-80 mph. The motor has a timing belt rather than a timing chain. Off-road vehicles shouldn't have timing belts. Exhaust recirculation is required to meet the U.S. emission requirements. All it does is gum up the intake and reduce efficiency and power. The original torque converter was junk and couldn't handle the torque. They should have offered it with a manual where this wouldn't have been an issue for many of us in the first place. In short, I guess, there's good with the diesel Jeep, and there's not so good. Overall I like my 2000 Cherokee 4.0 more. I've been a diesel fan going back to my '85 Jetta diesel. The liberty was a disappointment for me. Jeep lost their way with the crossovers and most of all when they dumped the 4.0 in 2007.
        Joe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @guyverfanboy
        Yeah, I'm not complaining on fuel economy necessarily. We drove from Las Cruces to Colorado Springs and back last weekend and got 25.7 mpg overall at 75-80 mph. The motor has a timing belt rather than a timing chain. Off-road vehicles shouldn't have timing belts. Exhaust recirculation is required to meet the U.S. emission requirements. All it does is gum up the intake and reduce efficiency and power. The original torque converter was junk and couldn't handle the torque. They should have offered it with a manual where this wouldn't have been an issue for many of us in the first place. In short, I guess, there's good with the diesel Jeep, and there's not so good. Overall I like my 2000 Cherokee 4.0 more. I've been a diesel fan going back to my '85 Jetta diesel. The liberty was a disappointment for me. Jeep lost their way with the crossovers and most of all when they dumped the 4.0 in 2007.
      natron3030
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wake me when the Diesel if available.
      AzureStarline
      • 3 Years Ago
      diesel and we'll talk
      Master Austin
      • 3 Years Ago
      Modern engine, modern transmission, better few economy...what a concept...
      Paul P.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Much better than before. However, I think I'd still rather have a nice I4 turbo-diesel.
      sinistro79
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was hoping for better gas mileage than this with the 3.6 Pentastar. I actually test drove the current 3.8 to see what all the negativity was about and, yeah, the thing was gutless. I think the real improvement with the 3.6 is the horsepower, not the mpg.
        Ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @sinistro79
        Yep i mpg on the sticker ain't much, especially when you consider that you'll likely never see the mpg posted on the window sticker unless your traveling at 45 mph, never meet up with traffic or congestion, and never go up any inclines. I think thee only vehicle that I've ever owned that met and exceeded the mpg ratings was a subaru...
      tenspeeder
      • 3 Years Ago
      would love to try one of these out in Moab next Spring
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        mylexicon
        • 3 Years Ago
        Customers demanded the 4.0L I-6 b/c it was bulletproof, and it was a legend in the world of Jeep. Jeep is like the 911--if you screw with the basic concept, people get pissed. People flipped when Chrysler squared the headlamps. It wasn't until $4 gasoline that Jeep owners (I own a TJ now) were interested in pursuing an updated powerplant. Besides if you knew anything about Jeeps, you'd know that the engine is not really the source of inefficiency. The car has the frontal area and the drag coefficient of a barn door, and Wranglers actually make about 15-17mpg at realistic highway speeds b/c of drag. The aerodynamic problems are not easily solved b/c consumers love the look of the Wrangler (and the soft top) so Chrysler have made modest improvements by switching the engine. No one who understands Jeep Wranglers will agree with you. The problems with Wrangler were apparent long before Congress finally got CAFE 2025 on the docket.
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
          mylexicon
          • 3 Years Ago
          What government law created your iPod, your fiber optic internet connection, you laptop, your iPhone, your latest fashions, your favorite TV shows, your favorite blogs, your favorite foods, your Blu Ray movies, your favorite paintings, your favorite books, or your favorite viral videos? Automobiles have been improving rapidly b/c digitization has revolutionized engine control, rapid prototyping, quality control, and simulation. They weren't using these advancements for fuel economy purposes, but that doesn't mean that no progress was happening prior to CAFE 2025. Furthermore, you don't even understand the purpose of CAFE 2025. This oil/trade crisis has happened before. After oil prices declined we decided to start burning oil as if the crisis never happened. It was fun for about 20 years, but we ended up relapsing into the same problem. CAFE 2025 is supposed to prevent another relapse. The market is already moving towards fuel efficiency, and the manufacturers were developing new technology long before the government stepped in. Toyota in particular were way ahead of the times when they made the Prius a decade ago, and VW were already playing around with cool concepts like the 1L vehicle long before oil moved to $140 per barrel. Politicians say that government is driving innovation b/c that's what politicians say to score points. You're not supposed to actually fall for it. The private sector will do all of the donkey work, and consumers will pay all of the bills. CAFE 2025 is just a fail safe to make sure we don't lose focus halfway through our journey to economic/energy independence.
          Hazdaz
          • 3 Years Ago
          Bingo. In a perfect world we wouldn't need the gob'ment to push businesses. However time and again that is proven to be false. Without the push from Uncle Sam these companies sit on their laurels and collect their fat paychecks until at some point they get blown away by the (usually foreign) competition. Then either we lose that industry altogether to other countries, or it becomes a very painful path to rebuilding an industry.
          A_Guy
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mylexicon: Ok, so the government is still stepping in because automakers never learn. It's all the same.
          graphikzking
          • 3 Years Ago
          Not 100% true - See competition drives change. Look at the Pacifico. That engine was a 3.5 liter with 250hp and got better fuel economy than the wrangler. Even with AWD and 7 seater.. it still was more hp and more efficient than a wrangler. COMPETITION drives change. The Pacifico had the Murano, Edge, X3, Highlander, Pilot etc. These engines all had more hp, so Chrysler needed to put an engine to compete. The Wrangler flat out has ZERO competition so instead of putting the 3.5 250hp engine into it and getting better fuel economy and faster, they say around until forced to. I wish a competitor would have brought out a competitor to the Wrangler. Ford did the same thing. Once Camaro disappeared, did they change their 6cyl mustang? That ANCIENT 210hp v6? NOPE! Then Camaro and Genesis and Challenger appear, Ford brings out a V6 with 100more hp and more fuel efficiency. Not JUST because of CAFE standards, but more for COMPETITION!
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      My god the Wrangler is an awful vehicle. With the new engine it isn't quite as slow, but wow. And people who buy em - either they never get used for the purpose that they are designed, or, people create contrived situations to justify the purpose, while tearing up a field that just got rained on. Probably less than 5% of the people live in areas where a vehicle that is this rugged, is necessary. In the end, people buy a slow, horribly unreliable, poor driving, awful gas mileage vehicle, because...well, why? Keep buying them though - I have a friend who is a mechanic, and he smiles each time one drives by.
        junkyardlife
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        My '98 Wrangler 4.0L/5 spd manual is a kick to drive. It's like being behind the wheel of a 1960s-era muscle car with air bags and ABS. Climbing mountains because I can is fun but the view from the top is better – 185k miles strong.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Where am I wrong? Consumer Reports has the reliability at the bottom. Most people drive them to the grocery store. I never said people should be forced not to buy them, I am not a liberal, but those who do get poor room, poor performance (although now it will be a bit better) poor handling, awful reliability. Everything I said is proven through every statistic. Any person can keep repairing a yugo for ever and get miles out of it. Doesn't make it good. And the mechanic doesn't have to cheat people - the jeeps get towed to him. And let's not forget the morons who die because they don't wear their seat belts and get crushed the first time they roll it. If you own a jeep, wear your seat belts for goodness sake.
          sirjaysmith
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          well death statistics for Jeeps are low, because the rollbars actually make them safer than most SUVs. reliability is very good in my numerous Jeeps I've owned, but your lack of independant thought process from Consumer Reports is very telling. The Wrangler does not drive poorly, but the reason it doesn't handle like a Mazda 3 or BMW is because it is, first and foremost, an offroad vehicle. You might as well be complaining over a Miata not being able to do the Baja 1000 if you're seriously going to argue its handling compared to the average CAR. Consumer Reports even states that the Jeep is very good, FOR WHAT IT WAS BUILT FOR, but they do not take that into consideration (their words, not mine). Just because a Jeep isn't your thing, and some magazines are delusional, doesn't mean it is a bad thing. And for the record, my 78 CJ7, fully original still does Daily Driver duty, take that and shove it up your yugo......All of my Jeeps will be around long after your cars have expired.
        sirjaysmith
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        If you're friend is smiling, its because he is a crooked mechanic and sabotages them because he probably feels as you do. There are VERY, VERY few vehicles out there that have as many old specimens on the road regularly as Jeep does. And I didn't know you had to justify a purchase in a FREE COUNTRY. It sounds like a little jealousy to me, because anyone who owns one will tell you they aren't anything like your horrid post.
      Hal Jordan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why is the mileage on this newer engine so far below par? I know it's not apples to apples, but ... I don't remember the official figures on my 2003 (!) 350z, but I got about 20mpg everyday and 28 on the highway. The 2011 Mustang v6 gets 19/31. This is not a super heavy vehicle, right? Is it gearing?
        DrEvil
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hal Jordan
        This is an off road vehicle first. Have you looked at the tires? These are not low resistance tires. If optimal fuel efficiency is your objective, this is not your car. Here is a little experiment for you to try, put on a pair of catchers mitts and stick your hands out the sunroof of your car. see all the wind resistance? that's what the two front fenders are doing to this car. Also doesn't help that it is shaped like a refrigerator (Fridge for the brits). Buy the Jeep or don't buy it, but don't quibble about fuel efficiency.
          Ben
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DrEvil
          "Fridge for the Brits?" Um, I'm pretty sure a large percentage of Americans call it a "fridge" too...Not sure where you live, buddy.
          Ben
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DrEvil
          But other than that, I agree with you.
        Arimus25
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hal Jordan
        Its because its shaped like a brick.
        Julius
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hal Jordan
        To add to the other aero comments - don't forget that this thing also is much higher off the ground, and the underside isn't anywhere near as smooth aerodynamically as the top of a 350Z - or the bottom, for that matter. 4WD gear, skid plates, heavy axles, off-road tires, etc... all take their toll on fuel efficiency.
        aamir
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hal Jordan
        well the wrangler is also a brick on wheels....so the aero isnt helping the engine at all.
        LeadHead
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hal Jordan
        4000 Pounds, quite a bit of frontal area and a drag coefficient of about .5 will do that. Even modern pickup trucks have a much lower drag coefficient.
        autablog
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hal Jordan
        @ sweeneyp Your Toyota is not magically engineered for gas mileage, you simply have different driving characteristics than the EPA test cycle. You may drive slower, accelerate slower, or use cruise control better than prescribed by the test cycle, which is great by the way but don't construe this as magical Asian engineering. Give the EPA your car for a day and they will get their stated mileage on their test cycle.
        sweeneyp
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hal Jordan
        I think the penstar is just a thirsty engine (yes it is powerful, but not fuel efficient), most chrysler products with it still get subpar mpg. My 08 highlander gets 18 city 24 highway according to epa, i usually get 1 or 2 more than that. My highlander is a much heavier and larger vehicle to boot. Granted it has 10 less hp and 5 less ftlb torque but its using a 5 year old toyota engine (3.5L 2GR-FE). So I have almost all the power the penstar has and far superior fuel efficiency...I just don't think american engines (ford is doing better at it) are even close to achieving the fuel efficiency of asian car companies.
      ALafya
      • 3 Years Ago
      Going from Horrendous to just plain bad ...
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