2021 Wrangler New Car Test Drive
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler is more livable than ever, with undeniable charm and capability, but it's still heavy on compromise for its main mission, going off-road. Recently redesigned, the new Wrangler is more comfortable on pavement than in older editions, with improvements to the suspension, sound deadening, and steering.
For 2020, the Wrangler gets thorough powertrain updates thanks to mild-hybrid and stop/start technology. Willys and Freedom Editions return with throwback and military-themed styling cues, and LED headlights are now available on the base Sport model.
A 3.6-liter V-6 comes standard, along with a 6-speed manual transmission and four-wheel drive. An 8-speed automatic is available.
A 2.0-liter turbo-4 that gets better fuel economy is also available, and later this year there will be a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6, an engine that's already used in other Jeeps and Ram trucks.
Both the V-6 and turbo-4 get an automatic stop/start system, while Sahara models add a mild-hybrid powertrain on the two gas engines; the 'eTorque'? system uses batteries to help with low-speed acceleration and smoother stop/start operation.
The Wrangler comes in three flavors: bare-bones Sport, luxury Sahara, and off-road Rubicon. It's the Rubicon that's special, with beefier suspension components, bigger tires, a transfer case for low-range 4WD, locking differentials and disconnecting sway bars, and taller fender flares for even larger tires.
Two-door models with a manual transmission get 17 mpg city, 25 highway, 20 combined, while the four-door model with the same powertrain drops to 17/23/19 mpg. The 8-speed automatic raises the mileage by 1 mpg in the city and drops it by 2 mpg on the highway.
Turbo-4 Wranglers improve overall mileage slightly to 22/24/23 mpg for two-door models and 21/22/21 mpg for four-door models. Both come only with the automatic transmission.
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler has yet to be fully crash-tested, but the NHTSA gives the four-door model four stars for frontal crash tests and three stars for rollover protection.
Active safety equipment is optional on some Wranglers (not all of them), and standard on none of them. That equipment includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors.
Two-door Wranglers come in Sport, Sport S, and Rubicon, while the four-door Wranglers are the Sahara and Unlimited.
For more than $30,000, the Wrangler Sport offers hand-crank windows, no air conditioning, and cloth seats, but USB charging ports and keyless ignition are standard.
The Sport S adds alloy wheels and power windows.
The four-door Sahara features nicer cloth seats and interior trim, the mid-tier infotainment system with 7.0-inch screen, a 115-volt power outlet in the center console, two rear USB ports, and more.
At more than $40,000 (and well into the $50,000 range with options), Rubicon models are for off-roaders, and feature an upgraded suspension and components such as locking differentials, a power winch, and disconnecting sway bars.
For 2020, the Willys and Freedom Edition models return with special graphics and options.