Jeep Wrangler review 2020

The Wrangler is Jeep’s halo model, and it’s one of the most capable off-roaders you can buy today

£28,893
Average price
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1
Out of 5

Pros

  • Iconic styling
  • Impressive off-road ability
  • Plenty of standard kit

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • Poor ride and refinement
  • Expensive to run
  • MPG

    28 - 31

  • CO2

    198 - 213 g/km

  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary

Model review

If you ask someone what comes to mind when they hear the word ‘Jeep’, it’s more than likely this – the Wrangler

It’s the model that gets closest to what Jeep has historically been about – producing models that are virtually unstoppable when the going gets tough. 

Evolving in design from the original Willys Jeep, the Wrangler nameplate was first used in 1987, and four generations later, it really doesn’t look all that different, and still acts as the most rugged model – next to Jeep’s Renegade, Compass and Grand Cherokee models.

Latest model

While it might be four generations since the Wrangler debuted, looking at the design of the Wrangler, you would struggle to tell. 

However, the latest model – introduced in 2019 – is actually quite different to its predecessors. For starters, there’s no big capacity engines any longer and instead a pair of new four-cylinder engines – one petrol and one diesel. 

It’s also gone up in the technology world – coming with an 8.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with more in the way of driver assistance, such as blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. It certainly helped it to feel like a modern-day Wrangler, while the prospect of a new plug-in hybrid that could be on the way builds on this further. 

Value for money

Prices for the Wrangler aren’t cheap, with all models costing almost £50,000, which is a lot of money for something that’s somewhat compromised on the road, and nowhere near as plush inside as the similarly-priced Land Rover Defender. A generous amount of standard kit is included, though, such as keyless entry and start, LED headlights and an 8.4-inch touchscreen. 

However, we’d advise never spending anywhere near those prices, as huge discounts are available on nearly-new cars. A number of one-year-old examples are available for as little as £35,000 – almost a £15,000 saving off list price, and one which is hard to ignore. That said, once it’s taken that initial depreciation hit, it actually holds its value quite well. Even models from the 1990s can easily command £10,000, and expect a 2007 example with around £70,000 miles on the clock to still fetch £15,000. 

Looks and image

If you fancy a big slice of Americana, the Wrangler is the car for it. With its huge seven-slot grille, high ride height and bold presence, there’s nothing that looks like it on the road. This Jeep is something you’ll either love or hate, though, but it’s certainly a cool and eye grabbing thing, regardless of your personal views on it. A bold range of colours are also on offer, such as Bikini Blue, Firecracker Red and ‘Punk’n Metallic’ (orange), if you want the Wrangler stand out even more. 

The interior isn’t quite so brimmed with flair, but the 2019 update made big changes to the Wrangler’s cabin for the better – improving the technology side of things and the quality, yet without compromising on the chunky look and durable feel that it’s all about. Various roof options – including the possibility to make this Jeep a convertible – also only add more to the appeal of it. 

For off-roading ability, the Wrangler is tough to beat. With a host of differentials and off-road settings to choose from, and all versions coming with a low-range gear, impressive suspension and plenty of ground clearance. Rubicon models take things up a level with bars that allow for more suspension travel, chunkier tyres and heavy-duty electricals. But such a focus on off-roading means the Wrangler is poor to use on tarmac. It feels heavy, old-fashioned and numb, though the 2019 model is a noticeable improvement on its predecessor. 

Video review

Space and practicality

If you want practicality it’s worth choosing the four-door Wrangler, which is only actually £1,300 more than the impractical, though arguably cooler, two-door version. So with more doors and an additional 55cm in length, the Wrangler offers a good-sized 533-litre boot, which increases to 1,044 litres with the back seats folded. Rear space is also good, though arguably not as good as more ordinary road-biased SUVs. 

It’s also not as safe as conventional rivals, with just four airbags as standard, and safety experts Euro NCAP awarding the Wrangler just one star out of five when it was crash tested in 2018. 

Engines 

Traditionally the Wrangler has adopted big V6 engines, but on the latest model, Jeep’s resorted to smaller four-cylinder units instead, with one petrol and one diesel to choose from.

The petrol engine is a punchy 2.0-litre unit, which produces 272bhp and 400Nm of torque, with an eight-speed automatic transmission getting that power down on the road. 

As for the diesel, which continues to be the most popular, it’s a 2.2-litre engine, which produces 197bhp and a healthy 450Nm of torque. Again, an eight-speed automatic gearbox is utilised. Both engines are much quieter and more refined than the ones they replace. 

Jeep has also recently revealed a new 4xe plug-in hybrid of the Wrangler. While not yet confirmed to come to the UK, it will offer a 25-mile electric range and be by far the most powerful version of this Jeep ever made – producing 370bhp from its combination of electricity and petrol. 

Running costs

If you’re looking at a Wrangler, running costs likely won’t be at the forefront of your mind. That’s good as this Jeep could prove expensive to run. 

Even the more efficient diesel engine will return 37.7mpg, with high CO2 emissions of 198g/km. As for the petrol, that will return just 31.4mpg, though shares CO2 emissions with the diesel. 

Things to look out for

The Wrangler should prove to be a pretty dependable choice – it is designed for extreme off-roading after all. If you’re looking at a newer Wrangler, it will also come with a five-year warranty and five years of roadside assistance, which are two big bonuses that bring extra peace of mind. 

Rivals

The Wrangler isn’t a conventional SUV, but more of a true 4x4. And in that respect, its list of competitors is quite limited – the Land Rover DefenderMitsubishi Shogun Sport and Toyota Land Cruiser likely being three of this Jeep’s closest rivals. If you fancy something more upmarket, you could also look at the Mercedes G-Class, while a Ford Ranger Raptor pick-up would give this Jeep a run for its money when it comes to off-roading ability. 

Depreciation

As soon as the Wrangler is driven out of a showroom, it will be stung by a steep initial hit of depreciation, which could see this Jeep losing £15,000 in just a year. However, high demand for used models means that it will soon stop depreciating, with second-hand examples still being quite valuable. 

Which Wrangler to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

2.0 GME Sahara 2dr Auto8 Hard Top

Most MPG

2.0 GME Sahara 2dr Auto8 Hard Top

Fastest model (0-60)

2.0 GME Rubicon 2dr Auto8 Hard Top

Trims explained

Four trim levels are available on the Wrangler – Sahara, Night Eagle, Overland and Rubicon. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.

Sahara

All Wranglers benefit from 18-inch alloy wheels, an 8.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a seven-inch TFT digital driver display, an Alpine sound system and LED interior lighting. It also comes with climate control, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, automatic LED headlights and a reversing camera. Rear parking sensors, cruise control and a removable three-piece hardtop roof is also fitted.

From £48,350 – (four-door only)

Night Eagle

Night Eagle models add a range of black styling details, along with darker alloy wheels and revised interior upholstery.

From £49,850 (four-door only)

Overland

In addition to Sahara, Overland models come with leather upholstery, a hard-top headliner and heated front seats. It also comes with a body-coloured grille, silver door mirrors and blind spot monitoring.

From £48,825

Rubicon

Rubicon models are the most extreme versions available, and gain off-road features like a front sway bar, additional differentials, a heavy-duty alternator and more powerful battery to maximise capability. It also comes with heated front seats, leather upholstery and a Rubicon styling kit to give it a more rugged look.

From £49,525

Summary

  1. One of the most capable 4x4s on sale
  2. Iconic styling
  3. Much-improved interior on 2019 model
  4. Expensive to run
  5. Five-year warranty
  6. Poor on-road performance
  7. Available with two or four doors
  8. Rubicon model is the most extreme version
  9. Quite pricey to buy new, but a great used buy
  10. If off-road performance is key, the Wrangler is tough to beat

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