Jeep enthusiasts have been asking for a Wrangler diesel for a long time. Too long, really. Now Jeep has acquiesced and we now have the Wrangler EcoDiesel. With the torque and economy inherent with a diesel it always seemed like a perfect marriage with Jeep. Let’s look at what the EcoDiesel is and isn’t and if this is a shotgun marriage or not.
Back in the day, you could get a CJ-5 with a four-cylinder diesel engine. It was a bit anemic at 62 hp but it did pull 143 lb-ft of torque. This latest turbo-diesel is from the Ram 1500 and is a V6. That means it packs 200-more hp than that old diesel four-banger from the 1960s. And torque is abundant at 442 lb-ft of grunt. But, there’s a big downside to all of this torque and power fest.
Is the wait worth $6,000?
The EcoDiesel option adds $4,000 to the price of a Wrangler. But that’s just the start. You also have to order it with the $2,000 eight-speed automatic. Let’s face it; you can buy a lot of gas for $6,000. Though fuel economy numbers are not available, our guess is the Wrangler EcoDiesel will come in at 22 mpg in city driving, and 29 mpg Highway. You’ll have to decide if the cost is ultimately worth the savings.
Jeep initially will only offer the EcoDiesel with the four-door Unlimited package. That’s more bad news if you’re looking to slide into a diesel Wrangler on the cheap. In Rubicon trim, this sucker jumps past $60,000.
Options can add up quickly. The Sky One-Touch Power Top adds $4,000; LED lighting adds $1,045, leather interior is $1,500, and the infotainment with nav sets you back $1,695.
Beyond the price, all of this diesel dreaming adds an additional 400 lbs to the four-door Wrangler. To handle the extra tonnage Jeep increased spring rates by 10% and also changed the damping. The ride is now firmer than in a regular V6 Wrangler. That may or may not help you decide.
Diesel clatter, tire howl, wind noise, don’t you just love Jeeps?
Diesel engines are noisy and this one is no exception. But added to the tire howl and wind noise it’s not a departure from any Jeep you’ve ever been in. There is a tank in the back for filling the diesel exhaust fluid. It takes five gallons and should last for 10,000 miles.
Jeep has promised an EcoDiesel version of the Jeep Gladiator for 2021. If you’ve waited this long for one you’ll have to wait one more year. Until then you can lease a Wrangler with the diesel to see how you like it. Or, opt for the four-door Wrangler and be one of the first with the new EcoDiesel. You can’t get it with the full-time all-wheel-drive transfer case.
We guess Jeep can afford to put limits on how these are configured. It also may be holding back for some future new features to tout. Either way, this is a big step in Wrangler’s evolution and one that has been desired for a long time.