Jeep Wrangler: Should You Buy a 2022 or 2021 Version of This SUV?

Will you find any significant changes from the 2021 to the 2022 Jeep Wrangler? No, you won’t. This hardcore off-roading SUV remains basically unchanged from a year ago, but does that mean you should buy the older model? Maybe not; you might find that some of the small upgrades made to the 2022 version give you everything you want in an SUV. Regardless of the model year, if you’re looking for an SUV that takes you on the trails, the Wrangler is hard to beat.

What are the upgrades to the 2022 Jeep Wrangler?

2022 Jeep Wrangler posed outdoors
2022 Jeep Wrangler | Jeep

We don’t always see significant changes from one model year to the next. Cars.com tells us the upgrades to the 2022 Wrangler, compared to the 2021 model, include:

  • Xtreme Recon Package available on four-door Willys trim
  • 7-inch touchscreen standard on all but the base two-door Sport trim
  • 8.4-inch touchscreen standard on Sahara and Rubicon models
  • Addition of a standard cabin air filter

That’s it! These are all the upgrades made from one model to the next. With this small number of upgrades in mind, what does the Jeep Wrangler offer?

How much power does this SUV offer?

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Cameron Smith via Wiki Commons

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Notwithstanding the plug-in hybrid 4xe model or the Rubicon 392 version, models Wranglers use one of two engines. The venerable 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine continues to thrive in the off-road world. This engine gives you 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Standard 4WD is always part of the Wrangler formula, and this engine mates to either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic.

If you’re going to drive your Wrangler on the roads more often than on the trails, you might want the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine placed under the hood. This power plant only uses the automatic transmission, making driving a little easier. You’ll enjoy 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque with this powertrain.

The smaller engine has more torque and it provides better fuel mileage achieving 22 city/24 hwy mpg compared to 20 city/24 hwy for the V6 model with the automatic transmission.

What are the favorite qualities of the Wrangler?

The 2022 Jeep Wrangler parked beside a creek shows why people love it so much
The 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon | Jeep

Many owners tout about the Wrangler way of life, which takes them around the country to explore some of the toughest terrain offered. The sheer off-road capability of this SUV dates back to World War II, when this vehicle was the General Purpose (GP) vehicle for the U.S. Army.

Choose the Rubicon model, and you’ll have a set of heavy-duty steel bumpers that can handle a winch, making it possible for you to pull your friends out of a trouble spot. Another benefit to the Rubicon, according to Kelley Blue Book, is the Xtreme Recon Package. This package takes an already impressive off-roader and gives it an injection of adventure by adding:

  • 35-inch BFGoodrich K02 All-terrain tires
  • Beadlock-capable wheels
  • 1.5-inch suspension lift
  • Specially tuned shocks
  • 4.56:1 axle ratio

This package in the 2021 Jeep Wrangler marks the first time this SUV has come out of the factory with 35-inch tires on it.

It’s a simple formula for the Jeep Wrangler, and it’s worked for years

Take a tough, rugged build ,put it high above the large tires, give it short overhangs, and a set of solid axles, and you’ve got a Wrangler. While the overall formula is more complicated than that, we can see these same characteristics on the first models ever made. The short wheelbase gives this SUV the ability to travel where no other vehicle can go.

Which Wrangler model should you buy?

This is the burning question we started with, so let’s find out the answer. Unless you need the upgrades mentioned, you’ll likely spend less to purchase the 2021 version of this Jeep. If you find remaining models offered, typically, they’re heavily discounted. Of course, you can purchase the 2022 Wrangler and will know you’ve got the same stuff as the 2021 unless you specifically opt for some of the upgrades listed above. Regardless of the model year you select, the Jeep Wrangler continues to be one of the most impressive off-road SUVs in the market.

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