The Jeep Wrangler is iconic. There’s no other vehicle that fulfills its particular niche in the market, and it’s hard to find anything with a similar reputation at the same price. But every Wrangler hasn’t been as reliable as Jeep would like its reputation to be. The 2006 model, for example, came with the potential for dangerous and expensive engine failure.
Like any manufacturer, some years are better than others. But one particular Jeep Wrangler model year came with a whole slew of transmission issues.
The unreliability of the 2010 Jeep Wrangler
A Consumer Reports list of the vehicles most likely to need transmission replacement positioned the 2010 Wrangler near the top. With reports of replacements before the 100,000-mile mark, Wrangler buyers might want to start putting money aside to replace the engine starting on ownership day one. Consumer Reports also ranked the overall reliability of the 2010 Jeep Wrangler. Spoiler alert: it isn’t good.
Overall Reliability? One out of five. Engine cooling? One out of five. Major transmission, minor transmission, fuel system, electric system, body integrity, power equipment? 1/5 across the board.
Exhaust, paint/trim, and body hardware scored well on the reliability scale, but they’re not really the reason someone would purchase a Jeep Wrangler. The Wrangler isn’t a daily driver, and it’s not designed to slowly maneuver its way through the city. The vehicle needs to step up where it counts, and the 2010 version simply doesn’t measure up.
The Jeep Wrangler’s legendary reputation
Since the first Jeep Wranglers rolled off the production line years ago, the company has carefully cultivated a reputation for toughness and durability at an affordable cost. However, looking critically back at Jeep’s offerings over the years reveals a different story.
Since 2006 — the first year Consumer Reports graded reliability on the 1-5 scale — every Jeep Wrangler model has received a 3/5 or worse. Eight 1/5s, two 2/5s, and a breathtaking total of two 3/5s, an “average” rating. Hardly enough to make it stand out in its class.
Not only are Jeep Wranglers less reliable than marketing has led us to believe, but they’ve also popped up in lists of unsafe vehicles. The “sturdy frame” and roll bar lead to more rollovers than the Wrangler would normally experience, making them a surprisingly poor choice for inexperienced drivers.
Other options in the class include the Kia Telluride, which has outperformed the Jeep Wrangler recently, as you might expect from the winner of the World Car of the Year award.
The Jeep Wrangler in 2020 and beyond
Despite its reputation as one of the more reliable options in the Subcompact SUV class, the data proves that it’s anything but. U.S. News rated it literally the worst in its class. The good news for Jeep is that they’ve been down this road before.
The Wrangler’s quality has been up and down over the years, but they maintain consistent sales and deliver vehicles that meet customer expectations. A few bad reviews aren’t going to stop future sales of the Jeep Wrangler, and it looks like the largest flaws are in the past.
Model years like 2006 and (especially) 2010 will likely go down in Jeep Wrangler infamy, but it’s a testament to the resilience of the Jeep brand that it doesn’t matter. Wranglers will continue to sell, and they still fill a sizable spot in the market.
If you’re looking at vehicles like the Wrangler, don’t let us discourage you from buying one. But make sure there aren’t any better options in your price range.