Trucks & SUVs

What Makes the 2020 Jeep Wrangler One Of the Most Unreliable SUVs?

There’s no denying that the Jeep Wrangler is an iconic SUV with exceptional off-roading capabilities. The Wrangler boasts brawn and style too. But in 2020, the Wrangler’s low predicted reliability ratings nearly overshadow its bright spots. According to Consumer Reports, the 2020 Wrangler is one of the most unreliable midsize SUVs of the year. How did it get such a low ranking?

The Jeep Wrangler’s unreliable history 

2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara EcoDiesel in the canyons
2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara EcoDiesel | Jeep

Consumer Reports has given the Wrangler a below-average reliability score consistently since 2012. And once you go through each model year, it’s easy to see why. The NHTSA recalled the 2012 Wrangler 10 times, then seven times in 2013, and four times in 2014. There are at least three recalls on each Wrangler from 2014 onward.  

In 2020, there are three recalls on Wrangler. One has to do with its suspension. The other two relate to its powertrain and backover camera. Other potential trouble spots to be aware of on the Wrangler, according to CR, include its in-car electronics and body integrity.

CR also gave the Wrangler a poor road test score; it got a 36 out of 100. CR acknowledges that the Wrangler’s standard 3.6-liter V6 engine provides ample power and that its eight-speed automatic transmission is admirably smooth. Additionally, the Wrangler can go from 0-to-60 mph in 7.3 seconds, which is also praiseworthy. But, while the Wrangler accelerates well and excels off-road, it’s not nearly as impressive on paved streets.

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U.S. News also thinks the 2020 Wrangler is undependable 

Jeep Wrangler driving down a dirt road.
Jeep Wrangler | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Like CR, U.S. News gave the Wrangler its lowest possible score for dependability based on data from J.D. Power. U.S. News also criticizes the Wrangler for the same things CR does: poor fuel economy, stiff ride quality, and slow reflexes. Other drawbacks here are that it’s hard to get in and out of the vehicle. The Wrangler is toward the bottom of U.S. News’s list of best 2020 compact SUVs. Although, the Wrangler doesn’t have an overall score because it’s missing safety data. 

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So, is it a bad idea to buy a Wrangler?

For some drivers, the Wrangler is a terrible choice. Its car cabin gets noisy, and it feels jittery even on smooth roads. It’s also not the best choice for those who are looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle. That said, the Wrangler is ideal for rugged adventures, not for daily driving.

If you’re most interested in serious off-roading, you’ll be happiest with the Rubicon trim. The Rubicon variant features locking differentials and upgraded suspension and tires for off-roading. Another attractive aspect of the Wrangler is that it acts as a fun convertible. 

It’s not a bad idea to buy a Wrangler, but its history of recalls is concerning. If you’re looking for a more reliable SUV that’s also capable enough for off-road adventures, consider the Toyota 4Runner. The 4Runner is also comfortable and spacious on the inside.