In the past, if you chose to drive a new Jeep Wrangler you were choosing fun over frugality. Now that’s changing with the figures just announced for the Wrangler EcoDiesel’s official EPA economy numbers. Optioned with the 260 hp 3.0-liter EcoDiesel the numbers come out to be 29 mpg highway and 22 mpg City for a combined average of 25 mpg. And, this is in the four-door Wrangler with an eight-speed automatic, which is the only transmission you get with the turbo diesel.
Of course, you will first have to want and like the way a diesel-powered Jeep handles in off-road situations. Otherwise, if you’re looking for some economy the 2.0-liter four-cylinder is one alternative. Plus, it’s $4,500 cheaper than diesel. It comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. Going that route you can squeak into one for a bit over $33,000. That also highlights that the EcoDiesel option is more than 10% of the total Wrangler price which is a mighty big percentage.
An alternative to the EcoDiesel is the 3.6-liter V6
Another alternative is to go with the 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar engine that you can get backed with a six-speed manual transmission. You’ll be back to trading fun for frugality but what the heck?
Are there drawbacks to the Wrangler. Yes, plenty actually. If you’ve ever looked at Consumer Reports they don’t have a high opinion of the Wrangler. It consistently rates at the bottom of many categories, which takes in the 2020 version.
Though it thought the 2020 was improved over previous years, the reviewers thought the Wrangler was still hampered by “awkward access” along with excessive wind noise and a rough ride. Consumer Reports also scored the Wrangler low for handling, braking, ride and noise, comfort and fuel economy.
We don’t think Consumer Reports rates with Wranglers context in mind
Keep in mind that Consumer Reports is testing in a vacuum so-to-speak. They apply ratings with the same context. Obviously, you wouldn’t want a Porsche to ride like a Cadillac. The same holds true for the Wrangler. Based on all vehicles being equal the Wrangler would score poorly in certain areas. But, it’s not the same as other vehicles so there should be no expectation for it to be really quiet and luxurious.
In many ways, the Wrangler is what off-road fun and capability are about. Consumer Reports gave the Wrangler a good predicted owner satisfaction score. So, in some ways, it recognizes that owners have an expectation of what they are getting when they purchase a Jeep and so they are not disappointed it’s noisy or a bit choppy as far as the ride goes.
It’s not a vehicle that will do everything well, but for off-road fun and bug-in-your-face excitement, any of the Wrangler versions are possibly what you will want.