The Wrangler is the Jeep of all Jeeps, the military-inspired off-roader that started it all. Jeep introduced an all-new redesigned model for 2018 and added plug-in hybrid and V-8 variants for 2021. The only update for 2022 is the addition of the Xtreme Recon package, Jeep's answer to the Ford Bronco's Sasquatch pack. It competes with other off-road SUVs including the aforementioned Bronco as well as the Land Rover Defender and Toyota 4Runner.
The Wrangler does what it's built to do extraordinarily well. Jeep's storied icon is an unstoppable force away from pavement, supplying an engaging, trail-ready driving experience that appeals to off-road veterans and rookies alike. When it debuted, Jeep's latest take on the Wrangler impressed us enough to earn our 2019 SUV of the Year.
One of our points of praise was its relatively civilized on-road performance, but the steering and handling still feel agricultural compared to any modern crossover. That lack of refinement cost the Wrangler a win in our affordable off-road comparison. The SUV's off-road prowess and superior build quality gave the Jeep a narrow victory over the Ford Bronco in a recent comparison.
Jeep offers a range of trim levels and engine options nearly as wide as those of the Porsche 911. Last year's addition of the 4xe plug-in hybrid and 470-hp Rubicon 392 broadens the appeal, and we're fans of the Willys as an all-arounder. No matter which variant you buy, the Wrangler has the best retained value of any car in the industry by far.
Jeep is Porsche-like in the amount of powertrain options it provides for the Wrangler. Highlights include the 4xe plug-in hybrid, which is currently the best-selling plug-in on sale, and the Wrangler 392 with its muscle-bound 6.4-liter V-8. All variants feature standard 4WD; a manual transmission is available with some engines but most are exclusively paired with an eight-speed automatic.
Engine: 3.6-liter V-6
Horsepower/Torque: 285 hp/260 lb-ft
Efficiency (city/highway): 17-20/23-25 mpg
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 6.9 seconds
Engine: 2.0-liter turbo-four
Horsepower/Torque: 270 hp/295 lb-ft lb-ft
Efficiency (city/highway): 21-22/24 mpg
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 8.0 seconds
Engine: 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6
Horsepower/Torque: 260 hp/422 lb-ft
Efficiency (city/highway): 21-22/26-29 mpg
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 7.5 seconds
Engine: 2.0-liter turbo-four plug-in Hybrid
Horsepower/Torque: 375 hp/470 lb-ft
Efficiency (combined): 49 mpg-e (gas+elec); 20 mpg (gas)
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 6.8 seconds
Engine: 6.4-liter V-8
Horsepower/Torque: 470 hp/470 lb-ft
Efficiency (city/highway): 13/17 mpg
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 4.2 seconds
Although it hasn't earned an overall safety rating from the NHTSA, the Wrangler earns unimpressive four-star frontal and three-star rollover ratings. It appears the IIHS was equally underwhelmed, giving the Wrangler a Marginal rating in the small overlap front: driver-side test as well as Marginal and Poor ratings for its two headlight options.
Looking at driver-assist features, Jeep doesn't include anything as standard. That's no surprise, given the base Wrangler doesn't even have air conditioning. If you tick the right boxes, though, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic high beams are all on the table.
Comparing the four-door Wrangler Unlimited to its direct off-road competition, the Land Rover Defender 110 and the Ford Bronco 4-door, the Jeep is a bit smaller than its peers. The Wrangler's legroom measurements split the difference between the dimensions of its competitors, but cargo space—both behind the rear seat and with the rear bench folded down—trails the cubic footage offered by those SUVs.
|Legroom (front/rear)||Cargo Space (seats up/down)|
|2022 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited||41.2/38.3 inches||31.7/72.4 cubic feet|
|2022 Land Rover Defender 110||39.1/39.1 inches||34.0/78.8 cubic feet|
|2022 Ford Bronco 4-door||43.1/36.3 inches||35.6/77.6 cubic feet|
The Wrangler is one of the only vehicles on the market with three different infotainment options. Base models feature a small 5.0-inch display, but a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto or an 8.4-inch touch display with the smartphone mirroring tech and integrated navigation. Vehicles with the larger touchscreen also include a front-facing camera for improved visibility out on the trail. Eight-speaker audio is standard and an Alpine premium audio system is available.
The Wrangler Rubicon has been the go-to Wrangler variant for off-road enthusiasts since Jeep introduced it in 2003. That changes this year… sort of. For 2022, Jeep is rolling out the Xtreme Recon package, a direct answer to the Sasquatch package offered on the Ford Bronco. The Xtreme Recon pack is available on the Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited, Rubicon 392, and Willys Unlimited.
Jeep offers the Xtreme Recon package as a $3,995 option on those models, and buyers will get a fair amount of hardware for their cash. Going Xtreme adds 35-inch 315-section BF Goodrich K02 All-Terrain tires (the standard Rubicon gets 33-inch, 285-section K02s) wrapped around 8.0 x 17-inch beadlock capable wheels, plus a 1.5-inch suspension lift, a super short 4:56:1 axle ratio, and upgraded brakes. Jeep also reinforces the swing gate.
So equipped, the Wrangler offers seriously impressive approach, breakover, and departure angles, as well as ground clearance and fording depth. The approach/breakover/departure angles measure 47.4/26.7/40.4 degrees. Ground clearance amounts to an impressive 12.9 inches and a Wrangler with the Xtreme Recon pack can ford water up to 33.6 inches deep.
You don't need to spend a ton to get a capable Wrangler. Of course, the Rubicon and especially the Xtreme Recon package add capability and style, but as we found in our affordable off-road comparison test, even a base Wrangler Sport is more comfortable on the trail than any crossover. That said, the entry point of the Wrangler range is one of the most bare bones new vehicles you can buy. It's worth upgrading to a Wrangler Sport S with air conditioning, power windows and locks, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel among other niceties. The Technology package is worthwhile, too, upgrading the cabin with an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-capable 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment setup.