Jeep Wrangler (2007-present)

The Jeep Wrangler is the classic off-roader, but it also feels very old-fashioned

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Impressive off-road ability
Classic design
Tough parts and engines

Weaknesses 

Noisy and bouncy
Not as practical as it looks
Guzzles fuel
Best New Discount

Jeep Wrangler Hard TOP Special Edition (2011-2015) 2.8 crd jk edition 4dr auto

Total RRP £41,710

Your quote £36,182

You Save £5,528

With the Land Rover Defender no longer on sale, the iconic Jeep Wrangler is pretty much unique, with only the far-more expensive Mercedes G-Class offering similar military attributes. This is a tough and traditional 4x4, which towers over crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai, and is fitted with suspension designed to ford rivers and climb mountains.

While this is all well and good, its ageing design and a singular focus on dominating the great outdoors, means the Wrangler is definitely not for everyone. It might have been updated in 2011 to make it comfier, connect to your phone and stay cool on hot days, but this is still a very utilitarian vehicle. With no reversing camera in sight and a poor turning circle, it can also be tricky to park.

Get behind the wheel, and the diesel engine clatters at idle and roars as you press the accelerator, which is characterful if you’re feeling in the mood, but fatiguing if you get stuck in traffic. You are reminded of its off-road tyres and steering as soon as you turn a corner too, with lots of steering lock required and little feedback from the road. Bouncy suspension and a sluggish automatic five-speed gearbox don’t encourage you to press on either, so tarmac is best thought of as the boring bits between fields, tracks and quarries, where the Wrangler is almost unstoppable, thanks to its permanent four-wheel-drive.

You’ll need to be an off-road fan to appreciate the Wrangler’s merits, because comparing it with a newer SUV like the Land Rover Discovery Sport is almost impossible. For example, despite the Wrangler’s huge size, the smaller Discovery Sport manages to cram in seven seats and a larger boot, while its 2.0-litre diesel engine gets it from 0-62mph more quickly and returns 53mpg, almost double the Wrangler’s fuel consumption.

Getting in to the Wrangler requires a big step up, and while there’s plenty of room for front passengers, the middle row is short on knee room, even if head room is ample. Access to the boot is via a glass tailgate and side-opening door, which is heavy and limits access in tight parking spaces.

Unlike the rest of the Jeep range, the Wrangler has never been crash tested by Euro NCAP, which makes its safety a bit of an unknown quantity. Included safety kit includes anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and a tyre pressure monitor to detect punctures, but none of the advanced lane-keeping or autonomous emergency braking systems seen in the latest SUVs.

The Wrangler is certainly tough though, so reliability shouldn’t be too much of a concern and Jeep has shot up in recent consumer satisfaction surveys.

Starting at around £34,000, the Wrangler costs roughly £5,000 more than a basic Land Rover Discovery Sport and £2,000 more than a Hyundai Santa Fe. In contrast, the somewhat rarefied and equally boxy Mercedes G-Class costs almost £90,000

With little change in its looks or specification, a used or nearly new Jeep Wrangler can be a wise choice, but you’ll need to be committed to off-roading to choose the Wrangler over a more conventional SUV.

Last Updated 

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 01:30

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years
Boot size: 
498 litres
Width: 
1877mm
Length: 
4751mm
Height: 
1840mm
Tax (min to max): 
£500 per year to £515

Best Jeep Wrangler for... 

Jeep Wrangler 2.8 CRD Sahara two-door
Official tests claim the diesel Wrangler can return 31mpg, but real-world figures show it’s actually possible to exceed this figure by a few miles per gallon.
Jeep Wrangler 2.8 CRD Overland four-door
Choose the four-door Overland for the most comfortable Wrangler, with the best blend of interior space, convenience features and technology, along with the lowest running costs.
Jeep Wrangler 3.6 V6 Rubicon two-door
The Wrangler is all about off-roading, and the Rubicon model is loaded with special features to make it go even further up hills, down dales and through rivers.
Jeep Wrangler 3.6 V6 Sahara two-door
Only choose the two-door if you are serious about off-road driving and nothing else. The Sahara trim makes little sense, as for only £1,400 more the Overland is far better equipped.

Understanding Jeep Wrangler car names 

  • Wrangler
  • Trim level
    Overland
  • Engine
    2.8 CRD 200PS
  • Gearbox
    Auto
  • Driven wheels
    4x4
  • Trim level
    The Wrangler trims tell you the amount of equipment fitted. Sahara is the entry-level, while Rubicon is more specialised towards off-roading.
  • Engine
    The size in litres of the engine is shown here, while power is shown in horsepower, which can also be called PS. Jeep refers to its diesel engines as CRD, which stands for Common Rail Diesel.
  • Gearbox
    Auto is an abbreviation for an automatic gearbox, which is the only type available in the Wrangler.
  • Driven wheels
    The Wrangler is often described as a 4x4, because all four wheels are permanently driven by the engine.

Jeep Wrangler Engines 

Petrol: 3.8 V6 280PS Diesel: 2.8 CRD 200PS

With just two engines available in the Wrangler – a four-cylinder 2.8-litre diesel and a V6 3.6-litre petrol. Both are showing their age, with poor refinement and less performance than some much smaller but more advanced engines found in its rivals.

The diesel is easily the better choice, even if its economy of 31mpg is a far cry from most rivals, which are approaching double its efficiency. With 200hp it certainly has a reasonable amount of power, but the way its five-speed automatic gearbox hesitates between shifts and the raucous noise from under the bonnet, means the diesel Wrangler only feels quick if you are brave enough to hold down the accelerator.

But in a way, it’s hard to judge the Wrangler against newer models like the Land Rover Discovery Sport, because the way this iconic model is built and drives hasn’t changed a great deal in over twenty years. Many of the Wrangler’s closest rivals, including the Land Rover Defender, are no longer on sale, but are still popular on the used market. Viewed through this lens, the Wrangler can be charmingly retro, and once taken off-road, its permanent four-wheel-drive system makes the Wrangler almost unstoppable. Here, the torque of the diesel engine also comes into play, sending the nose skywards and allowing you to keep going up seemingly impossible inclines.

In terms of refinement, the 3.6-litre V6 has a natural advantage over the diesel, because it’s much quieter at idle and feels smoother on the move. Thanks to its 280hp, the petrol engine also feels significantly quicker, with 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds plenty fast enough for a rugged SUV with balloon-like tyres. The automatic seems to respond better to the more flexible power delivery of the V6 too, with less hunting for gears in town driving, or as you tackle a twisty country lane.

Most British buyers will baulk at the petrol engine’s high road tax band and economy, which is claimed to be up to 25mpg, but is likely to be far less in real-world driving. However, if you are simply buying the Jeep as a weekend toy rather than a commuting vehicle, then the petrol may actually be the more enjoyable choice.

Jeep Wrangler Trims 

Sahara, Overland, Rubicon

Before choosing the trim level, there’s an even more important decision – whether to get a two-door or four-door Wrangler. While the two-door is around £1,700 less and might be better if you only plan on off-roading, the four-door works far better as an SUV, with a much more practical interior. For both versions there are just three trim levels for the Wrangler, called: Sahara, Overland and Rubicon.

The Sahara is the entry-level model, which comes with a three-piece removable black hardtop, 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights and underbody skid plate protection. There are some luxury features you might not expect too, including cruise control, a leather steering wheel, climate control, keyless entry, Uconnect mobile phone connectivity and an Alpine stereo system. There aren’t many options available, but you can add a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav for £1,250.

Overland is the next step up, adding tinted glass, a body-coloured version of the hardtop, 18-inch polished alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats and the aforementioned media system, all for a reasonable £1,400 extra. For this reason alone it would make more sense to start with an Overland, rather than buying a Sahara and adding options to it.

Lastly, there’s the Rubicon model, which is aimed squarely at off-roading fans and only comes with the V6 petrol. Its wheels go back down in size to 17-inches, while special ‘Rock rails’ help protect the side sills from impacts during rock crawling. A shorter-ratio set of gears, tough axles and disconnecting front anti-roll bar will all appeal to people who spend more time away from tarmac than on it, but won’t be for you if you just want a family SUV.

Jeep Wrangler Reliability and warranty 

The Jeep Wrangler itself didn’t appear in the 2016 Auto Express Driver Power survey, but Jeep as a brand made a resurgence, coming 11th out of 32 manufacturers, and beating the likes of BMW (15th), Toyota (16th) and Land Rover (22nd).

On sale in its current form for around a decade, and evolving over many years, the Wrangler is built on tried and tested technology using older components, so any issues are likely to be niggling faults rather than serious failures.

Jeep supplies a standard warranty of three years or 60,000 miles in length (whichever passes first), which is considerably shorter than the five-year warranty you’ll get with a Hyundai or Toyota, not to mention the seven years offered with a Kia. Jeep’s warranty also covers against paintwork defects for two years, while painted panels are guaranteed against perforation from rust for seven years, regardless of mileage.

Used Jeep Wrangler 

While the Jeep Wrangler has been on sale for a considerable time, limited production in right-hand drive has kept the supply low, making them quite a rare sight unless you visit an off-road centre.
The fact the Wrangler isn’t particularly common and tends to be bought as a hobby vehicle, has kept used prices reasonably buoyant. Like the Land Rover Defender – it’s biggest used rival – residuals have also been massaged by the iconic design of the Wrangler, with older models looking little different to a brand new vehicle. Even a model from 2010 is likely to be worth around £17,000 – around half its original value, while Wranglers a couple of years old cost roughly £27,000.
There haven’t been a host of changes to the Wrangler, but in 2011 the interior was given an overhaul, improving the quality of materials and introducing heated seats, climate control, steering wheel controls, a USB interface, Bluetooth and voice command system. In July 2016 the 75th Anniversary model was launched, with unique styling tweaks, paint colours and interior trim.

Jeep Wrangler Prices

Jeep Wrangler JK Edition

2.8 crd jk edition 2dr auto

  • Doors 2
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £34,762

You could save up to: £5278.2

2.8 crd jk edition 4dr auto

  • Doors 4
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £36,182

You could save up to: £5528

3.6 v6 jk edition 4dr auto

  • Doors 4
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £36,282

You could save up to: £5493

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

3.6 v6 rubicon 4dr auto

  • Doors 4
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 23.7mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £35,432

You could save up to: £5343

Jeep Wrangler Sahara

2.8 crd sahara 2dr auto

  • Doors 2
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 34.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £32,684

You could save up to: £4911

2.8 crd sahara 4dr auto

  • Doors 4
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 34mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £34,104

You could save up to: £5161

3.6 v6 sahara 4dr auto

  • Doors 4
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 24.1mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £34,204

You could save up to: £5126

Other Editions