Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

The Wrangler and its 4-door sibling, the Wrangler Unlimited, come in four trim levels for 2013, all with a 3.6L V6 engine. The engine makes 202 hp at 5200 rpm and 237 lb-ft of torque. All Wrangler models have a 6-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, while a 5-speed automatic is optional.

All Wrangler models also come with electronic stability control, a full-size spare tire and shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive; the Sahara and Rubicon models add traction control. All models also share new Dana solid front axles and heavy-duty rear axles, ensuring that the Wrangler will keep moving over obstacles that would stop other off-roaders.

Every 2013 Wrangler's interior features cloth-wrapped bucket seats with driver height-adjustment, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, temperature and compass gauge, cruise control and an anti-theft engine immobilizer.

The Sahara trim receives heated power mirrors, power windows and remote keyless entry. The suspension is a heavy-duty type and the wheels are 18-inch aluminum. A standard 3-piece hard top is also included that comes with a rear wiper, defroster and tinted windows.

The Arctic Wrangler gets performance suspension, 17-inch semi-gloss aluminum wheels, a 3-piece body-colored hard top, fender flares, side steps, deep-tinted windows and a chrome and leather-wrapped shift knob.

The Rubicon is the Wrangler's factory off-road model. Mechanically, the Rubicon is fitted with Tru-Lok front and rear axles, Dana heavy-duty axles, an electronic sway bar disconnect and 4:1 Rock-Trac 4-wheel drive system. Inside and out, the Rubicon is fairly subdued, and the interior is intended to be more functional than luxurious, with cloth seat trim and a basic AM/FM/CD stereo.

The options list however, is broad enough to configure Wranglers any way the buyer wants, ranging from a 30GB media center stereo that includes a 6.5-inch touch screen, navigation and a USB port, Katzkin 2-tone leather seats, remote start and a trailering upgrade package.

Editors' Review

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For a week I was part of an elite club whose members recognize one another with coded signs. When I passed an oncoming Jeep Wrangler on the road, the driver more often than not acknowledged my presence by lifting two fingers off the steering wheel -- the so-called Jeep Wave. It's not because the Wrangler is by any means an uncommon vehicle (Jeep sells more than 20,000 of them per month) that this kinship exists. It's that driving one paints you as somebody who specifically chose a somewhat unconventional vehicle.

This Jeep Wrangler, the first all-new one in a decade and known by the cognoscenti by its JL chassis code, aims to modernize the Wrangler in a big way. When I first saw the new model in fall 2017, then-Jeep brand head Mike Manley told me it offered "more of everything." That means it's supposed to deliver even greater off-road chops, yes, but crucially more refinement and usability for the people who don't take these things off paved roads. Because as my brief stint in the Jeep Wave club proved, plenty of people use these things as daily drivers rather than rock crawlers.

Form follows function

This all-new Wrangler is still a Wrangler, and there's no clearer evidence of that than the difficulty in distinguishing the new model from the old at a glance. Your biggest clues are the redesigned door handles and the front fenders that now sport running lights. Though there are myriad tweaks, overall this SUV still has the boxy, upright and tough stance of every Wrangler before it. That's no bad thing: the utilitarian style is both functional and a big part of what attracts buyers to this model.

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The Good New turbo engine is punchy and remarkably efficient, improved on-road civility, plenty of off-roading chops.

The Bad Wind noise, mushy brakes and steering, extremely expensive with options.

The Bottom Line While still pretty seriously compromised on pavement, the new Wrangler is nonetheless a huge step forward.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7
  • Features 5
  • Design 8
  • Media 7

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