$18,323 - $28,185

2013 Jeep Wrangler Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Jeep Wrangler was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 7.9

With its exceptional off-road performance and powerful V6 engine, test drivers agree that the 2013 Jeep Wrangler is equally adept on- and off-road. However, the Wrangler’s go-anywhere capability also means that it doesn’t offer the car-like ride or composed handling of rivals like the Chevrolet Equinox or Ford Escape.

  • "Bumpy pavement can trigger bouncy feel and wayward body motions." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Powered by Chrysler's new Pentastar V6, the Jeep Wrangler for 2013 delivers an excellent balance of power and fuel economy; the Wrangler is also one of the last off-road vehicles still to offer a manual transmission." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Driving the Wrangler, there's never a sense of sacrifice. First, it can do everything, if not more, than all of the Wranglers from years gone by." -- Detroit News (2012) 
  • "Even an unscrupulous attorney would have to stipulate that the Wrangler is one of the most proficient off-road vehicles on the planet. There are few places it cannot go." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (2012) 

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Jeep Wrangler comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that generates 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic is optional. Regardless of which transmission you choose, all Wranglers come standard with four-wheel drive. The EPA reports that the 2013 Wrangler gets 17/21 mpg city/highway with either transmission. Wrangler Unlimited models get slightly lower estimates. Rivals like the Toyota FJ Cruiser and Nissan Xterra earn similar ratings, though affordable crossovers like the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru XV Crosstrek use considerably less fuel.

Whether you’re commuting to work or navigating a rocky trail, reviewers maintain that the Wrangler’s V6 engine offers more than enough power. A few test drivers also comment that both transmissions seem refined and well-matched to the engine.

  • "The 3.6-liter V6 provides sufficient power off the line and for highway passing; generous throttle input is only needed during hill climbs." -- Consumer Guide
  • "With ample power, smooth operation and decidedly improved highway fuel economy, this engine suits the Wrangler like a well-worn glove." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The manual transmission is extremely smooth, and a few times during my test-drive I forgot to put the Jeep in the fifth or sixth gear because the Wrangler was so responsive. The automatic was equally as responsive, never hunting for a gear." -- Detroit News (2012) 
  • "The five-speed plays well with the V6, blipping the throttle before downshifts and letting it brush redline under a full boot." -- Jalopnik (2012) 

Handling and Braking

While the 2013 Wrangler offers a powerful V6 engine and unparalleled off-road ability, reviewers say that if you’re looking for a car-like ride the Wrangler comes up short. They write that the Wrangler’s handling is less refined and that its ride comfort trails most compact SUVs'.

  • "Wrangler exhibits body lean and noseplow in even moderate-speed cornering. The steering is light and slow in directional changes, and these SUVs are subject to crosswind wander." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The same suspension and wheel/tire combo that allows the Jeep Wrangler to venture over rough terrain also creates a rather rough and unsophisticated on-road driving experience." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The suspension, while created for all of that crazy wheel articulation off-road, provides a smooth ride on the highway and county roads. Even the Rubicon model felt comfortable on the road." -- Detroit News (2012) 
  • "The weakest link is the brakes; soft as a deep-fried butter stick, you find the pedal down a few inches before the orders arrive to the wheels." -- Jalopnik (2012)

Off-Roading

While rival compact SUVs may offer more car-like handling, test drivers maintain that few are as capable off road as the Wrangler. All Wranglers come with a part-time four-wheel drive system with a two-speed transfer case. Rubicon models offer even more capability, thanks to suspension and drivetrain upgrades.

  • "Off-road testing shows Wrangler in its best light. Its suspension design and array of traction-assisting technology subdues most obstacles." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Off-road, the 2013 Wrangler is everything you want in a 4WD trail rig, given its ability to poke along at a walking speed. Add real horsepower to the crawling, and favorable gearing for the hauling, and you arguably have the most competent Jeep Wrangler in the brand's 70-year history." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "What a hoot. We crawled over rocks, forded creeks and generally tackled the most treacherous of terrain without breaking a sweat. Well, we did, but the Jeep was universally composed." -- AutoWeek (2012)
  • "To the uninitiated, the path would appear impossible, yet the Wrangler crept up and down the steep, rocky, log-strewn, rutted pass littered with sinkholes the size of Kias without even breathing hard." -- Edmunds (2012)

Find the Best Price

Enter your zip code to get local pricing.

Get Dealer Quotes

To get dealer quotes, enter your zip code.

Search Used Listings

To search used listings, enter your zip code.

Change Location

Enter your zip code to see listings near you.

Please enter a valid zipcode

Best Price Program

Interested in a New?

Use the U.S. News Best Price Program to find great deals and get upfront pricing on the.

Dismiss