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2016 Jeep Wrangler Review

The 2016 Jeep Wrangler is an affordable SUV for off-road enthusiasts. However, its mixed crash test scores, questionable reliability, stiff ride, and bare bones interior pull its score down in our rankings. These limitations also make the Wrangler a poor fit for many lifestyles.

Pros & Cons

  • Great off-road capability
  • Standard four-wheel drive
  • Below-average safety and reliability ratings
  • Mediocre handling and ride quality on pavement
  • Few standard features
  • More expensive to buy and own than most compact SUVs




Critics' Rating: 8.1
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 6.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 6.4
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Jeep Wrangler Overview

Is the 2016 Jeep Wrangler a Good Used SUV?

Few SUVs can tackle an off-road trail like the Jeep Wrangler. It comes in two different body styles: the short-wheelbase Wrangler, or the long-wheelbase Wrangler Unlimited (which adds two rear doors). You get more room for your crew and cargo with the Wrangler Unlimited. Still, neither body style is as easy to live with on a daily basis as most other compact SUVs. The Wrangler has limited comfort and convenience features, few technology gadgets, and low reliability and crash test ratings.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our Jeep Wrangler review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than 100 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2016 Jeep Wrangler?

The average price of a 2016 Wrangler is $32,100. That’s less expensive than almost any other used off-road SUV, but it’s quite pricey for a compact SUV. Prices range from $25,500 to $40,000, based on over 3,400 used Wrangler listings on our site. The price you pay depends on the trim level, mileage, condition, and your local zip code.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Cost to Own?

Expect to pay around $26,300 to insure, fuel, maintain, and repair a 2016 Wrangler over five years. The Wrangler’s costs are higher than most comparable SUV’s, including the 2016 Toyota 4Runner and the 2016 Jeep Cherokee.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Wrangler?

The Jeep Wrangler has been fully redesigned for 2018, and there are some notable differences. Compared to the previous generation, the 2018 Wrangler’s cabin ups the ante on style and refinement. It has a roomier back seat, added comfort options, and more standard features. Also, an all-new turbocharged engine is now available. Although EPA estimates are not yet available, the turbo engine likely gets better gas mileage than the base V6.

The Wrangler’s innate qualities carry over for 2018, for good and bad. You still get outstanding handling on the trails, but middling performance on the highway. The 2018 Wrangler is pricey for its class, with a base MSRP of $27,495. Since prices for 2016 and 2018 models are so similar, buying new may be the better choice. You’ll get more modern features and a longer warranty, and interest rates tend to be lower on new vehicles.  Check our Jeep deals page for possible cash back deals that might narrow the price difference even further.

Read about the new Jeep Wrangler »

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee strikes a better balance between on-road comfort and off-road prowess. It’s a little cushier inside, but it can’t match the Wrangler’s extreme four-wheeling capability. Still, the Cherokee is a better value, with more standard features and a starting MSRP of $23,995 (or $25,495 with four-wheel drive). The 2018 Toyota 4Runner is another popular choice among off-road enthusiasts, and it’s a great fit for many lifestyles. It has a large cargo hold, seating for up to seven, a 5,000-pound towing capacity, and a respectable number of standard features. However, it’s a little more expensive than a used Wrangler (prices start at $34,610), but you can always lower that price by taking advantage of Toyota car deals.  

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Jeep Wrangler?

The 2016 Jeep Wrangler has a J.D Power reliability rating of 2.5 out of five. That’s considered below average for all cars. In comparison, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson and 2016 Chevrolet Equinox have exceptional ratings.

Read more about Wrangler reliability »

2016 Jeep Wrangler Recalls

No information is available on 2016 Wrangler recalls at the time of this review.

See more information on Jeep Wrangler safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Jeep Wrangler Is Best? 

The 2016 Jeep Wrangler is part of the SUV's eighth generation, which started with the 2007 model and includes the 2017 Wrangler. While some special editions were added in recent years, the base model saw few changes. You can likely save money by purchasing a 2014 or 2015 Wrangler, which has most of the 2016 model's features and styling. You probably shouldn’t go back further than the 2012 model year. These models did not come standard with four-wheel drive, and they featured a different engine than the current one.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Wrangler »

Which Used Jeep Wrangler Model Is Right for Me?

The Jeep Wrangler comes standard with two doors, but Wrangler Unlimited models have four doors. Both versions come in three trims: Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon. There are also a number of special-edition and limited-production Wrangler models available.

The Wrangler Sport comes with few features: a removable fabric roof, satellite radio, and an eight-speaker stereo. However, it comes standard with four-wheel drive, unlike nearly all other compact SUVs. Most shoppers will be happier with one of the uplevel editions, as the base trim is missing essentials like air conditioning. The Wrangler Sahara adds air conditioning, power windows, and power door locks. It's available with automatic climate control, navigation, leather seating, and heated front seats. The Wrangler Rubicon adds more off-roading features, including larger tires, rock rails, and a locking rear differential.

See 2016 Jeep Wrangler trims and specs »

What Does Jeep's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Jeep offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Jeep extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. CPO vehicles also get a three-month/3,000-mile Maximum Coverage Care warranty. Additional benefits are available, including a 90-day SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription, a CarFax vehicle history report, 24-hour towing and roadside assistance, and a car rental allowance. There are mileage and model restrictions, so read the Jeep warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Jeep has one of the worst CPO programs in the industry. Honda, Ford, Chevrolet, and Volkswagen all have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Wrangler?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted four crash tests on the 2016 Jeep Wrangler. It received the top rating of Good in the moderate overlap test, the second-lowest rating of Marginal for its head restraints and seats, and the lowest rating of Poor for its side crash test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) only evaluated the 2016 Wrangler in a rollover crash test, in which it earned three out of five stars. 

The Wrangler offers no active safety features. That’s a bit unusual, as most competing SUVs are available with advanced driver assistance systems such as a rearview camera and blind spot monitoring.

See Wrangler safety scores »

2016 Jeep Wrangler Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Jeep Wrangler or 2016 Jeep Cherokee?

The Jeep Cherokee is a more versatile SUV than the Wrangler. Its array of trail-friendly trims and features make it an impressive off-roader. The suspension is refined and comfortable enough for daily city and highway driving as well. Inside, the Cherokee offers superior seating comfort and a sliding and reclining back row. Additionally, the Cherokee has much more standard equipment, available technology, and safety features than the Wrangler.

Which Is Better: 2016 Jeep Wrangler or 2016 Subaru Forester?

If you need extra grip for snowy weather and gravel roads, the Subaru Forester is a great choice. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, which makes light work of minor trails and harsh weather conditions. However, it lacks the serious off-roading capabilities afford by the Jeep. The Forester is comfortable enough for daily driving, and it has an available turbocharged engine that makes good power. The 2016 Forester also comes with more features than the Wrangler, including a standard touch-screen infotainment system, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a USB port.

Compare the Wrangler, Cherokee, and Forester »

2016 Wrangler Performance

How Does the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Drive?

The 2016 Wrangler features a 285-horsepower V6 engine that provides plenty of muscle for easy acceleration on the highway and from a stop. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a five-speed automatic is available.

The Wrangler comes standard with four-wheel drive and is undeniably one of the most off-road-capable SUVs. But what makes it an excellent vehicle on rugged terrain makes it a burden on paved roads. There’s a lot of body roll through turns, and the steering is imprecise. Additionally, it has a harsh ride.

Does the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Wrangler is one of the thirstiest SUVs in its class. It gets an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway with either transmission. Those are some of the lowest numbers in the class, though most other compact SUVs have weaker base engines than the Wrangler's.

2016 Jeep Wrangler Towing Capacity

You can tow up to 2,000 pounds with a 2016 Wrangler. The Unlimited model can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Read more about Wrangler performance »

2016 Wrangler Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Wrangler Seat?

The Wrangler offers two body styles. The two-door model has room for four people, while the four-door model adds an extra seat to bring seating up to five. The rear seats in both are tight, but four-door models have a bit more rear legroom. Interior styling is no-frills, and there are many hard plastic surfaces.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Jeep Wrangler?

The Wrangler has a complete set of LATCH child-seat connectors on each of its rear outboard seats. The middle seat has an upper tether anchor, and it can borrow lower anchors from the adjacent seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Wrangler’s LATCH system a Marginal rating, the second lowest score.

2016 Jeep Wrangler Features

The Wrangler comes with satellite radio, an eight-speaker stereo, and a removable fabric roof. Unlike other competing SUVS, the Wrangler does not come standard with basic features like power locks and power windows.

See 2016 Jeep Wrangler specs »

Read more about Wrangler interior »

2016 Jeep Wrangler Dimensions

Jeep Wrangler Cargo Space

The Wrangler has 12.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, which is small even for a compact SUV. The Wrangler Unlimited’s 31.5 cubic feet of storage is more in line with class rivals. You can fold or completely remove the rear seat in two-door models for up to 61.2 cubic feet of space. Folding the rear seat in the four-door Wrangler give you 70.6 cubic feet of cargo space.

Jeep Wrangler Length and Weight

The two-door Wrangler is 13.7 feet long (with the spare tire), and its curb weight ranges from 3,760 to 4,129 pounds. The four-door Wrangler Unlimited is almost 2 feet longer, at 15.4 feet. The Wrangler weighs between 4,075 and 4,340 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Built?

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles built the 2016 Jeep Wrangler in Toledo, Ohio.

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