2020 Jeep Wrangler

Performance


MSRP
$28,295
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Jeep Wrangler Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.7

The 2020 Jeep Wrangler has a rugged suspension that makes it an excellent off-road SUV. It’s offered with energetic V6 and turbocharged four-cylinder engines that scoot it around confidently. The Wrangler isn’t very comfortable to drive on pavement, however. It tends to jitter and jolt over rough roads.

  • The Wrangler's body does not bound or float much, making it easy to cruise at speed on wavy pavement without upsetting anyone's stomach. But the ride can get shaky when the road is cracked or lumpy, and potholes and sharp edges will likely send a shiver through the cabin." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "We'd also make sure to try both the standard V6 and the new 4-cylinder turbo upgrade -- neither is a bad choice, but the turbo's extra torque and substantially better fuel economy are hard to argue with." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "Sometimes, you just want to go bashing through the rocks, the mud, the snow, or the sand. And that is exactly what the Wrangler is there for. The fact that it's so much easier to live with the rest of the time proves that this is the best Wrangler that Jeep has ever built." -- Autoblog (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The Wrangler comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This Pentastar V6 has powered the Wrangler line for years, and it still accelerates the SUV up to speed without issue. It just doesn’t do the job as effortlessly as the Jeep’s optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which makes 270 horsepower and a meatier 295 pound-feet of torque. This extra torque is very noticeable in low-speed driving.

The V6 comes standard with the six-speed manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic is optional. The turbo-four engine comes standard with the automatic transmission.

Wranglers with the V6 engine get up to 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Models with the four-cylinder get 22 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. All Wranglers are outfitted with four-wheel drive.

In mid-2020, the Wrangler will be offered with an optional 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine that produces 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. It will be paired exclusively with the eight-speed automatic transmission.

When properly equipped, the two-door Wrangler can tow up to 2,000 pounds, and the Wrangler Unlimited can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

  • "Acceleration is perfectly adequate from the base V6 engines, and there's very little hunting and pecking as the automatic gearbox picks the proper ratio. The six-speed manual is fine, with a reasonable clutch pedal that's not too hard or long to make using it a pain. Far from it. There's just enough power to spin the rear tires from a standing start with the V6, but know that the much heavier four-door model will be considerably slower than the two-door Wrangler. As for the turbocharged four-cylinder, it may enjoy a fuel economy advantage, but it actually feels quicker than the V6 as well. The thrust still won't blow you away, but the turbo does represent a performance upgrade." -- Autoblog
  • The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 … remains a serviceable if uninspiring motor; in this new application, it hasn't picked up any of the low-end grunt that it could so badly use. Once I learn to ignore its high-rpm wail while cruising in low range – something I have to relearn every time I'm driving a Wrangler in low – it works well enough." -- Autoweek (2018)
  • "The V6 supplies better-than-adequate acceleration all-around, and the turbo 4-cylinder is surprisingly energetic. Punch the four's throttle, and – after a tiny bit of lag as the turbo spools up – it shoots forward with satisfying zip. On both engines, the stop/start feature functioned smoothly. The 8-speed automatic transmission works well with both powertrains, with smooth, timely shifts and no apparent 'hunting' for the right gear. The V6-only 6-speed manual is much more refined than in previous Wranglers; it has a big, hefty shift knob and smooth shift-lever/clutch-pedal action." -- Consumer Guide (2018)

Handling and Braking

The Wrangler has decent on-road driving dynamics, but it’s outclassed by nearly every other compact SUV. It tends to lean and sway around turns, its suspension yields a firm and choppy ride on uneven pavement, and its boxy shape is vulnerable to crosswinds on the highway. That said, the brakes are strong, and they slow down the SUV confidently.

  • "… the body-on-frame construction that gives the Wrangler its ready-for-anything personality also contributes to a brittle ride on anything but the smoothest road surfaces." -- Edmunds
  • Driving a Jeep on the pavement is, well, like driving a Jeep on the pavement. The solid front and rear axles mean it's not going to win any comfort contests, and despite the improved aerodynamics offered from the raked windshield and seven-slot grill, it's still pretty easy to catch a crosswind. That said, Jeep added vents behind the front fenders so the hood flutter from yesteryear is gone and wind noise, at least in the hard top, has been improved." -- CNET (2018)
  • The on-road ride is more controlled and less 'wallowy' than before, but it's still rather stiff and somewhat brittle over anything but glass-smooth pavement – particularly on the shorter-wheelbase 2-door models. However, most Wrangler shoppers will willingly make the trade-off in comfort, just like sports-car buyers will tolerate a taut ride for superior corner-carving capability." -- Consumer Guide (2018)

Off-Roading

The Wrangler is a champion off road. It’s outfitted with solid front and rear axles, a two-speed transfer case with high- and low-range gears, protective skid plates, and multiple tow hooks. Some models are also available with limited-slip and locking differentials, which provide even better traction over rough terrain.

The standard Wrangler Sport has a tall 9.7 inches of ground clearance. The Wrangler Rubicon is Jeep’s most capable model, and it has close to 11 inches of ground clearance.

  • "Off-road is where the Wrangler truly comes alive. The fully boxed ladder frame and five-link coil suspension setup with Dana solid axles that collectively cause so many problems on pavement show their worth when you venture off it. The Wrangler also benefits from standard skid plates, an approach angle of 44 degrees, breakover angle of 27.8 degrees, departure angle of 37 degrees, and ground clearance of 10.9 inches that make it a veritable mountain goat." -- Autoblog
  • "And yet, as much as this civility is appreciated, the new JL Wrangler is also a far more capable off-roader. It can go places you'd normally need a horse or helicopter to reach. Even a base Sport is a veritable mountain goat, but obviously, the Rubicon and its mechanical reinforcements are what you'll really want for the toughest assignments." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "Jeep says the suspension was tuned to optimize on-road handling and ride comfort without sacrificing off-road capability. The Wrangler's mountain-goat capabilities continue unabated; we took Rubicon models on an extremely challenging off-road course that included extra-steep ascents over large, loose rocks, and the Jeeps didn't miss a beat." -- Consumer Guide (2018)
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2020 Jeep Wrangler

MSRP: $28,295 - $42,125

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