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Jeep Wrangler Buyer’s Guide

black Jeep Wrangler
Image: NeONBRAND on unsplash

Jeep recently celebrated eight decades of 4×4 SUVs, of which the Wrangler is arguably its most well-known offering. The Wrangler has amassed tons of awards for its off-road capabilities, cost-to-own and resale value over the years — and the 2021 model year and beyond has expanded what is available from this SUV.

There’s certainly no lack of choice when it comes to choosing a Wrangler. In fact, it’s more common to feel overwhelmed by how many possibilities are available. Don’t worry, though. It’s only a matter of making a few key choices — like configuration, engine and trim level.

Here’s a guide to help Jeep Wrangler buyers settle on the right version for their lives.

Jeep Wrangler: Powertrain Choices

Speaking of choices, drivers can opt for a number of engines as well as either the standard six-speed manual transmission or the available eight-speed automatic.

Here’s a rundown of the engines available across 2021 Jeep Wrangler trims:

  • 3.6L V6: This standard engine creates 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, earning fuel economy ratings of 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway/19 mpg combined.
  • 2.0L turbo four-cylinder: This engine produces 270 horsepower and 296 lb.-ft. of torque. Paired with an automatic transmission, the fuel economy is 21 mpg city/24 mpg highway/22 mpg combined.
  • 3.0L turbodiesel V6: This engine generates 260 horsepower and 422 lb.-ft. of torque for 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway with the automatic transmission on most trims.
  • 6.4 V8: This engine, found in the Rubicon 392, creates 470 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. In terms of gas mileage, it fetches 13 mpg city/17 mpg highway/14 mpg combined.
  • 4xe 2.0L plug-in hybrid: This engine makes 375 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. The fuel economy here is an estimated 49 mpg-e.

Jeep Wrangler: Exterior Options

As well as under the hood, Jeep Wranglers offer a variety of exterior choices that affect both appearance and functionality.

Case in point: Some trim levels offer a choice between two and four doors — like the Sport, Willys and Rubicon. Others come exclusively with four doors — like the Sahara and High Altitude. On its face, this choice may look like a matter of convenience for how many passengers you can bring along (four people in a two door; five people in a four-door) as well as how convenient it will be for them to climb in and out of the SUV. However, the number of doors also affects how much cargo space is available as well as the price.

Another feature is the roof. Depending on the climate where you live and the driving experience you want, choosing a hardtop or soft-top may be more advantageous.

Jeep Wrangler: Trim Levels

Last but not least, it’s vitally important to explore Jeep Wrangler trim levels when signing a Jeep Wrangler lease or buying a Wrangler.

Perhaps the most famous is the Rubicon due to its reputation as the SUV for off-roading. To help drivers tackle tough terrain it has electronic locking differentials, rock rails and more features specific to off-roading.

However, there are also three other primary trim levels to consider: Sport, Sport S and Sahara. The Sport is the most basic trim level, featuring a five-inch infotainment touchscreen, audio system with eight speakers, 17-inch wheels and manual doors/windows. The Sport S adds power locks and window controls and bumps the infotainment screen up to 7 inches. The Sahara features special exterior styling, 18-inch wheels and dual-zone climate control.

This buyer’s guide to the Jeep Wrangler only begins to describe the ins and outs of what this model has to offer — including its many powertrain, exterior and trim level offerings.

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