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Price: $28,295; As tested: $50,345

 

This week, we’re reviewing the fourth generation 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4x4 2-door, named Motor Trend Magazine’s “SUV of the Year” for 2019.

For 2020, the Wrangler class welcomes a new powerplant to the family in a 3.0-liter V6 Eco Diesel that will provide impressive power, performance and towing capabilities to take on off-road and on-road challenges never before afforded the Wrangler class. Although our tester was not a new diesel version, we do expect to test drive one this coming new year. And with 260-horsepower and an amazing 442 lb. ft. of torque, everyone expects the diesel version of the popular Wrangler to be a fabulous performer and big-time towing machine.

The diesel option will cost an additional $4,000 on 4-door Wranglers only, starting with the Sport S Wrangler and is the same diesel that powers the RAM 1500 sibling pickups and comes coupled to an 8-speed automatic.

Built in Toledo, Ohio, all Wrangles are classified as SUVs and do not measure up to automobiles in safety ratings and comfort amenities. Some will find Wrangler entry cumbersome, road noise high and handling not that great, especially with the shorter wheelbase 2-door Wranglers. But when you take this same Jeep off road or drive in a nasty snowstorm, Jeep  Wranglers transform into outstanding vehicles far superior to other  AWD and 4x4 vehicles on the road today. (It’s in the Jeep DNA!)

Under the hood of the Rubicon sits a powerful 24-valve 3.6-liter Pentstar V6 engine that comes standard and delivers 285 horses and 260 lb. ft. of torque. A recommended option is an eight-speed automatic transmission that costs $2,000 more than the standard six-speed manual. The automatic is well suited for low gear off-road or high-gear highway cruising. This new generation Wrangler also features start/stop technology to assist fuel mileage.

This new generation Wrangler 4x4 is available for 2020 in six two-door and nine 4-door, longer wheelbase, models. Wrangler 4x4s start at $28,295 for the Sport, then move up through seven other models to top line Sahara Altitude, a 4-door trim that starts at $41,940 and is pretty much fully loaded. However, 4-door Wranglers start at $31,990 with the entry Sport, a welcome $10K difference.

Off-Road ready Rubicon trims feature many exclusive features, including electronic front sway bar disconnect and an extreme duty 4:1 Rock-Trac HD Part Time 4WD System. Rubicon models also come standard with muscular Tru-Lok front and rear third generation class 44 brand Dana axles, a 4:10 rear gear, huge four wheel ABS disc brakes, skid plates front and rear, rock rails, transfer case skid plate, transmission skid plates, fuel tank plate shield, Torx Tool Kit, modern safety and traction assists, and all the necessities needed for serious off-road excursions.

  Other notable standard Rubicon features include Apple and Android compatibility, Media Hub USB and axillaries, remote keyless entry, Parkview rear safety backup camera, climate control, cruise, power windows, nice cloth seating, halogen headlamps, fog lamps, three tow hooks, full length console, stability and roll mitigation, advanced air bag system, trailer sway damping, and more.

Putting traction to the ground are 33-inch inch All Terrain tires on 17-inch polished dark/bright alloy wheels. Notable is a full-size spare tire attached to the rear door.

Our Rubicon 2-door had a $38,295 base price while options included a Leather Trim package with trimmed leather seating, steering wheel, shift knob and premium door panel for $1,395; an Electronic Infotainment upgrade for $1,295 that adds an Alpine Premium nine-speaker stereo upgrade with 552 watts. Another $1,695 upgrades UConnect to an 8.4-inch display with 4G WiFi hotspot, navigation, auto dim rear mirror, HD radio, roadside assistance and SiriusXM with one year free and a five-year travel and traffic plus service.

An optional $1,195 removable Black Freedom three-piece hardtop came with our Rubicon that transforms Wrangler into an open air fun machine. The Freedom Hardtop also adds rear wiper/washer, rear defroster and a hardtop storage bag. 

The new generation Wrangler also features a fold down front windshield for even more off-road enrichment.

A steel bumper group adds another $1,395, while safety is enhanced thanks to a highly recommended Jeep Advanced Safety option for $795 adds adaptive cruise with stop, auto high beams and forward collision warning. Further, a Jeep Safety Group for $995 brings in Park Sense rear park assist and blind spot and cross path detection that make these new Wranglers the most modern and safety enhanced ever built. An LED lighting group adds $995, while a Trailer Tow Package costs another $795.

With delivery charges of $1,495, our highly optioned Rubicon bottom lined at $50,345. Remember consumers can contour a Wrangler specifically to your preferences in the mid-$30K range easily.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 96.8 inches, 4,160 lb. curb weight, 17.5 gal. fuel tank, 17 city and 25 highway fuel mileage, 34.5 ft. turn circle, 2,000 lb. tow capacity, 10.8 inch ground clearance and 12.9 to 31.7 cu. ft. cargo space depending on rear seat position. 

In summary, until you own a Jeep Wrangler in any style you may not understand why this vehicle is so trendy. And with the new Eco Diesel already on its way to dealers, when you get behind the wheel you’ll experience firsthand why there are so many Wranglers on the road today. 

Check with your area dealer for 2019 leftover deals and incentives on this new generation Wrangler. You’ll for sure save some cash versus a similar 2020 model.   

 

Likes: Off-road tough, diesel now available, Jeep history.

 

Dislikes: Expensive options, limited cargo space, fuel mileage.