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2016 Jeep Wrangler

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/3/2017 Motor Trend Staff

You'll Like

  • Off-road capability
  • Open-top SUV
  • Very recognizable boxy styling and nameplate

You Won't Like

  • Poor safety scores
  • Lacks advanced safety features found in more affordable cars
  • Poor on-road driving dynamics

New for 2016

Jeepadds a new Black Bear Edition to the Wrangler lineup, the Sahara model receives interior and exterior updates, and Rhino Mojave Sand and Hypergreen are new exterior colors.

Vehicle Summary

The Wrangler is Jeep's most capable SUV and slots in the middle of the automaker's long SUV lineup after the Patriot, Renegade, Compass, and Cherokee but before the more expensive and larger Wrangler Unlimited (four-door) and the flagship Grand Cherokee model.

Overview

The 2016 Jeep Wrangler is powered by a 285-hp, 260-lb-ft of torque 3.6-liter V-6 mated to either a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission that sends power to a part-time four-wheel-drive system. Both powertrains deliver an EPA-estimated 17/21 mpg city/highway and have an estimated total driving range of 335 miles. The Wrangler is a two-door SUV, andthe Wrangler Unlimited has four doors.

For maximum off-road capability, the Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock Edition will tackle almost any obstacle in rugged SUV's way. Based on the already capable Rubicon model, the Rubicon hard Rock gets electronic-locking front and rear Dana 44 axles, a Rock-Trac transfer case with a 4-Low ratio of 4:1, a 4.10 axle ratio front and rear, Tru-Lok locking differentials, and an impressive 73.1:1 crawl ratio. Aesthetically, the Rubicon Hard Rock Edition is equipped with BF Goodrich 255/75R17 tires, 17-inch satin black Rubicon wheels, gloss black grille, black front and rear steel off-road bumpers with a winch-capable design, dual-vented Power Dome hood, front and rear red tow hooks, and off-road rock rails. Lastly, all-weather slush mats, a Jeep Trail Rated Kit, and axle locker and sway-bar disconnect switches are also included in this special edition.

Safety

The NHTSA issued the 2016 Jeep Wrangler three stars out of five for the rollover crash test; an overall rating, frontal crash rating, and the side crash rating were not conducted. The Wrangler received the second lowest rating of Marginal for the small overlap front crash test, the highest rating of Good for the moderate overlap front crash test, and the lowest rating of Poor for the side crash test from the IIHS. Front crash prevention was not rated because the 2016 Wrangler does not come equipped with any collision warning system or automatic braking. Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, trailer-sway control, hill-start assist, and traction control. Front airbags are standard, but side airbags are available on some models.

What We Think

In a First Test review of the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, we explained how this is a true off-roader with only adequate performance numbersa and sub-par on-road driving characteristics. The SUV will drive under hard braking, and the knobby tires are very loud. "Our particular Jeep Wrangler Unlimited was outfitted with luxuries such asleather seats, automatic climate control, and a touchscreen infotainment system, but this Jeep is far from a softie. Because underneath those niceties and removable doors is a honest and pure SUV that will continue to win over off-road fanatics' hearts for a long time."

In 2016 last-of-a-kind SUV off-road comparison, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon hard Rock placed second behind the Toyota Land Cruiser and ahead of the Mercedes-Benz G550 mostly because of the sluggish automatic transmission and lack of power from the V-6 engine, but the Jeep had the most off-road capability. "The Wrangler made everything look effortless; locking the diffs and letting the Rubicon Hard Rock scramble up steep rock faces on its own cured any difficulty the Jeep encountered," and "Places where the G and the Cruiser spun their tires or had to try a different line, the Jeep scrambled up like it was nothing."

Cool Fact

Jeep Engineers designed the oil sump to continuously provide oil to the pump even in the most extreme off-roading angles, and the alternator was placed high in order for the Wrangler to maintain its water-fording capability.

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