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2019 Jeep Wrangler: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 11/1/2018 U.S. News & World Report
a car driving on a mountain road: 2019 Jeep Wrangler© Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 2019 Jeep Wrangler

The 2019 Jeep Wrangler finishes in the bottom half of our compact SUV rankings. It's a dynamic off-road machine with some noteworthy interior highlights, but it fares worse as a daily driver than most of its classmates.

The 2019 Jeep Wrangler is ranked:

Is the Jeep Wrangler a Good SUV?

The Jeep Wrangler has both good and bad attributes because it's something of a specialist. If you want an off-roading SUV with capable engines and ample cargo space (in four-door models), then the Wrangler is for you. But it's a bad choice for daily driving because it's less comfortable, less efficient, and less technologically equipped than many SUVs.

Should I Buy the Jeep Wrangler?

As we discussed above, the Wrangler makes a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts. But it costs more than most compact SUVs, and there are some capable off-road vehicles that make better daily drivers than this Jeep, so it behooves you to shop around. The Jeep Cherokee, Toyota Tacoma, and Ford F-150 Raptor are all worth comparing against the Wrangler.

Should I Buy a New or Used Jeep Wrangler?

The 2019 Wrangler belongs to a generation that began with the 2018 model year. This year's model offers adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning, but it's otherwise unchanged. 

The 2018 model marked the first redesign for the Wrangler in some time. For 2018, Jeep introduced a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 275 horsepower and features a mild hybrid e-assist. Inside, Jeep used noticeably more upscale materials than in previous Wranglers. New features for 2018 included a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, and an infotainment system with a 5-inch touch screen. New available features included blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, and an upgraded infotainment system with a 7- or 8.4-inch touch screen, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Although you can potentially save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used Wrangler, you'll miss out on the redesigned model's updates if you buy a pre-2018 Wrangler (or a 2018 Wrangler JK, which belongs to the previous Wrangler generation). If you are interested in a used model, check out our 2017 and 2018 Jeep Wrangler reviews and browse our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts offered on used vehicles.

We Did the Research for You: 14 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Wrangler generation, which runs from 2018 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Jeep Wrangler Cost?

The Wrangler’s base price is about $28,000. Most compact SUVs have lower starting prices. Wrangler Unlimited models start at over $31,000. There are three trims beyond the base, with the highest trim starting in the low-$40,000s. That's more than most competitors' top trims, and it's on par with the price tags of some luxury SUVs.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

Jeep Wrangler Versus the Competition

Because it’s one of the few SUVs to prioritize off-roading, the Wrangler isn't easy to compare to other vehicles, particularly other compact SUVs. Instead, you need to look at vehicles in other classes, starting with a fellow Jeep.

Which Is Better: Jeep Wrangler or Jeep Cherokee?

The Jeep Cherokee has plenty of off-road capability in its own right, particularly the Trailhawk trim, but it makes a better daily driver than the Wrangler. The seats are comfortable, supportive, and roomy enough for adults. The Cherokee comes with a good number of technology features too. The Wrangler is a more capable off-road machine, but the Cherokee is better if you plan on mostly sticking to asphalt.

Which Is Better: Jeep Wrangler or Toyota Tacoma?

The Toyota Tacoma may be a compact pickup truck, but it's still a worthy alternative to the Wrangler. It's plenty capable when the pavement ends, as it offers four-wheel drive and lots of off-road features. It has two trims – TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro – that are built with off-roading in mind. This Toyota pickup also hauls cargo better than the Jeep. The Tacoma can tow up to 6,800 pounds, and its maximum payload is over 1,600 pounds. Choosing between the two will come down to your preferences. If you're looking for extra space and features in a capable off-roader, the Tacoma may be a better fit.

Which Is Better: Jeep Wrangler or Ford F-150?

The Ford F-150 is one of our highest-rated full-size pickup trucks every year, and it brings a lot to the table, including a comfortable interior, excellent towing and hauling capacities, and more technology than the Wrangler. The F-150 Raptor trim – the truck’s off-road trim – makes an especially interesting comparison against the Wrangler. Its engine has at least 150 more horsepower than any Wrangler engine, and it comes with a litany of off-road features. However, it also costs about $10,000 more than the most expensive Wrangler, so you may decide that this Ford pickup isn't worth the extra money.

Wrangler Performance

Wrangler Engine: Turbo = More Go

You have two engine options in the Wrangler: the 285-horsepower V6 base engine or a 270-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. The base engine delivers ample power, but the turbo-four provides better acceleration and feels more ready to play.

Wrangler Gas Mileage: One of the Worst

The Wrangler's fuel economy numbers trail most rivals' ratings. With its base V6, the Wrangler gets 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. The turbo-four gets better estimates of 23/25 mpg city/highway.

Wrangler Ride and Handling: Stable, but Not That Smooth

Having a heavy-duty suspension, as the Wrangler does, leads to a trade-off: It improves off-road ability but hinders ride quality on the road. That said, the ride is fine over smooth pavement. The Wrangler feels stable on winding roads, but there's noticeable body roll around turns. Some rivals are more agile.

Wrangler Off-Road Performance

Perhaps no vehicle has made more of its name for its off-road ability than the Jeep Wrangler. With standard features like skid plates and part-time four-wheel drive, any trim sets you up to go adventuring. The Rubicon trim has even more off-road-oriented features, making it the vehicular equivalent of a mountain goat.

Wrangler Towing Capacity

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.

Wrangler Interior

How Many People Does the Wrangler Seat?

The two-door Wrangler seats four, while the four-door Wrangler Unlimited seats five. Both rows offer plenty of headroom, and the front row provides decent legroom. The rear seats in the Unlimited have ample space for adults, but they're a tighter squeeze in the two-door model.

Wrangler and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for installing car seats.

Wrangler Interior Quality

The Wrangler's interior may not blow you away with its materials quality or style, but that's because it's built with function – not form – in mind. The materials are durable so they can withstand anything you put them through, and they're easy to clean as well.

The Wrangler comes standard with a soft top roof, but you can upgrade to a hardtop. Both are easy to remove.

Wrangler Cargo Space

In two-door models, this Jeep gives you roughly 13 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 47 cubic feet with them folded down. Those are below-average totals for the class. However, four-door models have more space than most competitors. They provide nearly 32 cubic feet with the rear seats up and more than 72 cubic feet with them folded down.

Wrangler Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

This Jeep comes with the Uconnect infotainment system, which includes a 5-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker audio system, USB and auxiliary ports, and Bluetooth. Available features include air conditioning, power windows, an upgraded Uconnect system with a 7- or 8.4-inch touch screen, navigation, an Alpine audio system, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

The Uconnect system makes life easy when it comes to technology. Its intuitive layout means there's no steep learning curve, and the touch screen responds quickly to inputs. It's even water resistant, so it'll keep working if you get caught in a light rain with the top off.

Wrangler Reliability

Is the Jeep Wrangler Reliable?

The 2019 Wrangler does not yet have a predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power, but the nearly identical 2018 model has a below-average rating of 2.5 out of five.

Jeep Wrangler Warranty

The Jeep Wrangler comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Wrangler Safety

Wrangler Crash Test Results

As of this writing, neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crash tested the 2019 Wrangler.

Wrangler Safety Features

The Wrangler comes standard with a rearview camera. Available driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, and rear parking sensors.

Which Jeep Wrangler Model Is Right for Me?

You have four options when picking a Wrangler trim: Sport, Sport S, Sahara, and Rubicon. All trims feature a 285-horsepower V6 engine, and three of the four are offered in two- and four-door body styles.

Choosing a Wrangler starts with choosing a body style. The four-door Wrangler Unlimited is the better choice if you plan to regularly seat passengers in the rear. If not, stick with the two-door Wrangler and save yourself some money. Note that the Sahara trim only comes as a four-door model.

The Sahara and Rubicon trims are the most capable off-roaders, so you’ll want one of those if you plan to hit the trails every weekend. For many buyers, however, the Wrangler Sport S is the best choice: It offers plenty of technology, it has the chops to handle serious off-roading, and it costs much less than the higher trims.

Jeep Wrangler Sport

The Wrangler Sport has a base price of around $28,000 for two-door models and $31,500 for four-door models. It comes standard with a review camera and the Uconnect infotainment system, which includes a 5-inch touch screen, USB and auxiliary ports, Bluetooth, and an eight-speaker audio system.

There aren’t a ton of optional features in the base trim, but you can upgrade from the standard six-speed manual transmission to an eight-speed automatic or opt for a hardtop instead of the standard soft top. Inside, you can add satellite radio and air conditioning.

Jeep Wrangler Sport S

The Wrangler Sport S has a starting price of around $31,500 for two-door models and $35,000 for four-door models. In addition to the base model’s features, the Sport S comes with air conditioning, power windows, and keyless entry.

The Sport S has more available features than the base trim, including several option packages. The Cold Weather Group adds remote start, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The Technology Group adds automatic climate control and an upgraded Uconnect infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The Jeep Active Safety Group adds blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. The new-for-2019 Jeep Advanced Safety Group adds adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning. You can also add an Alpine premium audio system.

Jeep Wrangler Sahara

The Wrangler Sahara starts at around $38,500 and is only offered with four doors. The Sahara comes with a heavy-duty suspension and specialized interior styling unique to this trim. It also comes with a 115-volt power outlet, automatic climate control, and an upgraded Uconnect system with a 7-inch touch screen, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

In addition to some of the option packages listed above, the Sahara offers the Electronic Infotainment System Group, which adds the highest-end Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch touch screen, navigation, HD Radio, and an Alpine audio system.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

The Wrangler Rubicon has a starting price of around $38,000 for two-door models and $41,500 for four-door models. The Rubicon is the best off-roading trim. It comes with a performance suspension and a locking rear differential, but it otherwise has the same standard and available features as the Sahara.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

The Final Call

The 2019 Jeep Wrangler delivers the legendary off-road capability that this SUV is known for, but it lacks the everyday appeal of many other compact SUVs. Therefore, depending on your priorities, the Wrangler can be a great choice or a terrible one.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2019 Jeep Wrangler review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.

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