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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Jeep Wrangler

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Expert's Rating

4.2Excellent

MPG 17 City / 21 Highway
Pros
  • Impressive off-road ability
  • Plenty of head room
  • Rugged good looks
  • Versatile cargo area
Cons
  • Cabin noisy at highway speed
  • Questionable reliability history
, Automotive Editor -
Jeep vehicles have always been known for their prowess away from the pavement and the Wrangler is the main reason why. It is unapologetically built to off-road, evidenced by solid Dana front and rear axles and a part-time four-wheel-drive system available with dual locking differentials.

Introduction

Power door locks, power windows and air-conditioning are not standard on the base Jeep Wrangler Sport trim. However, though not available on the Sport, leather and heated seats are optional for the luxurious Sahara and ultra-rugged Rubicon trims.

For 2013, the entire Wrangler line-up receives new front and rear seats with larger side bolsters, new interior lighting and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. A powerful 3.6L Pentastar V6 and six-speed manual transmission is standard across the model range with a five-speed automatic transmission available. Fuel-economy is estimated to be 17 city/21 highway MPG which is respectable considering the Pentastar produces 285 HP at 6,400 RPM. The Wrangler claims a maximum cargo volume of 55 cu. ft. with the rear seat completely removed but only 12 cu. ft. with the rear seat installed.

See our picks for best SUVs in the CarsDirect SUV Buying Guide.

The small cargo area relative to the size/shape of the Wrangler allows an advantage to competitors such as the Nissan Xterra. With a rear seat that can comfortably fit three adults (the Wrangler’s rear struggles with one), a large dedicated cargo area, and considerable off-road capability, the Xterra is the Wrangler’s four-door rival. Furthermore, the Nissan has 65.7 cu.ft. max cargo volume with the rear seat only needing folded, not removed. Still, the Xterra does not offer a removable top and the off-road performance falls short of the Jeep. The Wrangler's chief rival, the Toyota FJ Cruiser, also does not offer a removable top nor does it achieve the gas mileage that the Wrangler does, delivering 16 city/20 highway MPG from a 4.0L V6 that puts out 25 HP less than the Pentastar. On the other hand, rear seating is much roomier in the FJ Cruiser and there is 66.7 cu. ft. cargo volume with the 2nd row folded.

The Wrangler simply prefers off-road to on- and its mastery of the former is without rival. Though less refined than any other SUV on the market, the Wrangler screams “fun!” and with removable doors, removable top and a fold-down windshield, “fun!” is never hard to come by.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Jeep Wrangler
Starting price
$20,985

2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Recommended for: Drivers looking for premium turn-key off-road capability

The Rubicon has some shoppers confused because it has a higher base price but less interior features than the Sahara. Yet in true Wrangler fashion, the higher cost is not for more comfort, but better off-road performance instead. The Rubicon's increased capability is mainly the result of Tru-Lok front/rear locking differentials, Dana 44 front/rear axles and a Rock-Trac heavy-duty transfer case. Supplying contact to the dirt is a set of 32" BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires housing four 17" polished aluminum wheels. Never to be outdone, Jeep also equips the Rubicon with adjustable gas-charged shocks, rock rails and standard front/rear tow hooks. Remember, aftermarket upgrades can void the manufacturer's warranty so if you want superior off-road capability without the worry of an invalid warranty, go with the Rubicon.

2013 Jeep Wrangler
Starting price
$20,985

2013 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

Recommended for: Those wanting the most luxurious Jeep Wrangler ever produced

Though not the most expensive trim in the 2013 Wrangler line-up, the Sahara is easily the nicest from a luxury standpoint. Including all sport trim standards, the Sahara comes equipped with air-conditioning, embroidered cloth seats (embroidered leather available) and body color fender flares plus available matching hard top. New for this year is a seven-speaker Alpine audio system with a 368-watt amp and subwoofer included. The glass receives a deep sunscreen tint and Sahara owners roll on 18" Sparkle Silver painted wheels wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler 255/75 AT Tires. Power door locks and power windows are standard, although, this adds significant weight to the two removable doors and requires more effort from the owner to take them off. For 2013, Jeep is producing a limited-edition MOAB version based on the Sahara trim but with added upgrades focused on appearance and off-road performance.

2013 Jeep Wrangler
Starting price
$20,985

2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport

Recommended for: Buyers who desire the Wrangler's styling and performance, but not much else

The Jeep Wrangler is known for lacking interior features and this is best represented in the Sport trim. Although options like power windows and power door locks are available, they are not standard. Other items you won't receive standard in the Sport include satellite radio and air-conditioning. However, a customer who chooses this trim will receive off-road mainstays like the Dana front and rear axles and Command-Trac 4WD system. Also included: fog lamps, cloth seats, media center (AM/FM Radio, CD player), and steering-wheel-mounted audio/cruise control. With only a small amount of standard equipment, the Sport is ideal for buyers certain they'll be performing aftermarket upgrades as it offers the least amount of MSRP mark-up on OEM parts that may be replaced.

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