Noticeable improvements. The 2019 Jeep Wrangler features some noticeable improvements inside and out while still supplying everything we love about Jeep: classic handsome looks, matchless off-road chops, and an infinite number of ways to customize this traditional body-on-frame sport utility vehicle.

The current Jeep Wrangler is an exercise in evolutionary design and that’s a good thing. Its boxy canvas with removable doors and windshield, fixed or removable top, and traditional side-hinged rear door with spare tire mount continue. Other changes are subtle, including the LED lights on the front wheel flare facings and the headlights that are now positioned slightly inward, allowing them to encroach on each of the outer vertical slats.

It's inside where the improvements are most noticeable and welcome. Jeep’s designers were given the go-ahead to improve the layout and materials used, which gives the Wrangler a more polished appearance. The dashboard sits lower and all controls are moved higher for ease of use. The available 8.4-inch color display is perfectly suited to this model and takes nothing away from the cabin. The front seats are more comfortable as well and come covered in cloth, upgraded cloth, or leather. The second option is the choice of hardcore off-roaders, as the material is decidedly wash and wear. Also, Jeep is offering its first driver-assist safety feature packages for this iconic off-roader this year.

Two capable engines. Most Wranglers come with a 3.6-liter V6 engine paired with a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. The available 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine works exclusively with the automatic gearbox. Later this model year, a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel option rolls out, but it's only expected to be available on four-door Wrangler Unlimited models (covered separately).

Most customers will be naturally drawn to the V6, appreciating its kick on the open road, although it doesn’t have quite the low-end grunt we want for off-road fun. The turbo four-cylinder engine is the better choice for your trail-tackling excursions. It also benefits from a mild hybrid system, which sends power to certain accessories while you’re stopped in traffic.

Begging to go off road. The current Wrangler handles better on-road than previous models. That said, you may still find steering sloppy at times, with some wandering a given.

The standard 33-inch all-terrain tires will have you romping off-road in no time, supported by solid Dana axles, locking differentials and sway bars, and a part-time transfer case. Even the novice driver will feel at home, naturally drawn to the Jeep’s legendary prowess.

Safety no longer an afterthought. You may have heard that the Jeep Wrangler performs abysmally in crash tests. That hasn’t changed. After all, the Jeep’s traditional design supplies little allowance for the protections we take for granted in today’s aerodynamic and safety-driven models.

But that doesn’t mean the Wrangler is without such features as electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, and a suite of airbags. Moreover, for the first time, the Wrangler offers a pair of safety group packages. The first one includes rear park assist and blind-spot monitoring and is available on both the Sport S and Rubicon trims. The second one adds adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning and is only available on the Rubicon.

Jeep Wrangler

Final thoughts. There isn't anything else like the Jeep Wrangler. The nearest vehicle we’ve seen in recent years is the now-retired Toyota FJ Cruiser. The similar Toyota 4Runner remains, which shares its platform with the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. We’ll soon see an all-new Ford Bronco, which will be the nearest model to the Wrangler. However, its debut is still more than a year away.

The 2019 Jeep Wrangler is ideal for most anyone who prizes off-roading or at least likes the look as they roam city streets. It remains the favorite of beachcombers too, the least likely vehicle to get stuck while on the sand. Remove the doors, windshield, and top, and you have an instant convertible.

Long-term reliability remains a concern, but it hasn’t affected sales in any way. Consumers rightly look at the Wrangler as a lifestyle vehicle and are more than happy to overlook its jouncy ride and marginal rear seat. The Wrangler is all about making a statement and is still recognized as the vehicle that led allied troops during World War Two.

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