Go anywhere, do anything. The Jeep Wrangler has always been the go-to option for consumers looking to go off-roading. Until the Ford Bronco officially goes on sale in the spring of 2021, that’s going to be the case.
Retaining the same DNA for decades, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler is all about getting dirty. Consumers that don’t expect to go off the tarmac at least once a month should look elsewhere.
Thanks to a standard four-wheel-drive system, a 2.72:1 low range gear, solid axles, a ladder frame, beefy tires, and skid plates, the Wrangler tackles terrain that would beach other utility vehicles.
The two-door body’s overall length of just 166.8 inches and width of 73.8 inches makes it nimble and easy to drive over rough terrain.
If you go off-roading regularly or really want something for difficult rock crawling terrain, the Rubicon trim is the way to go. Over lower trims, it adds a full-time heavy-duty four-wheel-drive system, a 4:1 low transfer case, 33-inch all-terrain tires, an electronic locking differential, an electronic front sway bar disconnect, heavy-duty axles, and rock rails. Together, these make the Wrangler nearly unstoppable.
Iconic design. The overall shape and design of the Wrangler hasn’t changed since it first came out roughly 70 years ago. While its boxy design may seem old-school, it’s all in the name of off-roading. The chunky fender flares, sturdy bumpers, and upright front windshield give the Wrangler a design that can’t be missed.
Beyond it’s iconic look, the boxy design is what makes the SUV so capable. With the rugged Rubicon trim, it boasts 10.8 inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 44 degrees, a breakover angle of 27.8 degrees, and a departure angle of 37 degrees.
These figures are better than the four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, giving it the edge when it comes to off-roading. Additionally, we think the two-door Wrangler simply looks better.
The Wrangler also gives consumers the ability to do something no others – at least for the time being – can, which is to remove the doors, roof, and windshield. This offers an unparalleled amount of enjoyment when cruising in the summer or when off-roading.
Three stout powertrains. We wouldn’t call the Jeep Wrangler peppy because it certainly isn’t, but it’s plenty capable and does its main task, tackling rough terrain, well.
The majority of Wranglers are fitted with the standard 3.6-liter V6 that produces 285 horsepower. The issue with the standard engine is its 260 pound-feet of torque. This is the only engine that can be equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 270 hp and, more importantly, 295 lb-ft of torque is available for an extra $1,500. The four-cylinder engine is well worth the extra money, bringing nearly the same amount of pep on the open road and better fuel economy than the base V6. Unfortunately, the turbo-four is only available with the eight-speed automatic.
Jeep also offers a mild-hybrid version of the V6 engine, though the automaker doesn’t provide power figures for the powertrain. The mild-hybrid system is all about getting better fuel economy figures and is mostly aimed at consumers who plan on using their Wranglers for normal, everyday tasks.
Barely comfortable. If there’s one thing the Wrangler isn’t, it is comfortable. The base Sport trim comes with manual door locks and windows, and those removable body panels make the cabin noisy at all speeds.
The back seats in the two-door Wrangler are tight, too, only offering passengers with 35.7 inches of leg room. Additionally, two-door Wranglers only have 13 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats in place and a maximum of 32 cubes.
With its small wheelbase, old-school suspension, and boxy design, the Wrangler is a handful to drive on the road. On tarmac, the two-door Wrangler can feel skittish and difficult to keep in a straight line. You have to be an attentive driver behind the wheel of a Wrangler to constantly make small changes. Large bumps at high speed can rattle it, too.
You won’t get any of the latest safety features as standard on the Wrangler, either. The only thing it comes with is a rearview camera. You can opt for rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning, but those are all extra.
Final thoughts. In a similar vein to a sports car, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler is built for one thing – off-roading. It’s not nearly as comfortable, versatile, or tech-forward as the other SUVs on the market, but that’s its shtick. You won’t find anything that looks like it or has the same off-roading prowess on the market.
Yes, we could complain about how uncomfortable, expensive, inefficient, cramped, and outdated the Wrangler is, but that’s kind of the whole point. It’s all of those things because it puts off-roading first. If you’re into off-roading, the Wrangler is king – if you’re not, it’s awful.
Up until recently, the two-door Wrangler didn’t have any real competition. Ford changed that when it recently unveiled the all-new Bronco. It comes with turbocharged engines that have more torque, has more tech features, is just as capable off-road, and comes with a seven-speed manual transmission. The Bronco, though, won’t go on sale for a while and is more expensive.
If you’re looking to go upstream, Land Rover sells the two-door Defender 90. It’s more expensive, but far more luxurious, packed with more technology, and can go anywhere the Wrangler can.
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