Jeep Wrangler front right driving
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  • Jeep Wrangler interior detail
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  • Jeep Wrangler interior detail
  • Jeep Wrangler interior detail
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Neil Winn
Published15 August 2023


What Car? says...

Even if you’re not remotely interested in off-roading, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Jeep Wrangler. An off-road icon that can trace its roots back to the original 1940s Jeep, it's an uncompromising 4x4 that's designed to work just as well off the road as it is on it. 

That means you get an old-school ladder-frame chassis with the body bolted on top, as well as ‘live’ axles front and rear. Jeep has also given the Wrangler two selectable four-wheel-drive ratios that are engaged with a big, forceful lever for added Indiana Jones effect. Oh, and there’s even the option of taking the roof and doors off – yes, off – for the wind-in-your-hair feel of being on safari.

Only one engine is available for the Wrangler: a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol, which comes with a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox. That might sound a little puny for an off-road-focused machine, but thanks to the ‘crawler gear’ on the range-topping Rubicon, it should have plenty of low-down grunt off-road, and the power output – 268bhp – should ensure it's punchy enough on-road. 

In other words, this is no regular sports utility vehicle. The Wrangler is a resolute off-roader with a focus that is only matched by a handful of rivals, including the Ford Ranger Raptor, the Ineos Grenadier, the Mercedes G-Class and the equally iconic Toyota Land Cruiser. The Land Rover Defender also counts as a direct rival – although that's designed to offer a bit more luxury on road. 

Over the next few pages, we’ll tell you which approach to off-roading works best, as well as running through all you need to know about the Jeep Wrangler's performance, practicality and running costs. We'll also investigate the differences between the two-door, short-wheelbase version and the four-door, long-wheelbase model.

If you’re already sold on the Wrangler’s rugged looks and want to buy one – or indeed a new car of any make and model – you could find some tempting savings by using our free What Car? New Car Buying service. It has plenty of new large SUV deals.


If you don’t plan to go off-road, the Wrangler is not the car for you – a Land Rover Defender is a much more comfortable and refined daily driver. However, if you want the best off-roader currently on sale, the Wrangler Rubicon is where we'd point you. With off-road goodies such as standard-fit knobbly tyres, three differential locks and a proper low-range gearbox, it will go places that stop a Defender in its tracks.

  • Fantastic off-road ability
  • Good standard equipment
  • Undercuts key rivals on price
  • Noisy companion, regardless of speed and road surface
  • Expensive to buy and run
  • Poor ride quality

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The Jeep Wrangler is a car where off-road capability rather dominates the driving experience. In town, those big, heavy axles amplify the effect of imperfect surfaces and cause the body to shimmy in a way that you simply don’t experience in the more sophisticated and settled Land Rover Defender or the Mercedes G-Class

It’s not an uncomfortable sensation, but the body feels a little uncontrolled and there is a noticeable amount of suspension noise when you drive over potholes and raised ironwork. The chunky tyres also generate plenty of road roar at higher speeds, which adds to the wind noise generated by the boxy body – something especially noticeable in canvas-roofed variants.

On a more positive note, compared to the Ineos Grenadier – with its complete lack of steering feel – the Wrangler responds to your inputs in a surprisingly trustworthy manner. And while moderate cornering speed is enough to overwhelm the grip reserves of the car’s chunky tyres (especially with the off-road-biased tyres fitted to Rubicon models), the steering does a good job of letting you know exactly how much grip is available underfoot. 

The 268bhp, four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol, which comes with a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox, is sourced from the Alfa Romeo Giulia. It doesn't sound as sonorous or characterful as the six-cylinder engines in the Ford Ranger Raptor or the Grenadier, but with an official 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds, it has plenty of punch and is pleasingly smooth. 

The only thing that stunts on-road performance is that the gearbox that is slow to respond to accelerator inputs. That can be overcome by knocking it into manual mode and changing gears yourself using the Tonka-toy style gear-stick. 

Speaking of levers, to ensure you have optimum traction off-road, there's a separate lever on the centre console that takes you from two to four-wheel drive, as well as allowing you to switch between different four-wheel-drive modes. It’s a good deal stiffer to move than the gear lever, but that feels in keeping with the car's overall sense of toughness. 

Once you select four-wheel drive, you can lock the centre differential so the front and rear axles get equal amounts of power at all times. The low-range gearbox also gives you finer control of the accelerator pedal at low speeds and multiplies the engine’s torque for steep slopes. On our heavily rutted test route, we found that this combination made the Wrangler far less prone to bogging down than the Grenadier and Defender, both of which got stuck on a rough hill that it simply sailed up. 

The Rubicon version maximises the all-terrain potential. As well as chunkier tyres, you also get locking front and rear differentials to improve traction on slippery surfaces. Now, the idea of having to manually lock and unlock differentials might sound scary, but Jeep has made it super easy. If you want to lock both front and rear differentials at the same time, you simply flip a rocker switch, and to unlock them you press a big red button labelled ‘Off’. The Grenadier also gets front and rear locking differentials, but requires you to follow a multi-step process, and getting it wrong can confuse the system, preventing engagement.

Most impressive of all, the Rubicon gets a clever detachable anti-roll bar that allows for even more suspension travel. Once unlocked, the sensation is rather strange, with the body staying upright regardless of how rough the terrain is. No other rivals offer this feature, and when combined with all the other off-road kit, it makes this the most capable off-roader on sale today.

Driving overview

Strengths Incredible off-road performance; impressive acceleration; involving to drive off-road; easy to use differentials 

Weaknesses Quite a lot of road noise; ride is unsettled; limited grip on-road; slow automatic gearbox

Jeep Wrangler rear right driving


The interior layout, fit and finish

If you appreciate a commanding driving position, you’ll enjoy being behind the wheel of the Jeep Wrangler. You step up into a comfortable seat, with a great view down the long bonnet and on to the road ahead.

Annoyingly, though, there’s no space for your left foot because of an intruding central console. The same compromise is present in the Ineos Grenadier – both cars force you into an unnatural position that can get uncomfortable after a while. That's not the case in the Land Rover Defender or the spacious Toyota Land Cruiser

Thanks to some very clever styling, the Wrangler looks big and intimidating in pictures, but in reality it is more compact than its closest rivals. With a lofty driver’s seat, tall windows and beefy wheelarches that clearly mark out the sides of the car, it's remarkably easy to place when navigating narrow green lanes or tight car parks. You also get a reversing camera and parking sensors fitted as standard for extra help.

Interior quality has certainly improved since the (2007-2018) Wrangler. There’s soft-touch plastic around the centre console and on the door handles, a supple leather steering wheel and solid-feeling switches. Even entry-level Sahara models even get a leather-wrapped dashboard panel. Sure, it’s no Audi Q5 – but that doesn't have an interior you can hose out.

The dashboard is a mix of old and new school. All models get a configurable 7.0in LCD display that sits between the clocks in front of the driver. You also get the Jeep 8.4in touchscreen infotainment system, with sat-nav and European maps, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring.

Both screens have sharp graphics, while the touchscreen is responsive and within close reach. Our only complaint is that some of the menu lists are quite extensive, meaning the option you want can be hard to find. That's not helped by the use of small text. The Land Rover Defender infotainment system is far simpler to use, but both beat the confusing and slow system in the Toyota Land Cruiser.

As well as the usual functionality, there are off-road-specific pages on both displays that can show the angle you’re driving at, the temperatures of the mechanical gubbins beneath you and other useful information.

Interior overview

Strengths Solid build quality; infotainment packed with off-road features; good visibility

Weaknesses Compromised driving position; Land Rover Defender infotainment system easier to use; interior not as plush as in rivals

Jeep Wrangler interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Unlike the overwhelming majority of cars we review, we almost have to write two entries for this section. You see, the Jeep Wrangler is available in two lengths – a two-door, short-wheelbase model that’s about an inch and a half longer than the Mini Countryman and a four-door, long-wheelbase version that’s similar in size to a BMW X5.

Both variants have plenty of room up front, with lots of space between the driver and passenger, although some occupants might feel a little pushed up against the door. Oddment storage isn’t bad at the front, with a big central cubby and trays on the dash, but the mesh door pockets are pretty useless.

There's a bigger difference between the two variants in the back. In the two-door Wrangler, there's enough leg room for kids and shorter adults, and plenty of headroom for all. In the four-door model, back-seat passengers get loads more room – even your lankiest chums should be comfy.

If you’re hoping for a seven-seater option, you’ll have to look at the Land Rover Defender 110 or Toyota Land Cruiser (both have fold-away seats in the boot).

The boot size varies even more. The two-door version has the cargo-carrying capacity of a small car, while the four-door has well over twice as much space. The back seats fold down with both body styles, but they don't fold flat.

There's another option for bulky loads or a bit of al-fresco motoring. The standard three-piece roof design lets you take the top section off for a certain amount of wind-in-your-hair driving, and allows you to carry awkward loads that would be impossible to accommodate with the roof in place. You can also go fully roofless.

You can also choose a canvas top – which can be folded back like a sunroof or removed entirely – or an electrically retractable canvas top that provides a full-length sunroof. If those options don’t feel adventurous enough for you, you can even remove the Wrangler's doors and fold down the windscreen.

Practicality overview

Strengths Spacious rear seats; removable roof and doors; decent oddment storage

Weaknesses Rubbish mesh door pockets; no seven-seat option; not much elbow room

Jeep Wrangler boot open

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The Jeep Wrangler is not a cheap off-roader but it is priced in-line with the Ford Ranger Raptor and manages to undercut both the Ineos Grenadier and the Land Rover Defender. Rather strangely, though, the smaller two-door Wrangler costs a couple of hundred pounds more than the four-door. 

The official WLTP combined fuel economy figure of 23.7mpg (for the Rubicon) will ensure that you’re on first name terms with your local petrol pump attendant, while its 269g/km CO2 output mean it attracts the highest company car tax rate. If you want a more affordable off-road focused company car, take a look at the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Defender P400e. 

Entry-level Sahara trim comes with plenty of kit as standard, including climate control, ambient interior lighting, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and adaptive cruise control. There’s also an Alpine audio system with eight speakers, and steering-wheel mounted controls.

Stepping up to Overland adds leather upholstery and heated front seats, while our favourite Rubicon trim adds a heavy duty alternator and extra off-road components.  

In terms of safety, the Wrangler did badly when it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2018, getting just one star out of five. The low score was influenced by its limited impact protection and lack of driver assistance technology. Blind-spot monitoring does now come as standard, as well as front collision warning, but you won’t find lane-keeping assist. It should be pointed out that the Grenadier hasn’t been safety tested.

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Costs and verdict overview

Strengths Plenty of kit as standard; undercuts key rivals on price; Rubicon is off-road ready straight out of the showroom

Weaknesses Bad fuel economy; no plug-in hybrid option; poor safety rating

Jeep Wrangler interior infotainment


  • It depends how you plan to use it. If you’re looking for a practical family vehicle, on-road focused SUVs such as the BMW X5 are a better choice. However, if you want to venture off-road, the Wrangler is an excellent choice, especially if you opt for Rubicon trim.

  • The Wrangler is not an inexpensive off-roader but it is priced in-line with the Ford Ranger Raptor and manages to undercut both the Ineos Grenadier and the Land Rover Defender. You can check the latest prices on our New Car Buying pages.

  • The 2.0-litre petrol engine isn’t particularly efficient and is noisy at a cruise, and the Wrangler doesn’t handle very well. The driving position is also compromised due to the fact that there is no space for your left foot.

  • The Wrangler is only available with a 2.0-litre petrol engine.

At a glance
New car deals
Target Price from £60,785
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £54,990
RRP price range £60,785 - £62,785
Number of trims (see all)2
Number of engines (see all)1
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol
MPG range across all versions 24.8 - 27.2
Available doors options 4
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £4,330 / £4,449
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £8,659 / £8,899
Available colours