2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for August 2018
by Calvin Kim, Road Test Engineer
Where Did We Drive It?
The new JL model Wrangler benefits from many design and engineering updates intended to improve on-road comfort, which our drivers got to experience throughout August. Instead of exploring dirt roads or having adventures, our 2018 Jeep Wrangler spent the month on street duty commuting editors to and from the office, shuffling cargo to and fro, and otherwise doing its best impression of a crossover. Is it ideal for this role? Depends on whom you ask.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
August was full of on-road use, with a significant portion spent on the highway. In fact, we recorded the Wrangler's best fuel economy and the second-highest mileage accrual: 19.1 mpg over nearly 1,900 miles and seven fill-ups. That's a respectable number considering it's a Wrangler. It turns out that even with gigantic knobby tires and bricklike aerodynamics, the improvements that Jeep made for efficiency paid off.
Average lifetime mpg: 17.5
EPA mpg rating: 20 combined (18 city/23 highway)
Best fill mpg: 32.7
Best range: 357.3 miles
Current odometer: 10,427 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"The auto stop-start system in the Wrangler feels a little wonky compared to other such systems. Come to a stop in most vehicles and the auto-stop kicks in almost immediately, while the Wrangler's system stops after a slight delay. This gap between vehicle stop time and engine stop time makes the transition seem disjointed, as though the two actions aren't related. I'm not a fan." — Matt Jones, senior consumer advice editor
"I like the V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission combo in our Wrangler. We tested another Wrangler Unlimited recently, and it posted a 0-60 mph time of 7.6 seconds. So it's not a speed demon, but there's a suitable amount of power for getting up to highway speeds. The transmission does a nice job, too. It's smooth-shifting and responsive." — Brent Romans, senior editor
"This car may have the loudest underhood fans I've ever heard. Pull up to a stoplight with the top down, and you can hear them blasting away under the hood. The noise — simultaneously impressive and annoying — gets drowned out once you're on the move, but it's enough to wake the neighbors when you're parking in an underground garage." — Travis Langness, staff writer
"I'm really enjoying driving this new JL Wrangler. Previous versions of the Wrangler had tons of personality but were about as enticing to drive long distance as going to the dentist for a filling. Just enough of the rough edges have been filed off to make this Wrangler bearable without losing the fun factor. I mean, sure, it's still loud at 70 mph on the highway, and the ride can be a little bumpy. But I didn't mind doing a five-hour drive in it nearly as much as I thought I would. Heck, Dan Edmunds drove ours to Colorado and back recently." — Brent Romans
"Putting a bike in the back of the Wrangler with the top down is a bit complicated. You have to put the seats down (easy), relift the top a bit, slide the bike through the gap, then put the top back down. If I were transporting a bike more often, I'd probably get a tow-hitch mount to carry it around, but there's definitely enough space in the back of the Wrangler for a number of two-wheeled man-powered transports." — Travis Langness
"The Wrangler used to be about as refined as a plywood workbench, but not anymore. Our test Jeep's interior is impressive — OK, yes, for a Wrangler. Still, it's nice! Some examples: The steering wheel telescopes, the doors have soft-touch padding, the dashboard sports a red-painted accent piece and red stitching, and rear passengers have air vents and USB ports. Even the gear shifter feels solid and fluid as you move it through the gates." — Brent Romans
"Even in the dark, the Wrangler's backup camera/display screen is excellent with its high resolution, impressive amount of detail and wide angle on the lens. This feature is such a big addition for the Wrangler, and I'm happy our long-termer's got it." — Travis Langness
"OK, let's talk price. We bought our Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon for $52,699. Seems like a lot, right? I mean, you could take that money and buy a well-equipped luxury sedan or SUV instead. I tried pricing out a Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon on Jeep's configurator. Despite leaving off some stuff that the Edmunds Wrangler has, I still ended up spending $46,870 for a Wrangler that I'd want in my garage. You could always get a cheaper Wrangler, but we sort of learned with our last long-term Jeep that it might be better just to pay more up front.
"The thing is, I think this new Wrangler JL is worth it. How many of those $50K luxury SUVs come with locking front and rear diffs, removable tops and doors, and 33-inch tires? Yes, the Wrangler is kind of expensive, especially the Rubicon, but you're getting a lot for your money."
— Brent Romans