2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for July 2018
by Kurt Niebuhr, Road Test Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
June was a busy month for our 2018 Jeep Wrangler, but things returned to normal in July when we covered about 1,000 miles. And with only 8,000 miles on the odometer, our Jeep is still new to some of us, so first impressions continue to trickle in.
The Wrangler also went in for an oil change in July. Place your bets as to how you think that went for us.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
While we're still within sniffing distance of the EPA combined mpg rating, July was not kind to our overall mileage quest. Our average fuel economy hovered at a sobering 15 mpg. Big tires, a potent V6 engine and the aerodynamics of a barn door will do that.
Average lifetime mpg: 17.2
EPA mpg rating: 20 combined (18 city/23 highway)
Best fill mpg: 22.3
Best range: 357.3 miles
Current odometer: 8,818 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
Our Jeep's use-based indicator light suggested we change the oil, so we did. While at the dealer, we also had a cruise control recall addressed in the form of a software reflash.
"The use-based indicator alerted us that the Wrangler was due for an oil change, so we made an appointment at Huntington Beach Jeep. It turned out to be one of our least user-friendly service experiences.
"We first tried to make an appointment on the dealer's site. But when it wasn't working, we consulted with the chat operator on the site. That person couldn't actually book anything for us. Rather, he just sent a note to the service department with our request. It was 30 minutes or so before a service rep called to confirm the appointment, which was for a different time than I originally requested. But it all worked out.
"When we arrived for our 7:40 a.m. appointment, the service driveway was already packed. Three cars were ahead of me in one lane and another five cars in the next lane over. A porter came out to see me after a 5- to 10-minute wait.
"'I see you have an appointment,' he said. 'I'll get your adviser.' Cars in the next lane start moving. Another five minutes pass before a second porter walks up.
"'Can I help you, sir?' He now offers to locate the adviser assigned to my case. Things finally start moving forward.
"Eventually, I'm quoted three to four hours for the oil change and cruise control recall (reflash). Thirty minutes after my scheduled appointment time, the paperwork is finished and I'm calling for a ride home. It's frustrating.
"Three hours later the car is ready. There is no charge under the Jeep Wave program, which is free for 24 months or two oil change/tire rotations per year." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"Our Wrangler participated in a Fourth of July parade in nearby Westchester, supporting a local elementary school. Who are we to pass up the opportunity to shuttle around a big-head koala mascot?" — Mike Schmidt
"The Wrangler's convertible top is ridiculously easy to use. No instructions, no YouTube research, and I was able to get the whole thing down in about two minutes. Putting it back together is pretty easy, too. I don't like the look of the soft top, but the improved functionality is excellent." — Travis Langness, staff writer
"This was my first time driving our Wrangler with the soft top. We have the premium Sunrider soft top, which is a $595 option on most trim levels. It's significantly quieter than the base top and totally worth the added cost. I wouldn't go so far as to say it is as good as a hardtop for noise reduction, but if you test-drive a model with the base and premium soft top back to back, you should be able to spot the differences." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
"I had the misfortune of driving our cloth-topped Wrangler in the most recent heat wave, and this might be the biggest reason not to rock the soft top: It's not insulated, and you and your passengers will bake and wilt in the summer months. Sure, the A/C kept me cool, but only when it was near or at full blast. With a couple more passengers, someone's going to suffer." — Kurt Niebuhr, road test editor
"I only had the Jeep Wrangler for the weekend, driving it to and from work, but it was hard to get comfortable with it. Its high ride and busy steering made me feel like I was fake-driving in a 1940s movie. I did, however, appreciate its get-up-and-go, even though it roared obnoxiously every time I stomped on the accelerator." — Caroline Pardilla, senior copy editor