Nothing says freedom like taking the 2022 Jeep Wrangler down a deserted trail with the top rolled back and adventure waiting around the bend. The legendary off-roader has an older-style exterior that is a tribute to the robust Jeep of World War II. Still, it’s loaded with modern features such as touchscreen infotainment and cruise control and the option of an 8-speaker audio system. Upper-end trims can be extravagant, featuring leather seats and ambient lighting inside, with in-dash navigation, wireless internet onboard, and a motorized soft top. The Wrangler is available with the standard two-door body design. However, those who want more room for cargo and passengers ought to look at an option with four doors. Unlimited models. There are a variety of engines offered, including plug-in hybrid models and an incredibly hot 6.4-liter V8. But regardless of the engine in the back, the Wrangler comes with a four-wheel drive.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The standard 285-hp 3.6-liter V6 from the previous-generation Wrangler makes its way under the hood of the new JL and can be paired with a six-speed manual gearbox or a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic. Turbocharged four-cylinder engines are available and paired with an electric motor for an additional power source in the low end. Alongside the standard V6 and an optional four-cylinder hybrid engine, the Wrangler is also available with a 3.6-liter V6 with similar hybrid assistance and the 3.0-liter diesel V-6; and a new plug-in hybrid engine with 375 horsepower 4xe engine and the 6.4-liter V8 is also offered.
The Wrangler is designed to be off-road capable with four-wheel drive, which is standard throughout the lineup and is controlled via an instrument on the middle console. Our tests showed that the two-door base Wrangler Sport model with the V6 and six-speed manual transmission could go from 0-60 miles per hour in 6.1 seconds. A well-equipped four-door Sahara model with an automatic transmission did the same within 6.8 seconds. The hybrid four-cylinder engine with the four-door Sahara was slightly faster, clocking 6.5 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. The Rubicon model, which has more weight through heavy-duty off-roading gear, isn’t as swift. Our test track suggests how the Wrangler JL has been upgraded compared to the prior model, but it’s keeping pace with its competitors in a few parameters. Although its handling has improved, it’s like a truck compared to the more sophisticated pickups and SUVs. The four-door ride is acceptably smooth on rough terrain, but the braking distances differed between the two cars we tested.
Charging, and Battery Life
If the idea of tackling trails under electric-only power is appealing to you, then the 4xe powertrain is the obvious choice. The 17.0-kWh battery pack is said to provide up to 25 miles of electric-only driving, but Jeep says that’s enough for a few hours of low-speed off-roading. When the battery runs out, the turbocharged four-cylinder is capable of driving all four wheels like a normal Wrangler, so you needn’t be concerned about being stranded without a charge.
In this segment of gas guzzlers, it doesn’t take much to be at the top of the class. The new Wrangler’s EPA fuel economy estimates put it ahead of rivals such as the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and the Toyota 4Runner. The most fuel-efficient version features the diesel engine that tops out at 22 mpg city and 29 on highway. The V6-powered four-door Wrangler Sahara returned a 20-mpg result on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, 3 mpg fewer than its EPA rating for highway fuel economy.
Infotainment and Connectivity
A Wrangler can be outfitted with the basic features or with the latest infotainment features. Uconnect, the infotainment interface, is easy to use, fast to respond to, and displays via a touchscreen of three different sizes. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are available as options in addition to navigation and the Nine-speaker Alpine Audio system.