Jeep Wrangler Unlimited ›› 2020 ›› 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Overview (Final Score: B)
A new generation of the Jeep Wrangler was introduced in 2018 as an all-new look at the most iconic of the Jeep models. The Unlimited model, or four-door option for the Wrangler, was included in those changes. The new Wrangler retains the classic looks and nostalgic feel of the Wrangler line, but updates with a much more sophisticated interior and a far better road feel than previous generations of the Wrangler had. The legendary off-road and adventure prowess of the model also remains.
For the 2020 model year, Jeep added more updates for the Wrangler Unlimited. A new V6 mild hybrid option is available for the Sahara Unlimited and several new special-edition models are added. A new diesel engine option also debuts this year.
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is powered by three engine choices and comes in three trim levels. Several sub-trims and options are also available at each level. Four-wheel drive is standard in the Wrangler Unlimited.
What We Love About the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited:
What We Don't Love About the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited:
Exterior View (10/10)
It's hard to find fault with the excellent mix of nostalgia and new in the 2020 Wrangler Unlimited's design. More than a stretched two-door Jeep, the four-door model is obviously bigger, but not uglier as a result. The large rear section means more cargo space while the rear doors, which appear smaller than expected, are actually accommodating for most entry and exit needs. Given the Wrangler's overall height, that is.
With the top on, the squared design of the Wrangler remains for this new generation of the Jeep. The 2020 model hasn't changed in looks, of course, and carries from last year that way. With the roof pulled back, on the soft-top convertible model, the Wrangler Unlimited still has that iconic appeal, though the rollbars aren't as exposed as they would be normally. Full removal of the roof, whether in hardtop or soft-top form, brings that back.
As with all Wrangler models of the past, the doors can also be removed from the vehicle. Or replaced with some factory aftermarket options from Chrysler's Mopar division, to include the iconic round steel bare doors or flimsy canvas doors with zip-open windows. The windshield also folds down, as with Jeeps of old, and the pull-up T-lock hood latches are also on this new-gen Jeep. The tailgate still swings out and the spare tire still mounts to its back.
Nothing is lost on the new Jeep, but upgrades include better lighting, a slightly modified slotted grille with more airflow potential, and more curvature to the traditional trapezoidal fenders. There is no mistaking this new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited for anything but a Jeep.
Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (9/10)
It's easy to point to the interior of the new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited as the most-upgraded aspect of this new-generation SUV. The previous model was very dated in technology, comfort, and spaciousness. The new model fixes all of that.
The 2020 Wrangler Unlimited now has the latest Chrysler Uconnect system in its dashboard, more comfortable seating drawn from other Jeep models like the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and a larger interior space thanks to better design engineering and sizing. Cargo space doesn't change much from the previous-generation Unlimited model in this new-gen Model, but it was pretty good already. Big, square, and easy to access, the cargo area was one of the few points in the previous model that didn't require a lot of attention.
One advantage the Wrangler has always had has been with headroom. It's boxy, squared-off shape means more interior space. The new-generation Wrangler Unlimited takes full advantage of that with plenty of headroom in all five seating positions. Legroom is likewise very good.
Road and wind noise are still an issue in the Wrangler. Both the hard top and soft top are noisy and, frankly, the new diesel engine option is even noisier still. A noticeable and prominent thrum is heard from that engine and at idle, it is one of the loudest vehicles on the block.
The Jeep Wrangler has finally moved into the 21st century with technology and infotainment. The 2020 model comes standard with a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, a USB port, and an eight-speaker sound system. Upgrade availability includes a 7-inch or a 8.4-inch touchscreen plus navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, HD and satellite radio, more USB ports, and a WiFi hotspot. An Alpine stereo with subwoofers is also available.
Most of the infotainment in the new Wrangler Unlimited is up to par with any other offering on the road. The easy-to-use Uconnect system is responsive, fast, and has very clear icons. Integrating a phone or device is simple and quick. Driver information screens in the dashboard (if equipped) are also useful and easy to understand. Like other Chrysler-Jeep-Ram vehicles, the Wrangler now benefits from good steering wheel control buttons and behind-the-wheel station/track select and volume controls.
Fuel Economy (8/10)
Fuel economy in the 2020 Wrangler Unlimited varies by engine choice. Some variance by package choice, especially with the Rubicon model, will also occur due to the weight of added equipment.
The Wrangler Unlimited comes standard with a V6 gasoline engine that is EPA rated at 19 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. Our experience with this model in previous years shows that most can expect to see close to those numbers, though the Rubicon will likely see up to 2 mpg less on the highway and a wider variance in the city. A manual six-speed transmission is available with the V6 and receives an EPA rating of 17 city and 23 highway.
A new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is available for the Wrangler Unlimited and it's EPA rated at 21 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. Most should see close to those numbers most of the time.
The new diesel engine option is the most efficient of the bunch at 29 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in the city. We drove that for the 2020 model year and achieved those numbers easily in a Sahara convertible model.
Both the four- and six-cylinder engines can have the optional eTorque mild hybrid system included. This system adds some electrification to the powertrain and can boost fuel economy as a result. Mostly in the city rating. The EPA does not list this model separately from other Wrangler Unlimited models in MPG ratings.
Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (6/10)
The greatest knock against the current-generation Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited models is in quality. There have been no recalls for the Wrangler Unlimited as of this writing, but the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study ranks the 2020 model with a low "The Rest" mark. This means it's below average for expected reliability.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited partial crash test ratings so far. The frontal crash rating for the Wrangler Unlimited this year is four stars out of five and the rollover crash test ratings is three stars out of five.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has published full ratings for the 2020 Wrangler Unlimited. The IIHS rates the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with top ratings of "Good" for all but the small overlap front driver-side test. For that test it received a second-lowest "Marginal" rating. The IIHS notes that in both of these frontal tests, the Wrangler Unlimited struck the test barrier and flipped to its side, making gauging the result more difficult as this is unprecedented in IIHS testing history. Neither we nor the IIHS have downgraded test results because of that, but feel that customers should be informed.
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is designed to be an off-road powerhouse. On the road, most models have confident acceleration and good power delivery metrics. But it's off the road where the Wrangler truly shines. With that bent in mind, we've rated the vehicle accordingly here.
The standard V6 engine has stood the Wrangler in good stead for years. It delivers 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The Unlimited will get up to speed without trouble with this engine and can tow up to 3,500 pounds as well, though it will struggle a bit with that. With the proven performance of the V6, though, there's a lot of reason to keep it as the engine of choice for this 2020 rig.
The new turbocharged four-cylinder 2.0-liter option is compelling, though. With 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque at a lower RPM rate thanks to the turbo, the 2.0 is a great off-road choice for its power delivery early in the band. It tows pretty well and accelerates around town really well too.
The new diesel engine, if you can stand its high noise levels, is the most mind-boggling of the group, though. The 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 offers 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. It tows far better than either of the other two engine options and pushes the Wrangler Unlimited really well off-road. For those who like the steady, strong output of a diesel, this is a great new option for the 2020 Wrangler Unlimited.
On the road, the Wrangler Unlimited can feel tipsy and mushy to drive, thanks to its off-pavement construction and design. It's not unsafe or bad, just not as confident in corners. Off the road, of course, there is a reason that the Jeep Wrangler is the benchmark and the larger Unlimited model gets kudos for following that attitude.
Pricing and Value (8/10)
If you're looking for a serious off-road rig, the Jeep is definitely where it's at. For everyday driving and daily use, however, there are a myriad of good choices in the compact and small crossover-SUV categories. Knowing that, however, and the generally higher price tag of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited comparatively, we still see value in the Jeep.
Resale values for Jeep Wrangler models, especially the Unlimited, are higher than average. Most are sought-after as well and easier to sell at market value than are other brands. Although the new diesel engine is novel, it is likely to be good for resale down the line as well.
Total Score and Competitive Comparison (68/80, 85%)
In the scheme of things, there are no serious contenders against the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Small and midsized sport utilities of the Wrangler's body-on-frame design are mostly gone, with brands moving towards higher-selling and less specialized offerings in the crossover categories. The most compelling competitors to the Wrangler Unlimited are also Jeep models in the Cherokee and Gladiator.
The Cherokee is a well-done, comfortable, and off-road credible crossover-SUV sized similarly to the Wrangler Unlimited. The Jeep Gladiator is similar to the Wrangler Unlimited in style and capability, but offers a five-foot truck bed and far more towing as added utility.
In the end, the iconic 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is unmatched for four-door off-road greatness without getting into bulkier, more expensive, larger SUV options. Even there, the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon may still outclass when it comes to where it can get to and how easily it can accomplish the task.
The appeal of the 2020 Wrangler Unlimited is undeniable. It's a Jeep thing, for sure.
|SUV - 4WD|
|Willys Sport||Willys Sport 4x4||V6||4WD||31795|
|Sport Altitude||Sport Altitude 4x4||V6||4WD||31795|
|Sport S||Sport S 4x4||V6||4WD||31795|
|Black and Tan||Black and Tan 4x4 *Ltd Avail*||V6||4WD||31795|
|Sahara High Altitude||Sahara High Altitude 4x4||4 Cylinder||4WD||38645|
|North Edition||North Edition 4x4||4 Cylinder||4WD||38645|
|Sahara Altitude||Sahara Altitude 4x4||V6||4WD||38645|
|Recon||Recon 4x4||4 Cylinder||4WD||42195|
|2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited|
|2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited|
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