Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Model Review
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the 4-door version of Jeep’s rugged compact body-on-frame SUV, known for its off-road capability and military-inspired style. The current Wrangler Unlimited debuted as a 2018 model, with recent models costing between $31,900 and $49,995.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Pros
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Cons
- World-class off-road capability
- Longer wheelbase improves stability and interior space over two-door Wrangler
- Instant membership to a fraternity of Jeep owners
- Noisy and unrefined on the road
- Manual soft top can be challenging to raise and lower
- Low fuel economy
How Much Can a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Tow?
When properly equipped, current Jeep Wrangler Unlimited models are rated to tow up to 3,500 lbs with a tongue limit of 350 lbs and a maximum trailer frontal area of 30 square feet. In order to tow, the Wrangler Unlimited needs to be fitted with a Trailer Tow and HD Electrical Group of options. Trailer Sway Control, part of Electronic Stability Control, is standard on all Wrangler Unlimited models.
Do Jeep Wrangler Unlimiteds Hold Their Value?
In general, Jeep Wranglers hold their value extremely well. Many factors can affect the value of a used Wrangler Unlimited, including condition, mileage, maintenance records, and more. Wrangler Unlimited models are very likely to have been personalized, modified, or customized by their owners. Factory-installed accessories and options can enhance the value of a used Wrangler Unlimited, aftermarket and owner-installed accessories and modifications may not be as valued by a potential buyer as they were by the owner who installed them.
Do the Doors Come Off a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited?
The doors are designed to come off of a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. A Torx T40 and T50 bit with a screwdriver handle or ratchet are the only tools needed (these items may be in your Wrangler’s tool kit already), and the job can be accomplished in about 30 minutes on the first try – maybe faster with familiarity. We’d advise removing the doors only for special occasions when you’ll be driving at low speeds off-pavement. Not only do the doors provide some crash protection for occupants, but they also protect against debris, dirt, and moisture from getting into the cabin. Since they house the windows, the doors also provide wind protection for passengers.
How Many Seats Does a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Have?
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited has five seats: Driver, front passenger, and three passenger seating positions in the second row. Three-point seatbelts are provided for each seating position. Rear legroom is 38.3 inches, hip room is 56.7 inches, headroom is 40.2 – 41.7 inches – or unlimited, with the top removed.
Current Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, 2018 – Present:
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is not just an SUV, it’s a lifestyle accessory for off-road enthusiasts. The latest redesign for the 2018 model year was evolutionary, not revolutionary, as Jeep’s loyal fans crave improvement without radical change. Big news for the current Wrangler Unlimited is the expansion of powertrain offerings, including a small-displacement turbo, a mild-hybrid V6, a V6 turbo diesel, and a high-performance HEMI V8. Every Wrangler Unlimited has 4-wheel drive and body-on-frame construction.
The base engine is a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 gasoline engine (285 hp/260 lb-ft of torque). It comes with a six-speed manual transmission and is rated at 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. Opt for an eight-speed automatic transmission, and you must upgrade to the 3.6-liter V6 with eTorque mild-hybrid assist, and the EPA estimates go up to 19 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.
As a no-cost option in the Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon trims, a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine can be fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission, in place of the V6. This more powerful engine offers 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and delivers 21 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined out of its unleaded regular fuel.
Jeep peeps have long clamored for a diesel engine option, and now they have it. The Wrangler Unlimited can be ordered with a 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel (260 hp/442 lb-ft of torque) hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission, capable of achieving 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.
Finally, offered in only the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 is the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Even in a mild state of tune, it puts out 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque while burning 91-octane premium gasoline at the rate of 13 mpg city/17 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined.
The Wrangler Unlimited trim lineup is broad, with 14 or more models each year. Special edition Wrangler Unlimited models pop up every so often, themed vehicles with mostly appearance packages based on existing core trim levels. The real difference between models is the level of off-road specific equipment installed at the factory, like heavy-duty axles, Tru-Loc hubs, and protective bumpers. While the base Wrangler Unlimited Sport is quite capable, a Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon will easily outperform it when the off-road trail gets demanding. For owners that never plan to leave the pavement, the Jeep Wrangler Sahara shifts its focus from off-road capability to on-road comfort, while still outperforming most SUVs when the asphalt ends. Shop for the 2018-current Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
2018-Current Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Trim Levels:
- Wrangler Unlimited Sport (base): Choice of four engines: standard 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine (285 hp, 17 city/23 highway /19 combined mpg), available 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbo gasoline engine (270 hp, 21/22/21 mpg), available 3.6-liter V6 eTorque mild hybrid assist engine (270 hp, 19/22/20 mpg), and available 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel engine (260 hp, 22/29/25 mpg), 4-wheel drive, standard six-speed manual or available eight-speed automatic transmission, Command-Trac transfer case standard, Selec-Trac transfer case optional, Dana axles, 17-inch painted steel wheels, roll-up windows, manual door locks, halogen headlamps and fog lamps, skid plates, Sunrider folding soft top, air conditioning, push-button start, cloth seats, 8-speaker radio with 5.0-inch touchscreen Uconnect 3 infotainment system
- Wrangler Unlimited Willys Sport: adds Willys hood decal, Wrangler decal, black grille, mold-in-color bumper with Gloss Black, black “Trail-Rated” badge, sill rails, 17-inch Moab Black aluminum wheels, tinted windows, heavy-duty brakes
- Wrangler Unlimited Sport S: adds power-heated mirrors, Wrangler Sport decal, 17-inch Tech Silver aluminum wheels, available Sky One-Touch Power-Top, Uconnect 4 with 7.0-inch display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, air conditioning with automatic temperature control, power windows and door locks, 7.0-inch TFT color cluster display, remote keyless entry, injection-molded black rear bumper, selectable tire-fill alert
- Wrangler Unlimited Islander: ddd Islander hood decal, silver Jeep badges, 17-inch Silver aluminum wheels, cloth seats with Islander logo, ceramic white instrument panel bezels
- Wrangler Unlimited Willys: Swap in Willys hood decal, matte black Jeep badges, 17-inch Moab Black aluminum wheels, power front windows and door locks, silver platinum instrument panel bezels
- Wrangler Unlimited 80th Anniversary: Adds 2.0-liter turbo I-4 standard with eight-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch Granite Crystal aluminum wheels, black Sunrider soft top, cloth bucket seats with “80th Anniversary” tag, Uconnect 4C NAV with 8.4-inch display, Jeep “80th Anniversary” console badge and swing gate plaques
- Wrangler Unlimited Freedom: Standard 3.6-liter V6 with a six-speed manual transmission, adds steel front bumper, “American Flag” decals, “Freedom Package” decals, “Oscar Mike” badge, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, premium black Sunrider soft top, leather seats with cloth inserts, “Freedom Edition” swing gate plaque
- Wrangler Unlimited Sport Altitude: Swap in molded black front bumper, 18-inch Gloss-Black aluminum wheels, black 3-piece hard top, cloth low-back bucket seats, Uconnect 4 with a 7.0-inch display
- Wrangler Unlimited RHD: Standard 2.0-liter turbo I-4 with eight-speed automatic transmission, add Halogen headlamps, 17-inch Tech Silver aluminum wheels, Uconnect 3 with a 5.0-inch display
- Wrangler Unlimited Sahara: Standard 3.6-liter V6 with a six-speed manual transmission, add mold-in color bumper with accent color, bright grille, Sahara badge, 18-inch polished wheels with Gray spokes, black Sunrider soft top, side steps, Uconnect 4 with 7.0-inch display, “Grillz” instrument panel bezels
- Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon: Remove side steps, swap in body-color/accent grille, dual vented hood, Rubicon hood decal, molded-in color fender flares, 17-inch machined wheels with black pockets and off-road tires, premium cloth low-back bucket seats, sliver platinum instrument panel bezels, Dana wide front and rear axles, Tru-Lok front and rear axles, 4:1 Rock-Trac HD Part-Time 4WD system, Off-Road Plus mode, 4.10 rear axle ratio
- Wrangler Unlimited Sahara Altitude: Swap in color bumper with Gloss Black, body-color grille with Gloss Black, non-vented hood, Sahara badge, 18-inch Gloss Black aluminum wheels, side steps, leather-trimmed bucket seats, Wizard Black instrument panel bezels, Dana M186 front/M220 rear axles, conventional differential front and rear axles, Command-Trac part-time 4WD system, 3.45 overall top gear ratio
- Wrangler Unlimited High Altitude: Adds standard 2.0-liter turbo I-4 with eight-speed automatic transmission, LED fog lamps, headlamps, and tail lamps, 20-inch fully painted aluminum wheels, Uconnect 4C NAV with 8.4-inch display, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, Alpine premium audio system, body-color 3-piece hard top, Freedom panel storage bag, leather-wrapped steering wheel, wrapped instrument panel bezel with Caramel stitch, remote-proximity keyless entry, blind-spot and cross-path detection, ParkSense rear park-assist system, TPMS display, 3.73 rear axle ratio
- Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392: Adds standard 6.4-liter V8 HEMI gasoline engine with eight-speed automatic transmission, Dana 44 heavy-duty rear axle, Dana M210 wide front axle, Tru-Lok front and rear axles, 2.72:1 Selec-Track full-time 4WD system, 700-amp maintenance-free battery, automatic high-beam headlamp control, steel front and rear bumpers, body-color/accent color grille, hood with air intake scoop, 392 badge, bronze Jeep badging, bronze Trail Rated badge, 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels with off-road tires, body-color 3-piece hard top with no soft top, perforated disc brakes, Rubicon 392 hood decal, premium door trim panel, Sepia interior accents, Wizard Black instrument panel bezels, adaptive cruise control with stop, remote-start system, full-speed forward collision warning plus, Selec-Speed control, active noise control system, steering-wheel-mounted shift control
Running Changes to the 2018 – Present Jeep Wrangler Unlimited:
- 2018: All-new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, code name “JL,” debuts. Evolutionary design stays true to the Wrangler heritage. Open-air concept is emphasized with a manual soft top, three-piece hard top, and new Sky One-Touch power top. Engine availability includes 2.0-liter turbo and 3.6-liter V6 gasoline units with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. Uconnect 4 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included with 5.0-, 7.0-, or 8.4-inch touchscreen interface
- 2019: Optional Advanced Safety Group package adds adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning. New exterior color: Bikini
- 2020: 3.0-liter EcoDiesel is added as an option late in the model year on Sport, Rubicon, and Sahara models, mild-hybrid eTorque assist added to 2.0-liter eight-speed and 3.6-liter eight-speed models exclusively on Sahara trim level, optional Advanced Safety Group package adds auto high beams (coupled with 8.4-inch Uconnect nav systems), LED headlamps and fog lamps are now optional on Sport
- 2021: 80th Anniversary, Islander and Rubicon 392 models added to the lineup, forward-facing off-road camera now available with 8.4-inch touchscreen, Off-Road Plus mode added to Rubicon trim level, Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case available on Sport models, Rock-Trac 4x4 available on Rubicon, Select Tire Fill Alert now standard with 7.0-inch and 8.4-inch touchscreens, two more charge-only USB ports are available.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, 2007 – 2017:
Based on a long line of Jeep vehicles, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited debuted as a 2007 model, part of a clean-sheet redesign of the Wrangler. Two versions of Wrangler emerged from the redesign: the 2-door Wrangler X, and the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited. Mechanically, the body-on-frame SUVs are twins. The Wrangler Unlimited has a longer wheelbase, which allows for rear passenger doors and the extra legroom in the second row to make it into a genuine 5-passenger vehicle. While traditionalists in the Jeep community may have scoffed at the stretched Wrangler initially, the 4-door formula was an instant success and represented almost 75% of Wrangler sales by 2017.
At launch Wrangler Unlimited came with a 3.8-liter V6 engine (202 hp) and standard 4-wheel drive. It delivered up to 18 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. In 2012, the Wrangler Unlimited took an enormous leap, upgrading the powertrain to a more modern and refined 3.6-liter V6 offering 285 hp and up to 17 city mpg and 21 highway mpg. Shop for the 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
2007–2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Trim Levels:
- Wrangler Unlimited Sport (base): V6 with manual transmission standard, automatic transmission optional, 4WD standard, soft top standard, hard top optional, running boards optional, AM/FM/CD stereo standard, air-conditioning optional, cloth seats
- Wrangler Unlimited Sport S: Adds to the Sport with additional comfort and convenience features
- Wrangler Unlimited Sahara: Adds power windows, aluminum wheels, tire pressure monitoring system, satellite radio, standard air-conditioning
- Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon: Adds off-road wheels and tires, locking rear differential, additional off-road equipment
Running Changes to the 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
- 2007: First appearance of the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited, based on the 2-door Wrangler, gains 5.5 inches in width
- 2008: No changes
- 2009: New exterior colors, manual transmission models achieve ULEV II emissions rating, standard hill-start assist added to prevent rollback, available trailer-sway control
- 2010: Sunrider soft top now available, fog lamps and tow hooks standard on all models, compass and outside temperature readout standard, larger, sliding sun visors with mirrors, new exterior colors, new wheel options
- 2011: All-new interior with redesigned instrument panel and storage areas, new lockable console, new steering-wheel controls, Bluetooth streaming audio, 12-volt outlets and a 115-volt AC outlet, body-color hard top on Sahara models, new exterior colors, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, and trailer sway control are now standard, Call of Duty: Black Ops Edition produced in limited numbers
- 2012: 3.6-liter V6 engine replaces outgoing 3.8-liter V6, improves fuel efficiency up to 21 mpg and delivers 40% improvement in horsepower, new five-speed automatic transmission, Rubicon models get a body-colored hard top
- 2013: Updates to interior trim, added ambient cabin lighting, added a second windshield washer nozzle
- 2014: New Trail Kit available, six new exterior colors
- 2015: New 8-speaker audio system is standard, new 9-speaker Alpine premium sound is available, Torx tool kit included, Dueler Tire Package available for Sport, Rubicon Hard Rock special edition debuts
- 2016: Exterior and interior appearance updates to Sahara, Rubicon Hard Rock Edition, Freedom Edition, and Willys Wheeler return, new Black Bear Edition, based on Sport S, debuts
- 2017: LED headlights and fog lamps now available for Sport and Sport S models, standard on Sahara and Rubicon, Cold Weather Group available on Sport S and Rubicon
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited versus the Competition
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited versus Jeep Wrangler (2-door)
The critical difference between the two models is wheelbase and door count. The Unlimited model’s 118.4-inch wheelbase is 21.6 inches longer than the 2-door’s. This stretch makes room for rear passenger doors and 2.6 additional inches of legroom in the second row. On the road, the Wrangler Unlimited is more stable and tracks better than the 2-door. Off-road, the 2-door has a better break-over angle, and is 21.6 inches shorter in overall length. Combined with the shorter wheelbase, that means the 2-door is more maneuverable on trails and in parking lots. For owners who are devoted to off-roading, the 2-door probably makes more sense. For owners who rely on a Jeep for daily transportation, the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited is a better choice.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited versus Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon advertises its bragging rights in capital letters above its front fenders, announcing itself as the conqueror of the Rubicon Trail, one of the most challenging off-road courses in the Western United States. It features extensive standard and available off-road technologies and mechanical innovations. Inside, Rubicon gets leather, red accent stitching, a standard 7.0-inch Multi-View Display, and a bolted-on front passenger grab handle stamped with “Rubicon.” The trim level is a big style upgrade over the base Wrangler Unlimited Sport, and one that is available for both the 2-door Wrangler and 4-door Wrangler Unlimited.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited versus Jeep Wrangler Sahara
The Sahara trim is only available on the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited. With its 18-inch aluminum wheels, side steps, and body-color fender flares, the Sahara is the upscale version of the Wrangler Unlimited lineup, adding style and grace to the base Wrangler Unlimited Sport’s equipment list. A standard 7.0-inch touchscreen display provides access to Uconnect features, with an 8.4-inch touchscreen available with navigation and other features. The base Wrangler Unlimited comes with a standard 5.0-inch touchscreen.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited versus Toyota 4Runner
Both the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and the Toyota 4Runner are versatile SUVs with great off-road capability. The Wrangler is arguably a more dedicated off-road vehicle right out of the box, while a 4Runner needs a particular stack of options to compete. On road, though, 4Runner wins with a much quieter cabin, more creature comforts, and superior performance. 4Runner brings Toyota’s well-deserved reputation for build quality and durability, while Wrangler Unlimited has a less stellar reputation. For some drivers, only a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited will do, for others, the all-around versatility of the Toyota 4Runner wins the day.