It comes as no surprise that the Jeep Wrangler is quite possibly one of the very few vehicles on that planet that can conquer just about anything. However, many of its patrons perhaps doesn’t quite fully grasp its abounding potential. Take our resume for example – we don’t go “off-roading” very often, and when we do we stick to the path someone laid afore us. So when we find ourselves with a set a keys to a Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited, the path ahead just won’t cut the cake.
Here in Arizona, while the temperatures are soaring in the triple digits, it felt like a good idea at the time to get the full Jeep experience by removing all the doors and roof. Unfortunately, after 20 minutes of Googling and YouTubing, we discovered that our Wrangler featured in this article has the $3995 OneTouch sliding Sky Top. Designed for people that may not want to take the roof off, or for those that perhaps don’t have the means to store their roof in storage, the open roof Sky Top concept gives that compromise for those that still want a Jeep experience without having to remove any of the pieces. Thus this means while the doors and rear glass panels can be removed, we are left with something that looks rather half-finished, but also unique in its own, Jeepster kind of way.
With it only being just a few months since we had our hands on a Wrangler Rubicon up in the snowy mountains, not much has changed between 2018 and the 2019 model years. There is a new stimulating “Bikini” color and no, it doesn’t have polka dots. More importantly, the Wrangler is now fitted with emergency forward collision assistance as an available option that also incorporates adaptive cruise control with full start/stop capabilities.
Like the sampler we had in January, our Sting Gray Rubicon had the elevated 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine – a $1000 advancement over the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. The concept of a four-cylinder in a Jeep Wrangler may not sound ideal – still, the engineering behind it all is incredible. With turbocharged performance, this four-cylinder develops 270-horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. But the cleverness isn’t behind the turbo. FCA has developed a mild-hybrid system called eTorque – using hybrid like technology, they’re able to pull energy from things like the wheels spinning, regenerative braking and even energy from the automatic shift points in the gearing. This system, however, isn’t in foresight for better fuel economy, but rather filling the performance gaps where its most needed. This system thus virtually eliminates any turbo lag as the electric torque kicks right away, giving the turbo enough time to generate its boost. The interaction between these two systems work cohesively together that its barely even noticeable that the turbo engine has any assistance.
Jeep enthusiasm are weary of the overall performance when it comes to a four-cylinder turbo, but because of its clever engineering, it manages its torque effectively on and off the road. When put in a situation where low-range four-wheel drive is required, the advancement behind the engine and the eTorque system adjusts its torque output for instant application when needed the most. Hitting the paved roads during the daily grind proves that its more than capable getting up to speed as it takes about 7 seconds to 60 mph. Being a hair faster than the 3.6-liter six-cylinder, the turbo variant shuffles its power efficiently with smooth composure. Paired to the $2000 optional 8-speed automatic, the Wrangler is an absolute delight between gear transitions that it’s almost impossible to detect.
Last time, we took it too easy on the Wrangler. We didn’t really give it much of a challenge – any crossover can drive through snow, right? So we sought a little bit of help from a Jeep Wrangler owner who can provide us a little helping hand on a four-wheel drive escapade. The trail selected was a 23 mile stretch and would convey an arrangement of different obstacles – river crossing, aggressive hill climbing, and uneven rocky terrain – enough for us to question most vehicles capabilities, but that won’t be the case here.
With the Rubicon, the terrain at hand was no more than just a pre-work out. The front and rear locking differentials, electronic dis-connectable sway bars and chunky off-road tires turned what looked like an aggressive trail turn into a expedient display of simplicity and relaxation. Reengineering of the Wrangler has made it more of a civilized all-rounder. Its on and off road demeanor support comfort in all aspects, no matter what surface its rolling on. While we didn’t see it necessary, our four-wheel drive expert insisted we disconnect our sway bars allowing for better agility and a smoother comforting ride. Because the sway bars can be electronically disconnected, they will automatically reconnect themselves once speed exceeds 15 mph and re-disconnect themselves automatically when speed decreases.
Making our way through the trail, it was all too easy for the Wrangler. Along the stretch, challenges kept arising off the main beaten path for those seeking a little challenge – as if it were truly a challenge. It didn’t matter what we gave the Jeep, like Billy Goat, it would climb up a vertical mountain if driven by a trained professional. Even when we felt skeptical when faced with a daunting encounter, it just did its thing.
Conveying a more livable cabin, the Wrangler carries a more premium setting with superior applied fit and finish. It’s the kind of comforting vehicle that one can take on a long haul adventure without feeling restless. Upgraded with a long list of technology, the treat of the bunch is the incredible 8.4-inch Uconnect system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto that’s carries user friendly mobility while on the move.
While we know the trail wasn’t a thrilling off-road trail, we had to keep in mind, this isn’t our vehicle and we lack the skills to peruse any dicey conditions Plus we can’t forget, the Wrangler Rubicon is no cheap thing, starting at $41,545. Seeing our tester went hog wild on the options list clicking nearly every box, it expressed a more stature persona as it reached $58,890. We may not be able to put a price on confidence, but Jeep certainly did. Whether you have the skills of a trained profession or you hopped your first curb, leave the confidence of off-roading to the Wrangler while you sit back and enjoy the scenery.
Model: 2019 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED
Starting Price: $31,545 – UNLIMITED SPORT | $41,545 – UNLIMITED RUBICON
As Tested: $58,890 (UNLIMITED RUBICON 4X4)
(PACKAGES: LEATHER-TRIMMED SEATS | TRAILER TOW GROUP | LED LIGHTING GROUP | 8.4-INCH RADIO & PREMIUM AUDIO GROUP | JEEP ACTIVE SAFETY GROUP | ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL/FORWARD COLLISION WARNING | STEEP BUMPER GROUP | 8-SPEED AUTOMATIC | 2.0T ENGINE | REMOTE PROXIMITY | BODY-COLOR FENDER FLARES | SKY ONE-TOUCH POWER TOP)
Engine: 2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED FOUR-CYLINDER
Horsepower/Torque: 270-HORSEPOWER / 295 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 8-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Drivetrain: FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 22-CITY / 24-HWY / 22-COMBINED
(AS TESTED: 14.2 MPG COMBINED)
Fuel Range: 315 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±7.0 SECONDS