GOING THE DISTANCE: 2020 JEEP WRANGLER DIESEL
Since we can remember, a Jeep Wranglers main objective has been forging the impossible and going beyond what any normal vehicle can ever achieve. Getting there fuel efficiently however; we gather we’d have better result getting our dog to go vegan. And yet, with the advancements made to the current JL Wrangler making it easier and more comfortable on the daily commuter, fuel economy is now a bigger concern more than ever. After a long and anticipated wait time, we can officially say the new EcoDiesel engine is here. And it is something worth getting excited about.
Holding a $4000 increase of the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and available 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 carries roughly similar performance attributes to its sibling engine options. Resonating nearly the same 7.0-seconds to sixty miles per hour, the diesel is just as quick as its gasoline alternatives. Despite having lower horsepower numbers of 260-horsepower, it more than makes up for in terms of torque with over 440lb-ft of it. Shifting through its only available 8-speed automatic transmission, the diesel is as smooth as a dove’s feathered back. There’s very little hesitation from the gearbox when it comes to power application as it shuffles through its gears seamlessly. When it comes to the “get-up and go” department we found there is some turbo lag masked behind its acceleration as if it decided to hit the snooze button after taking a nap.
The outcome however returns a positive feedback when it comes to the important fuel numbers. During a journey to the middle of the Arizona desert to show off some of the Wranglers diesel engineering at an off-road competition, many questioning Jeepers we’re just as stunned to find out we saw a 30-mpg return on the highway and a 23-mpg combined rating. Considering we’ve never seen past 19-mpg’s when it came to the gasoline engines, I’d say the diesel is doing its part.
Diesel, nevertheless, isn’t just always about fuel economy – with 442lb-ft of torque at its becking call, there is nearly instant torque available – which we need when it comes to the games of off-roading. Diesel’s are also known for their longevity fuel tanks and seeing that we managed to see 450 miles out of its 18-gallon tank, that’s 150 miles further than the gas alternative. But when it comes to the territory beyond the black asphalt, diesels have a tendency to run cooler under extreme conditions – less likely to overheat when put through its rigorous paces. While we may have never experience any mechanical difficulties of this nature in a Wrangler, these are just simple facts on diesel engineering.
Even though there is a four-grand premium to the more torque capable, fuel efficient engine, it is available on all trim levels including the entry-level, 2-door Sport starting at $28,295. This article featuring the Rubicon Unlimited with nearly every single option box check apart from the $695 Cold Weather Package had a sticker shock of $60,975. However, now that the Wrangler EcoDiesel can go further on less fuel, perhaps more of its Wrangler attributes will come out of its more premium price tag.
Model: 2020 JEEP WRANGLER ECO DIESEL
Trim: UNLIMITED RUBICON
Starting Price: $42,320
As Tested: $60,795
Color: BIKINI PEARL-COAT
Engine: 3.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED DIESEL V-6
Horsepower/Torque: 260-HORSEPOWER / 442 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 8-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Drivetrain: FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE WITH LOCKING FRONT AND REAR DIFFERENTIALS
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 22-CITY / 29-HWY / 25-COMBINED
AS TESTED: 23.0 MPG COMBINED
Fuel Range: 450 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±7.0 SECONDS