SilverII

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KBB:

It’s only been six months with Spongebob, but in our short time together we’ve been through a lot! There were some high highs and some tragedy. Here’s our take on what it’s like to own a Wrangler. We love the overall presence of the Wrangler. These cars scream “good time” and who doesn’t want that? It’s a unique vehicle in a sea of also-rans, especially in the bright colors Jeep offers customers, like our Hellayella here. Who doesn’t want to drive around in this and have some fun?

When it comes to connecting to your car Jeep’s got a pretty good leg up with their competition. The Uconnect system sets up quickly and intuitively. It’s customizable, and you can have or get rid of all the beeping warnings you want to. Phone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto works lightning fast without needing a Ph.D. to figure it out.

While they do cost extra, the Wrangler’s dynamic safety features work extremely well. Blindspot warnings in either ding or indicator form help with visibility and dynamic cruise control delivers unnoticeably smooth braking. And you can adjust the distance between cars to either be the length of a runway or something a little less conservative depending on your comfort level.

The Wrangler hums happily along on the highway offering up a uniquely comfortable ride. Hey, it’s still a Jeep. Of course, the Wrangler’s off-road chops are second to none, even in the non-beefed up off-roady Sahara. The front and rear locking differentials of the Rubicon are great, but we proved that a lot of fun can still be had here thanks to the juicy torque (graphic: 270 hp, 295 lb-ft torque) of our 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. While the numbers were lower than the published 24 combined MPG, we managed 20.5 over our almost 7500 miles in six months. The commuting miles we put on Spongebob helped out, but the off-roading fun didn’t. A small price to pay in our opinion.

The top is insanely difficult to swap. This is not a whimsy event. You need to commit unless you’ve got “people” who will do it for you. If you do, then pay them well. It’s a chore.

Unfortunately, the LED headlights were stolen, and it’s an exceedingly easy thing to do with there being no locking latch on the Wrangler. I hate to be a glass half empty person, but I’m hoping this doesn’t become a “thing.” Lots of folks park on the street these things were expensive!

One thing that wasn’t a fan favorite on the Wrangler was the transmission. With the eTorque system in quick acceleration situations, it simply works against you. It’s not smooth, searches too long for the right gear and by the time it’s decided what to do, it’s almost too late. In an emergency scenario, this might be a very bad thing otherwise, it’s just frustrating.

The Wrangler’s steering isn’t a problem for me, but some of our drivers felt it wasn’t super precise. Here’s a direct quote from one editor: “The Wrangler needs a lot of steering input to keep this thing going straight down the highway. But as our de facto convertible, I'm in.” And that’s the charm of the Wrangler. Because of its unique fun quotient, there are some things that you might not pardon on another car that you do here. That being said, the Jeep Wrangler may not be for everyone, so know what you’re getting into before you buy!

Selling the Wrangler, while we’d never recommend doing that after six months or a year in a car, you’re in decent shape with this one. Kelley Blue Book resale values on the Wrangler are consistently on the high side. Which is good, because so are prices. Spongebob here with his upgraded engine, safety, and tech features cost $53,860.

My least favorite thing about the Wrangler is that it’s leaving. Boo! I loved my six months with the Sahara Spongebob and hope that it gives you all more of a real-world taste of living with the Wrangler, too. Arrivederci, Bob.



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stylett9

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There's also a decent 50K mile review from Edmunds on a red Rubicon they owned. Similar sentiments. They didn't express any major steering issues, other then driving the Jeep Rubicon was a "2 hands on the wheel" activity.
 

_olllllllo_

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Funny they had transmission "problems" - most folks think it's great, i know i do.
I have no issues with the transmission hunting for the right gear since I have the 6-speed manual. If there is an issue, it is with me not the Jeep. The feedback on the switch from hard top to soft top is fair (about needing some friends to manually remove the hard top), but it becomes easier if you invest in a lift (if you have a garage or storage). The steering isn't as tight as a sports car, but it isn't terrible either. It seems that Hella Yella and Firecracker Red are popular colors to provide for testing to the media (UK reviewers had a Hella Yella as well).
 

aldo98229

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Ditto with the automatic transmission. I don’t have any issues with it. In fact, it’s one of the best I’ve ever owned. I wonder if the eTorque motor makes a difference...

They should drive a Toyota Tacoma to see what an atrocious automatic transmission drives like.

Thanks for posting.
 

_olllllllo_

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Ditto with the automatic transmission. I don’t have any issues with it. In fact, it’s one of the best I’ve ever owned. I wonder if the eTorque motor makes a difference...

They should drive a Toyota Tacoma to see what an atrocious automatic transmission drives like.

Thanks for posting.
I think it must be the eTorque that affected their impression. I test drove two automatics so that I could compare the 3.6 and 2.0 engines. I also rented a couple different JLs on business trips and those always come with the automatics and I found the 8-speed to be a very good transmission.

I don't have the eTorque with the 6-speed so I can't speak to the issues or challenges they encountered with the combination. I am curious if any forum members who have eTorque can comment.
 

JoeFromPA

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You can't compare the auto trans from the 3.6 to the 2.0 - it's programmed differently. It's definitely fantastically done in the 3.6 (as it should be - this trans has been the industry standard since it came out years ago)
 

VNT

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Amazing they didnt bash it into the ground. Sound like they didnt care for the acceleration and blamed the Trans/E-TQ system. I have 4 8HP ZF transmissions and they are considered the best by most. I did drive a 19 Sahara with the 2.0 and E-TQ for a day and it seemed fine to me, no funny shifting.
 

scottijohn63

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I have a 2019 Sahara with the e torque, and I love the transmission as well. I have had manuals my whole life, and this thing is great. Don't know what they are talking about!
 

Jmonroe

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I do think the transmission frequently holds the lower gear much too long.
 

multicam

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Amazing they didnt bash it into the ground. Sound like they didnt care for the acceleration and blamed the Trans/E-TQ system. I have 4 8HP ZF transmissions and they are considered the best by most. I did drive a 19 Sahara with the 2.0 and E-TQ for a day and it seemed fine to me, no funny shifting.
This is KBB who apparently use human beings to review their cars instead of algorithms. Wait for a Consumer Reports review; they’re the ones who will bash it (if they haven’t already).
 

Sol

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It’s not smooth, searches too long for the right gear and by the time it’s decided what to do, it’s almost too late.
The 4-cylinder turbo I test drove left me feeling the same way. That, and the more intrusive ESS with the auto trans sold me on the manual.

edit: I do like the auto trans behind the V6 in the rental Charger I’m stuck with until my Jeep comes back from clutch recall purgatory. I haven’t done the research, but I’d bet the Charger has the same or similar corporate engine/trans combo as a JL - just different tuning.

I miss my Jeep - 9 days & counting...
 
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