2022 Jeep Wrangler


With a point gained for its muck-running talent, and one lost to its imprecise road feel, the Wrangler chalks up a 5 for performance, based on the most common versions with the standard engine and an automatic transmission.

How fast is the Jeep Wrangler?

The Wrangler’s most common powertrain combines a 285-hp 3.6-liter V-6 with an 8-speed automatic and part-time four-wheel drive. It’s moderately quick, more efficient, and more refined than any Jeep powertrain that came before it, but it’s a little thin on low-end torque. 

One solution for that is a 270-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4. Its 295 lb-ft arrived at 3,000 rpm vs. 4,800 rpm in the V-6 for more low-end grunt. It works better at stoplights and on trails, where low-speed power can make the difference between cresting a butte and being left behind. It’s confident—but maybe not quite as confident as the Wrangler torque champ, the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6. A pricey upgrade, the turbodiesel’s more efficient on the highway, but the point’s more in its 442 lb-ft of torque, laid out at 1,400 rpm. It’s a mighty trail boss, offered only on four-door Wranglers, and desirable for its unobtrusive and exceptionally smooth power delivery. 

All that applies to the automatic-equipped Wrangler and its seamless, impressively responsive shifts. There’s a 6-speed manual transmission on V-6s if you want it, but it’s more a nostalgia act with its long throws and low fuel economy. 

Is the Jeep Wrangler 4WD?

Jeep blesses every Wrangler with the core it needs for off-road exploring. A ladder frame plus four-wheel drive, with available locking differentials and knobby tires and lots of ground clearance can be dressed in a thousand different ways with the options list or the Mopar accessories catalog. What they generally have in common, aside from rock-clambering goodness in Rubicons and even in lesser models, is an inept feel on pavement that’s better than in the past, but still not great. Steering has lots of slack; two-doors bound around like Labrador puppies and require just as much attention. Four-doors with Sahara-grade creature comforts fare best in daily driving, but that’s faint praise. Any other Jeep will commute better than the Wrangler. 

Wrangler 4xe

One compelling new addition to the Wrangler lineup comes in Sahara, Rubicon and High Altitude spec. The Wrangler 4xe four-door twins the turbo-4 with a 17.3-kwh battery pack, a motor-generator, and an electric motor for a net of 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. Teamed with the 8-speed automatic and a full-time four-wheel-drive system with a 2-speed transfer case, the 4xe complicates what would already be a complicated set of mechanicals—but it just works. Power arrives in a swell from launch, and drivers can choose whether to run in electric mode and use up its 22 miles of range, or in hybrid mode to blend in gas power seamlessly. It’s quiet, too, and can even accelerate to 60 mph in about six seconds, while it still offers front and rear Dana 44 axles for excellent off-road traction.

Wrangler Rubicon 392

The 4xe might be the best off-road powertrain in any Wrangler; the Rubicon 392 has the silliest. The 6.4-liter V-8 fits in here, barely, and kicks out 470 hp through the 8-speed automatic and Jeep’s Selec-Trac four-wheel-drive system, with its 2-speed transfer case and front and rear locking differentials. Shod with 285/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires, the 392 can shoot to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, but it still drives like a Wrangler, down to its approach and departure angles of 44.5 and 37 degrees and its 22.6-degree breakover angle. With an electronic disconnecting front sway bar, 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels and 33-inch tires, an Off-Road Plus drive mode that engages the rear locking diff, and a 48:1 crawl ratio that’s not quite as low as the standard Rubicon’s 77.2:1 ratio, the 392 claims lots of Wrangler best-ofs, with a sticker price that sucks the air out of the room at nearly $80,000.

Review continues below

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