Entry price: $28,045
Price as tested: $51,645
This week, we’re driving the fourth generation 2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4x4 two-door, named Motor Trend Magazine’s “SUV of the Year” for 2019.
Jeep’s new generation Wrangler 4x4 is available in three two-door trims and five four-door longer wheelbase models. This new Wrangler, introduced in 2018, offers off-road improvements over and above previous Wranglers.
These new Wrangler two-door 4x4 models start at $28,045 for the Sport, then move up to the middle class Sport S at $31,245. From there, it’s our tester Rubicon, Jeep’s top line Wrangler at $38,045. Rubicon trims feature many exclusive features, including the extreme duty and off-road inviting 4:1 Rock-Trac HD Part Time 4WD System that is not available on the Sport and Sport S models. (Four-door Wranglers start at $31,545, while the new 2020 Wrangler Gladiator pickup starts at $33,545).
Our Rubicon featured an optional $1,195 and removable Black Freedom three-piece hardtop that when removed transforms your Wrangler into an open air fun vehicle. The Freedom Hardtop also adds rear wiper/washer, rear defroster and a hardtop storage bag. It is a highly recommended option. The new generation Wrangler also features a fold down front windshield for even more off-road enrichment.
Under the hood sits a powerful 24-valve 3.6-liter Pentstar V6 engine putting out 285 horses and 260 lb. ft. of torque. A new Jeep Wrangler option is an eight-speed automatic transmission that costs $2,000 more than the standard six-speed manual and comes with hill descent and Tip Start features. This automatic is now better suited for low gear off-road or higher-gear highway cruising. This new generation Wrangler also features start/stop technology to assist fuel mileage.
Rubicon models come standard with extra sturdy Tru-Lok front and rear third-generation class 44 brand Dana axles, a 4:10 rear gear, huge four-wheel ABS disc brakes, skid plates front and rear, rock rails, transfer case skid plate, transmission skid plates, fuel tank plate shield, Torx Tool Kit, modern safety and traction assists and all the necessities needed for serious off-road excursions.
Other notable standard Rubicon features include Apple and Android compatibility, eight-speaker stereo, Media Hub USB and axillaries, remote keyless entry, Parkview rear safety backup camera, air, cruise, power windows, nice cloth seating, halogen headlamps, fog lamps, three tow hooks, full length console, stability and roll mitigation, advanced air bag system, trailer sway damping, and more.
Built in Toledo, Ohio, all Wrangles are classified as SUVs and do not compare well to automobiles in safety ratings or ultimate comfort features. Some will find entry cumbersome, road noise high and handling not that great, especially with the shorter wheelbase two-door Wranglers. But when you take this same Jeep off road or drive in a snowstorm, the Wrangler transforms into an outstanding vehicle far superior to the many AWD/4x4 sedans and crossovers on the road today.
Further, we put near 300 miles on our tester traveling to the Bloomsburg Nationals car show in Pennsylvania and enjoyed the drive. On the smooth freeways, our Rubicon Wrangler was a decent riding machine considering its multi-task genealogy off-road DNA. Putting the traction to the road are 33-inch inch B.F. Goodrich All Terrain T/A tires on 17-inch polished dark/bright alloy wheels that feature a little red Jeep logo. Notable is a full-size spare tire attached to the rear door. Overall our Rubicon performed very well and received its fair share of attention at the Bloomsburg Nationals car and truck show.
Other options our tester featured were a Leather Trim package with trimmed leather seating, steering wheel, shift knob and premium door panel for $1,395; an Electronic Infotainment upgrade for $1,595 that adds an Alpine Premium nine-speaker stereo upgrade with UConnect 8.4-inch display, 4G WiFi hotspot, navigation, auto dim rear mirror, HD radio, roadside assistance and SiriusXM with one year free and a five-year travel and traffic plus service.
A steel bumper group adds another $1,295, while safety is enhanced thanks to a highly recommended $795 adaptive cruise and forward collision warning package. Further, a Jeep Active Safety Group for $895 brings in Park Sense rear park assist and blind spot and cross path detection making these new Wranglers the most modern ever built and worthy of the Motor Trend Magazine award. Years ago, these modern safety features just weren’t available on Wranglers, so it’s great to see Jeep keeping up with the prevailing emergency safety features that make driving much safer than 10 years ago.
An LED lighting group adds $995, Trailer Tow Package $795, Leather seat and trim package for $1,395 and delivery charges of $1,495 bring the final tally to a hefty $51,645. Remember these new Wranglers don’t have to cost this much as most of the test vehicles we drive are loaded to the hilt. You can contour your Wrangler specifically to your preferences and thickness of wallet.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 96.8 inches, 4,160 lb. curb weight, 17.5 gal. fuel tank, 18 city and 23 highway fuel mileage, 34.5 ft. turn circle, 2,000 lb. tow capacity, 10.8 inch ground clearance and 12.9 to 31.7 cu. ft. cargo space depending on rear seat position.
In summary, until you own a Jeep Wrangler in any style you may not understand why this vehicle is so trendy. However, when you get behind the wheel you’ll experience firsthand how many Wranglers are on the road today and why owners happily wave to each other in cult like fashion.
Check with your area dealer for 2019 leftover deals and incentives on this new generation Wrangler. You’ll for sure save some cash versus a similar 2020 model.
Likes: Truly an off-road Jeep, multi-task at its finest, Jeep legacy.
Dislikes: Expensive options, cargo space, fuel mileage suspect.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at email@example.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.
Test Drive: 2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4x4
Entry price: $28,045