New Car Review

2017 Jeep Wrangler: New Car Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler 4WD Unlimited Rubicon
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler
$32,450
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler
$32,399
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler 4WD Unlimited Sport
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler
$29,984
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler 4WD Unlimited Rubicon
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler
$37,999
RELATED READING
See all Jeep Wrangler articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2017

The 2017 Jeep Wrangler is like a shark or a crocodile. It has evolved over many years to reach a pinnacle of form and function. It follows a certain logic and is a tool for a specific task. As arguably the best off-roader ever, it's certainly one of the only vehicles where fun and freedom can win out over caution.

That ability to roam where and when you want -- and not worry about getting stuck -- is dear to Wrangler owners' hearts. This vehicle allows you to travel roofless, doorless and even without a windshield if the whim arises. Embracing the minimalist cabin and opting for the most affordable model requires only a sacrifice of creature comforts, not capability. That's part of the joy of owning one of these truly iconic Jeeps.

Despite lacking modern safety features, reasonable fuel consumption or sophisticated styling, the Wrangler and its 4-door sibling, the Wrangler Unlimited, are among the best-known, most-loved vehicles on the road and off it. Because of that, they also enjoy strong resale values and are estimated to retain 54.9 percent of their value over 5 years.

Both models are available with removable soft tops or hardtop shells.

What's New for 2017?

A few new exterior colors have been added. And a Cold Weather bundle joins LED headlights and fog lamps on the options list.

What We Like

Open-air cockpit; phenomenal off-road ability; wide range of trims and prices; chunky styling; it's a Jeep

What We Don't

Poor fuel economy; poor crash-test scores; uncomfortable rear seats; removing the roof is less than straightforward

How Much?

$24,990 to $38,440

Fuel Economy

All Wranglers are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine rated at 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard; a 5-speed automatic is an optional extra. Four-wheel drive with a dual-range transfer case is standard, while the Rubicon model also gets an extra-aggressive crawl ratio for even more rock-crawling talent.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the regular Wrangler at 17 miles per gallon in the city, 21 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg in combined driving with either transmission. The Unlimited with the manual transmission achieves 16 mpg city/21 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined; the automatic transmission delivers 16 mpg city/20 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Jeep Wrangler is offered with two or four doors (Unlimited) and in Sport, Sport S, Sahara and Rubicon trim levels.

The Sport ($24,990) starts with 16-inch steel wheels, all-terrain tires, a black removable soft top, fog lights, manual accessories, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver's seat and an 8-speaker audio system with steering-wheel-mounted controls and an auxiliary input. The Sport Unlimited ($28,890) adds the bigger 4-door body, air conditioning and a larger gas tank.

The Sport S ($27,990) gets 17-in alloy wheels, air conditioning and a leather-wrapped shift knob. The Sport S Unlimited ($32,090) is also eligible for the optional 115-volt outlet.

The Sahara ($31,440) has 18-in alloy wheels, an upgraded suspension with gas shocks, automatic headlights (LED), body-color fender flares, silver bumper trim, heated exterior mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 115-volt power outlet, power accessories and an optional body-color hardtop. The Sahara Unlimited ($35,240) is similarly equipped and has tubular side steps.

The hardcore Rubicon ($34,640) features 17-in alloy wheels, a performance suspension, a special Rock-Trac 4-wheel-drive system with an electronically disconnecting front anti-roll bar, heavy-duty axles, front and rear electronically locking differentials, rock rails and manual accessories. The Rubicon Unlimited ($38,440) is similarly equipped.

It's the stuff you don't often see that still makes a difference. For example, the Wrangler's lubrication system is designed to keep the oil flowing even when the vehicle is at an extreme angle. And the alternator is placed high enough in the engine bay to stay dry and functional while the vehicle is wading through water. These are important considerations when there isn't even a road for miles around, let alone a repair shop.

Options are extensive and include many items that may be standard on higher trims. If you want a Rubicon with power accessories, for example, Jeep will be happy to oblige. Bluetooth/USB connectivity and a 9-speaker Alpine sound system with a subwoofer are optional across the lineup, while the Sahara and Rubicon can be outfitted with a touchscreen interface that includes navigation.

The Sport S and Rubicon versions are eligible for the Cold Weather bundle, which includes a remote start function, an engine block heater, special all-terrain tires, all-weather mats and heated seats.

Various customization options and special-edition models can be explored on the Jeep website or at a local dealer.

Safety

It's just the basic equipment here, such as dual front airbags, anti-lock disc brakes, traction control and roll bars. Front side airbags are an extra-cost option.

The government has not crash-tested the Wrangler, but the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2-door version a worrying report card, including a Poor (the worst score out of four) in the side-impact test and a Marginal (second-worst) in both the small-overlap front crash test and the head restraint/seat test. The Unlimited did slightly better, earning a Marginal in the side-impact test. Both models were deemed Good (the best score) in the moderate-overlap front crash test.

Note that the IIHS only tested Wranglers without the optional side airbags.

Behind the Wheel

Considering its solid front and rear axles, 10-inch ground clearance and off-road tires, the Wrangler can't be expected to handle well by modern SUV standards. It's easy to manage under normal driving conditions, though, with good feedback from the steering and fairly level cornering at reasonable speeds. The ride is still rough, and there's not much shelter from wind and road noise, but that's to be expected. The V6 provides decent power and the manual transmission is surprisingly fun to use.

Where the Wrangler shines is away from the pavement. The base 4-wheel-drive system is remarkably adept at tackling snow, mud, sand and rocks. Unfortunately, unlike more modern all-wheel-drive vehicles, the Wrangler can't operate at highway speeds with its 4WD system engaged. Serious off-road enthusiasts should check out the Rubicon, which features an electronically detachable front anti-roll bar, heavy-duty Dana 44 axles and a 73.1:1 crawl ratio that enables bushwhacking at speeds as low as half a mile an hour.

The Unlimited expands the fun to include those who need a genuine back seat.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee -- Great off-road ability and the legendary Jeep name, but with better safety and a more carlike ride and interior.

2017 Toyota 4Runner -- A combination of capability and reliability that has delighted off-road enthusiasts for years.

2017 Toyota Tacoma -- Admittedly, this is a pickup truck, but the TRD Off Road version can go just as far into the wild as a Wrangler.

Used Toyota FJ Cruiser -- Although it's now discontinued, the FJ Cruiser remains a highly competent off-road vehicle with more civility than the Jeep. Its fixed roof creates plenty of blind spots, however.

Autotrader's Advice

The Sport model is the best seller. It's a good starting point for the many options (from both Jeep and the aftermarket) that a dedicated off-roader might choose. That's the beauty of the Wrangler -- you can build it virtually any way you want. Just be sure to specify those side airbags. Mud rats who want to go straight from the showroom to the wilderness should choose the Rubicon.

Find a Jeep Wrangler for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler 4WD Unlimited Rubicon
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler
$32,450
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler
$32,399
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler 4WD Unlimited Sport
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler
$29,984
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler 4WD Unlimited Rubicon
Used 2017 Jeep Wrangler
$37,999
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Jeep Wrangler: New Car Review - Autotrader