Jeep Wrangler Essential Expert Car Review

The all-new Wrangler is more capable than ever but with a mild side

What you need to know

The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler does everything the previous-edition Wrangler could do, but it does it in a significantly more driver- and passenger-friendly way. Some might suggest that Jeep is trying to domesticate the Wrangler, but that is not the case. The seminal Jeep model will still rock-crawl with the very best of them, but when it comes to a day-to-day commute to work or picking up the kids at school, it will do so without the noise and ride comfort sacrifices of the previous Wrangler. The Jeep design and engineering team has done all it could think of to make the new Wrangler easier to live with. The windshield folds more easily; the soft top comes off and goes back on more easily; the carpet comes out and is replaced more easily. You get the picture.

Driving Today Expert Rating

Poor | Good | Better | BEST

Driving it

When we got behind the wheel of the new Wrangler we immediately became aware that something different was at work here. The interior quiet, even in our soft-top test vehicle, was palpable. But did that mean that Jeep had pulled the fangs from its off-road bite? Happily, no. What we discovered in a Sonoran desert ascent up a cliff-like rock wall is that a stock Rubicon model is as capable as any four-wheeler we’ve ever driven. Sahara versions are off-road capable as well, but they skew more toward creature comforts.

Best alternatives

2017 Jeep Wrangler, no other model compares

Price range

Base: $28,000       Fully Equipped: $44,000    Typically Equipped: $31,000

Best feature

Fuel-efficient, torquey turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 8-speed automatic transmission


Adaptive cruise control

Typical buyer

Male/Female – 55/45 percent   Married/Single – 60/40 percent
Median age – 51   Median Household Income – $114,000


NHTSA Crash Test Ratings

Overall not rated  Frontal 3-star  Rollover 3-star

Electronic Stability Control, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Crash Imminent Braking, Dynamic Brake Support

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Rating

Not rated

Fuel Economy (EPA miles per gallon city/highway/combined)

Lowest: 17/25/20         Highest: 18/23/20

Predicted Reliability 

Poor | GOOD | Better | Best

Predicted Cost-to-Own (versus key competitive vehicles)

Poor | Good | Better | BEST


About Tom Ripley 54 Articles
Born in Boston, Tom Ripley has been writing about the automotive industry and the human condition for more than a decade. He's a frequent traveller but nominally resides in Villeperce, France.