2024 Jeep Wrangler First Drive Review: More comfortable, most capable
2024 Jeep Wrangler First Drive Review: More comfortable, most capable

2024 Jeep Wrangler First Drive Review: More comfortable, most capable

August 8, 2023

The biggest upgrades are found underneath and inside

2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe

2024 Jeep Wrangler

Over the past 38 years, the iconic Jeep Wrangler has undergone a remarkable evolution, transitioning through four generations from the original YJ with its distinctive square headlights to the current state-of-the-art JL model, which premiered in 2018. With each iteration, the dual mandate has been clear: enhance the Wrangler’s legendary off-road capabilities while elevating driver and passenger comfort. The 2024 Jeep Wrangler represents the pinnacle of these efforts, showcasing an exquisite blend of performance improvements, luxury refinements, and technological advancements.

Unveiling the 2024 Jeep Wrangler: A Symphony of Upgrades

The 2024 Jeep Wrangler is not just an update; it’s a comprehensive overhaul of the JL model, setting new benchmarks in the SUV category. It flaunts the most sophisticated interior ever seen in a Wrangler, alongside optimizations in trims and powertrain options, all aimed at maintaining the Jeep’s dominant position in an increasingly competitive market.

A Peek Inside: Where Luxury Meets Utility

Jeep enthusiasts will be thrilled to discover the substantial interior enhancements in the 2024 model. Moving away from the chunky, playful dashboard of its predecessors, the Jeep 2024 Wrangler introduces an elegant, user-centric design. Trims vary from sporty cloth to luxurious blends of faux and genuine leather, with standout colors like Mantis Green and deep red setting a bold standard for interior aesthetics. A groundbreaking addition to the Wrangler is the standardization of side curtain airbags, marking a significant leap in safety features.

Central to the interior’s transformation is the introduction of a state-of-the-art 12.3-inch touchscreen, available across all trims. This component is the heart of the latest Android-based Uconnect system, boasting intuitive large icons, swift performance, and seamless over-the-air updates. Compatibility with wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Alexa Home to Car, coupled with an enhanced voice recognition system, places the Jeep Wrangler at the forefront of connected vehicle technology.

2023 Jeep Wrangler
2024 Jeep Wrangler

Trailblazing with Trails Offroad

An exceptional feature for the adventurous spirit is the new Trails Offroad application, integrated within the 2024 Wrangler’s infotainment system. This app serves as a guide to over 200 of America’s most exhilarating off-road trails, offering detailed route descriptions, difficulty ratings, and even custom trail creation capabilities. With a premium subscription, users gain access to an extensive library of over 3,000 maps, ensuring that the 2024 Jeep Wrangler is your ultimate companion for off-road exploration.

A Lineup That Speaks Volumes

From the base Sport model to the luxurious High Altitude and the off-road champion Rubicon, the 2024 Jeep Wrangler lineup is diverse and dynamic. The introduction of the new Rubicon X merges unparalleled off-road prowess with top-tier luxury, offering the best of both worlds. Notably, the Rubicon 392 stands out with its robust 6.4-liter V8 engine, delivering exhilarating performance that makes it a powerhouse on any terrain.

*Innovative Powertrains for Every Explorer

The 2024 lineup includes the popular Wrangler 4xe, America’s favorite plug-in hybrid, offering an efficient yet powerful driving experience. With its 17.3-kWh battery providing an estimated 21 miles of electric range, the 4xe is a testament to Jeep’s commitment to sustainable off-roading. Meanwhile, traditional petrol engines, including the tried-and-true 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and the efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged four, ensure there’s a 2024 Jeep Wrangler suited to every driver’s needs.

Commanding Off-Road and On-Road Presence

Equipped with robust four-wheel-drive systems and Dana axles, the 2024 Wrangler promises an exceptional drive, whether it’s towing a trailer or navigating city streets. The Jeep Wrangler shines brightest when off the beaten path, particularly the Rubicon and Rubicon X models, designed for those who demand ultimate off-road capability.

2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Most buyers will be looking at one of the more mundane powerplants. We’re fond of the plug-in hybrid Wrangler 4xe that boasts 375 hp (and so is America as it’s the best-selling plug-in hybrid). There’s enough power in the 17.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack to provide an estimated 21 miles of electric range, and we found that to be an accurate average figure. While that may not be enough for a full day, it does contribute to a much more efficient package that will save its owners money on fuel bills. And with its V8-matching 470 lb-ft of torque, the 4xe strikes a solid balance between efficiency and acceleration. For 2024, Jeep added a Power Box with four 120-volt outlets with 30 amps of total output so owners can use the battery pack to power external devices. We saw it in action powering a large flatscreen television.

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is a known quantity, and with 285 hp, it remains a reasonable choice. It’s also the only way to get a six-speed manual transmission. The optional 270-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four gets an eight-speed auto standard and is a bit quicker and more efficient than the base six, but while it offers more torque (295 lb-ft vs. 260 lb-ft) it doesn’t feel like a serious performance-minded upgrade.

There’s a similarly long list of four-wheel-drive systems. Command-Trac uses a traditional part-time transfer case with 2WD High, 4WD High, and 4WD Low modes. Locked in Low, it delivers a 2.72:1 crawl ratio. Next up is the Selec-Trac system, which is standard on the 392, optional on the Sport and Sahara, and adds a 4WD Auto mode for full-time use regardless of driving surface. The Rubicon’s Rock-Trac system delivers an excellent 4.0:1 Low range, which equals a crawl ratio as low as 100:1 with the right packages.

2024 Jeep Wrangler Blue
2024 Jeep Wrangler Interior

These old-school transfer cases are operated using equally old-school levers next to the floor-mounted shifter. Engaging four-wheel drive with a stiff pull feels reassuringly solid, and there’s a Neutral position that disengages the driveline, making the Wrangler a popular choice to tow behind recreational vehicles.

Both front and rear axles come courtesy of long-time supplier Dana, with the Rubicon the only model getting an electronic front locker. A full-float Dana 44 is newly optional for 2024. With construction that separates the axle from the hub, the full-float rear end supports the bigger wheel and tire options and allows the automatic-equipped Rubicon to tow up to 5,000 pounds. All other Wrangler Unlimited models are capped at 3,500.

We can confirm a properly equipped Wrangler is indeed capable of lugging a 5,000-pound Airstream trailer. The relatively short wheelbase and tippy-top ride height of the Wrangler Rubicon means a traditional truck is better, but 5,000 pounds opens up more options for recreational users who want to haul multiple dirt bikes, jet skis, snowmobiles, or a sensible boat.

Similarly, while the Wrangler has consistently improved over the years as an on-road offering, it’s not ideal in that role. Regardless of trim level, its quick steering wanders at speed, isn’t easy to keep dead straight, and doesn’t offer much feedback for drivers who like to know exactly what’s happening where the rubber meets the road. That said, we spent over an hour on the highway in a Wrangler High Altitude 4xe and found it to be a more relaxing experience than expected.

Jeep’s excellent Sky One-Touch Power Top, standard on the High Altitude, provides a lot of the open-top experience while keeping wind noise at bay. The power leather seats are comfortable and supportive, and the 20-inch aluminum wheels wearing 275/55R20 General Grabber tires provide a smoother ride than a Rubicon. It even has power-heated seats that are sealed to allow for up to 34 inches of water fording. The cheaper Sahara provides a similar on-road-focused driving experience.

Where the Wrangler really shines, as you already know, is off the pavement. And that’s the purview of the Rubicon and Rubicon X. Ground clearance for the Rubicon stands at 10.8 inches, or a whopping 12.9 for models fitted with 35-inch tires (standard for Rubicon X). The Xtreme 35 package also improves the approach angle from 44 degrees to 47.4, break over

from 22.6 to 26.7 (the two-door bests all others at 27.8), and departure from 37 to 40.4. If you exceed these figures, the Rubicon’s heavy underbody protection means you’re only damaging shielding that’s meant to take abuse, not critical components. An electronic sway bar disconnect and locking front and rear axles are standard. A first-ever factory-optional 8,000-pound Warn winch is available. If it’s ultimate off-road capability you want, it’s the Rubicon badge you need.

Conclusion: The Jeep Wrangler’s Brightest Horizon Yet

The 2024 Jeep Wrangler stands as a testament to Jeep’s enduring legacy of combining rugged functionality with unprecedented refinement. With its sophisticated interior, cutting-edge technology, and unmatched off-road capability, the Wrangler continues to set the standard for what an SUV can be. Whether you’re an off-road enthusiast or seeking a vehicle that blends luxury with adventure, the 2024 Jeep Wrangler is engineered to exceed expectations and redefine the journey ahead.

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