2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rental

Messages
9,103
Location
Houston, TX
My review after a recent rental: Having recently sold my 2015 Ford F-250 Powerstroke Platinum 4x4, I needed some off-road wheels to partake of our annual father/son varmint hunting trip. For many years, we have headed out from Houston to northern Wyoming to spend time together over varmint rifles and wide-open spaces. A quick search of my Hertz rental app found a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4 door hardtop for $322 per week with unlimited miles. I considered the size and if it would hold our gear, then booked the reservation and picked it up on 06/19/2019 returning it on 06/28/2019. It had 4,500 miles on the odometer and we put an additional 3,186.1 miles on it during the time we had it. It was a black 2019 Sahara and was amply outfitted including automatic transmission, sans the GPS option which is Hertz (and every other car rental company's) way of lifting a few more dollars from a renter's wallet. No worries, pocket Garmin to the rescue along with my Google Pixel 3 XL. We loaded up and headed out early on the morning of the 20th 05:30 on with waypoints in Fort Worth, Amarillo, Raton, Trinidad, to finally stop in Fort Collins, CO for the night arriving at about 22:15. Struck out the next morning for Sheridan and arrived around 14:00 and grabbed a bite, then was off to check out the hunting site to find it in good order with a moving carpet of varmints. It drove well and the headlights were more than adequate to illuminate the backroads, but the LED lighting system would have been a nice upgrade—particularly for the back-up lights which were woefully inadequate. In fact, if I buy one and cannot find the LED option, the back-up lights would be the very first upgrade. Acceleration was more than sufficient and after a few miles, I engaged the cruise control and settled in for the long drive with the XM radio playing in the background. I assumed the engine of choice was the 3.6L V6, but did not bother to lift the hood prior to setting out. My first stop to refuel was outside Fort Worth and with such few miles on it, I waffled on checking the fluids, but then did. I was incredibly surprised to find a 2.0T engine housed within the bay. The oil levels were spot on, but the windshield washer fluid was low and going lower courtesy of the zillions of winged (or should I say de-winged) insects adoring the front of the vehicle and the entire surface of the windshield. I topped off with 87 octane (in fact, I only ran 87 or 85 octane the entire trip and the engine never once complained about it) and continued our journey. The winds were very strong the entire trip and the Jeep had to be slightly "herded" when strong crosswinds would hit. Not unexpected with a higher vehicle, (my Powerstroke was affected too), so this was not given a second thought. The 8-speed transmission never hunted for gears or hesitated, in fact, it was one of the best transmissions (except for the 9 speed in my AMG GLC43 Coupe) that I have driven in many years. The engine did not sound strained or whiny and though many will complain about it, the start/stop system was equivalent to that in my Mercedes cars and was not an issue for me. The 4x4 shifter was incredibly stiff to the point I thought it would break, but allowing the Jeep to roll slightly helped with the shifting. Subsequent shifts required far less exertion so I will write it off as a new transfer case. We easily bested the hills and ravines of northern Wyoming and forded through at least 20" of water. At no time did it feel unstable or wanting for power nor did it allow dust to enter the cabin. The latter I find as a testament to the sealing that is more than ample on all of the openings. I cannot speak to the same for a soft top, but assume it would be similar. The rear tailgate did not have the hinge reinforcement option, but it did not feel "flimsy" when opened. Overall, I am very impressed with the 2.0T engine and should I elect to buy a Jeep, it will definitely get the nod over the V6 option, but it will be the Rubicon so that I have the Dana 44 axles front and rear and the 4.10 ratio in both. The power and torque of the mighty mouse is on par with the V6, but fuel economy is where the 4 banger shines. Our overall average for the trip was 23.6 MPG and this was with 87 octane (or 85 octane in Colorado and Wyoming), highway speeds between 75 and 80, and 40+ miles of 4x4 Low mixed in (we averaged 62MPH for the trip). Long term, it is my guess the V6 option will go the way of the dodo bird in favor of a more powerful version of the turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This seems to be the case across most every manufacturer's powertrain line, though time will tell if it becomes the norm. In any case, the 2.0T will serve you well in the power and economy arena and those who are hesitant to own one should not be. Rent one and put several hundred miles on it and see for yourself. Pros: • Fuel economy • Plenty of torque in 4x4 to climb hills and ravines • Smooth power • Comfortable seats and ride—we drove from Denver to Houston via Kansas and never felt tired or stiff • Decent space in the rear • Jeep 4x4 durability • Accuracy of fuel gauge. I missed an opportunity to fill up before entering the Kansas turnpike and had to search for a station. We went down to 7 miles before empty and thus I can testify it "works"! Cons: • Poorly illuminated back-up lights (seriously to the point of being dangerous) • Buffeting; when certain highway surfaces and speed are in sync buffeting occurs in the cabin to point of being a serious annoyance. This is even with a hard top and though not a show stopper, it did "wear" on me on such a long trip. Fortunately, it only occurred on Kansas highways, but I assume it could happen anywhere. • Windshield durability. We had no less than 3 stars/cracks happen on the trip and the strikes were incredibly soft. While I understand that rock wins over glass, the windshield in the Jeep is not forgiving in the slightest. I am not sure if the angle is a contributor, but it did not fare well. • Window switch location. Obviously, not a deal breaker and I totally understand the rationale, but it did take some conscious thought to remember the location. • Glove compartment size. Owner's manual, toolkit to remove the top and that is pretty much it. The center console does not provide much relief either and thus likely the reason for the option to have overhead storage in the headliner. [Linked Image]
 
Messages
2,700
Location
WY
I would wager the 3.6L Pentastar would equal or better the MPG and with about 300HP of un-blown ponies on tap. Nice review.
 
Messages
5,445
Location
MTL, CANADA
Turbo epa 22 city 24 hwy V6 epa 18 city 23 hwy " The turbo-four is only available with the eight-speed automatic, and like all Wranglers since 2011, only offered with four-wheel drive. The 2.0-literturbo makes 268 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, versus the 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of the Pentastar V-6, and is a $1,000 option." Great review, thank you!
 
Last edited:
Messages
847
Location
MA
I would do A LOT of research before buying a Wrangler! My business partner has one and it's been a nightmare - I was thinking about one until he purchased his and I started looking into them. Lots of design/engineering and build quality issues. Jeep dealerships also tend to be a nightmare - apparently nothing is ever reproducible or fixable. Here is good place to start - https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/forums/issues-repairs-warranty-tsb-recalls.49/
 
Messages
35,810
Location
NY
Originally Posted by sloinker
I would wager the 3.6L Pentastar would equal or better the MPG and with about 300HP of un-blown ponies on tap. Nice review.
Not quite 300 HP in that application for some odd reason, but it would be my choice of engine over the 2.0L turbo. My 2016 3.6L Rubicon has been trouble free, I would expect the same from a newer one.
 
Messages
35,810
Location
NY
Originally Posted by PWMDMD
I would do A LOT of research before buying a Wrangler! My business partner has one and it's been a nightmare - I was thinking about one until he purchased his and I started looking into them. Lots of design/engineering and build quality issues. Jeep dealerships also tend to be a nightmare - apparently nothing is ever reproducible or fixable. Here is good place to start - https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/forums/issues-repairs-warranty-tsb-recalls.49/
I've been involved in discussions like this in the past. When you think of how many millions of JK/JKU Wranglers are running around and add to it the JL/JLU there aren't as many problems as one would think % wise. People often join message boards to complain, very few join to brag about how great their vehicle is. Or they join to seek answers to problems, but not to offer solutions, usually only enthusiasts do that, not the average Joe.
 

CarbonSteel

Thread starter
Messages
9,103
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted by demarpaint
Originally Posted by PWMDMD
I would do A LOT of research before buying a Wrangler! My business partner has one and it's been a nightmare - I was thinking about one until he purchased his and I started looking into them. Lots of design/engineering and build quality issues. Jeep dealerships also tend to be a nightmare - apparently nothing is ever reproducible or fixable. Here is good place to start - https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/forums/issues-repairs-warranty-tsb-recalls.49/
I've been involved in discussions like this in the past. When you think of how many millions of JK/JKU Wranglers are running around and add to it the JL/JLU there aren't as many problems as one would think % wise. People often join message boards to complain, very few join to brag about how great their vehicle is. Or they join to seek answers to problems, but not to offer solutions, usually only enthusiasts do that, not the average Joe.
I would agree. There is a topic on that board asking if any 2.0T owners have any regrets with their purchase. Amazing the amount of people who either talk how much better the V6 is or how bad the 2.0T is and none of them have owned or driven one. Internet amplification at its finest.
 
Messages
35,810
Location
NY
Originally Posted by 2015_PSD
Originally Posted by demarpaint
Originally Posted by PWMDMD
I would do A LOT of research before buying a Wrangler! My business partner has one and it's been a nightmare - I was thinking about one until he purchased his and I started looking into them. Lots of design/engineering and build quality issues. Jeep dealerships also tend to be a nightmare - apparently nothing is ever reproducible or fixable. Here is good place to start - https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/forums/issues-repairs-warranty-tsb-recalls.49/
I've been involved in discussions like this in the past. When you think of how many millions of JK/JKU Wranglers are running around and add to it the JL/JLU there aren't as many problems as one would think % wise. People often join message boards to complain, very few join to brag about how great their vehicle is. Or they join to seek answers to problems, but not to offer solutions, usually only enthusiasts do that, not the average Joe.
I would agree. There is a topic on that board asking if any 2.0T owners have any regrets with their purchase. Amazing the amount of people who either talk how much better the V6 is or how bad the 2.0T is and none of them have owned or driven one. Internet amplification at its finest.
thumbsup Yes, "Internet Amplification At Its Finest." That's a catchy phrase, I like it.
 
Messages
6,358
Location
KY
Originally Posted by 2015_PSD
I would agree. There is a topic on that board asking if any 2.0T owners have any regrets with their purchase. Amazing the amount of people who either talk how much better the V6 is or how bad the 2.0T is and none of them have owned or driven one. Internet amplification at its finest.
Internet hearsay always trumps actual ownership experiences. That said, I wouldn't hesitate to but a JL, if I didn't already have a TJ in very good condition.
 
Messages
4,913
Location
Lakeville, MN
Curious how it would have felt if it was fed 87 octane everywhere. With the Turbo, I would have been leery of feeding it 85 octane. (I use 85 octane in my NA engines in Colorado and Wyoming, but my ecoboosts get 87 minimum).
 
Messages
1,768
Location
NE
I have(wife's) a 2018 Sahara, 3.6 with D44 LSD, Selectrac, Alpine, Nav, LED, tow, heated seats, dual top. 7300 miles avg 23.5 mpg overall. On long trips get over 25 mpg. No issues so far, just changed the fluid in the diffs and t_case on saturday. Have a Volant powercore on it and catch can. It is a very nice SUV, a little pricey but gives you a 4wd convertible with off road capability, if that is what you want. They did a nice job making it more civil, wife loves it and always wanted on, so got her one for our 30th last year. Also got the life time maxcare. nice review BTW, glad you liked the 2.0T, We like orange:)

IMG_1422.JPG


IMG_1383.JPG
 
Messages
6,358
Location
KY
Originally Posted by Reddy45
No amount of mods or light bars will get over the fact that the Jeep design/shape makes absolutely no sense for a consumer level vehicle that goes onto 70mph+ interstate roads. And yeah the windshield angle means that Jeep owners are constantly putting in new glass
Glass repair on my TJ over 17 years has been confined to a rock chip which was repaired without glass replacement. With Bilstein HDs it is pretty secure up to around 75 mph. It's not my first choice to take on long interstate slogs, but it's doable.
 
Messages
1,768
Location
NE
Do you own one? Ours runs just fine at 70+ mph on the highway, doesnt handle like my SRT but is very comfortable. Took it on a 400 mile trip and no problems. Rock chips are a function of how much gravel is put down on the roads, any stone thrown up will take out any windsheild, been thru many last 10 yrs, carry low deductable on glass. My 02 WJ lasted 1 day and got a chip, got it replaced that week.
 

JTK

Messages
13,521
Location
Buffalo, NY
I haven't followed Wranglers in years, but are pentastar powered ones really achieving ~23mpg tank to tank or are these just dash readout figures? That's amazing if they truly get that type of fuel economy with day to day use.
 
Messages
17,298
Location
OH
Sounds like you found the Unlimited to be a far more useable vehicle than I would have thought. Not bad on a long interstate slog and surprisingly economical to run, especially since it has the aerodynamic profile of a garden shed. I didn't know that a 2.0t was available and from what you've written, it seems like a solid choice with no compromises. Good review and one that makes me think that an Unlimited could be a future ride for us. Now if only FCA would offer a hybrid version. LOL!
 

CarbonSteel

Thread starter
Messages
9,103
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted by Reddy45
No amount of mods or light bars will get over the fact that the Jeep design/shape makes absolutely no sense for a consumer level vehicle that goes onto 70mph+ interstate roads.
Note these all have backup cameras, but the light output is not enough to light up the area for the camera to see. A light bar or upgraded lights would make a huge difference.
 

CarbonSteel

Thread starter
Messages
9,103
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted by JTK
I haven't followed Wranglers in years, but are pentastar powered ones really achieving ~23mpg tank to tank or are these just dash readout figures? That's amazing if they truly get that type of fuel economy with day to day use.
Pentastar meaning the 3.6L V6? They do not achieve that type of MPG. The 4 cylinder is an Alfa Romeo built engine and absolutely achieves that MPG. There were parts of the trip where I made over 26MPG and it seems to be common based on the comments on some of the Jeep forums.
 
Messages
1,768
Location
NE
Originally Posted by JTK
I haven't followed Wranglers in years, but are pentastar powered ones really achieving ~23mpg tank to tank or are these just dash readout figures? That's amazing if they truly get that type of fuel economy with day to day use.
yes it is off the dash, but I have checked multiple times comparing gallons used to miles for actual, it is always within a few tenths, so close enough. Have never gotten below 21 and as high as 26 on one long trip. They are not mizers but livable. It does best on back roads doing 50-60sh, the ZF 8 spd makes all the difference.
 

CarbonSteel

Thread starter
Messages
9,103
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted by MNgopher
Curious how it would have felt if it was fed 87 octane everywhere. With the Turbo, I would have been leery of feeding it 85 octane. (I use 85 octane in my NA engines in Colorado and Wyoming, but my ecoboosts get 87 minimum).
85 octane is altitude compensated and is the equivalent of 87 at sea level. The point in my using 85/87 was to see if 91 was a "requirement" or if fuel economy would suffer due to engine management pulling the timing back. There seemed to be no impact and I never experienced pinging either. YMMV!
 
Top