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2021 Jeep Wrangler Review: Expected Release Date, Prices, MPG, and Performance

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John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist July 13, 2020 at 12:56 PM
The current generation of the Wrangler is the fourth one, starting back in 2018. The ruggedness of the exterior is a part of its iconic reputation so it is more likely that Jeep will not tinker all that much with the formula and the changes to this car are minimal. Let’s just look at what and when to expect the 2021 Jeep Wrangler.

If you want to get a taste of back to basics, go-anywhere motoring, World-War style, then the Wrangler is a no-nonsense vehicle that has been desired by enthusiasts, especially off-roaders for generations. In this world of family-centered pseudo-SUVs, the Wrangler represents a rare and dying breed of rough and rugged SUVs

2021 Jeep Wrangler will remain largely unchanged 

This Jeep is the modern recreation of the Iconic Willys Jeep and it aims at delivering the best off-road experience and the old school charm of the Iconic Jeep without having to sacrifice on modern amenities. This modern recreation is easy to live with on a daily basis yet capable enough to take on the harshest terrain if the situation demands, without breaking a sweat. This modern-day icon has gained a cult following and continues to make a solid case for itself in 2020, Lets see what we can expect from the 2021 iteration of this OG off-roader.

What to expect in the engine department?

Since the 2021 model is largely unchanged, under the hood, it continues to retain the engine options from the 2020 model year Wrangler. This means that the line-up starts with the standard 3.6L V6 which offers 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This engine will mostly be suitable to use for those whose most of the time driving are around the city streets puttering around at a leisurely pace. Along with the standard 6-speed manual and standard four-wheel drive, this car also comes with an 8-speed automatic as an option. This powertrain lacks some torque lower down the rev range which makes it a bit unsuitable for off-road use and best left to the city streets.

2021 Jeep Wrangler will be powered by a 3.6L V6 engine

The mid-range engine is an optional 2.0-liter turbo-4 providing 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. While this engine has plenty of torque, it lacks the horsepower it makes hence will have a weak top end. The best of the three is the turbocharged 3.0L diesel V6 putting out 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. This engine is the best bet for those who take their Wranglers off the road pretty regularly. Also optional for the V6 and V4 is an e-torque system that assists in torque lower down.

Models

2021 Jeep Wrangler (expected)

2020 Toyota 4Runner

2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Base MSRP

$28,295-$41,195

$37,995

$37,800

$41,400

Engine

6.0L V6

4.0L V6

2.0L I4

3.6L V6

Transmission

6-speed manual

5-Speed Automatic

9-Speed Automatic

8-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

285 @ 6400

270 @ 5600

246 @ 5500

308 @ 6800

Torque

260 @ 4800

278 @ 4400

269 @ 1400

275 @ 4000

But the story doesn’t end here, Jeep will launch a plug-in hybrid Wrangler for 2021. First showcased at the Consumers Electronics Show 2020, this new PHEV will be called the Wrangler 4xe. However, it is still uncertain that it will be paired to the V6 or the four cylinders. The PHEV can have an all-electric range of 33 miles. The Colorado ZR2 has better performance figures than the rest, but also the comparable trim is quite expensive in comparison.

How many miles to the gallon will the 2021 Jeep Wrangler deliver?

As expected from a thoroughbred off-roader, the Jeep Wrangler has a mediocre fuel economy, and if by any means, fuel economy is at the top of your priority then the diesel engine is the way to go which sacrifices refinement and sheer horsepower in favor of better gas mileage and plenty of low-end torque. The turbodiesel is recommended if fuel economy is a priority. The four-door versions and the automatic versions drop an mpg or two from the V6 figures. That being said, it will be really interesting to see the figures for the PHEV when they get released.

Model

2021 Jeep Wrangler (expected)

2020 Toyota 4Runner

2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

MPG (city)

17

16

19

16

MPG (highway)

25

19

24

18

MPG (combined)

20

17

21

17

Fuel tank

capacity

(gallons)

17.5

23.0

17.7

21.0

Range

(city/highway)

(miles)

297.5/437.5

368/437

336.3/424.8

336/378

The 4Runner may not be the most frugal but it has the largest tank, hence it has the longest range, the Discovery Sport and Colorado ZR2 have similar range despite having different size tanks which means the Discovery Sport is the most frugal offering in this round-up but the difference between the Jeep and the Land Rover is marginal. 

What to expect from the Jeep Wrangler’s interior?

The Wrangler doesn’t come close to the Grand Cherokee when it comes to comfort, but it is still a lot better than the Wranglers of the past. The interiors are a little bit dreary in general and don’t really justify the price of this SUV. Make no mistake, the interiors are quite utilitarian, but it lacks the interior storage space. The shoulder and legroom are not disappointing per se but you do find more in the rivals. The cabin is quite high from the ground so they are neat door handles provided to step into the cabin. For the rear passengers, the four-door models are obviously the better bet as you wouldn’t want to spend long hours on the back of the Wrangler two-door. And this is evident with the sales figures too as the four-door versions outsell the two doors.

2021 Jeep Wrangler will get contemporary and utilitarian interiors

The front seats are quite supportive and adjustable lumbar support comes as standard. The seats are not really that cushy, but you won’t have any complaints. Cloth upholstery is standard and leather can be had as an option. The visibility is excellent thanks to a lower dashboard and the quality of materials used along with the sound deadening is the best it has been for years. 

Model

2021 Jeep Wrangler (expected)

2020 Toyota 4Runner

2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Passenger

Capacity

4

5

5

4

Front

(Head/Shoulder/

Leg) (in.)

42.6/55.7/41.2

39.3/57.8/41.7

39.5/57.3/39.1

41.4/57.5/45

Second

(Head/Shoulder/

Leg) (in.)

41.7/57.7/35.7

38.6/57.8/32.9

38.7/55.9/38.1

36.7/57.3/28.6

The Sport and Sport S models get some hard plastics that are really unpleasant to touch and it’s a shame they come with a car costing above $30,000. The Wrangler being taller has the advantage of having more headroom all around, but shoulder and legroom marginally better in the rivals.

Does it come loaded with tech inside?

There have been some changes done to the infotainment for the 2021 Jeep Wrangler. The dashboard is carried over from the 2020 Wrangler but rest all is different. The steering wheel is a new upmarket unit, there are new circular air vents that are better placed now. The climate control interface looks a lot cleaner now. 

2021 Jeep Wrangler will come with the latest UConnect 8.4-inch Infotainment setup

There are now new generation touchscreens in the Wrangler which include 5-inch, 7-inch, and 8.4-inch infotainment touch screens where Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard in the latter two. All the rest of the design features will be the same. And that is not exactly a bad thing as the car is pretty modern with the tech inside. There are plenty of USB ports strewn across the cabin, and the var also comes with plenty of driver aids.

Will there be any changes to the exterior of the Jeep Wrangler?

Let's talk about the changes first. There are larger but lighter aluminum panels on the body, the grille on the front look new but it is actually just a slightly tweaked version of the existing grille. The wheel flares have been adjusted, and they make the wheels look really really good. The lighting has also been updated and the whole look is a massaged one from the previous years model.

2021 Jeep Wrangler maintains its old-school looks while incorporating certain modern elements

The styling of the Wrangler is inspired by the American war folklore, the general design of the Wrangler hasn’t changed in decades, so for the current times, it represents the perfect neo-retro blend. The LEDs at the front and the taillights are great not just for the eyes behind the wheel but also are eye candy for the onlookers. If you want the best possible factory exterior look, it is recommended to avoid the base models as the steel wheels and fabric top that come as standard with that trim look pretty cheap on the Wrangler.

Model

2021 Jeep Wrangler (expected)

2020 Toyota 4Runner

2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Curb Weight

(lbs.)

4,160

4,805

4,035

4,704

Length (in.)

166.8

190.2

181.0

212.4

Width (in.)

73.8

75.8

75.0

76.7

Height (in.)

73.6

71.5

68.0

72.2

Ground

Clearance (in.)

9.7

9.6

8.3

8.9

Wheelbase (in.)

96.8

109.8

107.9

128.5

Track Width (in.)

F/R

62.9/62.9

63.2/63.2

64/64.3

N/A

The standard 2-door version of the Wrangler is quite short in length. When compared to the rest of the competition, the Colorado ZR2 wins in terms of dimensions which is mostly due to its massive bed, and hence it won't be fair to pit it against more conventional SUVs. So overall if space and practicality are at the very top of your priority list then the 4Runner with massive cabin and practical interiors is the way to go but if its the Jeep that caught your fancy, then fear not, the 4-door version of the Wrangler will do just fine.

Will the 2021 Jeep Wrangler be worth it?

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler is easily the most fun vehicle to explore every corner of the world. The original World War II roots show to this day and it makes this SUV a desirable throwback to the past. From the rugged off-roader used to support the troops to a rugged off-roader but with modern-day skin and modern-day technology, the Wrangler is one of a kind. And like the reports, the 2021 Wrangler is getting all the more exciting due to the announcement of the plug-in hybrid trim, the 4xe which not only will be a lot greener but it will be interesting to see how a PHEV powertrain behaves in a rugged and serious off-roader as the Wrangler. Apart from that, the Black and Tan trim is the most desirable and thus recommended to go for.

Also Read:

Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming 2021 Ford Bronco

Planning to buy a Jeep Cherokee in 2021? Here's what to expect.

 

2021 Jeep Wrangler FAQs

How fast can I drive in 4x4 Low-Range?

It is highly recommended to not exceed 25 mph while operating the vehicle in 4x4 low-range mode. Shift to this mode only when the vehicle is moving at 2 to 3 mph.

How much will the 2021 Jeep Wrangler cost?

Since the 2021 Jeep Wrangler is going to be a carry-forward model, the prices will remain unchanged, i.e the 2021 Wrangler range is expected to carry a starting price of $36,040.

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