What I love (and hate) about the diesel Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited
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It looks like COVID-19 isn't on the way out yet, but here in Colorado we started getting press cars again. My first one isn't too shabby either, the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited with an EcoDiesel engine. On my first trip from home in months, I decided to play it safe and go where few people walk around on weekdays, the Continental Divide Trail in the middle of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, to demonstrate the 10 things I love Jeep about this thing and five things I really don't.
In the United States, especially my home state of Colorado, Jeep Wranglers are ubiquitous. And while many of these legendary rock crawlers never see the terrain more challenging than the occasional pothole or snow-covered freeway, they have achieved their popularity through years of history and credibility. And today it's one of the most off-road vehicles you can buy. Probably the most off-road vehicle there is.
Now this is unlimited and it has the EcoDiesel. I decided to drive it through Weston Pass, in the middle of Colorado's Pike National Forest, to some cool little mountain towns to tell you the 10 things I love about it and the 5 things I really don't.
Well. Well, first things first, and that's why this Wrangler has a lot of low-end torque. It's why this wrangler sounds like it does. And that's why this Wrangler costs $ 4,000 more than its gasoline brother. And the first thing I love about it is the diesel engine. So let's open this hood. And it's pretty warm.
It's not particularly warm here in Colorado, at least not in the mountains. So if you open this up and give a quick pro tip, look for - where the hell is that - ooh, that's hot. Where the hell is the hood stand? If I can support the hood. It's actually on the hood and not down here. Just look for it.
But yes, that's the 3.0 liter EcoDiesel. It helps this vehicle get a ton of low end torque. I think the maximum torque is around 1,400 rpm. And it also helps this jeep achieve really good mileage. And these are two of the things I love about this jeep that I wanted to address is the torque right away. So you don't have to turn it to 3,000, 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 rpm to get all the torque. It is a diesel. You get all the torque almost instantly.
And the other thing is, because it's a diesel, I've got a much better gasoline performance. I haven't spent all my time driving on highways. It was on such trails and then roads around my house and I walked 25 miles to the gallon, which is not bad for something that is about as aerodynamic as a brick. This 3.0 liter engine makes this special jeep something special.
Another thing I want to address is how off-road the Rubicon is. It's another thing I love about the Wrangler. Obviously, this is not surprising to anyone that, as I said in the intro, the factory Jeep Wrangler is one of the most powerful off-road vehicles on the market.
In fact, I think that when we talk about SUVs, you probably can only talk about the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro and the G Wagon as competitors in this aspect. Obviously there are still a few trucks left when we throw them into the mix. The Wrangler itself is one of the most off-road vehicles. And I'm going to throw the specs now.
But the Rubicon package in and of itself only increases it completely. And the diesel, which immediately gives you all the torque in the lower range, only helps. This particular model may not be as suitable for off-road use as its two-door brother due to the length of the vehicle and the wheelbase, but it is still incredibly powerful off-road.
You could take it to Moab without anything. You don't have to lift it. You don't have to put on new tires. It comes with KO2s. It's just another thing I love about the Jeep. I love off-roading and the ability is unmatched almost anywhere.
Another thing I love about this particular jeep is the ability to just press a button and let the roof go back. This has the power roof. It's raining a bit right now, but I'll use it anyway. I will not melt. You press that button and it just goes back.
It takes a while. It is not the fastest roof ever opened. However, when it opens fully, the roof over the driver and front passenger, as well as the back seat, is open. So it collects directly above the trunk area. And I love how easy it is to use.
I also love - and something that jeeps can do for ages is to take off the doors, and you can take off the roof completely and put the windshield down. Sometimes I don't want to take off the roof completely like on a day like today when it's 95% sunny, but every now and then it rained a bit on me. I can just press this button and boom, done. Is it as good as completely removing the roof and doors? I would say no. But it's halfway with a lot less than half the effort.
One of the things I don't particularly like about this jeep is that it doesn't have a manual transmission. And that's specific to the EcoDiesel, which is a bit unfortunate. Some people like to row their own gears in the field, and I happen to be one of those people.
That being said, it does decrease a little from the off-road experience, but not entirely from the off-road experience. I think what the diesel contributes to this experience obscures the fact that you have to get an automatic, and it's not that fun in that regard. So if I had to choose between the two, I would probably get the diesel rather than a gas powered one, although this gas powered one can have a manual.
Another thing I don't like is the Wrangler's safety. Now the Wrangler has looked very similar all his life. And you no longer have a box-shaped and tiny vehicle - it was much tinier back then, but from 1940 you no longer have a box-shaped vehicle and keep the same shape as now without sacrificing anywhere. And especially sacrifice a little bit of security. Some of the security tests crash - not the best.
And the aerodynamics. The aerodynamics are just not really there. Even though they are better than before, the aerodynamics aren't really there because it's a box-shaped vehicle. And that's something I love about it. That brings me to another love.
I love what the wrangler looks like. I think it's great that it looks relatively the same. The seven-slot grill. You know, it's a lot bigger now. It has four doors. But it looks relatively the same as always. And the look is just fantastic. It looks bad ass. It looks like it can handle any type of trail because it can. It's Rubicon Trail rated. And it really looks like that, but it also matters. And I love that about the Wrangler.
Another thing I wanted to address is something I think FCA has been doing incredibly well for for many, many years, now it's getting better. And although this screen isn't as big as a Ram 1500, for example - it's hard to beat that of the 1500 - it's still a quality screen. Big size. Touchscreen just works. It has Apple CarPlay.
And if you look down there are aux cables almost everywhere. There are some in the console. One, two, and I'm sure there are some over there. And that's something else that the FCA does well. It is 2020 and everyone has equipment and you are going on a long road trip. Everyone will want to charge these devices. Instead of arguing about who can charge their device and when, you simply have enough USB ports for everyone.
And it's something I think ... I think Kia does well in Telluride too. Just something that I think automakers should generally do. If you have five seats, insert five USB chargers. You don't have to save the extra few dollars.
You know, just put USB chargers in there. Keep everyone happy. It is 2020. This is the type of technology we have. These USB chargers are both USB and USB-C in some cases. And they have an aux cable. I only connected a normal USB port and Apple CarPlay worked wonderfully for me.
The other thing that I really love about this center console here is all the buttons. And there is a kind of spectrum when it comes to how many buttons you should have and how to use this center console. And I think Volvo is probably at one end of the spectrum. We currently have a long term S60. And you can control a lot of things from the steering wheel, but everything else is done via the touchscreen. There are very few buttons.
And although that looks good, it's not the most practical. This may be the other end of the spectrum, but I like it, because although it's incredibly full, I don't want to search off-road - even though it's a good infotainment system, I don't want to search this infotainment system to find out how heated seats are , cooled steering wheel, heated steering wheel or the like can be switched on.
Turn on the air conditioner. How do I do that? I like that there are only buttons here. I can look down, quickly press something and look back at the track. And that's exactly what you want from an off-road vehicle. At least I want that from my center console and the infotainment in an off-road vehicle.
One thing that I don't particularly like - and which you have to choose here somehow - is the driving quality of normal driving on the highway. People also buy Jeep Rubicon. Some people buy them because they are a status symbol. But if you really want to buy a Jeep Rubicon, I think you should take it off the street.
And so it's a kind of that choice that you have to make. If you want this vehicle to be your daily driver, you'll need to address some sidewalk problems to get the performance you want on a trail. While performance on the trail is unprecedented from the start, it can be a bit noisy if you ride elsewhere.
There is a lot of wind noise. As I said, this thing is a box. Ooph. We're going to tremble a bit here. So you get a lot of feedback in your steering when it's windy. Stuff like this. So not the greatest on the way. But boy, does it make up for it off-road?
Unfortunately, it is still quite early in the season. This jeep will be shipped elsewhere. So they just made me do it. And the sign says that the West Weston Pass is not OK for vehicles with low ground clearance. It's a good thing we're in a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. Man, the thing trembles a lot. I try to keep it as stable as possible. I'm sorry if that makes you sick.
Yes, it doesn't get to the point where this thing can't touch anything I'm throwing at it. But as I said, early in the season. We could run into some snow. And some of the more difficult trails lead further into the mountains. And I'm alone. I didn't want to get stuck in the deep snow situation and I didn't want to have a cell phone service or anything like that.
In fact, if you drive alone, you should always - and that's good for any kind of trip. Let me drag over a minute here because it's super bumpy on this camera. It's a good idea for any trip - I do it whether I am hiking alone on a mountain or just riding this dirt road / path. It's a good idea to let people know where you will be and when you want to come back. So if you're two hours late and they can't reach you or your six hours late, eight hours late, they can't reach you, then they know where to start looking for something terrible to do.
Hopefully it's just a puncture and you're on the track. And you are a few miles away. I actually brought my mountain bike with me today, not just to use it to show how much space there is, what we will achieve in a minute. But if I have to go somewhere, I can get on my bike and ride a lot in good time.
That being said, this street is nothing that I'm particularly worried about. I have a replacement on my back, like all jeeps. But it's still a good idea to let people know where you are going and when you are at home. It's a good habit to get involved. Just make sure when you get home to tell that person that you made it, because I definitely did sometimes when someone texted me four hours later and said, "Hey, you got it back made?" And I said, "Oh boy, yes, I'm sorry. I've been back for three hours. I ate and took a nap."
So a good idea, a good habit when you are cycling or even hiking. Well. I go to the rear of the vehicle and show you something else that I love. Well, that's not one of the things, but hoops on your back - always cool.
When we open that up, you'll find that I have my mountain bike in the back. And right now it's on the wrong side, on the gear side. If you want to put your bike down, put it on the 9-gear side. On the way here it slipped a bit on some bumpy sections of the way.
But that's something you could never do in the two-door. And that's why I wanted to go into that because while the two-door doors look cooler to me personally and it's better off-road just because of the shorter wheelbase, it's much less practical. At the moment I have my full mountain bike here. I can throw my wife's mountain bike in the back.
The two rear seats are folded down. But if I didn't have the bikes here, I could be in the back. When I overland or even camp here today in a place like this, I can sleep fairly comfortably in the background. You can't do that with the two-door car, and I love that about the Unlimited in general. And that would make me get a four-door or a two-door if I bought the Jeep Wrangler.
Another thing that I love, another thing that makes the Jeep Wrangler and a lot of different jeeps - the gladiator, the Cherokee, all the jeeps they just enjoy a little more - are the Easter eggs. You see, we have an Easter egg at the wheel here.
There are many Easter eggs everywhere in this vehicle. You may not notice them all immediately. But say you load something back, you see an Easter egg and it will make you giggle a little. It's something that puts a smile on my face when I see all these Easter eggs. It shows that Jeep has a rich history. And it's just a nice touch.
And the last and last thing I don't like about the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon with the EcoDiesel is the price. That is why I have already mentioned that the EcoDiesel comes with a large sticker. So let's just go through ... I have the Monroney here. Let's just go through everything here.
The base price for this Wrangler Rubicon is therefore by default $ 41,795 before the destination. Add to that the leather, the bucket seats, the parking brake handle wrapped in leather, the gear knob and the premium paneling. That's another $ 1,495.
And then we get the Cold Weather Group, which is the heated front seat and the heated steering wheel. This is another grand. Plus the trailer stuff. That's another $ 800. LED, another Grand, and the 8.4-inch radio and premium audio group that I loved. That's another $ 1,700. The Safety Group, which is the rear parking aid and the detection of blind spots and crossways, costs an additional $ 800. Steel bumper, $ 1,395.
The eight-speed automatic transmission costs $ 2,000. The diesel itself costs $ 4,000. Keyless Entry, $ 500. The body color fender flares are $ 500. The roof - oh, that hurts. It's just almost - it's $ 5 cheaper than the diesel itself. So that's another $ 3,995. And then the bikes are another grand, plus $ 1,500 in target fees.
So just a reminder, base price, $ 41,795. The total price for this four-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with EcoDiesel is $ 64,380. That's a lot of money for a Jeep Wrangler. Well, I wouldn't configure mine like that if I didn't possibly win the lottery, but that's a big blow.
$ 65,000 for a Jeep Wrangler. Even if it brings a lot and you can do a lot with it, that's a lot of money. That’s the last thing I don’t like. Here you go. The things i love. The things I really don't love about the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon four-door with the EcoDiesel.
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