By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.7
Although it is larger and safer than past models wearing the CJ and Wrangler nameplate, the 2013 Jeep Wrangler is still true to its heritage as America's best-loved off-road escape artist. A wide model range spans the spectrum, from the basic 2-door soft-top Sport, to the maxed-out trail-blazing Rubicon. The Wrangler Unlimited includes a stretched wheelbase and four doors, as well as an available removable hard top with configurable roof panels. Powered by Chrysler's new Pentastar V6, the Jeep Wrangler for 2013 delivers an excellent balance of power and fuel economy; the Wrangler is also one of the last off-road vehicles still to offer a manual transmission.
Whether your outdoor passions rest at the top of a mountain, near the ocean's surface, or someplace in between, the Wrangler can get you there without breaking a sweat. Open-air devotees will love the 360-degree view.
The same suspension and wheel/tire combo that allows the Jeep Wrangler to venture over rough terrain also creates a rather rough and unsophisticated on-road driving experience. If your off-road needs are light-to-moderate, a Subaru Outback or Toyota 4Runner might make a better choice.
Improvements for the 2013 Wrangler include new seats with larger side bolsters, additional interior lighting and an available Alpine speaker system. Changes to the soft top make it easier for one person to operate, and there is a new premium cloth option that is easier to clean and triple-layered for better sound deadening.
Driving Impressions What we like best about the Jeep Wrangler is that it still delivers the things that make off-roaders happy. Among those attributes are separate body-and-frame construction, live axles front and...rear and enough ground clearance to drive over a (large) sleeping dog without doing damage to dog or the Jeep. Despite the tall center of gravity, oversized tires and rudimentary suspension, Jeep engineers have done a remarkable job of taming the beast within, endowing this newest Wrangler SUV with precise steering and a suspension that keeps the tires in secure contact with the paved surfaces beneath it. Off-road, the 2013 Wrangler is everything you want in a 4WD trail rig, given its ability to poke along at a walking speed. Add real horsepower to the crawling, and favorable gearing for the hauling, and you arguably have the most competent Jeep Wrangler in the brand's 70-year history.
3.6-LITER PENTASTAR V6
Jeep's Pentastar V6 is the final piece in the Wrangler puzzle. With ample power, smooth operation and decidedly improved highway fuel economy, this engine suits the Wrangler like a well-worn glove. And, when equipped with the available 5-speed automatic, refinement goes up while losing very little – if any – capability or efficiency.
ELECTRONIC DISCONNECTING SWAY BAR
When the off-road trail gets seriously treacherous, the Wrangler's front sway bar can be electronically disconnected, which allows greater wheel travel. Once back on paved roads, a push of a button reconnects the sway bar.
Our test Wrangler, a Sahara Unlimited SUV trimmed in Black/Dark Saddle leather, was just this side of sumptuous. Lower in the food chain is the base Sport, whose cloth-covered seats can best be described as functional. And although the Wrangler Unlimited's folding rear seat creates a spacious – and flat – load surface, the headrests don't easily detach for folding, which necessitates moving the front seats as far forward as possible when you're in a hurry to increase cargo space.Exterior
With each generation, the Jeep Wrangler engineering team increases the vehicle's size. That was never more evident than in the 2007 redesign, when the 2-door Wrangler grew and the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited was first introduced. In its Unlimited form, the Wrangler SUV stretches almost 15 feet and weighs almost 4,500 pounds. Still, the 2013 Wrangler's off-road intentions remain clear, with minimal overhangs front and rear and the highly-familiar Jeep shape. The exterior design retains a greenhouse that provides excellent visibility of both the trail and adjacent scenery. New for 2013 is the Moab Special Edition that adds gloss black wheels, Trak-loc anti-spin and electronically-locking rear differential.
The 2013 Jeep Wrangler SUV's 285 horsepower is among its most notable features, but with additional power comes the need for enhanced control. Jeep engineers have added a full menu of safety and security, including electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, Hill-start Assist and Trailer-sway Control. Add the aggressive 4WD technology on the off-road-oriented Rubicon, and the most difficult trails become almost laughably easy.
The Wrangler's optional 5-speed automatic transmission provides the driver with more efficiency, better use of the new V6's torque curve and, with a lower 1st-gear ratio, better ability to crawl those rocks. And Jeep is one of the few manufacturers providing you a choice of rear-end ratios (3.21, 3.73 or 4.10). That choice allows the owner to truly tailor the Wrangler to his or her specific driving needs. Comfort and convenience options include Bluetooth, navigation, Alpine speakers, leather trimmed seats and heated front seats.
The 3.6-liter V6 in the 2013 Jeep Wrangler is truly a revelation. Featuring alloy construction, the 60-degree V6 is lighter and more compact than the previous 3.8-liter found in the 2011 Wrangler. And, with 285 horsepower, the perceived need for a V8 is all but eliminated. With that, we continue to wish that Jeep would make available the diesel sold in many markets outside of the U.S. The diesel's superior torque, along with an increase in fuel economy, would be all the new EPA regulations – and Jeep consumers – might ask for.
3.6 liter V6
285 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/21 mpg (Wrangler), 16/20 mpg (Wrangler Unlimited, automatic), 16/21 mpg (Wrangler Unlimited, manual)
By Drgold on Sunday, February 22, 2015
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Newer model
Pros: "All around a fun vehicle at a reasonable price."
Cons: "Wish that both the back seat could totally fold down."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Over the years, I have owned two Wranglers prior to this vehicle. These were stick shifts because of the lack of response in the automatics. With the 285HP engine and new auto transmission, response is not a problem. Blending into traffic on entering the expressway is no problem, acceleration is all that is needed to blend in efficiently. Structural integrity: I hit a deer doing 72 MPH ($4300 damage). When the officer arrived he said, "I didn't know these vehicles were so well built." I'm glad they are! I was able to drive the vehicle until it was repaired. Recently took a 5500 mile trip to the West coast and back. Comfort was totally acceptable and soft off roading completely satisfactory. Milage: 21.5 MPG, much more than I expected, but then a lot of open road driving. Even at 70MPH limit I never went over 65MPH. Also, 4WD in winter is great."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Penny on Tuesday, February 17, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "This thing will go anywhere"
Cons: "Access to rear is limited and awkward ."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The Rubicon option is the only way to go with a jeep. I call this thing My Goat, because this Jeep will handle more than the average driver will ever put it through. Extra stiff suspension with gas shocks, skid plates underneath, Dana 44 axles front & rear, extra heavy transmission, extra heavy transaxle, front & rear locking differentials, sway-bar disconnect, side rock rails, & more. I occasionally need a rugged 4-wheel drive vehicle & this Jeep is beyond expectation & comfortable to boot! The dealer has been first class all the way. The only drawback is that this vehicle is with limited comfort on highway drives ----drives more like a truck (which I kinda like)."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By GENA on Tuesday, February 17, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 91,645overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "IT CAN HOLD A LOT OF FOLKS COMFORTABLY & CAN TOW ,"
Cons: "THE FIRST 2 YEARS IT PERFORMRD GREAT....THEN IT NE"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I BOUGHT MY 2007 JEEP SAHARA..IN RENO FOR $38.000.00. IT HAS BEEN GREAT...NOW THAT MY CHILDREN ARE YOUNG ADULTS..THEY HAVE THEIR OWN CAR'S AND I FIND IT'S TOO BIG FOR JUST ME...SO IM LOOKING TO DOWN SIZE MY VEHICLE...WITH POSSIBLY A LIBERTY OR THE 2 DOOR MODEL..."
By FurryCrazer on Friday, February 06, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Goes anywhere and it holds a ton of stuff!"
Cons: "Back seat is a little tight on the 2 door"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've always wanted a blue jeep, and now I have the perfect one. The only thing...I should have gotten the automatic windows, but I can live without them :)"
12 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Rodrex on Thursday, February 05, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great vehicle for on or off-road use."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My first Wrangler, and I love it. True offroad fun and no problem driving for everyday use. Just got to find a way to keep it away from the wife."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Trapper on Sunday, February 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Only a legend in my mind"
Cons: "Expensive. Try Toyota"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"So sad to see the Jeep turn into a TIN CAN. The outer shell dents even when you wash it, and it is marked as a trail vehicle. My old 1998 Cherokee was more a Jeep than this recycled beer can. Oh, by the way, the dash rattles like plastic."
9 people out of 24 found this review helpful