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 futureBMWowner on Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "jeep wave"
Cons: "all above"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"When i bought this sahara jeep with almost everything in it, i thought it would be a dream. I was expecting something more comfortable. -The chair does not have enough adjustments -Wheel horse power is 189, not 285 -suspension is not as good as i expected -It drives okay... decent car -the opposite of a sports car -hard top hard to take off by yourself -dings easily -rust spot forming on door the worst part is, when i rolled it off the lot (literally), the center console lifting tab broke off. not impressed with jeep. in the city i get 13mpg. off roading isnt as fun as in a truck. feels fake and plasticy. i cant wait until i find time to trade it in for a sedan again. i came from a 2008 volvo s40 manual to a 2013 jeep wrangler sahara.... aaaandd il be going back to either a volvo or bmw very shortly."
By Mm on Monday, January 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Nothing but problems since brand new about 5000 miles since i start having problems , after 4 trips to the dealer still have the same problem and more noises on the front and from the 25000 miles noises when u shift into first gear , is sad when u buy a new car and you drive in city and sounds like a 15 year old car, all jeep does is give you the runs around , all they tell me bring in the jeep to see whats the problem but the truck been there 4 times for the front noises and 3 times for the rear noises . Corporate tell me is to bring to the dealer whom many times u have to take u carin to get fix so i thing jeep corporate doesent care about the customers only care about to sell the trucks , and let me tell People about this só. U go to the dealer só many times about. The something over and over again and spend Ur time át. The. Dealers for fun because u have to. Go Back sit ther for hours"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By J.M. on Saturday, January 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "It's a Jeep, what else is there to say?"
Cons: "I haven't done all my upgrades yet."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"You don't buy a Wrangler if you want a quiet luxury type car. It's boxy, doesn't get the greatest of gas mileage, and rides rough. But that's exactly why you buy it. It's a fun car to drive. It's a Jeep, you either "get it" or you don't, in which case I hear Toy-o-ta makes a very boring car one might enjoy. Compared to my '91 Wrangler this is a luxury car. Like Jeeps of old, this one is easy to work on. Easy to get to the engine bay for fluid changes etc. Like any other car, take care of it and it should be fine."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By kjones808 on Thursday, January 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"First start by saying my last two vehicles were Nissan Frontiers, which I loved. BUT, it was time for something new. I've always been intrigued by the wrangler but was skeptical of chrysler products. If I was going to get an SUV it had to be unique so the Wrangler Unlimited Sport fit that perfect. Pros: short wheel base and pretty agile, engine and transmission feel great, very versatile, looks cool, capable off road, has the features I need. cons: They are expensive! had to get seals replaced after 2 weeks for. drivers side leaking, but they were dilgent and fixed it. solid axle makes it a bit swirly, but not bad (vehicle isnt meant for freeway anyway. Summary: This just a fun vehicle to drive! ...I highly recommend the alpine stereo upgrade, as the factory sounds horrible! Head unit is a poor design as the button for BT and USB are the same, so if you synce you rphone, but plug in an Ipod, you cant have both, so you have to either use aux plug, or stream music via bluetooth. If you have a dog i suggest getting the "dirty dog - trench covers"...when the seats are flat in back there is a huge trench that could be a hazard."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By PE 5000 on Tuesday, January 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 113,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great 4x4 for snow and good gas mileage."
Cons: "Not much storage space."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I drive a lot of rugged backroads on a daily basis and winters in Michigan are long, cold and snowy. The Wrangler has never failed me yet and it has 113,000 miles. The manual transmission is the best one to drive."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Chaz on Sunday, January 18, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "goes anywhere, fun to drive and cost to own is low"
Cons: "Would not recommend to people who text and drive."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This vehicle is a blast to drive, especially if you enjoy a stick shift. Very quick steering. Don't take your eyes off the road or you will be off the road. Can't wait to get this one paid off so I can upgrade to a Rubicon."
3 people out of 8 found this review helpful