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)
Jeep's Wrangler for 2013 continues to be the most democratic of off-road SUV choices, with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $23,000. The Wrangler Unlimited is some $3,500 more expensive, and an upscale Sahara or Rubicon can easily approach – or exceed – $40,000. To the Wrangler's credit, it enjoys historically high resale value, with three-year-old examples projected to return almost 60 percent of their original window sticker. Should you consider a Wrangler for aggressive off-roading, a fully-loaded top-of-the-line Rubicon, even with a window sticker around $40,000, is an absolute steal when comparing its investment to that of upgrading a lesser Wrangler through the 4WD aftermarket. To make your best deal, be sure to check our Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area typically pay for the Jeep Wrangler.
By ktmk36 on Sunday, June 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 770overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "LOOKS, LOOKS & LOOKS...style, comfort, horsepower"
Cons: "Mercenary gets poor gas mileage because of lift"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I purchased a 2013 Jeep Wrangler after trading UP from my 2012 Jeep Wrangler! Trade up you ask? Here in Kansas City there is a Jeep dealer that upgrades the Wrangler's with the "permission" of Jeep and calls them MERCENARY...with the dealer doing it, it keeps the factory warranty in place! I have uploaded a pic for you to see all the stuff it has on it. 4" lift, 35" tires, power running boards, roof rack and basket, H.I.D each lichts and front lights, LED headlights, tail lights and blinkers...new aggressive from bumper and rear bumper with 10,000lbs winch, new tailgate tire carrier that also holds 2 gas cans and other numerous items added to this bad boy! My 2012 was also a Mercenary and I rode her hard and put her up wet, 66 miles in 2 years...I saw this one on the lot and traded in my OLD Mercenary and got a GREAT trade in price with all the stuff I had on it! My wife has a 2010 Wrangler Mountain edition, which is nice, but lacks the power and finness that the 2012 & 2013 have. The extra 85 horsepower is a Godsend...if you can afford it, check out the Jeep Mercenary...they are real head turners!"
17 people out of 36 found this review helpful
By German on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun! High resale value. Simple. Excellent 4x4."
Cons: "Poor safety ratings. Fuel economy. Sound system."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my 2nd Wrangler, my first JK and I love it. It's a Jeep thing - it's similar to buying a Harley Davidson. Jeep is more a way of life than a practical, economical vehicle. Topless, doorless, folding windshield and all of this FUN with a proven go-anywhere 4x4 capability. They hold their value better than any car I've owned. Easy to sell at a premium price - especially if you take care of it. Spring time brings out the Jeep in everybody and you're guaranteed to have buyers coming out of the woods. All Wranglers currently have the same 285 hp motor, and transmission/transfer case. The only difference is the gearing ratios in the axle and transfer case. Mine has the 3.21 gears and I wish I'd spent a little more for the 3.73 gears. Rubicons (which are way over-priced) have the 4.10 gears and locking differentials which are nice, but definitely not necessary. Shop around for the newest and cheapest Sport model. You'll save thou$and$. Remember, Jeep stands for Just Empty Every Pocket...you'll enjoy customizing your American legend. Keep the rubber side down."
9 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Cindy on Tuesday, June 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 138,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I would recommend this vehicle for anyone that lives in areas of lots of snow fall, also great on the highway as well. I would rate this as the top vehicle to drive with 4 wheel drive, sits up high, very easy to maneuver! I have owned SUV's and cars and really this is the best in weather conditions of all types. Night driving is also good, except with heavy rains which most vehicles are hard to drive in those conditions."
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Josie on Saturday, June 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 169,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "expensive parts, uncomfortable & transmission prob"
Cons: "Great AC, awesome in snow and mud, looks pretty."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"My transmission went out at 119,000 miles. I had the dealership put a rebuilt transmission in and it had selenoid problems less than 30,000 miles later and again 25,000 miles later. I had a lot of issues with the steering wheel and after paying to get it fixed 3 times, a recall came out for the clock-spring to be replaced in the steering wheel. i asked for a refund and got it. Also the inner fender liners were recalled. The seats are not very comfortable.The door harness which has wires in it, broke on both front doors, when the wind caught them. I love my Jeep, but don't know if I want to deal with all these issues again."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By radsrock on Tuesday, June 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive,big bang for the buck"
Cons: "Gas milage about 16mpg. mostly city driving"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Ive owned my jeep for two years now. Whenever I park it and walk away I still look back to this day. Thats when you know you really like your jeep. 3.8 motor is powerful enough for me. New interior with soft touch leather is amazing.Jeep has come a long way."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By KM on Tuesday, June 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, economical, beautiful, rugged. Has character."
Cons: "Back seat hard to get in/out. Interior light poor."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My Wrangler Sahara is fun and economical compared to the Wrangler Unlimited. Love everything about it but the back seat could be easier to enter and exit. Also, zipping back plastic window back in a little difficult. Overall, such a great car!"
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful