Every few years, Jeep makes its iconic Wrangler off-roader a little more modern with a new design that inevitably annoys as many people as it entices. Last year’s redesign was a doozy by Wrangler standards, too, with the introduction of options like a mild hybrid drivetrain and a full-time four-wheel drive system that requires no driver intervention to engage.
By contrast, updates for the 2019 model are tame: the optional advanced safety package now includes adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning, and there’s a new turquoise-y paint colour called Bikini.
The Wrangler’s standard drivetrain remains a 3.6L V6 (285 hp/260 lb-ft of torque) that comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission or an optional eight-speed automatic. The underhood option is a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with electric assist that makes 270 hp and 295 lb-ft and comes standard with the eight-speed automatic.
Jeep probably didn’t have to modernize the Wrangler; after all, it faces nearly no competition even at its decidely-not-cheap $34,000 starting point, and especially in the base model’s two-door form: the four-door Unlimted (covered in a separate buyer’s guide entry) lines up more directly with mid-size pickups like the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon and Toyota Tacoma, particularly when they’re dressed up in off-road optimized packages. That said, there could soon be a new, more formidable challenger if Ford opts to bring the Ranger Raptor to Canada as part of its new mid-size truck lineup.
Wrangler trims include Sport, Sport S and Rubicon.
Standard feature highlights include cloth front seats with eight-way manual driver adjustments, Uconnect infotainment system with 5.0-inch display and an eight-speaker stereo, fog lights, 17-inch steel wheels and push-button engine start.
Sport S adds keyless entry, heated and power-adjustable side mirrors, leather-trimmed steering wheel and power windows.
Rubicon trim brings upgraded shocks, side steps, automatic air conditioning, satellite radio, ambient interior lighting and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
When we put together this buyer’s guide, Jeep had yet to publish 2019 fuel consumption estimates for the Wrangler, but they should be similar to, if not the same as, those for the 2018 model: Four-cylinder models are rated 10.5/9.4 L/100 km (city/highway), while estimates for six-cylinder models with the automatic transmission estimates are 12.8/10.4 and 13.7/9.6 with the stickshift.