If you know Jeep Wrangler, then you know. You already know that it’s a fun vehicle, a chick magnet, a capable off road vehicle, a defiant snub at the comfy crossover SUVs of today, and a gas guzzler.
You also know that that’s part of the appeal. Drive down any road in America and when you pass a fellow Jeep Wrangler driver, you give them the wave. It’s not in any owner’s manual. It’s just part of the secret society of Jeep owners and the only criteria for admission is driving a Jeep.
I almost forgot that as I spent a week in the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4×4 EcoDiesel. (Yeah, I know. Say THAT three times fast). I was too bust focusing on adjusting to this hulk of a machine on my suburban streets.
After a few days, I felt in command and I was definitely scanning the roads for my fellow Wrangler brethren.
But here’s the truth. I loved Jeep Wranglers back in the CJ days. My best friend in 10th grade drove a rugged, green, two door, stripped down stick shift Wrangler. And it made two teenage girls feel awesome.
Flash forward a few decades to my husband’s purchase of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. Four door, hard top, fully loaded and I was not a fan. It was big and rough and not terribly comfortable to drive, not to mention a bit of a challenge for the vertically challenged.
My week in the 2020 Jeep Wrangler changed all that because I got to know it on a personal level and it checked most of the boxes for me.
Where to take the Jeep Wrangler
Here’s the thing about a super capable vehicle like the Jeep Wrangler. You can take it just about anywhere. This is a Trail Rated vehicle which means that it’s exceeded in tests in five categories: Traction, Water Fording, Maneuverability, Articulation and Ground Clearance.
But it also means that you can still drive confidently on the highway as well (more below about what the Turbo Diesel engine offers). I didn’t go offroading but I did feel compelled to explore the outdoors a bit more.
I dragged my husband (he actually came willingly for once) and we hit the trails to explore the base of Liberty Dam, the architectural marvel that has created the Liberty Reservoir provided drinking water to the area.
Jeep Wrangler as a Family Car
You’ve probably learned nothing new yet if you already know about Jeep Wrangler. But I’m often asked for advice on family cars and I’m here to tell you that this is a totally acceptable family car.
From the driver’s seat, you’ll find a very upright cockpit – the dashboard and the windshield are near vertical. The visibility is surprisingly good but it’s not the best design for aerodynamics. Jeep is notoriously not great at gas mileage (more on that below).
You’ll also find all the creature comforts including leather trim throughout (part of the Sahara trim), 8.4 inch display (part of the Customer Preferred package which gives you an upgrade from the 7″ display), Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and connectivity.
In fact, this Jeep Wrangler was outfitted with quite a few packages including the Customer Preferred Package, Safety Group, Advanced Safety Group, and other upgrades like 8-speed automatic transmission (manual is standard), Dual-Top Group (giving you a managing hard top), and Turbo Diesel Engine.
In other words, this vehicle is designed for the no-nonsense driver who wants to connect with the open road but can easily be configured to a comfortable, modern, safe driving machine.
When it comes to passenger space, you’ll find that the back seat is spacious and well equipped for three passengers (two, if they care about cupholders). And connectivity is included in the form of USB ports and an electrical outlet.
The cargo space has to be my favorite though. I know they don’t necessarily design the Jeep Wrangler with the Costco-shopping mom in mind but the tailgate is simultaneously a throwback to old design while giving you practical access to the back.
The tailgate swings open like a door allowing you to place items just inside or you can lift up the glass as well for full cargo access. The only downside is that you wouldn’t want to park with your rear too close to another car or you might not be able to swing it open.
Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel as a Commuter Car
Looks good, right? And you’ve always wanted a Jeep. Or you’re still holding a grudge because your significant other made you get rid of yours (and you’ve been questioning your decision to marry him/her ever since).
But it’s just practical for you. Sure, it could fit the kids and the dog but it’s such a gas guzzler. Except… you have options.
This Jeep Wrangler had to $4000 engine option for the 3.0L V6 Turbo Diesel Engine (EcoDiesel). And that was the real appeal for me.
Let’s take a quick look at the specs for a standard 2.0L Turbo Engine and the 3.0L V6 Turbo Diesel Engine.
The numbers may not mean a whole lot to you but the driving experience will. While the horsepower doesn’t have an appreciable difference, the torque is EVERYTHING. That get up and go? Torque. The responsiveness? Torque. Fun to drive? TORQUE.
On top of that you’ll see that the fuel economy is a it better for city driving but significantly better on highway driving, as is typically the case for diesel engines. But unlike diesel engines of the past, the EcoDiesel is cleaner and quieter.
If you’ve got a highway commute and can’t see owning a gas guzzler, the Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel engine might make it more palatable.
What You Need to Know about the Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel
It’s a big vehicle. It takes some getting used to. And if you’re a short lady like me, you will need those sideboards to get in and out.
There’s a learning curve. Everything is in a different place than you’re used to. The speakers and cabin lights are overhead. The window switches are on the center console. There are not cupholders on the doors.
These are adjustments that are made being the Jeep Wrangler is an adaptable vehicle. If you’re doing it right, you’ll have the doors and roof removed a least a couple of months out of the year.
And finally, it ain’t cheap. The base price for the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara was $38,645. With the additional packages and groups, including the $4000 diesel engine upgrade, the MSRP on this Hellayella jeep was $55,125.
However, I can share from personal experience that Jeep Wranglers hold their value. We owned ours for several years and sold it for as much as we paid for it.
Have any further questions about the Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel? Hopefully I’ll explain them in my video review below. If not, leave me a comment!
Video Review of Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel
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