The Jeep The Wrangler has long established itself as one of the best rugged off-road vehicles money can buy. It’s one of the few modern vehicles you can still buy that has a rigid front axle, making it a fan favorite among rock crawling enthusiasts or just about anyone looking to tackle slow terrain obstacles.
While on the surface Wranglers are back-to-basics at their best, they come with a host of issues, some of which come straight from the factory. There’s no doubt that it’s a very purposeful vehicle, but unfortunately, simplicity doesn’t always mean ‘problem-free’.
So, that stiff front axle, it might be good for off-roading, especially navigating obstacles at low speed, but it’s hopeless at almost everything else.
It makes and breaks the vehicle at the same time, and is the main reason other dirt bikes have moved on. It makes the Jeep feel vague in every corner and will not inspire any confidence.
9/10 Electric Gremlins
Most of the electrical issues relate to the infotainment, at its core this is a back to basics vehicle and the infotainment is a bit of an afterthought, there solely to satisfy market demands.
If you’re really after something like this, it might be better to keep it as basic as possible and get it professionally upgraded later when you’ve identified what you just can’t live without. The Jeep system just doesn’t work well at all.
Again this circles back to the robust nature of the vehicle, everything is kept to a minimum and some of the plastics are chosen for their durability over feel and aesthetic value.
What’s unforgivable are the huge panel vents pretty much everywhere, and if you opt for the soft top, you might want to consider buying a raincoat to go with it.
7/10 Build quality
You can certainly forgive them for compromising fit and finish, but the overall build quality has proven a little suspect over time.
Welds on safety-critical components have forced recalls, something that just shouldn’t happen on a vehicle that actively promotes how much you can abuse it.
6/10 Defective clutch
For those excited about the introduction of a manual option, something of a rarity in the automotive world these days, their joy will quickly turn to frustration.
Wranglers have shown consistent problems with their clutches breaking, it’s a strange occurrence that should have had a quick and easy fix, but the problem has persisted and even though they’ve issued several recalls related to this it still seems like the actual problem has not been resolved.
5/10 Soft Top self-destructing
This is a problem that is directly related to build quality, as the locking mechanism is susceptible to failure. Coming loose on a trail or on a school run might not be that serious, but just think what will happen on the highway.
Unfortunately, quite a few people have had this rather terrifying experience, putting not only themselves in danger but also others on the road around them.
4/10 Fuel consumption
The latest hybrid and diesel powertrains will go a long way to overcoming this, but if you really want the gas version, you’d better have a fairly even bank account.
The suggested figure of 25 MPG is misleading because it will be in near-perfect conditions, so no matter how much freeway driving you do, your combined real-world mileage will be much closer to the dismal 17 MPG figure listed for city driving.
The Wrangler sets the benchmark for the worst noise, vibration and harshness in a modern vehicle, but the Wrangler is loud and proud of it.
Refined isn’t the word that comes to mind when you think of the Jeep, it’s about being rough and rugged. This is all well and good, but we think they may have gone a little overboard, it’s so “tough” that it actually becomes tiring to drive daily.
One of the biggest issues with the solid front axle is the total lack of feel on the road, camber can be adjusted and improved but it always feels like you’re driving a car from another era.
At best it feels vague, at worst it can be really disturbing. It’s an issue that’s simply part of the package, and you’ll have to learn to live with it if you want that extra off-road capability.
1/10 Death Wobble
Just hitting a bump at the wrong (or is it the right) speed can cause a violent and dangerous wheel wobble that also causes the steering wheel to shake from side to side rapidly, it can be so severe that you can even lose control of the vehicle.
Although suspension modifications can make the problem worse, it even happens to stock jeeps, there have been recalls but the problem persists.