Why the 2023 Jeep Wrangler is the best diesel SUV money can buy

While there’s no questioning the Jeep Wrangler’s prowess over all these decades, two aspects of the SUV have always been lacking – fuel economy and higher-rpm performance. The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four and 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V6 gas engines were (and still are) just about adequate when it comes to offering crackling performance or being easy on the pocket. In all cases, Jeep stood out for some brownie points with the capable 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine, the first-ever factory-fitted diesel engine in the Jeep Wrangler JL range, the fourth-generation iteration of the SUV.

With the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine, Jeep has ‘killed two birds with one stone’. While it’s the most fuel-efficient diesel engine a Wrangler has ever received, it’s also superior in performance to the 2.0-liter turbo and 3.6-liter V6 gas engines, if not more than the monstrous 6.4-liter The Hemi V8 in the Rubicon 392. And along with the amazing mechanical hardware under the skin of the Jeep Wrangler, it makes up for a perfect combination that easy diesel SUV money can buy. While this is easily one of the best engines to go under the hood of the Wrangler, here are a few more reasons that make the Jeep Wrangler a worthy diesel-powered SUV to place your bet on.

Related: How the updated 2023 Jeep Wrangler stacks up against the Ford Bronco

A brief look at the Jeep Wrangler’s amazing eco-diesel engine

Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel parked on the rocks
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In North America, the Jeep Wrangler range is offered with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine in all trims of the four-door Unlimited since 2020. This is an exception to the top-spec Rubicon 392. With an 8-speed automatic transmission as the standard transmission, this engine produces 260 hp maximum power and 442 lb-ft of maximum torque.

While the Wrangler was the first Jeep model to get the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel, it has a lot of history in the FCA family. The engine debuted in the RAM 1500 pickup in 2014 in a slightly different version. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel found in the Jeep Wrangler is the third-generation version of this engine, which is also made available in the Jeep Gladiator pickup. The assembly of this engine takes place at the FCA Cento factory in Italy.

The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel from the Jeep Wrangler offers plenty of torque

Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel front three quarters
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The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four and 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V6 gas engines in the Jeep Wrangler offer decent refinement and NVH results. But both these engines lacked performance at the initial rev range. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine solves that problem quite effectively.

In the Jeep Wrangler’s entire IC engine lineup, the EcoDiesel is second only to the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 in terms of torque. Compared to the 260 lb-ft of torque on the 3.6-liter V6 and 295 lb-ft on the 2.0-liter inline-four, the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel offers 443 lb-ft of torque. This torque comes at a lower rpm than the other two engines.

Not only this, but the 443 lb-ft of torque of this 3.0-liter EcoDiesel is also higher than most other SUVs in its segment, especially the go-anywhere ones. Combine this high torque with the amazing all-wheel drive system of the Wrangler, and you have a perfect power source to get out of the obstacles with flying colors.

The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel from the Jeep Wrangler isn’t a big drinker

Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel front three quarters
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Until the arrival of the fourth-generation Wrangler, the 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V6 gas engine was the sole power source for the SUV, which was notorious for its notorious fuel efficiency numbers. Although the engine was tuned to give better fuel efficiency figures, it was still far from being called “efficient”. But the arrival of the 3.0-litre EcoDiesel in the Wrangler range showed that an all-wheel-drive SUV could also be fuel-efficient.

The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel returns a maximum fuel economy of 29 mpg, significantly higher than the 22 mpg fuel efficiency offered by the 2.0-liter inline-four and 3.6-liter V6 gas engines. Even when you consider other SUVs of a similar size and price, the diesel-powered Jeep Wrangler remains the most fuel-efficient SUV in its class, proving that not every SUV is a big spender.

Related: If You Thought the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Was Too Soft: Introducing the Verox 500

How the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel from the Jeep Wrangler achieves its excellence

Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel three-quarter rear
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While the world is moving away from diesels, the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel provides a solid reason not to give up on diesels altogether. This diesel engine manufactured by FCA uses a water-cooled VGT turbocharging system and low-friction bearings, which are essential for achieving higher fuel efficiency. Other bits that help the Wrangler diesel claim noticeable fuel efficiency are the dual vacuum pump system, dual loop EGR system and a two-piece oil sump.

And that’s not all. The 3.0-litre EcoDiesel also gets modified cylinder head intake ports for greater flow capacity and swirl, and redesigned pistons with thinner rings and low-friction carbon coating on the pins for less power loss, improving performance.

While the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 remains the call of the heart with its 6.4-liter Hemi V8, it’s the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel found in the Unlimited versions of the Wrangler that strikes a perfect balance between both performance and economy. Prices for the diesel Wrangler start from just over $40,000, and are great value when you consider the competition and what they have to offer. Along with its remarkable off-road capability, the Wrangler Diesel is easily one of the best diesel SUVs you can buy today.

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