What\u2019s It Like to Live With a 2019 Jeep Wrangler? We\u2019re About to Find Out06/25/2019
Never has ordering a new long-termer been more difficult than it was with our new 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. The process is supposed to be pretty simple, especially if the car is a recent award winner like the Wrangler—our 2019 SUV of the Year. In these cases, soon after the award has been announced, we’ll place an order for a long-termer in a feature-rich spec with the latest technologies so we can act as the canary in the coal mine, so to speak, for our readers. However, ordering a Wrangler isn’t as simple as deciding which new features to get.
The first argument started innocently enough, with associate road test editor Erick Ayapana, who’s responsible for managing all of MotorTrend‘s test cars, asking what trim levels we wanted: Sport, Sport S, Sahara, Rubicon, or the Moab special edition. It quickly devolved from there. Some argued for a bare-bones two-door Wrangler Sport. Others wanted a well-optioned Wrangler Rubicon soft top. Some pushed for a Wrangler Unlimited Sahara with the new power roof. Smart people, such as myself, fought in favor of a Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.
Eventually, we compromised on a four-door Wrangler Unlimited equipped with the new mild hybrid eTorque 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, which makes 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and its eight-speed automatic transmission. We let our social media followers decide the trim level. You guys picked the Rubicon. Thanks for making the right choice.
The choice of top, however, was given to its chaperone, and through timing and luck, I scored the keys to our new Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, optioned with the new, easily removable hardtop.
I have to admit, I’m more than a little pleased that I get to be our new Wrangler’s chaperone. After spending a year with the 2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon, I’m quite happy you guys voted for the Wrangler Rubicon. We don’t need to spend a year with it to say it’s among the best factory off-roaders in the world, and given my penchant for exploring our country’s great outdoors, it’s right up my alley.
So many of the features we love on the new Wrangler are on the base model. The doors come off easier, the roof is simpler to operate or remove, the windshield folds down, and it has four-wheel drive and a well-finished interior.
Truthfully, there wasn’t much to add, as the Unlimited Rubicon’s standard feature list is a long one. Functional features include unique bumpers and fender flares, 33-inch off-road tires, heavy-duty Dana 44 axles, locking front and rear differentials, an electronically disconnecting anti-roll bar, unique suspension components, body armor, and much more. It also gets a standard Apple CarPlay-friendly 7.0-inch touchscreen, a digital display on the instrument cluster, and automatic A/C, among other things.
Nevertheless, we went a bit nuts with the configurator. Aside from the black Freedom Top hardtop ($1,195) and eTorque engine and eight-speed auto (effectively $3,000, as you can’t get the four-cylinder with the standard six-speed manual), we loaded our Wrangler up with leather upholstery ($1,495), the trailer towing package ($795), LED lighting ($995), an upgraded 8.4-inch infotainment screen with a premium nine-speaker Alpine audio system ($1,595), blind-spot monitors with rear parking sensors ($895), adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning ($795), steel winch-capable front and rear bumpers ($1,295), hardtop headliners ($525), body-color fender flares ($495), and remote start ($495). We ended up tacking an eye-watering $14,070 onto our Jeep’s $43,040 starting price, for a total of $57,110.
With so many features new to the Wrangler lineup this year, I’m excited to see if our 2019 Wrangler Rubicon can prove itself more than a weekend expedition toy.
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