Tuesday, January 21, 2020
News How we'd spec a 2019 Jeep Wrangler

How we’d spec a 2019 Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler has no real competition. No other SUV can hope to keep up with its numerous versions, configurations and degrees of capability. The Wrangler is and always will be unique.

2018 ushered in the latest generation of the Jeep Wrangler. The new JL is bar-none the most complete and well-rounded Wrangler of all time. Jeep identified the Wrangler’s potential and have done and incredible job conceiving this modern new version of this most utilitarian of trucks.

We love the new Wrangler as does countless other automotive media groups, both mega and small. We used to joke that we enjoyed a Jeep Wrangler one to two weeks at a time (typical length of press vehicle loan) because of its lack of refinement, dreadful drive, archaic ride, and so on and so forth. We are very likely to love it even more once we get our hands on a Gladiator.

To demonstrate how much of a 180-degree turn we’ve done, we caught ourselves configuring one for the fun of it. Before we share this with you, we find that there are two schools of thought when it comes to the Wrangler: a leisure vehicle alternative or a Jeep. We’re of the latter frame of mind.

2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon | Photo: Jeep

Engine

So far, we’ve only sampled the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine at the launch event. Coupled to the 8-speed automatic transmission, we were taken by its effortless power and abundant torque. It would be fantastic for the daily-commuter Wrangler.

For the time being, we’ve not seen or sampled the 3.0-litre turbocharged EcoDiesel V6 said to be coming this year. Despite its rated 442 lb.-ft. of torque and the fact that when we do get a taste of the oil-burner we’ll change our minds, we’d stick with the tried, test and true 3.6-litre V6 and its 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. The diesel will surely require a $3,000 to $5,000 premium which we’ll put into our Wrangler in the form of options and accessories.

The real debate is which transmission to select. We’re driving enthusiasts and nothing better represents this than three pedals and a shifter that needs to be manually rowed through six gears. Issue here is that the $1,595 8-speed autobox is responsive and will allow to beat the snot out of our Rubicon with certain ease.

2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon | Photo: Jeep

Version

So there you have it: We’d get a Rubicon. Quite honestly, we figure get a Jeep or go home. Before ticking the Rubicon box however we’d select the Unlimited without hesitation – bigger is better. The longer wheelbase will make the trips from one off-road adventure to the next that much more comfortable.

The Wrangler Unlimited Sahara could be enough, but we don’t want polished aluminium wheels on our Jeep. It’s simple really: No one who owns a Sahara refers to their Wrangler as a Sahara. Rubicon owners need only say the word…

The Rock-Trac two-speed transfer case with 4:1 low range along with the Tru-Lok front and rear axles with Dana M210 wide front and Dana M220 wide rear axles are worth the roughly $3,000 price increase. The off-road performance suspension does not punish on road and we want red tow hooks, no “ifs”, “ands” of “buts” about it.

2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon | Photo: Jeep

Color

We’d like to take a moment to thank FCA for being cool. Very few other OEMs (VW and that’s it essentially) permit their customers to express themselves better through colours – this is personalization.

As such, we are torn between Punk’n Metallic, Bikini Pearl, Hellayella and Mojito. Ocean Bleu is nice as well but Punk’n would be our $245 option.

2019 Jeep Wrangler Sahara | Photo: Jeep

Lease or Finance?

We’ve built our dream 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon a few times and the bottom line is that the final retail price can be shocking. Our spec’d Wrangler comes in at just under $60,000 before fees and taxes and we purposefully left a few options on the table in an attempt to be reasonable.

One of the many fantastic things about the Jeep Wrangler is that it is an ace at retaining its value. This means that there are no bad ways to get your hands on a Wrangler. You must know however that interest and demand for the Wrangler is especially high and Jeep is cashing in.

At the time of writing this piece, lease rates varied between 4% and 6% for a 36- to a 60-month loan. With these high rates and equally strong residual values, you’re not likely to make money as if you keep your mileage down, you’re still paying a high price.

Financing rates are a touch higher than lease rates for similar time periods. Over 60 months with nothing down, at 4,59%, the instalments are just shy of $1,300! And this excludes insurance to boot!

This tells us that dealers and FCA will attempt to entice you to lease if only because they want their truck back. The strong resale value in Canada and stronger still in the US make used Wranglers extremely valuable. What’s nuts is that, unless the online payment calculator is off on FCA’s website, lease payment are unaffected by the annual mileage allowance (18k or 24k). That demonstrates this truck’s value.

The problem with the Wrangler is that there’s only one Jeep Wrangler. There are no alternative, no competitors and in a situation like this, you gotta pay to play.

2019 Jeep Wrangler Images

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,400 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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