The beloved Jeep Wrangler has been slipping against the upstart Ford Bronco for a little while now, despite the fact that the Wrangler XE was the best-selling plug-in hybrid last year. Stellantis hopes all that will change with the refreshed 2024 Wrangler (still the JL-generation) that gets important updates, interior upgrades, and two new models in the form of the premium Rubicon X and a cheaper XE.
Perhaps almost as important as the off-road and efficiency changes is a long-awaited infotainment screen upgrade that gives the interior a boost in terms of looks and usability. Overall, the changes are significant, and those who were looking to buy a Bronco (with all of its price hikes) might want to go back to the tried and true. We take a closer look at the Wrangler that's even more competitive than ever before.
Changes to the Rubicon
Jeep has killed the short-lived EcoDiesel V6 powertrain that just didn't sell especially well. For 2024, the gas-only Wrangler can be outfitted with a Pentastar V6, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. or the big 6.2-liter 392 Hemi V8. Sadly, only the V6 can be had with a six-speed manual transmission, and the other two get the eight-speed automatic. The Rubicon trims get a full-float Dana 44 rear axle design used in heavy-duty trucks, which means Rubicons can now tow 1,500 pounds more for a max of 5,000 pounds.
The Rubicon can also now accept options for upgraded wheels and tires without using adapter kits. Also optional now is an 8,000-pound Warn winch at the factory. Wooh. The new model, the Rubicon X is the top dog with standard 35-inch tires, steel bumpers, and an integrated off-road camera. The non-Rubicon Willys trim also gets upgraded thanks to these changes and boasts additional ground clearance, taller fenders, a rear locker, and 33-inch All-Terrain tires for better grip in the rough stuff.
When it comes to holding its own against the Bronco, the Rubicon X and all of its upgrades makes it even more capable than even the incredibly rugged Rubicon. As a result, it should be able to go tire-to-tire with the 2023 Ford Bronco Wildtrak. Both vehicles showcase tremendous componentry, and hopefully the Rubicon X will help the Wrangler gain some ground back from Bronco sales.
Changes to the 4xe PHEV
America's best-selling plug-in hybrid, the Wrangler 4xe, gets a lower-priced trim known as the Sport S 4xe, which costs thousands less than its previous entry-level 4xe. This trim gets a new "Power Box" tailgate that's operated off the vehicle's plug-in hybrid battery. There are a total of four 120-volt outlets with a total output of 3.6 kilowatts at 30 amps that can be used for indoor (battery) or outdoor (batttery and gas) applications. In indoor mode, the Power Box shuts off automatically when the battery is spent, while the outdoor mode allows the gas engine to start up when the battery is out of juice.
There's also a Rubicon X 4xe, which means you can have your cake and eat it, too. Not so ironically, the charging port is right above the "Trail Rated" badge, which shows the contrast between legendary Wrangler ruggedness and the newfound efficiency. For those who don't want to spend more on gas but still want to do serious off-roading, the Rubicon X 4xe is the way to go.
Changes to the Interior
When Jeep redid their interior for the JL, it was significantly better than the JK but not tranformative. The refreshed interior helps make things current. The old dash is scrapped in order to make room for a big 12.3-inch widescreen infotainment setup that operates the latest version of Uconnect 5, and there's even standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Jeep's new Trails Offroad app is also built-in and provides maps of 62 trails for your off-roading delight. Pay for the subscription service, and you can unlock over 3,000 trails, a boon for those who want to maximize the Wrangler's capabilities.
The updated cabin also gets new soft-touch fabrics with contrast stitching around the instrument panel, and side airbags are now standard equipment. New options include twelve-way adjustable power seats and an accessory mounting system on the dashboard for applications like a CB radio, accessory lighting, etc. Aside from that, the interior pretty much remains the same utilitarian cabin that the JL has had for the past few years. In terms of safety, the Wrangler receives Forward-Collision Warning and Adaptive Cruise Control as standard equipment on the Sport S trim and above. Blind-Spot Monitoring and ParkingAssist are now available on all trims except the lowest-tiered Sport.
There's no word on pricing yet, but we expect it to start a little bit above the 2023 Wrangler's $30,295 base MSRP.