Pure off-road machines like the Jeep Wrangler tend to evolve on geological timescales, which is appropriate since the Wrangler is built to excel when driven over actual geology. It’s a “solid axle, meets solid rock,” kind of thing. So it’s no surprise that the mid-cycle refresh applied to the 2024 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangle 4xe hasn’t changed the landscape much. In fact, we will be surprised if you can see a change from 10 steps. But the change is there, and while it’s subtle, it’s still significant and for a variety of reasons.
Resize the slot
It starts at the front, where the vertical dimensions of the slots in the grille have been shortened, with a thicker body-coloured paint rim now outlining the trademark seven-slot arrangement. By itself, this tweak will reduce airflow to the radiator, which must support a powertrain that includes a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, a Rubicon 392 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, and a largely carryover 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. To compensate, the previously painted ridges between the slots have been opened so they can receive more cooling air.
This change is not made for the purpose of facelift alone. Instead, it’s the result of the new factory-installed Warn wink functionality now available—a first for the Wrangler. Although the lower profile has been adapted to fit the Wrangler, it will protrude into the old grille’s airflow. Warn and Jeep also collaborated on minor changes required to pass Jeep’s internal performance and environmental durability standards, including reformulation of the winch’s internal grease. For its part, Jeep made modifications to the front bumper support structure. The result: a fully crash-tested, factory-installed 8000-pound Warning winch that you can add to any steel-bumper-equipped Rubicon model by checking the $1995 box on the order sheet.
While the grille ensures the standard 3.6-liter V-6’s cooling system can handle the increased tow rating of 5000 pounds, the updates that enable the 1500-pound increase are hidden elsewhere. The Rubicon’s rear axle now uses a full-floating design instead of a semi-floating one. Instead of being a single piece, the rear axle shaft now “floats” separately from the wheel hub. There are no significant changes to the Rubicon’s ride or off-road performance, but these changes improve the camber stiffness, overall durability and trackability of the rear axle. In addition to allowing for a higher tow rating, the Rubicon’s standard “full float” also reduces reliability hazards associated with fitting larger aftermarket tires.
Willys is growing
One of the more noticeable changes is related to the Willys package, which is now much more capable (not to mention expensive) than before because it has been upgraded with 33-inch Rubicon-spec BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires, rock rails. , and a standard electronic locking rear differential. The Rubicon’s wide-stance axles and high-riding fenders come with these changes, making for a combination that looks tougher and performs better than ever. But that stiffer, taller stance also brings both better ground clearance and approach/takeoff/breakaway angles. Costing about $6000 less than the Rubicon, the Willys went from a budget appearance package to an attractive off-road option available as a two-door with a stick shift all the way up to a four-door 4xe model.
New standard touchscreen
Climb into any 2024 Wrangler to see its most obvious update: the 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It integrates well into the modestly restyled dash, which includes a horizontally arranged central air-conditioning vent below the screen that merges into a re-contoured passenger grab bar. The best part: A mondo screen is standard across the board, from the lowest $33,690 two-door Sport up to the $89,390 (!) Rubicon 392. Built-in navigation isn’t available until you get to the Sahara model, but wireless phone mirroring and the app-based navigation it enables come on all trims. The factory navigation system does have other advantages, including built-in Badge of Honor trail guidance and implementation of the Trails Offroad trail library app that operates from cached data in places without cellular service.
We were skeptical of the big screen at first because the Wrangler is, at its core, a convertible. But the display is robustly backlit, so it’s easy to read with the top and doors off while the sun pours over our shoulders. If anything, the transition from shade in the underpass to full sunlight makes it even more impressive. There’s also a finger rest that sticks out at the top and along the edge of the passenger side, making it easy to rest your hands while you make your selections—a boon in uneven terrain.
A mix of visible and hidden changes make the new Wrangler quieter than ever. The weird external wire antenna that used to whistle at speed and wobble when driven through brush is history, eventually replaced by an in-glass windshield antenna. Meanwhile, the Premium Cabin package provided free of charge on the High Altitude, Rubicon X and Rubicon 392 models includes a windshield surround stuffed with additional insulation, as well as a front side window made of double-pane laminated glass. The benefits of the new antenna setup are obvious, but it will take our sound meters and test track to measure the other benefits.
Also inside, re-engineered front seats with 12-way power adjustment—which didn’t exist before because the controls must operate and survive when underwater, as they can be at full crossing depth with the doors off—are available on the Sahara and to above. Other internal changes are less obvious but potentially more significant. The side curtain rollover airbags have now been incorporated into a slim cover that hides the rollover structure. They have an unintended side benefit: their slightly oval shape makes it easier to grip the roll structure to lift yourself aboard.
PHEV for you and me
Additionally, another notable change is the expanded availability of the 4xe plug-in-hybrid powertrain. Despite its 22-mile electric range and impressive non-gasoline fuel economy, the Wrangler 4xe is the best-selling PHEV in the United States. The 4xe powertrain is also the most popular option in the current Wrangler lineup, representing 38 percent of sales in the first quarter of 2023. That situation looks set to accelerate, as the 2024 4xe lineup now includes the entry-level Sport S model at $51,790, with Willys, Rubicon and Rubicon The off-road-focused X starts at $56,530, $62,380 and $70,880, respectively. . Meanwhile, on the more civilized side, the 4xe Sahara costs $58,640, while the loaded-the-gunwales High Altitude 4xe costs $68,790.
Over ragged sand, our tired four-door 4xe Willys 33-inch (also the Unlimited name has been quietly discontinued at the end of 2022) proved the worth of this quiet, torquey powertrain as we quietly drove it for millions of million years of the work of nature. . The skid plate protecting the sliding battery pack was touched once or twice, but the gas-guzzling four-door Rubicon may have done the same since the two models’ ground clearance and breakover specifications are nearly identical. The 2024 update includes many welcome convenience, comfort and safety enhancements, but the all-important off-road experience hasn’t suffered one bit. In fact, things were much better than where we were sitting, in the significantly improved Willys available as gas-fed models or with the popular 4xe powertrain.
Jeep Wrangler 2024
Vehicle Type: front engine, rear/4 wheel drive, 2 or 5 passenger, 2 or 4 door convertible
Base: Sport/Sport S/Willys 2-door, $33,690; Sport/Sport S/Willys 4-door, $37,690; Rubicon/Rubicon X 2-door, $47,190; Sahara 4-door, $49,620; Rubicon/Rubicon X 4-door, $51,190; S Sport 4xe, $51,790; Willys 4xe, $56,530; Sahara 4xe, $58,640; Rubicon/Rubicon X 4xe, $62,380; 4xe High Altitude, $68,790; Rubicon 392, $89,390
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 270 hp, 295 lb-ft; DOHC 24-valve 3.6-liter V-6, 285 hp, 260 lb-ft; turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 270 hp, 295 lb-ft + AC motor, 134 hp, 181 lb-ft (combined output: 375 hp, 470 lb-ft; lithium-ion 14.0-kWh battery pack (C/D est); 7.2-kW onboard charger); pushrod 16-valve 6.4-liter V-8, 470 hp, 470 lb-ft
6-speed manual, 8-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 96.8–118.4 in
Length: 166.8–192.5 in
Width: 73.9–79.3 in
Height: 73.6–75.5 in
Passenger Volume, F/R: 54–57/45–52 ft3
Cargo Volume, Behind F/R: 67–72/28–32 ft3
Curb weight (C/D estimate): 4050–5300 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 4.0–7.5 seconds
1/4-Mile: 12.5–15.5 seconds
Top Speed: 97–112 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/City/Highway: 14–21/13–20/16–21 mpg
4xe Combined Petrol + Electric: 49 MPGe
EV 4xe range: 22 mi
Dan Seriesmotor was born into the world of automobiles, but not in the way you might think. His father was a retired racing driver who opened Autoresearch, a race car build shop, where Dan cut his teeth as a metal fabricator. Engineering school followed, then SCCA Showroom Stock racing, and that combination landed him suspension development jobs at two different automakers. His writing career began when he was invited by Seriesmotor.com (no relation) to build a testing department.