2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Long-Term Test Verdict: Not the Year We Expected

2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Long-Term Test Verdict: Not the Year We Expected

The departure of our long-range 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon just a few weeks ago has been bittersweet. A lot has changed in my life – all of our lives, in fact – since the red and black four-door Wrangler arrived at MotorTrendoffices in July 2019. Like the long-term Ram Power Wagon before it, I had big plans for our Wrangler; As well as driving and living with it everyday, I was going to take our Wrangler on epic, Jeep-friendly land expeditions across the American Southwest, with my wife and our two dogs, Brooklyn and Rex, in tow.

For many reasons, this did not happen. An endless stream of test vehicles (the very definition of a First World problem, I know) from summer to fall has delayed plans to explore Death Valley, or Moab, as well as to tackle the Rubicon Trail. In December, life seemed to slow down slightly. Until one day, after hopping out of the Jeep she loved to bark at, we noticed Brooklyn was slightly dragging one of its hind legs. The Jeep rides she loved so much became less and less fun as they took her from vet to vet and soon after, from hospital to hospital. Cancer, they said. By Christmas, she had passed away.


I think it was Woody Allen who said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” With a 65-pound black lab / blue heel-sized grip in our hearts, the Jeep spent January near her home, driving through a rain-soaked Los Angeles, nose pointed nowhere in particular, its quiet cabin save for the rain on the removable hardtop, the din of the Wrangler’s eTorque turbo-four and the occasional ringing of our other Rex puppy’s collar.

What-ifs and regrets were all we could think of. “What if we noticed it earlier?” “Why haven’t we made more trips to Brooklyn?”

In these regrets there was a glimmer of peace. Although we did not make it through the country as a family, we did not fail to make memories together in our long-lasting Jeep, although we were more likely to be on the sidewalk than outside. .

We ate miles of asphalt together as we drove to the far reaches of Northern California to visit Brooklyn’s favorite folks, my in-laws. Although the Jeep’s old-fashioned reciprocal ball steering became tiring for the nearly 600 miles north and south, Brooklyn had really enjoyed the spacious, upright rear seat (without squeezing through the narrow openings of the back door of the Jeep), while Rex’s 25-pounder loved the luxury of being able to watch California slowly go from the metropolis to the mountains, to the endless valley, to the forest – all thanks to the huge greenhouse of the Wrangler. Meanwhile, humans enjoyed the Wrangler’s nine-speaker Alpine audio system and responsive Uconnect infotainment system. With two strong axles and a suspension designed to crawl through rocks, the Wrangler wasn’t the most comfortable way to cover long distances on regular roads, but it got us there.

Like our beloved puppy, MT Long-term Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon has been largely trouble-free during his tenure with us. He only needed one regular service during his 14 month and 23,733 mile stay with us, an oil and filter change, a tire rotation and an inspection which cost us only $ 83, $ 55. There was only one recall during this period, for the steering damper. The new steering damper, designed to combat the Wrangler’s tendency to roam at freeway speeds, cost us nothing and took just a few hours to install at the dealership. Steering effort has increased somewhat with the new part, making long drives more of a chore. In my experience, other changes to the 2020 model year Wranglers have improved the steering feel slightly. It should be noted that among the most popular topics on JLWranglerForums.com is one regarding owner complaints about the steering feel on the 2018-2020 Wranglers and Gladiators; The 2021 model year Wranglers would get completely new steering boxes to hopefully eliminate the problem.

Our now-discontinued Jeep’s 2.0-liter turbocharged mild-hybrid four-cylinder engine option, now discontinued, is underdelivered on the EPA’s 22 mpg combined power, hitting 17.3 mpg. gal during his stay with us. Not great, but not great considering the aerodynamics and still brick weight of the Jeep. We would still go for a turbocharged four-cylinder (now minus the hybrid tips) if we ordered a new Wrangler today – it’s cheaper than the available EcoDiesel six-cylinder, and its 295 lb-ft of torque makes it feel sprinted compared to the Standard 3.6-liter V6, which draws most of its power from 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of high torque in its power range.

Where the Wrangler really took off was the unplanned travel, even if it didn’t get us as far as we originally anticipated when the Jeep arrived. Probably most memorable was when we headed north one morning to kiss the coast, rather than east to the hot Mojave Desert. Our plan was simple: find water for the dogs to play. With plenty of ground clearance, studded tires, locking differentials and – my favorite – a stabilizer bar disconnect, we always had the peace of mind that the Wrangler Rubicon would have us wherever we need it and where we need it. versa.

In this case, it was an unnamed, unmarked dirt trail in the mountains above Santa Barbara that dropped us along a stream. The trail was far from difficult, but that’s not always the goal. The arc of water droplets glistening in the sun as they emerged from Brooklyn’s choppy tail at the waterhole. Her head and body buried in a towel in my wife’s arms as she tried to dry it off. Rex nibbling on Brooklyn’s wet, hairy neck. The sun is shining. Flowing water. This is the point. This now, memory is what the Wrangler helped make possible.

Goodbye puppy, we will miss you.

Learn more about our long-term 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon:

  • Arrival
  • Update 1: Everyone’s having fun in our Jeep Wrangler Rubicon except me
  • Update 2: Would I Really Buy a 2019 Jeep Wrangler as our Unlimited Rubicon?
  • Update 3: Is the 2019 Jeep Wrangler an efficient SUV? We test the MPGs on our 2.0 Turbo
  • Update 4: These are the pros and cons of owning a Jeep Wrangler
  • Update 5: is the 2020 model better?
  • Update 6: Rookies Take Off-Road Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Our car
LIFETIME14 months / 23,733 mi
OPTIONSAutomatic transmission ($ 2,000), steel bumper ($ 1,295), Freedom Top ($ 1,195), 2.0-liter eTorque turbo-four engine ($ 1,000), active safety technology ($ 895), cruise control adaptive gear ($ 795), headliner ($ 525), keyless entry remote ($ 495), body-color fender flares ($ 495), remote start system ($ 495)
AVG ECON / CO217.3 mpg / 1.12 lb / mi
MAINTENANCE COST$ 83.55 (oil change, inspection, tire rotation)
* IntelliChoice data; assumes 42,000 miles after 3 years
POWERTRAIN / CHASSIS GROUP2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
TRANSMISSION ARRANGEMENTFront engine, 4 wheel drive
TYPE OF ENGINETurbocharged I-4, alum block / head
VALVE TRAINDOHC, 4 valves / cylinder
SHIFTING121.7 cubic inches / 1995 cm3
POWER (SAE NET)270 hp at 5,250 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET)295 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
RED LINE6000 revolutions per minute
WEIGHT TO POWER17.7 lb / hp
TRANSMISSION8 speed automatic
AXLE / FINAL DRIVE / LOW GEAR4.10: 1 / 2.75: 1 / 4.00: 1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; BACKAxle under tension, coil springs, anti-roll bar adj; drive axle, coil springs, anti-roll bar adj
BRAKES, F; R12.9 ” ventilated disc; 13.4 inch disc, ABS
WHEELS7.5 x 17 ” cast aluminum
TIRES285 / 70R17 116/1130 (M + S) BF Goodrich Baja Off-road Champion T / A K02
TRACK, F / R62.9 / 62.9 in
Length x Width x Height188.4 x 73.8 x 73.6 inches
APPRCH / DEPARTURE ANGLE43.9 / 37.0 degrees
WEIGHT ON BOARD4766 pounds
WEIGHT DIST, F / R52/48%
HEADROOM, F / R40.7 / 40.2 inch
Legs, F / R41.2 / 38.3 in
SHOULDER CHAMBER, F / R55.7 / 55.7 inch
LOAD VOLUME, BEH F / R72.4 / 31.7 ft3 ft3
0-302.3 seconds
PASSAGE, 45-65 MPH4.4
QUARTER MILE16.0 s at 83.1 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH137 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT29.3 s at 0.55 g (average)
TOP-GEAR TOURS @ 60 MPH1750 revolutions per minute
AIRBAGS4: double face front, front face
BASIC WARRANTY3 years / 36,000 miles
MOTORPROPELLER WARRANTY5 years / 60,000 miles
ROAD ASSISTANCE5 years / 60,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY21.5 gal + 0.4 kWh battery
TRUE MPG, CITY / HWY / COMB21.4 / 26.0 / 23.2 mpg
EPA CITY / HWY / COMB ECON22/24/22 mpg
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / ROAD153/140 kW-h / 100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB0.85 lbs / mile
RECOMMENDED FUELPremium unleaded

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