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Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 review


Jeep’s iconic 4×4 gets tech, safety and cabin improvements for 2024, but does swapping its classic V6 for a 2.0L turbo petrol rob Wrangler of its charm?

Good points

  • Superb off-road hardware and talent
  • 2.0L turbo engine’s torque
  • Curtain airbags a needed safety boost
  • 12.3-inch touchscreen quality
  • Iconic tough guy good looks
  • Easy convertible adventuring

Needs work

  • Still a thirsty big thing
  • Wayward road manners demand caution
  • Road noise on Rubicon’s tyres
  • Poor safety rating remains
  • Driver’s footwell too cramped
  • 100,000km warranty is too short

A new Jeep Wrangler, you ask? Staring into the big round eyes of this 4×4 icon, the changes for 2024 are hard to pick, but under that latched-down bonnet sits a new heart.

Gone is the old-school Pentastar 3.6L V6 – characterful and brawny but rather ancient – replaced by a 2.0L four-cylinder turbocharged petrol, upping the torque and (slightly) improving fuel economy.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 front 3/4 4

An emasculation of this All-American legend? Power may be slightly down (from 209kW to 200kW) but there’s a welcome gain in twist from 347Nm to 400Nm, while acceleration to 100km/h falls from eight seconds to a notable and surprisingly rapid 7.4 seconds.

It’s a good move. For this reviewer, the turbo four-cylinder improves the breed. Some may lament the V6’s downfall, others wonder why we can’t stuff a V8 in rather than fit a little four. Plenty will argue amongst themselves if the turbo motor is suited to serious off-roading, towing and long-term reliability.

We were granted a brief but eye-opening on- and off-road test in the flagship and properly hard-core Wrangler Rubicon – the one to be seen in while peacocking city streets, and certainly the one you want when climbing mountains or traversing rocky riverbeds.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 beach

The Wrangler remains a seriously talented off-road weapon in Rubicon guise, complete with ever-improving hardware and software to make adventuring easy, safe and damn good fun.

And look at the thing. Just when you start arguing with Toyota’s Land Cruiser and Land Rover’s Defender about which is the bigger off-road icon, the Wrangler reminds of its heritage stretching back to the World War II Jeep. The providence of helping to win a global war is a fair shout for legend status.

For 2024 the Wrangler’s been gifted with enhanced capability, safety and technology, while aficionados will spot a slightly wider seven-slot grille and new wheel designs for each variant.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 driving dirt hill

Key for family users is the addition of rear curtain airbags (although the Wrangler’s poor three-star ANCAP rating remains), while inside a 12.3-inch touchscreen is a vast improvement over the clunky older setup.

Otherwise, there’s still the classic shape Wrangler – not a design you want to mess with very much. And underneath it remains a ladder-frame chassis with solid axles, locking diffs and serious mud-plugging 32-inch tyres on our Rubicon tester.

There’s no plug-in hybrid 4XE model for Australia as it’s not produced in right-hand drive, and sadly no mad dog 6.4L HEMI V8 editions as you’ll find on the US market.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 pair

It’s a large SUV many want to own – you can’t help but have fun in it – but it’s an acquired taste for on-road life, especially the Rubicon.

Hop in one of those and you’re driving away at around $100,000 with barely an option fitted, putting it in the company of rivals like the Land Rover Defender 110 P300, Ineos Grenadier and Toyota Land Cruiser GX.

What are the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon’s features and options for the price?

Four Wrangler models are offered, sharing a 200kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo petrol mated to an eight-speed auto gearbox. All are on-demand 4x4s with high/low-range transfer cases and each offers impressive off-road chops, but the Rubicon’s the target for hard-core bush adventures.

Jeep recently slashed prices of its slow-selling Grand Cherokee, and pricing looks more appealing for 2024 Wranglers too.

Entry level is a Sport S 4DR for $75,950, which is $5500 cheaper than the Night Eagle it replaces. Mid-spec Overland is $84,950 – $2000 less than before – while the Rubicon 2DR and 4DR retain their old pricing of $83,950 and $90,450 respectively, all before on-roads. Considering the spec improvements, that’s decent news for buyers.

Jeep Wrangler Overland 2024 badge

The 2024 Wrangler Sport S features:

  • 17-inch alloys wheels
  • Selec-Trac active on-demand 4×4 system
  • Heavy-duty rock slider with step assist
  • Antenna relocated to “Gorilla Glass” windscreen
  • 12.3-inch Uconnect 5 touchscreen
  • 7.0-inch driver’s centre screen
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Sat nav
  • DAB digital radio
  • Nine-speaker Alpine audio
  • Climate control
  • Ambient LED interior lighting
  • Nexen Roadian all-terrain tyres
  • Black cloth upholstery
  • Fabric dashboard panel
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Auto high beam LED headlights
  • Normal duty suspension
  • Black removable hard top
  • Smart key with push-button start
  • Soft spare tyre cover

Jeep Wrangler Overland 2024 side

The 2024 Wrangler Overland adds:

  • 18-inch grey alloy wheels
  • Black side mirrors
  • Anti-spin Dana M220 rear axle
  • Front 12-way power seats
  • Premium McKinley faux leather seats with Jeep logo
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob and handbrake handle
  • Body coloured three-piece removable hardtop
  • Body coloured fender flares
  • Platinum silver grille accents

The 2024 Wrangler Rubicon adds:

  • Performance suspension
  • 17-inch black alloys
  • Rock-Trac active on-demand 4×4 system (4:1 transfer case, 77.2:1 crawl ratio)
  • 32-inch off-road tyres
  • Programmable auxiliary switch bank
  • Off-road+ mode
  • Tru-Lok front and rear locking differentials
  • Electronic front sway bar disconnect
  • HD Dana 44 fully-floating rear axle
  • Acoustic laminated front door glass
  • Nappa leather seats
  • Forward facing TrailCam
  • Premium wrapped dash panel
  • 12-way power front seats (4DR)
  • 12-way power driver’s seat only (2DR)

There’s a decent colour palette, but only white is free – premium paint costs a further $1490.

Personally, I reckon the Wrangler’s at its best in military colours like Sarge green, but the more extrovert may prefer High Velocity yellow or Barbie-like Tuscadero pink.

The bold Rubicon bonnet decals adds welcome eye-candy.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 interior far

You can spend big on numerous genuine accessories, while options include an alternative 18-inch alloy design for the Overland ($950), or superb Sky-one-touch power top for either the Overland or Rubicon four-doors.

This basically makes the Wrangler a full-length convertible; the canvas roof neatly retracting like an accordion but not encroaching on luggage space. It can be opened and closed up to about 100km/h for convenience, but costs a chunky $6450.

How does the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon drive?

Let’s get the on-road drive covered first. It’s compromised, of course, but you find yourself forgiving its unwieldiness and far from graceful cornering abilities.

Why? It’s a 4×4 you look forward to driving, there’s ample space for the family, the roof quickly comes off and it’s a convertible, then you’re comfortable in the knowledge that if you want to tackle the Birdsville Track after picking the kids up from school, that’s A-okay.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 highway 2

You sit monstrously high and the square bonnet dominates the view. You must raise the seat to a lofty level to properly see the sides of the giant wheel arches. The windscreen is quite skinny and upright, but side windows are huge so visibility is not bad.

Rubicons make up roughly half of all sales – the 4dr overwhelmingly the favourite – so that was our test car. I’ve just lived with the outgoing V6 in more road-specific Overland form, and to be honest, its on-road manners weren’t dramatically better than the more rugged Rubicon, except perhaps for tyre noise.

While the Overland’s highway rubber’s just about tolerable, the Rubi’s knobblies make one hell of a racket, the drone constantly in your ears. Jeep promises there’s been improvements to the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), but it’s still no match for a proper monocoque SUV.

Jeep Wrangler Overland 2024 driving

The off-road tyres also don’t help sealed surface cornering grip, especially in the wet. It’s best not to get caught in the moment and go yee-hawing into turns, or snow ploughing into the scenery is a likely outcome. The stability control’s hard working in turns, even at relatively low speeds, but credit where it’s due, it’s an effective and safe-feeling system.

If you keep direction changes smooth rather than sudden and err towards a sensible driving style, the Rubi’s a comfy companion. There’s not awful body roll, brakes have solid bite, and it does a superb job mopping up bumps and potholes thanks to its cushiony suspension and those giant 255/75 tyres.

Things do get a bit bouncy on cut-up stretches, but through town and on the highway the Wrangler has a plush enough ride quality.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 engine 2

So, the engine. It’s roughly 20 kilograms lighter than the old V6, so immediately there’s less weight over the front end to marginally improve response. The steering is quite light and lifeless, but all par for the course for such a 4×4.

The 2.0L turbo’s a good‘un. There’s less gruff than the old V6 (albeit with a dash less character), it has good low down pull and feels rather smooth in unison with the impressive eight-speed auto gearbox. There’s no muscle here, or hairy chested power, but this Wrangler’s not slow.

Throttle response is lazy, but shift the nice-feeling gear selector into manual mode, drop a cog or two, and it’ll spring into life. For such a big rig, acceleration is impressive indeed.
The towing fraternity probably won’t like the idea of a four-cylinder turbo petrol, and the Wrangler’s not a hauling legend with its 2495kg maximum.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 two door hill

That’s the four-door version – the shorter wheelbase 2dr may win in the style stakes, but it handles just 1497kg on tow.

Our off-road course showed the Rubicon in its element. Ours had the removable hardtop sections. These are Esky-like material and simply unclip and are off and in the boot in two minutes.

Offering open-air convertible 4×4-ing is rather superb. You can take these things seriously bush, and having an open sky or forest canopies overhead massively helps the Wrangler’s case.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 driving rear
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 interior switch

The Rubicon gets all the serious stuff. This includes a fully-floating rear axle (rather than commonplace semi-float), where an axle tube runs the full width, bearing the Wrangler’s weight. Inside the tube is the floating axle, and its sole responsibility is turning the wheels, boosting sturdiness and capability.

The front sway bar can be disconnected via a cabin button to allow improved articulation, there’s the expected Tru-Lok electronic locking front and rear diffs, 760mm water wading and 255mm ground clearance. The Rubi’s Rock-Trac 4×4 system offers a 4:1 low-gear ratio and 77.2:1 crawl ratio, while approach angle is 43.9 degrees and departure angle 37 degrees.

If that’s all a bit foreign to you, just rest assured this Rubicon has the chops. Our test was over a slippy clay-based course with mad gradients. The first featured deep holes and cuts, so we detached the front sway bar and let this big Jeep walk up this steep goat track.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 split

It’s all too easy. No bottoming out to speak of, and in low range it just takes a tap of the throttle to easily modulate speed. It’s in this mode where the lazy throttle response suddenly makes sense. Only the most extreme adventurers would regularly trouble the Rubicon’s underbody bash plates and hard-core tubular rock rails.

Driving such inclines means the driver’s view is basically sky through the windscreen. The Rubicon’s new wide-angle front facing camera is an obvious and welcome addition (mirroring the excellent one found in Ford’s Ranger and Everest), so you feel safer spotting obstacles ahead or to the sides.

A birds-eye view camera as well would be welcome, as would camera views along the Wrangler’s flanks – such things should be standard here.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 driving front 2

We played around with the diff locks, but really the Rubicon seemed to effortlessly handle any terrain we tackled. Even with wheels starting to spin up over very slippy clay, panic was kept at bay as it always eventually found grip.

Its hill decent control setup also boosts relaxation. Once engaged, you nudge the gear shifter into manual mode and can push forward or backward to up or drop speed in 0.5km/h increments. Excellent, easy control.

While it’s easy to criticise much of the Wrangler’s on-road behaviour, in our off-road setting – the Rubicon’s natural habitat – it’s hard to think of a 4×4 alternative you’d rather have on your side.

What is the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon’s interior and tech like?

Cabin changes for 2024 aren’t revolutionary, but seemingly small improvements have made big differences.

Key is the 12.3-inch touchscreen running wireless CarPlay and Android Auto. It helps drag the Wrangler into the modern era as it’s fast to respond and offers well thought-out menus and shortcut buttons.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 interior

These are on the left of the screen, showing the Wrangler’s left-hand-drive roots. This is also felt in the driver’s footwell – the space isn’t as generous as it should be and doesn’t feel well setup for right-hand drive.

A neat function is the screen’s Off Road Pages, allowing quick navigation of your pitch and roll, transfer case and sway bar status, steering angle and if your front and rear axles are locked. It’ll tell you altitude too, so stat lovers will enjoy keeping all this info live on screen during off-road odysseys.

It’s a big climb into the Rubicon, and front seat space isn’t huge for such a mighty rig. Elbows feel snug against the doors (which have captive net pockets rather than regular holders), and there are grab handles everywhere.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 interior touchscreen

The electric window buttons take getting used to and are housed in the centre console rather than the doors. This is, of course, because you can remove a Wrangler’s doors with some basic tools.

It may remain a hose-out cabin, but there’s reasonable luxe for your dollars. Seats are Nappa leather in the Rubicon, although not in an overly-padded quilted and ventilated manner found in a proper Mercedes-Benz, Genesis or BMW. They feel good, are heated and powered, but are quite firm.

Touch points, steering wheel, buttons and switches feel robust, there’s a nice padded area in front of the passenger and smart locks for the centre console and glove box. Old-school elements remain – there’s a proper analogue speedo and tacho, bookending a simple 7.0-inch driver information display, while climate is blessedly kept out of the touchscreen.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 interior back seat
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 interior back seat 2

There’s a welcome simplicity to it all. Chunky buttons handle the locking front and rear diffs, there’s a programmable auxiliary switch bank below USB-A and USB-C ports, while the low-range shifter has an easy, idiotproof action.

Briefly on the two-door Rubicon, it’s not the pick if you ever have rear passengers. Rear chairs are really high, it’s a mission clambering in, legroom’s poor, rear windows don’t open and the Wrangler’s internal skeleton (almost like a roll cage frame) feels unsafely close to head-height if occupants are getting bounced around off-road.

The four-door’s rear is much more liveable. There’s generous head and leg room, a central armrest with two cup holders, four USB ports, air vents and you sit lower. It’s a shame that the rear seats don’t recline or slide to boost versatility – you sit too upright and long journeys may be a bind.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 interior boot 2
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 interior boot

The side-hinged rear door has the spare wheel mounted on, meaning it’s heavy and not ideal when in tight parking spaces. It opens to reveal a massive 900-litre carpeted boot with domestic socket and a false floor with valuables storage beneath. Rear seats quickly fold flat for 2000L room.

That internal skeleton compromises fitting in certain shaped things, as does the boot mounted Alpine subwoofer.

Is the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon a safe car?

Not especially. The Wrangler’s a nailed-on go-anywhere 4×4 truck, but most owners spend the majority of drives on-road with, in the case of the four-door, often with family aboard. Safety remains paramount for such a car.

We must cut it a bit of slack as it’s a body-on-frame ladder chassis brute rather than a car-like monocoque SUV, but other such vehicles have managed five-star ANCAP ratings. The GWM Tank 500, Ford Everest, Isuzu MU-X and Toyota’s LandCruiser 300 have all scored maximum ratings in the last few years.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 front 3/4 hill

The JL Wrangler had a shocker when first safety tested in April 2019, scoring a paltry one star ANCAP rating. Later that year it added AEB and blind spot monitoring as standard, and ANCAP boosted the rating to three stars. Still well below average.

Rear side curtain airbags are standard for 2024 – the airbag count is now six – while a rear seat reminder also lands.

There remains no lane keep assist or emergency lane keeping – it’s personal choice, but I think this is fine for such a large SUV. Too many such systems are overly-nannying; increasingly so when the vehicle takes up much of the lane.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 group 2

Jeep says it has no plans to re-crash test the Wrangler, so based on the 2019 test, we must consider the causes for concern.

Adult Occupant Protection score was a poor 60 per cent; Child Occupant Protection a better 80 per cent; Vulnerable Road User Protection a low 49 per cent, and Safety Assist a lowly 51 per cent.

ANCAP said the frontal offset test revealed the Wrangler “did not retain its structural integrity” and it returned a ‘weak’ result for the driver’s chest area, ‘weak’ for the rear passenger’s neck, and ‘poor’ for their chest. The shape of the Wrangler’s front end saw areas of ‘poor’ ratings for the 40km/h pedestrian impact test.

Standard safety kit on all models includes:

  • Six airbags
  • Auto Emergency Braking
  • Collision warning
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind Spot Monitor with rear cross path detection
  • Rear camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Rear seat reminder
  • Trailer sway control

What are the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon’s ownership costs?

Your fuel bills will be less than with the old V6, but not by much. This new four-cylinder turbo petrol demands 95-octane fuel, whereas the old bent-six coped with cheaper 91.

Our previous Wrangler tests have seen fuel use heavily into double figures, and our mix of on- and off-road driving in the 2024 Rubicon returned 13.1L/100km. On the highway, it was slurping 8.3L/100km at best, which isn’t terrible for such a big rig.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 engine

The official combined use is 9.9L/100km for both two- and four-door Rubicons – the heavier off-road gubbins plus extra friction from the all-terrain tyres make it thirstier than the 9.2L/100km (combined) of the Sport S and Overland Wranglers.

Service costs are palatable at $399 each for the first five visits, or a total of $1995. Annual services must be every 12,000km rather than the industry norm of 15,000km, and Jeep’s warranty is fine at five years, but really should be unlimited kilometres rather than the stingy and not confidence-inspiring 100,000km limit.

There’s lifetime roadside assist included – could be helpful if you’re stranded somewhere very remote – as long as you continue servicing at Jeep dealers.

The honest verdict on the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

It’s even more hard-core, better equipped, safer and now with modern infotainment, but what really makes this 2024 Wrangler feel more up-to-date is the new four-cylinder turbo petrol engine.

This smaller motor may not fit the iconic Jeep’s tough-guy image, but it’s a more versatile unit than the old V6, more frugal, quieter and we found no problems with its suitability for serious off-roading.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2024 driving front

The Rubicon grade makes most sense – the Sport S and Overland have the looks, but you’re still dealing with a large 4×4 not at its best on sealed roads. The Rubi’s the true Wrangler, and there’s no question it sits at the off-roading top table. It’s a genuine and hard-core mud lover with deeply impressive adventuring hardware.

They may do a pink one and the cylinder count is dropping, but the Wrangler remains a lovable icon that’s at its best in the rough stuff.

Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges

Key specs (as tested)

1995 cc
200kW at 5250rpm
400Nm at 3000rpm
Power to weight ratio
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
81 litres
9.9L/100km (claimed)
Average Range
818km (claimed)
4882 mm
1894 mm
1901 mm
Unoccupied weight
2139 kg

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