Owning a Jeep Wrangler has always required major compromises in comfort and fuel economy. And while that’s still the case for the refined “JL” model when compared to other SUVs on the market, Jeep’s first-ever diesel Wrangler just took fuel economy to a level the nameplate has never seen before: 29 mpg. Damn that’s impressive. For a Wrangler.
Just a couple of years ago, the most fuel efficient Jeep Wrangler you could buy scored 21 mpg highway, 17 city, and 18 mpg combined. With the launch of the new “JL” generation, which offers a 2.0-liter turbo inline-four mild-hybrid powertrain, those numbers jumped to 25 mpg highway, 23 mpg city, and 24 mpg combined. Those figures were enough for me to pen the headline “The Four-Cylinder 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s 24 mpg Makes It The First Not To Kill Your Wallet.”
But now the EPA has published official fuel economy figures for the 260 horsepower, 442 lb-ft diesel Wrangler, which comes only as an automatic-equipped four-door (and a rather heavy one, at that). The official figures are 29 MPG highway, 22 mpg city, and 25 mpg combined.
Twenty-Nine mpg in a Jeep Wrangler! That’s an impressive number, especially considering that a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee—a significantly more aerodynamic, less off-road-oriented vehicle that makes 20 less horsepower and 22 fewer lb-ft of torque—was EPA rated to make one MPG less in both city and highway conditions.
As I mentioned in my review, even with the good fuel economy, you’re not likely to save money over the $4,500-cheaper 2.0-liter Wrangler, even in the long run. Still, I really liked the way the Wrangler’s new diesel engine behaved on and especially off-road. Add to that the decent fuel economy, and I’m convinced that the second-best Jeep Wrangler powertrain combination money can buy (second, of course, to the 3.6-liter model with the manual transmission not offered with the diesel) is the EcoDiesel mated to its standard eight-speed auto.
I’d like some more time behind the wheel to assess real-world mpg, but as it stands, consider me impressed. Wow, 29 mpg in a Wrangler.