The 2.0-liter turbocharged 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL’s fuel economy figures are in, and with numbers as high as 24 MPG combined, the world finally has a Wrangler with fuel economy that’s actually borderline “livable.”
One of the drawbacks to driving a boxy, tall off-roader like the Jeep Wrangler has always been fuel efficiency. Look through the EPA’s fuel economy website, and you’ll see that every Wrangler since the model got its name in 1987 has been a total gas pig. But for 2018, Jeep put a modern eight-speed transmission into their JL and mated it with a fancy 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder “GME-T4" engine.
That powertrain, along with the lighter, more aerodynamic JL platform, means there’s finally a Wrangler that scores “respectable” gas mileage.
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When I drove the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL late last year, I didn’t notice much of a difference between the 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the 3.6-liter V6 from a drivability standpoint. For people to pay the $1,000 premium for the little motor, I thought at the time, it is going to have to offer more than just 35 extra lb-ft of torque—it’s going to have to be markedly more efficient.
And it turns out, it is, as the EPA’s fuel economy website shows the 2.0-liter two-door model (strangely shown as a four-door in the above screenshot from the EPA’s website) scoring a relatively impressive 24 MPG combined, resulting from ratings of 23 MPG city and 25 MPG on the highway. The four-door scores one less than its smaller brother in both city and highway driving, and two less in combined mileage.
Those figures are significantly better than those of the V6, especially if you look at city mileage. The V6 models only manage up to 18 MPG around town, or between four and five MPG less than their 2.0-liter counterparts (which, it’s worth noting, all come with 48-volt mild-hybrid systems).
Highway mileage is also better on the four cylinder by between one and two MPG, except when comparing the manual 3.6-liter. The stick-shift JL two-door V6 actually matches the highway fuel economy of the 2.0-liter automatic, while the four-door manual V6 is just one MPG shy of the 2.0-liter on the highway.
The difference in combined fuel economy between the four-door V6 and the four-door four-cylinder is between two and three MPG depending on the transmission, while choosing the four-cylinder in a two-door yields an improvement of four MPG combined.
Finally there’s a Jeep Wrangler whose fuel costs won’t send you spiraling into financial ruin, though the initial purchase price might.