It’s not often that a product in a competitive market manages to maintain a unique location for itself for a period of time, let alone decades. And yet, that’s exactly what Jeep did with the Wrangler and its various CJ ancestors. Of course, there were attempts like the Toyota FJ Cruiser that came and went along with niche products like the old Land Rover Defenders. But the Wrangler largely stood on its own, selling in big numbers until Ford relaunched the Bronco. While the Bronco has only been with us for a few years, it’s already having a positive impact on the Wrangler with some notable updates to improve on the 2024 model.
At first glance, the 2024 Jeep Wrangler doesn’t look any different from the 2023 model (not that a generation Wrangler is a drastic departure from the previous iteration). In fact, the sheet metal is entirely postponed. The only noticeable difference is a new steel bumper available with a factory-installed 8,000 lb. Warn winch. Among off-roaders, Warn winches are some of the most popular and anyone serious about getting into the weeds should have a winch on their off-roader. Unlike aftermarket winch installations, this bumper and winch combination has been fully crash tested and is the first factory installed unit.
Where the visible changes become much more apparent is inside the new Wrangler. The dashboard has been revamped and now features a central 12.3-inch touchscreen with Uconnect 5, the latest Android-based infotainment system that Stellantis has rolled out over the past two years. Like other Stellantis vehicles, this one supports Apple Carplay and Android Auto wirelessly.
The Uconnect display is the first known automotive application of a full-array local dimming display. This means the LCD is backlit with LEDs that can be turned off in areas to provide more contrast and deeper blacks, which can come in handy when using the open top and the sun is shining. There is also a built-in 7-inch digital screen. in the instrument cluster.
More Bronco inspiration comes with the optional accessory rail on top of the dash, similar to the Ford’s which provides a place to mount action cameras, dedicated GPS units and other gear.
Jeep has also partnered with TRAILS OFFROAD for off-road maps available through the Jeep Lifestyle Dashboard on the Uconnect display. As the name suggests, TRAILS produces detailed off-road trail maps with lots of helpful guides and difficulty information. These are already available through mobile apps for iOS and Android, but now Jeep has integrated them. Over 200 trails are included with vehicle purchase. A separate membership gives access to over 3,000 trails. It also provides the ability to record trails using GPS data and submit them to the database.
Using voice control or making calls in the Wrangler should now be improved with a 7-microphone array around the cabin. Drivers should be able to feel more comfortable with the available 12-way power seats, which are also fully sealed to protect the mechanism when fording in deep water. Finally, front and rear side curtain airbags are standard for the first time and are fitted in the sport bar.
For those who just want to get a fully loaded Wrangler with all the fancy stuff, there’s now a Rubicon X trim level that includes 35-inch tires, leather seats, steel bumpers, cameras in a single package.
Since its debut in 2021, the 4XE plug-in hybrid powertrain has made Wrangler the best-selling PHEV in the U.S. market with about a quarter of Wrangler buyers opting for this configuration. Unfortunately, that can translate to a pretty expensive Jeep, with the $55,000 Willys 4XE being the cheapest variant. For 2024, Jeep is making 4XE available on the Sport S trim level and expanding availability. No word yet on pricing.
Wrangler buyers who opt for the PHEV system will also get an exciting new feature, the Power Box. The 2024 Wrangler 4XE will be the first PHEV that offers vehicle-to-charge capability. The Power Box is essentially a fancy power strip with 4 x 120V AC outlets and an SAE J1772 that plugs directly into the charging port. It can provide up to 3.6 kW of electrical power to run your glamping site or even provide backup power to the home during an outage. Running the most important things around the house like a fridge, microwave, lights, and even a TV usually takes a lot less than 3.6kW. Once the 17 kWh battery is depleted, the Wrangler’s engine can run to drive the engine as a generator as long as there is gasoline in the tank.
There are also more changes under the body. The Rubicon now comes with a heavy-duty Dana 44 full-float rear axle. This means that owners who want to install larger wheel and tire assemblies up to 40 inches in diameter (with an appropriate lift kit) can more easily swap out heavier-duty axle shafts without completely tearing the axle out. The Wrangler Rubicon will now also have a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lbs, up from 3,500 lbs previously.
Although Jeep has a long history of improving the capabilities of its off-road SUVs, even when they had little to no competition, having a serious challenger in the market certainly provides momentum to continue. to refine them in order to also make them more useful without compromising them. . Off-roaders will benefit from the free market in 2024.