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2024 Jeep Wrangler: What you expect + more [First Drive]

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At first blush, the 2024 Jeep Wrangler just gets a mild refresh. But when you take a second look and see the things that were changed, it’s kind of a big deal.

We’ve already detailed all the changes in our five-things-to-know article, but knowing what the changes are and seeing them in action are two very different things. The nut of the story, though: The 2024 Jeep Wrangler continues to impress.

ALSO OF INTEREST: 2024 Jeep Wrangler specification chart

More tech

Jeep is really good at listening to customers and being thoughtful about the changes it makes to products. You don’t see very many changes just because. So, the overall design stays relatively true to the original and the rally cry of all Wranglers remains: Be capable.

So, the tech additions you see are purposeful. Jeep found that owners were tacking up their phones and iPads to get better trail information and map guides while off-roading. Therefore, while the 12.3-inch screen looks beautiful, it also allows owners to see maps and camera images on a bigger scale. But along with that, you’ll also get the most updated Uconnect 5 infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Alexa connectivity, a 4G LTE hotspot that connects up to eight devices and simultaneous connectivity for two Bluetooth devices.

On top of all that, Jeep has entered into a partnership with Trails Offroad to bring a built-in trail guide system to the vehicle. It will offer detailed trail guides, waypoints with information about obstacles that might damage your vehicle and an actual breadcrumb trail to follow on the GPS map. The full catalog of 3,000-plus trails, however, does require a premium $39.99 annual subscription. We were able to see a small demonstration of the system while driving off road in Utah, and it’s a pretty cool option for those who like details – as well as a heads up on what might harm their vehicles.

2024 Jeep Wrangler

More refinement

Though the Jeep Wrangler starts at $32,690 for the two-door Sport model, Jeep has added a lot of standard refinement – including that 12.3-inch screen. Perhaps the biggest visual refinement is the new windshield-integrated antenna. So, no pointy stick that catches on off-road brush, and you still have the ability to take the windshield down.

You also get standard first- and second-row side-curtain airbags, 10 new wheel options, a backup camera with dynamic grid lines, up-level dash materials, available acoustic glass un upper trims and a dash-mounted bracket system for cameras or other digital devices.

Another big improvement comes in the way of noise cancellation and quiet cabin technology. The end result is the ability to have easy in-cabin and phone conversations in vehicles with the Sky One-Touch power roof at 70 MPH. While we drove with the top open most of the way, we did close it to test the quietness and were impressed.

When you look at the High Altitude model, you have a nice blend of capability and luxury as the Sky One-Touch roof becomes standard and you see other lux-level amenities like 12-way power adjustable heated front seats, integrated front camera and Nappa leather seating surfaces.

Oh, and those power seat controls are sealed and waterproofed, so you can ford water up to 34 inches and not have the seat operation short out.

2024 Jeep Wrangler

More capability

A Jeep wouldn’t be a Jeep without being capable, but it’s the little things like the waterproofed power seat controls and big things like the full-float Dana rear axle that take a truly capable vehicle and make it sing.

We spent a couple hours off road, and as always, I was impressed with how easily the Wrangler could traverse rocky terrain and steep climbs. It was like taking a walk in the park with a gentle step here and a little slide there but nary and clunk or scrape.

While we were playing around in the Sand Hollow Resort Rock Bowl, we were also able to view a winching demonstration with the factory installed Warn winch, which is rated at 8,000 pounds. There was a 60% grade and a 5,000-pound ATV at the bottom. Perched at the top, the Rubicon model slowly but surely pulled the vehicle up the grade. Though the Jeep didn’t back up to pull the ATV over the ledge while attached to the winch, it could have.

Another huge increase in capability comes in the arena of towing – and this is where the full-float rear axle is super helpful. The tow rating for the 2023 models is 3,500, and that increases to 5,000 (which is enough to tow an Air Stream).

2024 Jeep Wrangler

Driving impressions

Anyone familiar with Jeep knows all about its incredible capability – as well as it’s limitations. Off road, it’s a driver’s dream, taking all you throw at it and begging for more. But on road, well, it’s not as great.

We had the opportunity to drive 4xe, Willys and 392 Rubicon models, and I will say the 4xe in the High Altitude trim was the most well-mannered. It had the Sky On-Touch power roof, supple seats and 21 miles of all electric range. It was peppy and comfortable and probably the quietest Wrangler in the bunch with the acoustic glass and extra foam in the frame for noise deadening. The tires didn’t feel too knobby, and really, there wasn’t much tire noise creeping into the cabin.

This version is probably the most every-day livable model.

The 392 Rubicon was the most fun. From the zippy acceleration to the heart-pounding growl of the 6.4-liter V-8, this thing was a beast. Certainly, though, it was rough around the edges.

My least favorite on the road was the two-door Willys model with 2.0-liter turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine. In addition to tube accessory doors which had us feeling like a bomb cyclone hit at higher speeds, the engine whine was horribly distracting. But it would probably have been ideal in the off-road rock crawl.

When you buy a Jeep, you know what the tradeoffs are: bad fuel economy and lots of ambient noise creeping into the cabin. But with the extra quietening work done to the higher trims and the plug-in hybrid powertrain, the 2024 Jeep Wrangler has the potential to be a viable commuter car and every-day driver – with the ability to tackle tough trails as well.

IMHO: Win. Win. Win.

Of course, you’ll also have to shell out a pretty penny since the High Altitude 4xe starts at $68,790, including destination.

The bottom line

The 2024 Jeep Wrangler is exactly what Jeep owners want, and then some. The tech is cool without being obtrusive, and you probably won’t find much that can beat a Jeep off road – especially now that it gets an available factory installed Warn winch.

In several of my social media posts, I have 2023 owners saying they wished they had waited for 2024, so take that for what you will as the 2023s are still on sale with the 2024s hitting dealers imminently.

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is the Managing Editor for Pickup Truck + SUV Talk as well as a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on car stuff for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. Jill is also currently a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY).

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