Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
There is no other SUV on the planet that matches up directly with the 2014 Jeep Wrangler. Those who say it is in a class of its own have a perfectly defendable point of view. Simple, robust, affordably priced, able to go anywhere wheels can take you, with removable doors and a folding windshield. It is indeed like nothing else.
You'll Like The 2014 Jeep Wrangler If...
You’ve already decided if you’ll like a Jeep Wrangler. This SUV will go anywhere tires and wheels will take you. In the bargain, you’re going to give up a lot of creature comforts, protection from the elements and modern expectations. But you already know that.
You May Not Like The 2014 Jeep Wrangler If...
If you think a Wrangler would be a good idea for running around city streets and highways because it’s cute and has that tough image, and you don’t plan to use its off-pavement capabilities, and you like being quietly coddled on commutes, you ought to be looking at something else.
Changes for the 2014 Jeep Wrangler include a Freedom Edition and a Rubicon X special edition for even more adventuresome off-roading, plus the retro-looking Willys Wheeler Edition inspired by World War II-era Jeeps. A Trail Kit includes a tow strap, D-rings, gloves and a carrying bag, and the Sport is available with 32-inch tires.
Choose the base Sport model and the 2014 Wrangler’s interior will have cloth seats and a look and feel that can be described as functional. Move up through the trim levels and you will eventually get to such alternatives as a Sahara Unlimited with 2-tone leather and the touch of, if not outright luxury, at least plush comfort. In back, the rear seat folds flat to create a generous, handy and flat load space that’s perfect for all the gear that off-roading sometimes requires.
Though the Wrangler has grown over time from the original Jeep, the family resemblance is unmistakable. The boxy shape (originally for ease and low-cost in war-time manufacturing) remains, with its no-nonsense form. The big upright windshield provides excellent visibility of the terrain, and the extremely short overhangs allow unmatched approach and departure angles. So, over the decades the size has grown and the weight has increased, but it’s still distinctly a Jeep and has even more off-road capability than any Wranglers that have preceded it. Select trims boast their own flair, from the gloss black touches of the retro Willys Wheeler (based on the Wrangler Sport model) and Willys Wheeler W (based on the Sport S), to the power-dome hood on the Polar variant.
Once a Jeep, always a Jeep, and the 2014 Wrangler SUV remains true to why people buy them – body-on-frame construction, front and rear live axles, generous ground clearance, minimal overhangs, and a distinctive look that can be traced back for almost three-quarters of a century keep the customers coming. Even though this layout is heavily skewed to off-road use, driving it on paved surfaces is far better than might initially be expected. The suspension deals with pavement irregularities as well as it deals with off-road bumps and ruts, and the precise steering is as welcome off-pavement as on. Get away from the smooth and hard surfaces and the Wrangler is everything expected, capable of dealing with incredible landscapes and even crawling along at a walking pace. And, with the Pentastar V6, the Wrangler has its best engine ever, with plenty of power for the ups and downs.
Jeep’s Wrangler for 2014 continues to be the most widely-affordable of off-road SUV choices, starting around $23,000. The larger Wrangler Unlimited 4-door version is some $3,800 more, and a fully-loaded Sahara or Rubicon can easily exceed $40,000. If you want your Jeep to look WWII-retro, the Willys Wheeler variants add about $3,000 to the price of a Wrangler Sport or Wrangler Sport S. Wranglers enjoy historically high resale values, with 3-year-old examples projected to return almost 60 percent of their original window sticker. Should you consider a Wrangler for aggressive off-roading, a fully-loaded top-of-the-line Rubicon, even with a window sticker around $40,000, is an absolute steal when compared to the cost of upgrading a more standard Wrangler by way of the 4WD aftermarket. To make your best deal, be sure to check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area typically pay for a Jeep Wrangler.
Among the most valuable items of standard equipment is the 3.6-liter V6 engine and its 285 horsepower and ample torque. But it’s more than just the terrific engine. Standard electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, Hill-Start Assist and Trailer Sway Control will be welcome by all drivers. Most important is the Wrangler SUV’s awesome capability for dealing with life without pavement, and it’s included as standard equipment. Compromises come in regards to conveniences, especially in base models, which lack power windows, power doorlocks and even air conditioning as standard equipment.
The 2014 Jeep Wrangler is one of a very short list of vehicles that gives buyers a choice of final-drive ratios. Generally speaking, a lower-number axle ratio offers better fuel economy and lower engine rpm for a quieter ride, while a higher number enables better acceleration, as well as climbing and towing ability. Most of the extras are wrapped into trim levels, but other options include the Freedom III Package, the 32-inch Tire and Wheel Group, a Connectivity Group, Power Convenience Group, Premium Appearance Group, Rubicon X Package, Trail Kit and Trailer-Tow Package. There is also a variety of electronic conveniences and sound-system upgrades.
3.6-LITER PENTASTAR V6The Pentastar V6 gives the Jeep Wrangler ample power, smooth operation, nice response and commendable highway fuel economy; It’s just about as perfectly suited as it can be. And if you equip the Wrangler with the available 5-speed automatic, you’ll enjoy enhanced refinement without giving up hardly any capability or efficiency.COMMANDING OFF-ROAD CAPABILITYWhy else buy a Wrangler but for its capability to go far beyond the end of pavement? It may sound worn-out or obvious, but the Wrangler SUV really is very, very good at this, and its off-road prowess remains, after decades, the primary reason for buying one in the first place.
Under the Hood
The 2014 Jeep Wrangler is powered by a terrific 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 of 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque in a smooth delivery that makes easy work of highways or rock crawls. This is certainly the best engine ever in a Wrangler. It can be fitted with either a 5-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission and, in the 2-door Wrangler, there is no difference in fuel economy between the two transmission choices.3.6 liter V6285 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/21 mpg (Wrangler), 16/20 mpg (Wrangler Unlimited, automatic), 16/21 mpg (Wrangler Unlimited, manual)
After decades of development and history, the 2014 Jeep Wrangler SUV remains faithfully true to its hard-earned and thoroughly-deserved reputation as the universal standard for off-road vehicles. The Jeep Wrangler line offers something for everybody, from a basic 2-door Sport with a soft top, to the go-where-the-trails-aren’t Rubicon. If you need more room the longer Wrangler Unlimited offers four doors and other features, but with the same level of off-road prowess. The engine is Chrysler’s highly-commendable 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which delivers plenty of power and noteworthy fuel economy, and the Wrangler is also one of the few remaining vehicles that’s available with a manual transmission. That’s why we named it one of the 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000 for 2014.