Jeep Wrangler
(2007 - 2018)

  • Incredible off-road capability
  • Unique driving experience
  • 4-door Unlimited genuinely practical
  • Lack of depreciation
  • Very questionable reliability.
  • Jeep’s terrible after sales service
  • Harsh on-road driving characteristics
  • Lacking in infotainment tech
Overview

As much a style and design icon as it is a hero within the off-roading community, the Jeep JK Wrangler bridged the gap between hardcore niche adventure vehicle and mass market appeal.

But while the JK was and is less painful to live with and drive than previous generations, make no mistake, this is fundamentally an incredibly capable off-roading machine softened slightly for the road and therefore, is compromised for it.

Throw in a very questionable reputation for reliability and mechanical longevity and you really must ask yourself, are you buying a Wrangler for the right reasons and are you willing to deal with not only its idiosyncrasies but its potential for financial and mental stress?

In Australia, the JK Wrangler range was based around 3 core models with various special and limited editions featuring throughout its lifecycle.

This, the third-generation Jeep Wrangler is considered the least dependable. It has the most complaints and lowest-rated reliability among consumers, with multiple issues affecting every part of the vehicle.

While Jeep updated the Wrangler every year, 2011 saw the Wrangler receive a mid-cycle restyle, receiving a redesigned interior and a host of tech and equipment upgrades. 2012 saw the introduction of the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6.

Which one do we recommend, if at all? Read on.

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What goes wrong
  • Totally integrated power module failure
  • Fuel pump remaining on and burning out due to constant use
  • Airbags refusing to deploy or deploying at random.
  • Engine stalling while the vehicle is in motion
  • Starter cranking but refusing to start
  • Horn honking at random intervals
  • Power windows getting stuck
  • Doors locking or unlocking without input
  • Regeneration (or burn off) process can result in huge plumes of white smoke from the exhaust (especially with vehicles driven predominantly around town at slow speeds)
  • Timing chain failures
  • The “DEATH WOBBLE”. The most common issue is worn track bar bushings
  • Throttle position sensor failure
  • Catastrophic engine failure
  • Transmission failures
  • Diesel engines have issues with blown intercooler piping
  • Hardtop roof models likely to leak
  • Exterior plastics discolour
  • Hinges and exterior screws can rust or fail
  • Coolant leaks
  • Oil leaks
Model range, pricing and features

Sport

  • Price when new: $29,990 - $40,990
  • Price used: $15,000 - $80,000

The base spec Sport loses nothing in the way of serious off-road ability.

If you’re looking for a Wrangler you can modify and truly make your own, the Sport could make the perfect base to build on but if you’re in the market for a Wrangler that is seriously equipped out of the box, we recommend checking out a higher spec.

NOTE: Wranglers are highly customisable & features will vary on each specific car depending on what options were selected when new.

Standard features:

  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
  • Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM)
  • Four-wheel-disc brakes
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
  • 4-wheel brake traction control (4BTC)
  • Sentry Key Theft Deterrent System
  • Driver and front passenger front airbags
  • Cruise control
  • Fog lamps
  • Power locks with keyless entry
  • Power front windows, soft top
  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Full-size spare tire and on/off road tyres
  • Skid plates for transfer case -and fuel tank
  • Easy access tip-and-slide seats
  • Driver-seat height adjuster
  • Rear folding seat
  • Air conditioning
  • Mini floor console
  • Locking glove box
  • Compass and temperature gauge
  • 12-volt auxiliary power outlet
  • Tilt steering wheel
  • AM/FM CD radio with MP3/Auxillary input and six speakersSport Optional Extras Include:
  • Four-speed automatic transmission
  • Half doors and front seat mounted side air bags
  • A full-length vinyl soft-top roof, which can be folded down manually or removed altogether
  • Removable doors
  • Wash out interior
  • Redesigned interior (From 2011)
  • Premium fabric seat trim
  • 7.0-inch touchscreen with Toyota Link
  • Four-speaker stereo (extra-cab)
  • Six-speaker stereo (dual-cab)
  • Driver’s seat height adjustment
  • Air-conditioned cooler box with space for 2x600mL bottles
  • 60:40 split-fold rear seat base (dual-cab)

Renegade / Renegade Sport

  • Price when new: $31,990 - $33,990
  • Price used: $15,000 - $40,000

Mechanically identical to the Sport, the Renegade (& Renegade Sport) offered over $4,000 worth of accessories for a $2,000 premium. In the used market, this price difference has been absorbed and we’d recommend sourcing either Renegade over a Sport.

Renegade adds:

  • Dual top with Sunrider soft-top and Freedom Top 3-piece modular hard top Deep tint glass
  • 6-disc CD/DVD player
  • Infinity premium speakers with subwoofer
  • Tubular side steps

Renegade 70th Anniversary

  • Price when new: $36,500 - $43,000
  • Price used: $25,000 - $38,000

The limited edition 70th Anniversary is mechanically identical to both the Renegade and Renegade Sport but features a few more creature comforts.

Renegade 70th Anniversary adds:

  • Leather upholstery
  • Multi-function steering wheel

Rubicon, Rubicon 10th Anniversary, Rubicon X

  • Price when new: $39,990 - $68,950
  • Price used: $18,500 - $75,000

The sweet spot of the range and the one we recommend.

The Rubicon is the serious off-roader of the Wrangler range (even though all Wranglers are immensely capable away from the tarmac).

Fitted with a host of adventure-specific equipment, the Rubicon still asks a premium when it comes to price but in our opinion, if you’re planning on using the Wrangler for how it was intended, it’s worth it.

Rubicon adds:

  • Electric-disconnecting front sway bar
  • Rock-Trac 4:1 part-time transfer case
  • Heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles
  • Tru-lok locking front and rear differentials
  • 4.10 axle ratio
  • Rock rails
  • 17-inch machined-cast aluminium wheels with 225/75 Goodyear All Terrain tyres
  • YES Essentials Stain and odour-resistant seat fabric
  • Infinity premium speakers and subwoofer
  • Optional Uconnect System
  • 17-inch alloy wheels (10th Anniversary)
  • Side body protectors (10th Anniversary)
  • Red leather seats (10th Anniversary)
  • 13mm increase in ride height (10th Anniversary)
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with matching red stitching (10th Anniversary)
  • 10th Anniversary’ badges (10th Anniversary)
  • Premium grade Electronic Vehicle Information Centre (10th Anniversary)
  • Mopar heavy-duty ‘Slush Mats’ (10th Anniversary)
  • Black fuel-filler cap (10th Anniversary)
  • Black tail-light guards (10th Anniversary)
  • 17-inch satin black polished alloy wheels (X)
  • Black leather upholstery (X)
  • Uniquely styled gauge cluster (X)

Overland, Overland X

  • Price when new: $42,500 - $62,950
  • Price used: $30,000 - $65,000

The luxury-spec Jeep Wrangler Overland (and Overland X) brought a host of premium features to the iconic bare-bones, bush-bashing range.

Available as either the two-door soft-top and four-door Unlimited body styles, the Overland was teamed exclusively with the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 petrol engine and five-speed automatic transmission.

Overland adds:

  • 18-inch polished ‘sparkle’ alloy wheels
  • Body-coloured wheel arches
  • Three-piece hardtop roof
  • Black Sunrider soft-top
  • Automatic headlights
  • Enhanced infotainment system
  • Satellite navigation
  • Reversing camera
  • Leather upholstery
  • Heated front seats
  • Bright trim accents to the cabin
  • Black 18-inch wheels (X)
  • ‘McKinley’ black leather & vinyl-trimmed seats (X)
  • X logos (X)
  • White switch bezels (X)
  • Glossy black headlight rings (X)
  • Mopar black fuel filler cover (X)

Dragon Edition

  • Price when new: $51,000
  • Price used: $25,000 - $35,000

Mechanically identical to a standard Wrangler Overland, the Dragon Edition Wrangler was to celebrate Chrysler Jeep’s re-entry into the Chinese market.

Dragon adds:

  • Special 18-inch gold-edged wheels
  • Bridgestone on-road tyres
  • Golden grille and headlamp inserts
  • Stylised gold dragon motifs
  • Bronze-stitched dragon-scaled black Nappa leather seats
  • Dragon decal on the bonnet
  • Dragons embroided on the headrests
  • Dragons embroided on the carpets
  • Dragon decal on the spare tyre cover
  • Dragons embroided on the dashboard

Blackhawk

  • Price when new: $49,000
  • Price used: $25,000 - $35,000

Purely an aesthetic treatment with no additional mechanical inclusions over the Wrangler Sport.

Blackhawk adds:

  • Black 18-inch wheels
  • Blackhawk edition grille
  • Blackhawk badges & decals on the front guards matte black bonnet wrap
  • Heavier window tint
  • Gloss black spare tyre cover
  • Heated seats
  • Black leather trim
  • Piano black accents

 

Polar

  • Price when new: $45,500 - $50,000
  • Price used: $37,500 - $52,000

Mechanically identical to the Wrangler Overland, the Polar was fitted with a range of unique features and styling elements inspired by the harsh climate of Antarctica.

Polar adds:

  • Body-colour grille with black accents
  • Mopar power dome bonnet and fuel flap
  • Gloss black front and rear bumper inserts
  • 18-inch polished alloy wheels with black accents
  • A special Polar badge
  • Polar seat-back embroidery
  • Ceramic-accent grab handle with Polar logo pearl stitching on the front seats & armrests
  • Accent-colour finish on the front and rear door grab handles and vent rings

Freedom, Freedom IV

  • Price when new: $35,000 - $41,000
  • Price used: $35,000 - $55,000

Based on the Wrangler Sport, the Freedom was inspired by the brand’s iconic US army vehicles of the past.

NOTE: A Freedom IV was available from 2015-2017 and was identical to the Freedom except for a mineral grey grill.

Freedom adds:

  • Rubicon ride height
  • A large, weathered-looking ‘Freedom Star’ on the bonnet & ‘Oscar Mike’ badging
  • Mineral grey grille
  • Body coloured wheel arch flares, grab handles and vent rings
  • Rubicon rock rails
  • Embroidered ‘Freedom Star’ on front seats
  • Silver accents and air vent surrounds
  • Black upholstered centre console

75th Anniversary

  • Price when new: $51,000 - $55,000
  • Price used: $39,000 - $60,000

Celebrating 75 years of military history and 4×4 leadership, the Overland-based 75th Anniversary was packed with extra kit.

75th Anniversary adds:

  • 17-inch wheels
  • Jeep badge & unique front and rear steel
  • bumpers in Low Gloss Bronze
  • Body-colour grille with low gloss bronze grille throats and headlamp rings
  • Leather-trimmed heated seats with accent sport mesh inserts and accent stitching
  • Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor tires
  • Available rear locker
  • Jeep Command-Trac 4×4 transfer case with 2.72:1 ratio & Dana 30 front axle and heavy-duty Dana 44 rear axle

Golden Eagle

  • Price when new: $42,990 - $44,990
  • Price used: $52,000 - $58,000

Designed to send the JK Wrangler into extinction on a high, the Sport-based Golden Eagle was limited to just 150 vehicles.

Golden Eagle adds:

  • Modernised graphics pack
  • Tan-coloured soft top
  • Body-coloured fenders
  • Bronze aluminium wheels
  • Black grille and headlight rings
  • Alpine speakers
  • Bronze-stitched front seats adorned with Golden Eagle lettering
  • Moroccan Sun’ painted accents on the passenger grab handle, steering wheel bezel and
  • air-conditioning rings
Should you buy it

It depends.

If you’re genuinely going to use the Wrangler’s incredible off-road ability, are happy to embrace the Wrangler’s unique character and very questionable reputation for reliability and mechanical longevity, are prepared for the potential financial and mental stress, sure, buy one.

Just make sure it has a full service history and has been inspected by your local independent mechanic.

But, if you’re buying a Wrangler to make some sort of fashion or lifestyle statement and have no intention of truly exploring its off-roading ability, then no, do not buy a Jeep Wrangler.

Once the novelty wears off you’ll be left with a harsh riding, thirsty, noisy, uncomfortable, unreliable truck that has cost you a fortune to buy and will cost you possibly more to maintain.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

3 years/100,000kms with 3 years roadside assist (2007-2015)

5 years/100,000kms with 5 years roadside assist (2016-2018)

Servicing:

12,000kms or every 6 months (2007-2015)

12,000kms or every 12 months (2016-2018)

Tech Specs

Body style:

  • 2-door SUV convertible
  • 4-door SUV convertible
  • 2-door SUV convertible
  • 4-door SUV convertible

Engine & outputs:

  • 3.6 Litre 6-cylinder petrol – 209kW / 347Nm
  • 3.8 Litre 6-cylinder petrol  146kW / 315Nm
  • 2.8-litre, 4-cyl turbo-diesel 147kW / 410Nm

Transmission:

  • 5-speed automatic, four-wheel drive, dual range (Introduced in 2012 with the 3.6-litre Pentastar engine) 
  • 4-speed automatic, four-wheel drive, dual range (Discontinued 2012 with the 3.8-litre 6-cyl petrol)
  • 5-speed automatic, four-wheel drive, dual range (Mated to the 2.8-litre 4-cyl turbo-diesel models)
  • 6-speed manual, four-wheel drive, dual range (Introduced in 2012 with the 3.6-litre Pentastar engine) 
  • 5-speed manual, four-wheel drive, dual range (Discontinued 2012 with the 3.8-litre 6-cyl petrol)
  • 6-speed automatic, four-wheel drive, dual range (Mated to the 2.8-litre 4-cyl Turbo diesel models)

Fuel use (combined):

  • 11.9/100km (combined and depending on configuration for the 3.6-litre 6-cyl petrol)
  • 12.8L/100km (combined and depending on configuration for the 3.8-litre 6-cyl petrol)
  • 8.3L/100km (combined and depending on configuration for the 2.8-litre 4-cyl turbo-diesel)

Dimensions:

  • Height: 1865mm
  • Length: 4223mm (2-door) 4751mm (4-door)
  • Width: 1873mm (2-door) 1877mm (4-door)
  • Kerb weight: 1975kg – 2106kg
Disclaimer

Information correct as of March 05, 2021.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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