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2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited eTorque Review: Does Turbocharging and Mild-hybrid Technology Transform a Wrangler?

Jeep turbocharged and electrified the Wrangler to improve gas mileage without a loss of power...and it actually works.

There’s a lot to love about driving the Jeep Wrangler. There’s no doubt as to why Wrangler wins over the Jeep faithful again every time there’s a new generation.

Christian Wardlaw

Americans used to be obsessed with engine size. For whatever reason, the bigger the engine, the louder the exhaust, and the larger the number on the badge, the better it was perceived to be.

When it comes to the rough-and-tumble Jeep Wrangler, a legendary off-roader descended from World War II’s hero, what happens when the engine shrinks by two cylinders and 1.6 liters of displacement? Moreover, what happens when a mild-hybrid electrical system assists that smaller engine to improve fuel economy?

To find out, I drove two Wranglers. First up was a 2019 Unlimited (that’s Jeep-speak for four door) Sport S with the 4-cylinder eTorque option, followed by one that Jeep lent me for testing purposes: a 2020 Wrangler Unlimited Sahara with the new-for-2020 6-cylinder eTorque variant.

The short answer? The fine folks at Jeep get to create a new name (eTorque), you get better gas mileage and, aside from occasional turbo whistle and some cooling fan racket, nobody will know you’re not rocking the standard 3.6-liter V6.

Jeep offers this turbocharged and electrified 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine on select trim levels, including Rubicon Recon, North Edition, Sahara and Sahara Altitude. For those who still want the extra cylinder count, an eTorque version of the V6 is new for 2020, though it’s available only on the two Sahara trims.

On a basic level, the eTorque option equips the Wrangler with a motor-generator unit and a 48-volt electrical system to supplement the traditional 12-volt battery and mechanical starter. The motor-generator provides low-end acceleration assistance, powers the automatic engine stop/start system throughout your journey, and generates electricity to recharge the eTorque system’s lithium-ion battery.

Translation: In combination with the more efficient 4-cylinder engine and the turbocharger, the end result is more power and better fuel economy than the standard V6 engine provides. That’s because the engine doesn’t need to work as hard to get the Wrangler moving, the automatic stop/start system remains engaged for longer periods of time, and the turbocharger boosts torque to 295 lb-ft, 35 lb-ft more than the standard V6.

Wrangler Unlimited Features

Christian Wardlaw

Highlights

Jeep's Wrangler descends from one of the most iconic vehicles of WWII. Today, the off-roader is available in two- and four- door configurations. Four-wheel drive is standard, and engines include four- and six- cylinder mild hybrids and even a torquey V6 diesel.

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Consumer Ratings and Reviews of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited from KBB.com

4.5

★★★★★

Overall Consumer Rating

Comfort

4.3 out of 5

Performance

4.4 out of 5

Quality

4.4 out of 5

Reliability

4.4 out of 5

Styling

4.9 out of 5

Value

4.3 out of 5

Based on 35 consumer ratings for the 2018 - current models as of 02/11/2021.

4.0 out of 5 stars
★★★★★

Cross wind squeal noise

05/07/2020

At around 70mph and a cross wind blowing from mainly to right side of Jeep causes a squealing noise coming from the dash. Took it to dealer who took out other 2020 and got the same result. He said it haha to do with the air intake process but was unable to fix. Not a show stopper love the car but by this time puzzled that a new car would have this kind of issue. Expect a resolution from Jeep!
5.0 out of 5 stars
★★★★★

It's nice that other Jeep owners wave and smile

09/17/2020

My wife loves it says best and most fun vehicle she has driven Her relatives in Thailand said Please ship it here Sure there’s wind noise and not the best handling but if we ever need to escape the rat race city problems we can plow over the hills Good luck in a Tesla
5.0 out of 5 stars
★★★★★

I love my Ruby the Rubicon! 10/10 all round.

04/09/2020

I have had a Nissan Sentra, Honda CRV, Mercedes 230 sedan, Mercedes GLS ( which I still have and very much love to drive), Nissan Quest minivan, Ford Fiesta, Chevy Cruze and Toyota Sienna in my (and my wife's) driving life, nothing quite like a Jeep Rubicon! I got the leather seats installed at a reputable dealer. It is a pure joy to ride everyday. It combines authority with masculinity and civilization. Got it early for my 50th birthday, after many years of thought. Absolutely pleased with it.

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