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Jeep Wrangler: Which Should You Buy, 2020 or 2021?

Blue 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 off-road driving 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 | Manufacturer image

Most significant changes: New plug-in hybrid 4xe and V-8-powered Rubicon 392 models; 80th Anniversary Edition and Islander variants; updated engine offerings; minor feature changes; two additional USB ports

Price change: $20 increase for trims that carry over from 2020 to 2021; destination unchanged

On sale: Now, except for the 4xe and Rubicon 392, which should arrive in early 2021

Which should you buy, 2020 or 2021? If you’re looking for the all-new models, you’ll obviously have to get a 2021 Wrangler. Otherwise, a $20 increase in exchange for wider feature availability and minor improvements makes a 2021 the smarter choice.

Jeep’s iconic Wrangler off-road SUV enters the 2021 model year with two significant new variants: the Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid and the Rubicon 392, the latter powered by a 470-horsepower, 6.4-liter V-8 engine. The 2021 Wrangler also gets two new special editions, the 80th Anniversary Edition and Islander.

Related: It’s the 2021 Model Year, but Jeep Anniversary Editions Are Celebrating the 80s

Shop the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited near you

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2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport
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2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport S
11,606 mi.
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Beyond that, the rest of the Wrangler’s engine lineup is more widely available across the SUV’s roster. New options include the forward-facing trail camera on the Wrangler’s 8.4-inch touchscreen, while all models get two additional charging-only USB ports. Like before, the Wrangler comes in two- or four-door configurations, the latter called the Wrangler Unlimited.

Engines and Gas Mileage

The 2021 Wrangler Sport, Sahara and Rubicon can be had with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, or a 3.6-liter V-6 with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. With the automatic, the 3.6-liter V-6 gets Jeep’s mild-hybrid eTorque electric assist. Four-door Wranglers can also choose the EcoDiesel engine option, a turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6 that pairs with an eight-speed auto.

The V-6 and manual combination is the least fuel-efficient, with the four-door Wrangler EPA-rated at 19 mpg combined (go for the manual two-door and it jumps to 20 mpg). The EcoDiesel, meanwhile, is the most efficient at 25 mpg combined. Other drivetrain combinations range from 21 to 23 mpg combined.

Pricing and Release Date

Prices for both the 4xe and Rubicon 392 aren’t yet available, though neither edition is likely to be on the cheaper side of things — particularly the Rubicon 392 and its powerful V-8. Pricing for those will likely come closer to their on-sale dates in early 2021. The rest of the 2021 Wrangler lineup is available now (prices below include an unchanged $1,495 destination fee).

Two-Door

  • 2021 Wrangler Sport: $29,810
  • 2021 Wrangler Islander: $35,400
  • 2021 Wrangler 80th Anniversary Edition: $37,485
  • 2021 Wrangler Rubicon: $40,210

Four-Door

  • 2021 Wrangler Sport: $33,310
  • 2021 Wrangler Islander: $38,900
  • 2021 Wrangler Sahara: $40,160
  • 2021 Wrangler 80th Anniversary Edition: $40,985
  • 2021 Wrangler Rubicon: $43,710

Which Should You Buy?

With a wider range of engine choices for 2021, the extra USB ports and additional available features like a forward-facing TrailCam — plus only a $20 price increase — a 2021 Wrangler is the smarter choice, assuming there isn’t a deal available on a similarly configured 2020 Wrangler. And if you’re looking for one of the new special editions or the upcoming 4xr or Rubicon 392, you’ll have to choose a 2021.

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