Staying On Top: Jeep Wrangler to See Changes for 2021 Model Year
With Ford unveiling the all-new 2021 Bronco, Jeep is making changes to the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited to keep them at the top of their class.
On July 13th, 2020 (next Monday), Ford will finally unveil the long-awaited 2021 Bronco lineup, which will include both two-door and four-door versions of the standard Bronco, and the (Ford) Escape-based Bronco Sport compact crossover SUV (CUV). The former will battle against the long-reigning king of the off-roader market: the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. Jeep's convertible off-roaders remain one of the Brand's best-sellers (especially with the fourth-generation "JL"), and with Ford looking to take the crown away from Jeep, the Brand is making updates to its popular convertible off-roaders for the 2021 model year to keep them at the top of their class. Read on to find out more about what Jeep is planning for the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited for the 2021 model year. NOTE: Any any all pricing discussed in this article includes a mandatory destination fee, but does NOT include any applicable taxes or other fees.
First reported by the JL Wrangler Forums, Jeep is expected to make several changes to the 2021 Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. We already know that Jeep is planning to introduce a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) version of the Wrangler Unlimited, which will carry the designation '4xe' (Four-by-E), and that version should go on sale within the next year, but Jeep also has other changes in store for the 2021 model year. First, the "eTorque" (aka Mild Hybrid) version of the 2.0L "Hurricane" Turbocharged Inline Four-Cylinder (I4) gasoline engine is expected to be dropped after the 2020 model year. While the NON-electrified 2.0L "Hurricane" Turbocharged Inline Four-Cylinder (I4) gasoline engine WILL remain available on almost all Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited trim levels, the eTorque version, which was once available on ALL Wrangler and Wrangler trim levels, but is now ONLY available on the Wrangler Unlimited Sahara, will be dropped in favor of the upcoming Wrangler Unlimited '4xe' PHEV. However, there will still be an eTorque Mild Hybrid version of the (naturally-aspirated) 3.6L Pentastar V6 gasoline engine. The six-speed manual transmission will remain available, but ONLY with the NON-eTorque naturally-aspirated 3.6L Pentastar V6 gasoline engine, while an eight-speed automatic transmission will be optional (and standard on upper trim levels). The 3.0L EcoDiesel Turbocharged V6 diesel engine will also remain available. Naturally, all Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited models will remain available ONLY with four-wheel-drive (4X4).
There will also be some equipment and feature enhancements for the 2021 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. These enhancements start with the previously-optional U Connect 4 7.0 touchscreen infotainment system becoming standard equipment on all Sport "S"-based models (aka the Sport "S", the Sport Willy's Edition, the Black and Tan Edition, the Willy's Edition, the Sport Altitude Edition, and the Freedom Edition), along with standard SiriusXM Satellite Radio and a one-year paid trial subscription. This means that buyers of the aforementioned trim levels will no longer have to pay extra just to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration or the seven-inch (7.0") full-color Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) LCD instrument cluster display (which is also packaged with the seven-inch (7.0") U Connect 4 7.0 touchscreen infotainment system). Furthermore, all Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited models that are equipped with either of the two larger touchscreen infotainment systems (aka the U Connect 4 7.0 and the U Connect 4C 8.4 GPS navigation systems) will receive a new Selectable Tire Fill Alert (STFA) System, which works in combination with the vehicle's Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), will flash the vehicle's front headlamps when the vehicle's main tires are filled (tire spare tire is NOT monitored by the TPMS), and sound its horn when the proper tire pressure is achieved. If the tire pressure is either under-inflated or over-inflated when the air pressure hose is removed from the tire valve stem, the vehicle will sound its horn three times. Speaking of the U Connect 4C 8.4 GPS navigation infotainment system, that system is now available on Sport "S"-based models as part of the Infotainment and Premium Audio Group (also on 2020 models), and that package also adds a 506-watt premium Alpine-branded audio system with a rear cargo area-mounted "All-Weather" subwoofer and an external amplifier. After the larger touchscreen radio becomes standard equipment on Sport "S"-based models, ONLY the base Sport will NOT have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration OR SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
The 2021 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon and Rubicon Recon models will receive the (Jeep) Gladiator JT's optional front-facing trail camera system, which is mounted in the vehicle's front grille, and allows a driver to see obstacles that may be on the trail in front of them. Rubicon models will also receive the "Off-Road Plus (+)" Mode that made its debut on the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator JT. Also, the "Selec-Trac" full-time 4X4 (4WD) system, which includes a low-range gear, will become available on Sport "S"-based trim levels of the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited (previously, buyers had to upgrade to the luxury-oriented Sahara trim in order to be able to opt for the "Selec-Trac" system instead of the standard "Command-Trac" part-time 4X4 (4WD) system). Finally, the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited will receive two new exterior paint color options for the 2021 model year: Snazzberry Metallic (Metallic Reddish-Pink), which first made its debut on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator High Altitude Edition Concept Vehicle (the color is NOT currently available on the production Gladiator High Altitude Edition), as well as Hydro Blue Pearl Coat Metallic (Metallic Bright Blue), which first made its debut, and is currently available on, the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator. The order banks for the 2021 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited will open soon, and vehicles should start arriving at Jeep dealerships nationwide by mid-to-late September of 2020. While pricing isn't yet available for the 2021 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited, base pricing (without options) for the 2020 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited ranges from $28,295 for a base 2-Door Wrangler Sport, to $43,450 for a top-tier 2-Door Wrangler Rubicon Recon, or $31,795 for a base 4-Door Wrangler Unlimited Sport, to $49,995 for a top-tier 4-Door Wrangler Unlimited High Altitude Edition. Jeep produces the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited (as well as the related Gladiator JT) at its iconic Toledo, Ohio Assembly Complex. What do you think of all of the proposed changes to the 2021 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited lineup? Let us know in the comments down below, and stay tuned right here for more information on the 2021 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited when it becomes available!