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Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel Wins FOUR WHEELER’S 2020 SUV of the Year Award


FOUR WHEELER, the world’s leading 4×4 authority since 1962, has selected the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel as the winner of its 47th annual SUV of the Year award. 

FOUR WHEELER’s SUV of the Year award event is an invitation-only competition that is only open to all-new or significantly revised SUVs for the upcoming model year. For 2020, the field of vehicles included three entries: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 3.6L eTorque, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel, and Land Rover Range Rover Sport MHEV 3.0L.

“The Wrangler is a truly exceptional machine both on- and off-road, and the new-for-2020 EcoDiesel engine option compliments the outstanding JL platform,” said FOUR WHEELER Editor Ken Brubaker. “The EcoDiesel’s power and efficiency raise the bar for the already incomparable 4×4 making it even more extraordinary.”  

The competition began in the Los Angeles area with ramp travel index (RTI) testing to gauge each vehicle’s suspension articulation. Following RTI testing, the SUVs were driven to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, for track testing, including 0-60 and quarter-mile acceleration times, as well as 60-0 braking distance. Following track testing, the vehicles were driven to the Southern California desert on paved roads. Judges included staff from various 4×4 brands including FOUR WHEELER, 4-WHEEL & OFF-ROAD, and JP MAGAZINE. 

The next three days were spent primarily in a variety of off-road conditions, including sand, rocky trails, loose-surface trails, and snow. Testing also included a loose-dirt hillclimb and water crossings. Night driving was also integrated into the competition to gauge each vehicle’s lighting equipment. 

The final day of testing included a long highway test section returning to the Los Angeles area, during which additional important highway data was gathered, including fuel economy, interior comfort, and on-road handling. The weeklong testing covered approximately 1,000 miles.

“Jeep proves once again that it is listening to its customers, this time delivering the much anticipated diesel-powered Wrangler,” said MOTORTREND GROUP Content Director Sean P. Holman. “With no trade-offs in the capability or the experience demanded by enthusiasts and adventurers alike, the impressively efficient Wrangler EcoDiesel makes sense for your daily commute now too.”  

In the dirt, the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon impressed with its approach and departure angles (43.9 and 37 degrees, respectively). The Rubicon’s Rock-Trac transfer case low-range ratio of 4:1 and the axle ratio of 3.73:1 combined with the eight-speed automatic transmission’s First gear ratio of 4.71:1 to create a crawl ratio of 70.3:1. This impressive crawl ratio, combined with the torque of the EcoDiesel engine, made slow-speed crawling in difficult terrain a controlled, easy, no-drama experience.         

Inside, judges gave high marks to the optional leather-trimmed bucket seats, which added a luxurious feel and were easy to clean after a day in the dirt with the Sky One-Touch Power Top retracted. The optional Premium Audio Group included an 8.4-inch color display, GPS navigation, and an Alpine audio system with SiriusXM satellite radio. Judges also like the optional Cargo Group with Trail Rail System, which is an adjustable rail-based tie-down utility system that mounts on the cargo floor and swing gate.  

The new-for-2020 EcoDiesel option impressed the judges with its power. On rocky, slow speed trails judges noted the EcoDiesel engine’s smooth torque, which peaks at only 1,400-2,800 rpm. Fuel economy was also a strength of the EcoDiesel and the engine returned a best tank mpg of 26.5. On- and off-road the engine delivered power smoothly and seamlessly, adding to the JL’s outstanding drivability. The EcoDiesel also helped generate some impressive track numbers including a 0-60 time of 8 seconds and a respectable quarter-mile time of 16.3 seconds.       

Scoring for the award included five weighted categories with 30 percent Trail Performance, 20 percent Empirical (RTI, acceleration, braking, price), 20 percent On Pavement (handling, ride quality, steering feel), 15 percent Interior (instrumentation, ingress and egress, seat comfort, storage), and 10 percent Exterior (appearance, stance, body protection).  

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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