2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon First Drive: Closer To An Everyday SUV Than Ever

Jeep India has launched a 2024 update of its iconic off-roader the Wrangler in India. It gets two versions – Unlimited and more off-road biased – Rubicon. We drive the latter.

By Girish Karkera


8 mins read


Published on April 25, 2024

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  • Retains the existing petrol/automatic gearbox combination
  • Quieter and more convenience features added, including ADAS
  • To be sold in Unlimited trim also. Will cost roughly Rs 4 lakh lesser

When Jeep arrived in India back in 2016, the Wrangler was one of the vehicles it launched almost immediately. Not surprising because nothing represents the quintessential American SUV brand better than this iconic brand name. Born in the 80s, and based on a lineage of tough Willys and CJ series SUVs, the Wrangler has remained an icon of off-roading and created benchmarks for rivals. So, Jeep India is ensuring it keeps the model up to date with enhancements to keep it in the hunt not only for off-road enthusiasts but also those looking for plush daily drivers.



With the 2024 model year change, Jeep has added some worthy creature comforts for a layer of finesse on what is a simple ladder-on-frame chassis drive experience. Enhancements include touch and feel of the interiors, bigger screen, quieter cabin and some exterior nip-and-tuck. While these are definitely welcome, they have even added some more off-road cred. After all, it’s a Jeep update and that goes without saying.




Iconic 7-slot grille is redesigned and bigger than before. 


The Wrangler’s iconic look stays. Boxy with a hint of flair, it still looks like it’s been built to last. The iconic front however, if you notice carefully, has a slight update with a revised version of its 7-slot grille. Wonder if it is the toughest or easiest part of a design change given there is as much the designers could have played with. With the classic round headlamps on the side, the classic Willys look lingers. Powerful LED DRLs flank the eyes. 


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Rubicon gets one sized lesser 17-inch alloy wheels. 


Flared wheel arches that protrude out significantly add to the butch stance and off-road credibility. Also helps when off-roading. The Rubicon gets new 17-inch alloy wheels with its special LT255/75 rubber. These are doubly-suited for off-roading. The other Unlimited version gets slightly lower profile but 18-inch wheels. While the Wrangler doesn’t exactly look oversized. It is just 1864mm tall (roughly the height of a Skoda Kodiaq) but in Rubicon spec has an incredible 237mm ground clearance which adds to its off-road ability.


Tech & Interior 


The cabin looks richer and according to Jeep is easier to clean. 


Since it first broke cover, a Wrangler has shed its utilitarian image and steadily climbed towards offering a more premium SUV experience. The 2024 model year is its best foot-forward yet in that sense. The first thing you notice is that they have done away with the plastic fascia on the dashboard. Instead, there is a new polyurethane material with contrast- stitching on the panels. It looks richer and also is easier to clean, says Jeep. The other in-your-face-change is the larger 12.3-inch touchscreen. It has crisp resolution, similar to the last one, but reacts faster. The interface is clear and easy to use and the larger screen helps given it now has cameras both at the front and rear. Most functions are easy access. 


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Front Seats are electric and heated but there's no ventilation. 


However, Wrangler continues to use an array of buttons for most functions which is a nice touch, I feel. It doesn’t go overboard with screens. The instrument cluster is also a classic twin-pod design and analog. Steering remains nice and chunky to use. It comes with heating but there is no cooling. There is no seat ventilation either. The cabin isn’t cramped but not very big either. Since it is not too tall you sit closer to the roof (comes with hard and soft top option) compared to other similar sized SUVs. 



All electricals are enclosed in water-resistant panels. 


Everything looks built to last – from the buttons, switches to the door handles. Jeep also assures the interiors – such as AC switches and dashboard – are actually water resistant. This means if you dirty the cabin too much, you can simply hose down the muck from the car. All electricals are enclosed in water-resistant panels and the water and muck can then just drain down holes on the floor.




New Wrangler gets the same engine & gearbox combination as earlier.


The MY2024 Wrangler carries on with the 2.0-litre petrol engine. It can still generate around 268 bhp of peak power (200kW @ 5250rpm) and a maximum of 400 Nm of torque (@ 3000Nm). Mated to an 8-speed torque convertor type automatic gearbox, it comes with a 4WD system as standard. The SUV can also be driven in 2WD by slotting the drive system in to 2H (high). There is also 4 High Auto, 4 H Part Time and 4 Low. The latter for extreme off-road conditions. Else for the most part 4H Auto works just as well.


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SUV gets 4 High Auto, 4 H Part Time and 4 Low. 


This is a powerful unit. The shove you need at low engine speeds is easily available. On the highways too, you get the acceleration when needed. The MY2024 Wrangler weighs over two tonnes now but can still do 0-100 in 8.1 secs (in 4-wheel drive). It is rated for a fuel efficiency figure of 10.6 kmpl for in Rubicon spec. We reckon it would be around 7-8 kmpl. The lighter, Unlimited version would be around 10% better.



Rubicon gets a higher 237mm ground clearance.


The Wrangler has commanding front seats with great all-around visibility. Off the road, it can still do trails that would look impossible for many other SUVs. The hardware is more or less the same but they have added some bits. The rear axle gets is a new DANA HD 44 which can tow over 2000kg. This also helps in off-road capability. While you could see a lot of data on the earlier screen too, they have now made it easier to navigate trails by adding front and rear camera with tyre guides. This provides with the accurate position of the car – especially handy when off-roading alone as you don’t need to keep getting off the SUV to check the tyre position. 


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The model is rated for a water wading capacity of 864mm.


Since you are sitting high and the wheel arches are more flared as the track is wider in a Rubicon, you can even see the edge of the car by just peeking out of the window. The steering is great to grip and the ground clearance is more than adequate for extreme off-roading. The MY2024 model is also rated for a water wading capacity of 864mm. The doors are water-tight and won’t enter the cabin to seep into the car when shut, even if the water exceeds the door sill height.



On the road, the Wrangler feels majestic.


Being a ladder on frame type, it isn’t very plush but is pliant. Plus the surprise potholes don’t surprise it as it can smother them all. You can sense the bulk though and at very high speeds it can be a handful. The cabin is now quieter which is good for long-distance or intercity travel. Also allows you to enjoy the new 552-watt Alpine sound system better. We would still reckon that is more of a driver’s SUV than a co-passengers’ when it comes to inter-city driving. Rear passengers will still have to deal with more roll. AC is also not as effective at the rear.




The Wrangler was never in the luxury zone, but is slowly inching there. 


The Jeep Wrangler MY 2024 a tough, off-roader that is as genuine as an SUV gets. It was never in the luxury zone, but is slowly inching there. So if you are the kind who is usually found on adventure trails or the kind who prefers cross-country trips with minimal planning, you are in the right place. 


The outgoing Wrangler came in two trims - Unlimited for almost Rs. 63 lakh, ex-showroom which translated to nearly Rs. 80 lakh on-road. Rs. 4 lakh more got you this hardcore off-roading version - Rubicon. Now, the price has risen to Rs. 67.65 lakh for the Unlimited, and Rs. 71.65 lakh for the Rubicon (both prices, ex-showroom). Deliveries of the updated Wrangler will start mid-May.



Wrangler ticks more boxes of a more everyday SUV than it has ever done.


In absolute terms and thankfully for Jeep, a Wrangler currently has no competitor in its segment in its price range in India. The Land Rovers are much more expensive and other luxury SUVs at this price cannot offer better off-road credentials. The only car that possibly comes closest is its own stablemate – the Grand Cherokee. With MY2024 changes, a Wrangler ticks more boxes of a more everyday SUV than it has ever done. And if making a statement every time you step out in civilisation and away from it is your kind of thing, the Wrangler will be an able ally in your garage.

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