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Used Jeep Wrangler – Costa Mesa, CA

The Jeep Wrangler is an SUV that holds a strong presence on the market. Jeep has found success in the Wrangler due to its great performance and an emphasis on off-roading capabilities. Those looking for a compact SUV that checks all of the boxes associated with successful off-roading should look no further than the Wrangler. Whether it’s the newest model in production or a used Jeep Wrangler, drivers will find nothing but satisfaction in their purchase.

The Wrangler historically has seated a maximum of four or five passengers depending on the seating configuration, meaning the entire family can come along for the ride. What makes used Wranglers so appealing to drivers is the identical performance output seen throughout the past eight years. This ultimately means that drivers who purchase an older Wrangler in efforts to save money will not have to make sacrifices regarding performance.

A dark grey 2018 used Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is parked on the beach near Costa Mesa, CA.

From a historical standpoint, the Wrangler has always been a fan-favorite, thanks in part to its reliability and exceptional performance. After starting production in 1986, Jeep has continuously improved upon the Wrangler’s formula and has become a strong contender in the off-roading scene. With identical performance metrics between used Wranglers and brand new ones, drivers are given the advantage of saving more money without sacrificing features or power. Additionally, used Wranglers from the last few years will sport many identical similarities within the interior.

Amongst these similarities is a maximum passenger capacity of either four or five passengers depending on the vehicle’s two or four-door variations. Depending on the used Wrangler a shopper is considering, it may include the same infotainment system consisting of the same tech-centric connectivity features, too. Mix all of this with a maximum ground clearance of 10.8 inches, and it becomes clear how serious the Wrangler is when it comes to off-roading. With all of these benefits, used Wranglers are an intriguing option for any of those interested.

The Difference Between Wrangler JK and JL

A red 2015 used Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is driving on a dirt road past pine trees.

One significant difference between Wrangler models aspiring shoppers will notice on the pre-owned market is JK and JL models. Jeep introduced JL as the successor to the JK back in 2017 and is the most current iteration of the Wrangler. JL is also referred to as the fourth-generation of the Jeep Wrangler, with the JK beginning the third-generation Wrangler over a decade ago.

Most used Wranglers are likely to be JK models as they’ve simply been on the market for a longer period. This also means that used Wrangler JL models are more likely to appear on the market as CPO vehicles. Jeep made several notable changes to the Wrangler when replacing JK with JL, though, all of which provide a smoother off-roading experience.

Other changes made to the Wrangler since the introduction of JL includes an exterior overhaul that makes the vehicle lighter, interior improvements, and performance upgrades. These performance upgrades include an 8-speed automatic transmission, which replaced JK’s 5-speed automatic. Jeep began implementing infotainment centers into the Wrangler around halfway through the JK’s time on the market and can easily be found on the used market.

The likes of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became available for the 2015 Wrangler, and these software suites are still highly sought after today. CarPlay and Auto allow devices such as iPhones and Android phones to be connected for seamless interaction with the Wrangler’s built-in infotainment center. These inclusions help the driver stay connected at all times, whether they’re on the road or off. Although JK models are no longer in production, they’re still considered relevant for off-roading enthusiasts, and JL was naturally an evolutionary leap for the Wrangler.

Off-Roading with the Wrangler

A white 2018 used Jeep Wrangler is crossing a river while off-roading.

Jeep Wranglers offer excellent performance in both on and off-road situations. One of the main engines, powering the Wrangler ever since 2012, is a 3.6L V6 engine that may be paired to either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. This gives the Wrangler 285 hp to work with along with 260 lb-ft of torque. However, both JK and JL models feature turbocharged 2.0L 4-Cyl engines that produce 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Drivers looking for an engine with extra torque output should certainly consider this engine, considering it has 13% more torque while only sacrificing 5% of overall horsepower.

Regardless of which engine the Wrangler is paired with, the Wrangler provides a smooth yet thrilling ride. While not primarily focused on towing, the Wrangler can tow up to 3,500 lbs with the four-door configuration and 2,000 lbs with the two-door variant. This allows drivers to tow various machinery such as ATV bikes to an off-roading site, for example.

Used Jeep Wranglers can come standard with a host of impressive features that give an edge to the off-roading performance. Amongst these additions, the Wrangler comes with tow hooks, axles in both the front and rear of the vehicle, and a two-speed transfer case. The two-speed transfer case is essential for proper off-roading as it helps the Wrangler climb rocks along with other rough terrains with relative ease.

Wrangler models also historically have fantastic fuel efficiency ratings. For example, a used 2018 Jeep Wrangler with the aforementioned V6 has EPA-estimated ratings of 18 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway. This is compared to the newest Wrangler, which gets 17 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway with the manual transmission and 19 MPG in the city and 22 MPG on the highway when paired with automatic transmission and the same engine. In all, the used models have almost identical fuel economy to get drivers to and from the off-roading trails.

Newer JL Wranglers also offer an available turbodiesel engine for those looking for the utmost fuel-efficiency coupled with an immense increase to torque output. This engine didn’t enter the lineup until the 2020 model year, so it won’t be too long before it makes its way into various CPO selections. With this 3.0L V6 equipped, the Wrangler can produce 260 hp and an astonishing 442 lb-ft of torque.

Putting this into perspective, this is exactly 70% more torque output than the 3.6L V6 that comes standard. As this engine is powered by diesel fuel, it excels in fuel efficiency compared to its gasoline-powered contemporaries with an EPA-estimated rating of 22 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. Drivers need to pay close attention to the JL generation of Wranglers as they will soon be appearing more prominently throughout the pre-owned market. Overall, though, whether you wait for the JL generation to enter the used market or go for one of the current JK models, buying a used Wrangler will give you tons of off-roading fun.

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