2020 Jeep Wrangler vs 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Costa Mesa, CA

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  • 2020 Jeep Wrangler

    A red 2020 Jeep Wrangler is angled left.

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    2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

    A grey 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is facing right.

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    4Seating Capacity5
    31.7Max Cargo Space (cu.ft.)72.4
    17.3Turning Radius (ft)20.4

    The Jeep Wrangler is the most iconic and capable vehicle produced by Jeep, with a history dating back to World War II. However, choosing the perfect Jeep Wrangler for your needs can be something of a challenge given the staggering array of trims and configurations that this rugged vehicle is available in. The single most significant decision is whether to go with the standard two-door version or the extended wheelbase, four-door version, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. They have substantial similarities, and there are few tasks that one can do that the other cannot. However, a detailed comparison of the 2020 Jeep Wrangler vs 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited will reveal that the Jeep Wrangler is better suited to technical off-roading while the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is a better general-purpose vehicle. Further, this detailed comparison will allow you to better gauge which one is right for you.

  • Performance

    A silver 2020 Jeep Wrangler with the top off is driving in the sand at a beach near Costa Mesa, CA.

    Same Mechanics, Different Performance

    While both the 2020 Jeep Wrangler and the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited have the same engine options and mechanical features, they do not have the same performance. The extra size of the 2020 Jeep Wrangler is not just the result of a larger body, but a longer wheelbase. The wheelbase of a vehicle is the distance between its front wheels and its rear wheels. The standard 2020 Jeep Wrangler has a wheelbase of 96.8 inches while the stretched 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited has a wheelbase of 118.4 inches. And this 22 percent increase in wheelbase length has a real effect on vehicle performance both on and off the road.

    In terms of hard numbers, the standard length 2020 Jeep Wrangler has a turning radius of just 17.3 feet while the longer 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited has a turning radius of 20.4 feet. This is a fairly significant difference even just maneuvering through a parking lot, but off-road, it might even be the difference between being able to turn around and having to back out. When combined with the significantly larger size of the four-door vehicle, this means that the two-door 2020 Jeep Wrangler is a much more agile vehicle that can squeeze through smaller areas.

    However, wheelbase length affects much more than just agility. Another important consideration when it comes to off-road performance is that a longer wheelbase vehicle is more likely to belly out on rough terrain. This is because the wheels are further from the center of the vehicle and cannot always keep the vehicle off of tall crests or obstacles. And of course, a larger vehicle is also heavier, with the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited weighing roughly 200 pounds more than the smaller 2020 Jeep Wrangler. Although this difference is relatively small, it does mean slightly reduced performance and increased ground pressure, which could reduce mobility in soft terrain.

    But if you do not intend to take your Jeep Wrangler on technical off-road courses, then the longer wheelbase of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited actually has some benefits. These include enhanced stability at higher speeds as well as a generally smoother ride. So while the two-door Jeep Wrangler may make a better off-road vehicle, many drivers will find that the four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is more comfortable as well as more versatile.

  • Capacity

    The trunk of a 2020 Jeep Wrangler is shown from the inside with the door open and gear spread out.

    The defining characteristic that sets the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited apart from the 2020 Jeep Wrangler is its additional doors, and the benefits of having four doors rather than two are obvious. Not only can you passengers enter and exit without having to climb through the front row, but you can also more easily access items stored in the rear. This makes the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited a far more convenient vehicle even before its larger size is considered.

    But on top of having two more doors, the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is also simply larger. And in terms of overall length, the four-door Jeep measures nearly two feet longer than the two-door version, which gives it far more space for both passengers and cargo. And for some drivers, this extra space is essential as they need to drive many people around, or require room for their camping gear.

    Space For Passengers and Cargo

    If you intend to carry passengers often, then keep in mind that the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited offers a solid 38.3 inches of rear legroom while the standard 2020 Jeep Wrangler only has a more cramped 35.7 inches of rear legroom. While 3 inches may not seem like much on paper, it can make a real difference over a long ride.

    Further, when you are carrying passengers, the smaller 2020 Jeep Wrangler has just 12.9 cu.ft. of cargo space, which is less than many compact sedans. In contrast, the larger 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited offers 31.7 cu.ft. of cargo space even when all of its seats are in the upright position. In fact, even with its rear seats folded, the standard 2020 Jeep Wrangler only manages to equal the 31.7 cu.ft. of its larger counterpart, while the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited tops out at a generous 72.4 cu.ft. of cargo space.

    In real-world terms, this means that the typical 2020 Jeep Wrangler is really a single row vehicle with an emergency back seat, while the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is a true two-row SUV that can comfortably carry four passengers and their baggage. But which is better will depend on your requirements. While some drivers need the added versatility of a full-size second row with doors, other drivers are perfectly okay with a single row vehicle.

  • Trims

    A silver 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is parked on beach sand with the doors and roof off for a comparison of the 2020 Jeep Wrangler vs 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.

    An important consideration in deciding between the 2020 Jeep Wrangler and the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the available trims and special editions. While these are generally shared between the two Jeep Wrangler variants, they are not identical, and the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited has no fewer than five additional trims not found on the two-door 2020 Jeep Wrangler.

    These unique trims are primarily more luxury-oriented, but they do have some critical mechanical features that are not found in the common trims. However, both variants offer a wide variety of trims and special editions covering the full range, so you should be able to find something that suits your needs no matter which version you choose.

    A Trim Breakdown

    The base Sport trims and their special editions are shared between the 2020 Jeep Wrangler and the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. These include the entry-level Sport, the nicer Sport S, the military-inspired Freedom, and traditional Black and Tan. However, the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited also offers the Sport Altitude trim, which includes styling upgrades such as a body-color-matched grille, gloss black wheels, and all-black interior.

    The performance trims are also common and include the Willys Sport, Willys, Rubicon, and Rubicon Recon. The two Willys trims have important performance modifications, such as additional rock protection and an anti-spin rear differential for improved traction. While the Rubicon trims are dedicated rock climbers with top of the line features such as front and rear locking differentials, an electronic swaybar disconnect, and a 4:1 low range transfer case.

    However, the luxury Sahara, Sahara Altitude, and High Altitude trims are unique to the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. These trims not only include a large number of standard luxury features and unique stylistic elements, but they are also the only trims of either variant of the 2020 Jeep Wrangler that come with a full-time four-wheel drive system. And while this might be less optimal for hard off-roading, it is better suited to bad weather driving on paved roads.

    Finally, for the ultimate cold weather experience, the four-door has the North Edition special edition with its standard heated seats, heated steering wheel, and all-weather floor mats, among other winter upgrades. In general, though, no matter what you need from the Jeep, there is either a standard Jeep Wrangler or a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited that will satisfy your needs.

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