Which Jeep Wrangler Engine Is The Best?

Depending on what you want to do with your Jeep Wrangler, the engine that comes with the vehicle may not be right for you. For example, if you do a lot of driving long distance, you may want a fuel-efficient engine to save on gas and get more mileage out of your Wrangler. That’s why it’s important to know which Jeep Wrangler Engine is the best for you.

The four best Jeep Wrangler engines are as follow:

  • The 3.6L Pentastar® V6 eTorque, above average in all areas with great horsepower, options for manual or automatic shifting, and compatibility with a wide range of Wranglers.
  • 0L EcoDiesel, a powerful engine that combines strong performance with excellent gas mileage and fuel efficiency, great for long distance travel.
  • 0L Turbo eTorque, the standard engine of the Jeep Wrangler provides a strong balance of horsepower, fuel efficiency, and range.
  • 0L In-Line Six Engine, an old engine somewhat lacking in power and only adapted for 2 door Jeeps, but famously durable with incredible efficiency and torque.

This article will go over each of these engines in detail to break down their strengths and weaknesses so you can pick the best Wrangler engine for you.

List of the Best Engines for a Jeep Wrangler

Each of these engines is regarded as one of the best for a Jeep Wrangler and each has its own benefits and drawbacks to consider.

3.6L Pentastar® V6 eTorque

The 3.6L Pentastar has some of the best horsepower out of any available Wrangler engine, making it great for any use. Besides speed, the 3.6L offers a good balance of power, performance, and useful features, including the unique eTorque system.

Horsepower. The 3.6L can generate up to 285 horsepower, far more than any other Wrangler engine on the market, making it great for climbing harsh terrain.

Torque. The 3.6L offers 260 lb-ft of torque, slightly less than the average engine but not terrible by any means, especially considering the engine’s special eTorque feature.

Miles per Gallon. On average the 3.6L gets 19 miles per gallon which is slightly less than the standard 2.0L engine, but still respectable.

Features. The 3.6L Pentastar comes with the unique eTorque system which increases the engine’s initial, low-end torque to boost acceleration. This ability to quickly and reliably accelerate in rough conditions makes the 3.6L great for heavy off-roading on uneven ground.

Compatibility. The 3.6L has been in circulation from 2012 to the present day, making it compatible with a wide range of Jeep Wranglers. It can even be installed in both 4 and 2 door Wranglers, as well as with automatic and manual transmission systems.

Overall. The 3.6L is a great engine for the serious off-roader, as it offers incredible horsepower and reliable torque in rough conditions. It may not be perfect across the board, but this engine offers the most performance out of any Wrangler engine and has a track record of reliability.

3.0L EcoDiesel

The 3.0L EcoDiesel engine is for someone who wants to protect nature just as much as they want to drive through it. The 3.0L is a diesel engine that offers both incredible torque and fuel economy, not to mention respectable horsepower.

Horsepower. The 3.0L offers 260 horsepower which is only slightly slower than the standard 2.0 and still fully capable of tackling off-road conditions.

Torque. The 3.0L can generate a staggering 480 lb-ft of torque, blowing the other engines on this list away and giving the 3.0L incredible acceleration.

Miles per Gallon. The 3.0L can easily travel 25 miles per gallon, giving it incredible range which is perfect for driving in harsh conditions far from the nearest gas station.

Feature. The 3.0L engine runs on diesel fuel instead of the standard unleaded fuel, which helps give the engine its incredible fuel economy. Diesel fuel is cheaper, provides more torque, lowers maintenance costs, and of course better fuel economy than unleaded.

Compatibility. The 3.0L has only been around since 2018, so it’s been designed for more modern Jeeps, although it can work in both 2 and 4 door models. Unfortunately, the 3.0L is only designed for automatic transmission systems, not manual.

Overall. The 3.0L engine is perfectly designed for long range travel in rough conditions, where fuel is scarce and you need a powerful engine to get over obstacles. While the 3.0L isn’t the fastest in a straight race it can easily outlast any other Wrangler engine through sheer fuel efficiency.

2.0L Turbo eTorque

The 2.0L Turbo eTorque is actually the standard engine for most Jeep Wrangler models, meaning you don’t have to pay extra to swap this engine in. Besides convenience, the 2.0L offers solid performance in every category without really standing out.

Horsepower. The 2.0L Turbo is a 270 horsepower engine, providing enough power and speed for both off and on-road driving.

Torque. The 2.0L offers an impressive 295 lbs-ft of torque, in addition to the eTorque feature for even further acceleration and engine power.

Miles per Gallon. The 2.0L gets 22 miles per gallon, the best of the non-diesel engines for the Wrangler, and enough to give it some remarkable range.

Feature. Like the 3.6L, the 2.0L comes with the eTorque system to increase the overall power of the engine. Since the 2.0L already comes with much higher torque, this means the eTorque generates even more power and faster acceleration for the Wrangler.

Compatibility. Like the EcoDiesel, the 2.0L Turbo was created in 2018 for automatic transition Wranglers only. Unlike the EcoDiesel, however, the 2.0L Turbo comes standard with 2018 and 2019 Wranglers, and is compatible with many modern 2 and 4 door models as well.

Overall. The 2.0L may not lead in any category, but if offers the best balance of horsepower, torque, fuel efficiency, and features of any Wrangler engine. The fact that it comes standard with most recent Wranglers shouldn’t be overlooked either, since this means no need to pay to replace the Wrangler’s first engine.

4.0L In-Line

The 4.0L engine was the standard for Jeeps from 1986 to 2006, making it one of the oldest and longest-serving engines on this list. The 4.0L doesn’t offer the same power as more modern engines, but in the right conditions it can offer a lot of value.

Horsepower. The 4.0L offers only 190 horsepower, not a great amount of power but sufficient to get your Wrangler where it needs to go unless you do a lot of heavy off-roading.

Torque. The 4.0L generates 220 lb-ft in torque, much closer to the rest of the Wrangler’s engine line up but still less than normal.

Miles per Gallon. The 4.0L can travel on average 15 miles per gallon, the lowest ratio of any engine on this list.

Features. The 4.0L’s most impressive feature is how durable and easy to maintain they are compared to other Wrangler engines. 4.0L’s can be easily pushed past 200,000 miles with few problems and can be repaired from home with ease.

Compatibility. The 4.0L engine was created long before 4 door Wranglers became standard, so the engine is only compatible with 2 door Wranglers. It should also be noted that the newest 4.0L engine you could find would be at least 14 years old at this point.

Overall. The 4.0L might not have impressive specs on paper, but it is incredibly durable and easy to maintain. In the right hands and in the right Wrangler you can get years of service out of a 4.0L without ever having to see a mechanic.

Conclusion

What to Look For in an Engine

When you are looking for an engine for a Jeep Wrangler, it can be difficult to know what factors to look for. For the purposes of most engines, the three criteria you should be looking for are horsepower, torque, and fuel efficiency.

Horsepower: Horsepower is a measure of how powerful an engine is based on torque and RPM. This determines how fast a car can travel, making it generally one of the most important factors when looking for an engine.

The more horsepower an engine generates, the more speed and power the engine creates, and therefore the faster the Wrangler can travel. So, if you are looking to give your Wrangler more speed, look for an engine with greater overall horsepower.

Torque: Torque measures the force of the crankshafts in an engine to help determine its overall speed. Torque still has an effect on its own, however, as engines with higher torque accelerate faster.

Torque is also necessary to help heavier cars, or cars carrying heavier loads, to accelerate efficiently. Without a strong amount of torque to power the engine a vehicle that is carrying or dragging too much weight will accelerate slowly and unevenly.

Fuel Economy: Fuel economy is not a single item but a combination of a few factors like miles per gallon and maximum driving range. Each of these factors indicates how efficiently your engine turns fuel into power.

If you do a lot of long-distance traveling, especially off-road and away from regular gas stations, this is an important feature to consider. Good fuel economy can also save you money on gas in the long run and is better for the environment.

Upgrading an Engine

If you are just looking to enhance your engine, new or old, you can add different modifications to the engine in order to improve certain characteristics without having to buy a brand new engine. Of course, each of these modifications can be added to a new engine to increase its abilities.

Performance Tuner: A small device that regulates different parts of a car’s system like RPM, engine temperature, airflow, and other features. Aftermarket tuners use a touchscreen to let the user customize their engine settings and monitor features like fuel efficiency and vehicle weight.

By adjusting factors like fuel intake and engine spark timing, you can increase the power and efficiency of your engine without having to manually change parts of the engine. You can also track

Air Intakes: A component that brings outside air into the engine to both help cool the engine down and fuel internal combustion. Engines run on burning fuel for internal combustion to create drive force, and burning fuel relies on air.

Air intakes are extremely easy to replace and can be done at home, not to mention some high-flow intake systems don’t need regular replacing. This increase in airflow leads to a more powerful and efficient engine with more horsepower, torque, and fuel economy.

Superchargers: A device that greatly increases airflow directly into an engine through the intake manifold. While air intake replacements also help in the same way, superchargers take the same principle to the next level and provide even more air to fuel engine combustion.

This massive increase in airflow translates to a massive increase in overall horsepower and torque. Unlike a regular air intake, however, superchargers do little to help keep an engine cool and instead can make overheating more likely as the engine works faster and burns more fuel.

Frequently Asked Questions About Which Engine is Best for the Jeep Wrangler

What sort of mileage does the Wrangler get?

The average Jeep Wrangler should get between 15 and 20 miles per gallon, although this depends on a lot of factors. What model of Wrangler you drive, what engine you have, where you are driving, how old your car and engine are, etc. all affect fuel efficiency. Generally, the newer an engine is and the more cylinders it has the more mileage you will get out of it.

Does the Jeep Wrangler need special fuel?

The average Jeep Wrangler engine runs on standard, unleaded, 87 octane gasoline from your local gas station. While higher-end fuels can increase performance and extend engine life, the Wrangler does not need them to run. The only exception is the EcoDiesel, which is designed to run on Diesel fuel.

Which Jeep Wrangler has 4 doors?

The standard Jeep Wrangler is a 2 door vehicle, if you want more space for passengers the Wrangler Unlimited has 4 doors. Besides passenger space, the number of doors matters because certain engines are only configured to drive Jeeps with 2 doors, while some will work across all models. The 4.0L In-Line, for example, is only compatible with 2 door Jeeps.

How much can the Jeep Wrangler tow?

This depends on which Wrangler you are using since 2 door Jeeps are rated up to 2,000 lbs while 4 door Wranglers are rated up to 3,500 lbs. Engine strength has little to do with towing capacity in this case, as every engine except the 4.0L is rated up to 3,500 lbs in a 4 door Jeep, so picking a stronger engine won’t let you increase the towing capacity of your Jeep.

What should I know about going off-road?

Before going off-road, make sure you secure all loose equipment and shift into 4WD, since you can’t do either once you’re in rough terrain. Be on the lookout for any potential hazards that might affect just one side of your car, like a ditch or a large bump. Also, don’t stick your head out the side of the vehicle to see in case something flies past the car while you are driving.

Wrap Up

It’s important to know the specs and features of Jeep Wrangler engines to know which fits you the best. Whether you are looking for more horsepower, better fuel efficiency, or just an engine you could fix at home, the Wrangler has something for you. If you have any questions about the Jeep Wrangler or its engines, comment with them below.

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