2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
Four Wheeler|February 2022
Final report: It's the long-haul wasteland warrior rig
By Christian Hazel

The year is 2023. Recipients of untested vaccines have mutated into brain-gobbling monsters. Supply chains and infrastructures have shut down. Civilization has collapsed, replaced by warlord factions fighting for control. Amid the chaotic plundering and pillaging, you learn of a desert island oasis 400 miles away where the rule of law still exists. In what vehicle do you pack your family to make it there? The last thing you want is some Mad Max super interceptor with a fuel-guzzling, supercharged big-block that'll get you down the wasteland to the tune of 2.3 mpg. Nah, mate, you want something good on petrol that won't get high-centered crossing the first dry billabong you come across or leave your tank dry outrunning the first band of miscreants you come across. Better yet, forget the petrol and grab yerself an economical diesel 4x4. That's right, an EcoDiesel. Now yer talking, mate.

Forgive the flight of apocalyptic fancy, but we had a long time during the 3,001 miles we recently spent behind the wheel of our 20 EcoDiesel Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited heading to and coming back from Ultimate Adventure 2021 to let our mind wander. As we pierced the barren wastelands of I-10 through Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas, the scenario above kept playing in our heads. This vehicle is quite possibly the world's best factory bugout rig. With the exception of the super-thirsty DEF tank, which we found needed to be fed a 5-gallon jug of cat urine roughly every 4,000 miles, this Wrangler Rubicon with the 3.0L EcoDiesel engine is comfortably capable of more than 400 miles on a single fill of its 18.3gallon fuel tank. And while that's nothing really special in the world of diesel vehicles, what is special is remembering that along with the range comes unparalleled factory off-road capability with respectable ground clearance, impressive approach and departure angles, factory 33-inch mud tires, front and rear locking solid axles, and a slinky suspension that'll let you get through almost any terrain you'd expect a horse to realistically traverse. All this while comfortably seating up to five people and enough gear to sustain them for at least a week.

In the past three installments, we've gone into great detail about our experiences with this particular EcoDiesel-equipped Wrangler, from glitches and problems to off-road performance and prowess to what it's like to live with on a daily basis as a kid shuttle and grocery getter. But when many prospective Wrangler buyers are considering whether or not to click that $4,000 diesel engine option, the reasoning many we've interviewed give is the perception that it'll get insane highway mpg numbers for their daily commute and long-haul trips. So having just completed a very long-haul trip, we'll focus our attention on this last installment to just that.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FOUR WHEELERView All

Vehicle A.D.D

Jack and Darcie Peeler have had a lot of different toys

4 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2022

Bronco Options, a New Four-speed, an Alternative to the Divorced 'case, and More From 1966

As Four Wheeler magazine is celebrating its 60th anniversary throughout 2022, our nostalgia levels remain high and we dove into the archives. With no particular rhyme or reason, we flipped open the October 1966 edition of the magazine, landing on these highlights from Ford, Chevy, and Dodge.

3 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2022

Where's my T-case linkage?

A three-day weekend was coming up and I was stoked. My work was sorta caught up and my location was about an hour from a 41,000-acre state forest that E was crisscrossed by trails.

2 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2022

2022 Chevy Silverado ZR2

Multimatic DSSV shocks, 33-inch mud tires, front and rear lockers, and custom bodywork make Chevy’s new flagship pickup stand out from the crowd

4 mins read
Four Wheeler
March 2022

THE PICKUPS HAVE COME TO PARTY! - 2022 FOUR WHEELER PICKUP TRUCK OF THE YEAR

MEET THE CONTENDERS FORD F-150 RAPTOR • FORD F-150 TREMOR FORD RANGER TREMOR • NISSAN FRONTIER PRO-4X TOYOTA TACOMA TRD PRO • TOYOTA TUNDRA TRD PRO

10+ mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2022

The story of the invisible car and the silver Durango

My wife called it “the invisible car.” We bought it in 2002 after the third or fourth unsuccessful attempt at getting Ford to honor warranty work on her ’00 Focus ZTS. We finally gave up and traded it in on a super-low-mileage ’99 Toyota Camry.

2 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2022

DIY HIGHBOY

Crust and adventure around every corner with Tim Jackson’s F-250

3 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2022

DEAL OR DUD?

10 things to watch out for when buying a used front axle

9 mins read
Four Wheeler
May 2022

Sponsors of Overland Adventure 2021

See how these incredible companies get it done in the backcountry

5 mins read
Four Wheeler
March 2022

2021 RAM 1500 TRX

First report: Does the TRX live up to the hype?

5 mins read
Four Wheeler
March 2022