Jan 24, 2020

What we're driving: 2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Ecodiesel

2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Ecodiesel. Photo: Courtesy of Jeep

When the ice and snow hit Michigan last weekend, I was fortunate to be testing a 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara Ecodiesel.

Why it matters: If you're going to be tackling rough roads, any Jeep is handy, especially the capable 4x4 Wrangler. But with 442 pound-feet of torque from the new diesel power plant, you can drive over just about anything.

The big picture: This is the first diesel-powered Wrangler, joining the standard 3.6-liter V-6 and 2.0-liter hybrid turbo-4. It's as much about fuel economy as it is about extra torque and driving performance.

  • The EPA rates the EcoDiesel Wrangler at 22/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined, making it the most fuel-efficient version of the World War II-inspired SUV.
  • Next year, Jeep will begin electrifying its lineup with plug-in hybrid versions of the Compass, Renegade and yes, even the Wrangler.

My thought bubble: The raw and rough-riding Wrangler is not the SUV you want for a daily driver (even though it seems half the youth in my neighborhood are tooling around in one). It'll rattle your teeth and toss you around.

  • The growling diesel engine (a $4,000 option) only adds to its charm.
  • And at $56,945 for the four-door I tested, the price is steep.
  • But the go-anywhere Wrangler is a reliable friend in rough weather.

Go deeper: See what else Joann has been driving

Go deeper

What we're driving: 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe. Photo: Courtesy of Hyundai

This week I'm driving the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe, an underrated mid-size crossover SUV.

The big picture: There are so many crossovers on the market these days, it's hard to tell them apart. But I like the styling of the Santa Fe, whose athletic lines help distinguish it from the rest.

What we're driving: The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500

Your author with the Silverado 2500, to scale. Photo: Bill Rapai/Axios

My ride this week is a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, a heavy-duty pickup truck with a hood that's almost as tall as I am.

The big picture: Heavy-duty trucks are meant for people doing serious work, like towing a large boat, a horse trailer or a camper — not for driving to the health club or supermarket, like I did.

Here's why we should hope self-driving tech is ready soon

Waymo's self-driving minivans. Photo: Courtesy of Waymo

This week during several automated driving demonstrations in Arizona I was reminded why we should all hope self-driving technology is ready soon.

Why it matters: Self-driving cars don't get drunk, tired, distracted — or do things that are just plain stupid — behaviors I saw in spades on the roads in and around Phoenix and Tuscon.