2018 Jeep Wrangler JK vs. 2018 BMW X3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Jeep Wrangler JK are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Wrangler JK and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, available front seat side-impact airbags and head airbags.

Warranty

Jeep’s powertrain warranty covers the Wrangler JK 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the X3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 7 times as many Jeep dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Wrangler JK’s warranty.

Reliability

The Wrangler JK has a solid front axle with a floating power axle for durability that the X3’s independent front suspension and exposed front driveshafts don’t offer.

Engine

The Wrangler JK’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 37 more horsepower (285 vs. 248) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 258) than the X3 xDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Wrangler JK 2dr’s standard fuel tank has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the X3 (18.6 vs. 17.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Wrangler JK Unlimited’s standard fuel tank has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the X3 (22.5 vs. 17.7 gallons).

Transmission

The Wrangler JK offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The X3 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Wrangler JK Rubicon’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X3 (255/75R17 vs. 245/50R19).

Suspension and Handling

The Wrangler JK Rubicon has an active front sway bar, which helps keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnects at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The X3 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Wrangler JK Unlimited’s wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the X3 (116 inches vs. 112.8 inches).

For better maneuverability, the Wrangler JK 2dr’s turning circle is 4.8 feet tighter than the X3 xDrive30i’s (34.6 feet vs. 39.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Wrangler JK Sport Unlimited has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X3 (8.2 vs. 8 inches), allowing the Wrangler JK to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Wrangler JK Rubicon 2dr’s minimum ground clearance is 2 inches higher than on the X3 (10 vs. 8 inches).

Chassis

The Jeep Wrangler JK may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 400 pounds less than the BMW X3.

The Wrangler JK 2dr is 1 foot, 9.6 inches shorter than the X3, making the Wrangler JK easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Wrangler JK Unlimited has 2.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the X3 (104 vs. 101.4).

Cargo Capacity

The Wrangler JK Unlimited has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the X3 with its rear seat up (31.5 vs. 28.7 cubic feet). The Wrangler JK Unlimited has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the X3 with its rear seat folded (70.6 vs. 62.7 cubic feet).

Payload

The Wrangler JK has a higher standard payload capacity than the X3 (1000 vs. 937 lbs.).

The Wrangler JK has a higher maximum payload capacity than the X3 (1000 vs. 959 lbs.).

Ergonomics

The Wrangler JK Automatic offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Wrangler JK has standard extendable sun visors. The X3 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Wrangler JK offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The X3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

and e Jeep Wrangler comes in sedan bodystyles; the BMW X3 isn’t available as a sedan.

Recommendations

The Wrangler JK was selected by Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine as their 2012 4x4 of the Year. The X3 has never been chosen.

The Jeep Wrangler outsold the BMW X3 by almost five to one during 2017.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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