Wrangler 2 Door vs 4 Door: The Great Debate
Posted by Gillian Fournier on 19th Jan 2018
When it comes to shopping for a new (or new to you) Wrangler, it's always a wise choice to do a little research while browsing around. With the new Jeep® Wrangler JL hitting the dealership lots, and the JKs still in high demand nation- if not, world-, wide, aesthetics, performance, preference, reliability, comfort, price and style are the top factors many base their final decision on. We also polled the crowds on Facebook and received a variety of different replies and reasons- enjoy!
To get started, let's look at some facts. Jeep® started cranking out the 4 door models with the JKs (2007-2018). Until then, enthusiasts only had experience with the 2 door Wrangler selections, CJ, YJ and TJ. Both the JK (2 door) and JKU (4 door) models have identical height and width and are practically exact, mechanical-wise. I can only assume the new JL/JLU will also have the same balance. When it comes to the structural integrity, this is where the differences begin. Obviously, the 4 door models have 2 extra doors but it doesn't stop there. The 4 door model has approximately a 20" longer wheelbase and weighs roughly 200 lbs more than the 2 door. The suspension system between the two also differs, as 4 doors use a higher rate spring to aid in compensating for the additional weight. This is why sometime you'll see a JK owner running take-off springs from a JKU, as it provides the 2 door with a little bit of lift. The same, however, cannot be said about a 4 door using 2 door springs as they wouldn't be able to accommodate the extra weight.
It's no myth that the 2 door models, including all trim levels, are more affordable than the 4 doors. Less materials, less parts, less production time means less cost. But that does not mean the two models don't come with the same options. Aside from Jeep nixing the Sahara trim on the JL for 2 doors, everything that comes in a 2 door is available in a 4 door and vice versa.
On-Road Use and Performance:
- 2 doors have a shorter wheelbase and high center of gravity, which can make it a bit more flighty on-road, especially at highway speeds. The lighter weight provides for slightly better gas mileage.
- 4 doors have a longer wheelbase and their overall weight make them more stable on-road, especially at highway speeds. They also provide a comfortable, SUV-like ride, but slightly worse gas mileage.
Passengers and Cargo:
- When it comes to fitting passengers and/or cargo into a 2 door, I usually double over in a fit of giggles. I own a 2015 2 door and the struggle is so real. Imagining a JK loaded to the brim with passengers and cargo is just laughable, in my opinion. First of all, because of the location of the rear axle, you can only fit 2 passengers in the rear bench seat, rather than 3. There's no third seatbelt back there. Trust me, I checked. And just to get in the back, front riders have to get out and move the seat forward, while rear passengers must limber up and acquire some serious contortion skills to climb up and over the folded front seat. And that 1ft by maaaaaaybe 4 ft joke of a cargo area? Have fun fitting anything back there. There is also not much legroom in the back so if you have taller passengers, they're SOL.
- The 4 door models can fit up to 5 passengers total, driver included, and access to the rear bench seat is a breeze. Owners with small children small children or pets have no difficult fitting car seats or carriers on the seat. The storage/cargo area is large and can fit a significant amount of cargo, especially if the rear seat is folded down. This takes #urbancamping and drive-in movies to a whole new level. There is plenty of space in the front and rear footwells for leg room, taller rides and just more movement in general.
- I'll be honest, the rear bench seat in both models is uncomfortable and can be a bit of a pain for long distance trips. Both models rear seats can be folded down, or removed completely, providing even more cargo space that you had before, it just depends on what you'll be using your Jeep® for. While both the 2 door and 4 doors allow you to travel and transport passengers and cargo, the 4 door is known to be a bit more practical for on-road traveling and daily driving.
Dimensions: . .
Off-Road Use and Performance:
- As stated earlier, the 2 doors have a shorter wheel base, which provides a shorter turning radius. This allows them to maneuver through tighter, technical trails with ease. They also have the advantage when it comes to the break-over-angle, or the point of where the vehicle breaches over a steep incline or obstacle. 2 doors can also traverse through narrow trails or rock formations more effortlessly (most of the time) and ascend/descend over obstacles often without turtling or getting hung up on the belly.
- 4 doors have a longer wheel base and more stability, though their turning radius is larger, making a simple 3 point turn become a 6+ point turn. They tend to make more contact with the ground and obstacles and can often turtle or become high centered. 4 doors can easily get dinged, dented or scratched on tighter trails that 2 doors just seem to slink through. However, they excel on steeper inclines and declines due to their wheel base and weight.
- Both models are fully capable of tackling almost every kind of terrain they come across. 2 doors tend to take the cake when it comes to maneuverability. Your decision should come down to what type of off-roading, if any, you plan on doing. JK/JLs are more ideal for tighter, rocky and narrow trails while JKU/JLUs are optimal for open or steep terrain.
While the 2 door model seems to flourish on the trails, performance-wise, the 4 door shines when it comes to daily use and cargo area. A 2 door might be able to squeeeeeeze into that tight parking spot at the plaza, but the 4 door will be able to bring more groceries home. (Sorry, you *know* I had to throw some sort of mall crawler dig in here somewhere.) Some will argue #teamtwodoor til they're blue in the face, because that's what the Wrangler has always been. Others will rebuttal with #teamfourdoor and thank Jeep for finally coming to their senses are designing a more family-and-cargo-friendly option. Each model has their own pros and cons, as does any make and model out there and your decision should come down to personal preference, budget, comfort and what you'll be using the vehicle for. If you have a family or pets, especially small children or dogs, or enjoy trips where a lot of cargo is needed, a 4 door might be the better option. If you're not planning on transporting more than 1 or 2 passengers and travel light, the 2 door sounds like it might be right up your alley.
As always. check back here for all the latest and greatest Jeep® and off-road reviews, news and updates!