2022 Jeep Wrangler High Tide: Sorry, This One’s Not for Canada

Published on December 13, 2022 in Test Drives by Antoine Joubert

During a recent trip to Uncle Sam’s land, Jeep gave me the keys to a High Tide edition of their 2022 Wrangler. It didn’t appear to be anything special at first glance, but after taking it for a spin in various conditions and environments I realized that this particular model could potentially enjoy success up north, as well.

What’s the High Tide? Basically it’s a Wrangler Unlimited Sport turned into a complete beast, with many features and components borrowed from the Wrangler Rubicon 392—except for the 6.4-litre HEMI engine, of course.

The unique thing about the design here is the Sunrider Fliptop, which includes a fabric top up front and a hardtop in the rear, giving users a taste of open-top motoring without having to remove any panels.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Other than that, it’s the mechanical and technical upgrades that impress on this Wrangler. There’s the Xtreme Recon Package complete with 35-inch BF Goodrich T/A KO2 tires, 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels, 1.5-inch suspension lift and wheel flare extensions. A reinforced Gorilla Glass windshield is also included, limiting damage from rocks and various debris (something other Wranglers are typically prone to).

However, you won’t find locking differentials or disconnecting sway bars. Like I said earlier, the High Tide is based on the entry-level Sport model, which is devoid of many technologies and high-end features.

Time to Play in the Sand

I had the pleasure of driving the amazingly capable Jeep Wrangler High Tide on the sandy patches of Mission Bay Park north of San Diego. As a matter of fact, the first 500 units were sold under a different name—Beach—which says a lot. This vehicle is designed for tackling loose terrain, climbing dunes and rescuing a buddy’s Jeep that got stuck in the sand.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

While the suspension is stiffer than that of a standard Wrangler, ride quality on paved roads isn’t the nightmare I expected. Sure, you have to make a bit more steering adjustments, and the tires generate a fair amount of noise, but the latter are also beefier and more effective at soaking up bumps and potholes on your way to the beach.  

The most annoying aspect of the Wrangler High Tide is the aforementioned Fliptop. When closed, the fabric section creates turbulence and serious pain for the ears. It’s always better to leave it open and enjoy the sun, anyway. For the record, a full hardtop is not available.

My tester came with a long list of options increasing the price from $33,595 USD to $57,645 USD. Remember, the engine under the hood is the base Pentastar V6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The High Tide package alone costs an extra $11,895 USD. For some reason a Cold Weather Package was even part of the mix, adding a heated steering wheel and heated seats plus remote start—not what I’d call necessary in Southern California!

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Receding Tide

The 2022 Jeep Wrangler High Tide is a unique offering, though one that is exclusive to the U.S. market and not returning for 2023. Jeep brand enthusiasts can now turn their attention to the new Wrangler Willys, which happens to be available with the Xtreme Recon Package just like the High Tide.

Watch: 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe Review

Test drive report
Test model 2022 Jeep Wrangler
Trim level Unlimited Sport
Price range $38,445 – $101,445
Price as tested 46 245 $
Warranty (basic) 3 years/60,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 5 years/100,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) 13,8 / 10,1 / 13,1 L/100km
Options N/A
Competitive models 2023 Ford Bronco, 2023 Toyota 4Runner
Strong points
  • Looks bad-ass
  • Amazing off-road capability
  • Unique top design
Weak points
  • For the U.S. only
  • Package not returning for 2023
  • Turbulence from Sunrider Fliptop
Editor's rating
Fuel economy 2.0/5 This Wrangler burns around 13 L/100 km on average, so it’s not efficient by any stretch.
Comfort 2.5/5 Definitely not the strength of Jeep’s ultimate 4x4, but more comfortable than you might think.
Performance 3.5/5 Off-road capability is a lot more impressive than on-road performance.
Infotainment 1.5/5 The 7-inch Uconnect display in this particular model is a big disappointment.
Driving 2.5/5 A ton of fun on sand and in the trails, not so much on pavement.
Overall 3.5/5 An intriguing package aimed at a select few.
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