By on October 23, 2006

jp007_096wr.jpgNo vehicle represents America’s can-do spirit as authentically as the Jeep Wrangler. Born from the conflict that defined our Greatest Generation, the Jeep embodied our nation’s core values: simplicity, honesty and never-say-die durability. That was then. Now, not one but two badge engineered CUV’s are dragging the Jeep brand’s hard-core off-road rep through the [ankle deep] mire. Which puts a lot of weight on the ’07 Wrangler Unlimited’s elongated shoulders. Does the new Wrangler have enough talent and gumption to make up for the sins of the sons?

Necessity dictated the design of the general purpose military vehicle in 1941. With its windshield folded down and wheels removed, large numbers of Jeeps could be stacked onto and into transport ships. Tradition demands– and receives– respect for these styling cues. Even so, the Wrangler has evolved. Every corner, once sharp as the pant crease of an Army Class-A uniform, is subtly rounded. The grille that has stood at starched upright attention for more than sixty years is gently swept back. The windscreen still folds forward, but now it’s hinged in the middle to accommodate its new slightly curved shape. Aerodynamic it’s not. But for a Wrangler, the new model is positively sleek.

jp007_062wr.jpgThe top is as stubborn as ever. When I asked the Chrysler rep to take down the “Easy Folding Soft Top,” I initiated a 10-minute wrestling match between man and machine. The machine won. Despite unbuckling hasps, releasing latches and unzipping Velcro, the origami-impaired rep couldn't get the damn thing down. While I’m reasonable confident that a properly trained, well-practiced owner could eventually remove the canvas lid, the transformation shouldn’t be attempted impulsively at, say, a stoplight. In fact, I reckon the optional three-piece modular “Freedom Top” was named for its ability to liberate owners from said task.

Meanwhile, the new Wrangler (codenamed JK) has sprouted an extra pair of doors. Despite its additonal length, the outgoing Unlimited two-door required a contortionist’s skill to access the back. With rear portals, back seat egress is downright civilized– which is a bit like marveling at how easy it’s become to swing open The Gates of Hell. Not to put too fine a point on it, Jeep’s second row accommodations are rear passenger purgatory, bereft of comfort or room in any direction. And that’s when you’re standing still. Flail about the countryside at speed and your companions will emerge bruised, battered and bitching.

jp007_068wr.jpgI drove the ’07 Wrangler Unlimited back-to-back with an outgoing ’06 two-door model. The advancements are profound. The front seats are far more comfortable and offer something remarkably akin to lateral support. Also new for ’07: optional power windows and locks for the [still] removable doors. The power window controls are now located in the center of the dashboard just below the stereo. The rest of the spartan dash gets a Chrysler parts-bin makeover; a vast improvement for Jeep, but nothing special in and of itself.

Jeep’s streamlining and improved chassis insulation deliver a much quieter (if not quiet) ride. Wrangler owners have come to expect rigs that porpoise down the highway, skitter through corners and labor to a stop. Thanks to the new Unlimited's added width and wheelbase, its dynamics are far more refined than its ancestors’. Through quick slalom-like maneuvering, the body continues to dance the Tango after the orquesta típica stops playing. But it recovers quickly. You can navigate city traffic with greater confidence, to the point where the Unlimited is a plausible daily driver.

jp007_039wr.jpgWrangler drivers can kiss their beloved 4.0-liter in-line six goodbye; the venerable I6 couldn’t meet federal emissions standards. All ’07 Wranglers are now blessed with Chrysler’s 3.8-liter V6, good for 215hp and 245ft-lbs torque. While its genesis might not inspire much joy in Mudtown (Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country?), the pushrod powerplant is simple enough to take the requisite beating and gives Wrangler improved torque at higher revs; it can get out of its own way when asked. Zero to sixty? Top speed? About as important to Wrangler lovers as a Porsche Cayenne's towing capacity to its target audience.

I’ve yet to take the new Wrangler Unlimited off-road, but junketed journalists report that the model is the genuine article; including tales of a Jeep rolled, righted, repaired and restored to service. Experience suggests that the new model’s extra length won’t help it in up-and-over situations, but learning your 4X4's limitations is all part of the fun.

Ironically enough, Jeep is about to experience the “fun” of learning its brand limitations. Making the Wrangler more urban-friendly while maintaining its die-hard demeanor was the right thing to do. Turning its back on its heritage was not. Is the new old-style Jeep good enough to protect the brand's rep from their silly soft-roaders? Yes, but only just. Which tells you just how good the Wrangler Unlimited is, and just how bad those CUV's really are. 

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36 Comments on “Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Review...”

  • avatar

    Isn’t that cute. A Hummer Mini-me.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure how I feel about the 4 doors. Wranglers are supposed to be toys. Like sports cars. Adding the extra doors might convince people that this is a viable family car, which in turn might convince people that they should be have a “better” ride, quieter cabin, more comfort features and various other non-jeepy things.

    Anyway, making toys more practical kind of takes the fun out, doesn’t it? Let’s just stop. Porsche, I’m looking in your direction too.

  • avatar

    You forgot to address the most important question: Will it fit a baby seat? Or two? Or three? The automotive press far overlooks the needs of new parents, when evaluating alternatives to staid family cars.

  • avatar

    Keep in mind that there is still a two-door model for singles and DINKS.

    The four-door is perfect for those of us who actually wheel our rigs, but have three children and a wife who love to come along.

    This will be my next new vehicle purchase.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    The new Unlimited has 3 anchors welded to the floor of the bed behind the rear bench for baby seats. Come to think of it, baby seats might be the only way to ride comfortably in the back seats.

  • avatar

    I hope they build a 4 door Elise. It would be perfect for bringing the wife and kids along on a track day.

  • avatar

    October 23rd, 2006 at 9:53 am
    I hope they build a 4 door Elise. It would be perfect for bringing the wife and kids along on a track day.

    A sophmoric comment. Four wheeling is a family sport. Racing is not.

    I thought that the group here was above the usual web forum crap.

  • avatar

    Sorry, that was hyperbole. I’m not trying to rag on family 4 wheeling. The point I should have made was that the type of wheeling I’d be willing to do with children (or with a brand new vehicle) would be the type of wheeling that could be handled by a Cherokee or a Liberty, both of which seat 5 and are extremely capable off-road. The Wrangler has been, and should continue to be a highly specialized vehicle. They aren’t for everybody, and needn’t try to be.

    This 4 door Wrangler is not brand damaging. But it’s a step in that direction. I’m sure it is excellent at what it does. But brand extension is a slippery slope. And the “a Jeep for everybody” mentality is what has led us to disasters like the Compass (and the Commander, for that matter).

    Which I hope clarifies my earlier point. The world needs a 4-door Wrangler like it needs a 4-door Elise.

    (But I respect and understand your disagreement).

  • avatar
    Joe O

    When the four-door jeep first came on the scene, I owned a 97 wrangler sahara 4.0 5-spd. I thought it didn’t make sense either…

    But as time goes on, and I realize Jeep didn’t get rid of the 2-door model (you know, the one the die-hards will buy), then I realized it’s a pretty smart move. Wrangler’s are about versatility and function. They never needed four doors, but it doesn’t hurt.

    The only thing that hurts it’s purpose is the longer wheelbase. It’s ability to climb boulders and manuever in an incredibly tight radius was one of the “fun factors”.

    I will say, personally, I’d like to see Jeep develop more than one new engine in the past century. The 3.8 liter may be more fuel efficient, like you would ever notice in this flying brick, and have better emissions, but it’s powerband is not quite as well suited for the purposes of automotive spelunking.

    While I know 4.0 liters is starting to push the envelope of 6-cylinder sizing, I think Jeep could’ve developed a NEW 4.0 liter by now…perhaps utilizing some modern day technology while staying bullet-proof.

    Last bit of rant: I know america’s automotive companies like to reuse parts and avoid engineering like the plague, but I think it may be high time to start creating modern day engines and drivetrains.

    In today’s environment you can be unrefined, but you have to be powerful. Or you can be weak, but you must be refined. Pick one and go with it.


  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    Good review. I wish you’d had the chance to take it off-road. Keep in mind that not everybody who goes off road needs a 10/10ths off-roader that will crawl over huge boulders – some of us just like a vehicle that can traverse moderate, rutted, trails in the Rockies or Appalachians without leaving us stranded or stuck, and the Wrangler Unlimited seems to fill this niche.

    I’m getting very anxious to test one of these. I’ve always loved jeeps but never got one because I can only afford one car at a time and the small jeep is just too small and impractical for me.

    By the way, I loved this bit:

    “Zero to sixty? Top speed? About as important to Wrangler lovers as a Porsche Cayenne’s towing capacity to its target audience.”

    It’s nice to see that someone else on TTAC “gets it.” Although TTAC seems to have a large population of speed junkies, not everybody who loves cars is neccessarily into speed and cornering.

    BTW, my big question about the modular “freedom top” regards its water tightness. I can’t help but wonder if it will start to leak along the seams, especially after being exposed to some twisting and flexing while driving off road. Though the soft top is a PITA (and always has been, from talking to the Jeep owners I’ve known) it may be the better long-term solution.

  • avatar

    One question, one comment:

    Q: What effect, if any, does the stretched wheelbase have on torsional rigidity? Not that it matters, practically, but will all four doors open when perched on two points at opposite corners? I’m sure the ride is improved a bit, but if that compromises the dynamics of the vehicles purist m.o., then it is indeed a step in the wrong direction (although with the Compass out, “this is not the brand dilution you were looking for.” Wave hand in front of customers’ faces.)

    C: As soon as DCX puts a Diesel in this vehicle, capable of 20 city/30 hwy, I will seriously consider owning one. Until then, it’s just not practical as a combo daily driver/offroader. I just feel like they’re SOOO close, but it’s still just a specialized gas hog with poor aerodynamics…and two extra doors.

  • avatar

    Isn’t the Cherokee Trail Rated? If you have very small kids I’d think that would be the better option. Are you really going to do some serious rock humping with a 2 year old in the back? That said this would be good for a young person who likes to do some serious off-roading but wants to more easily get someone in the back since it’s their only vehicle.

    As far as alternative family cars there are many and this one would qualify but the ride would be pretty stiff for small ones. A few other alternative family cars that come to mind are:

    RX8 – can fit even rear-facing baby seats
    M3 – Very easy to get kids in the back of if they are forward facing. Personally had a car seat installed in under 2 minutes (oh if used M3’s were only 5 grand cheaper, sigh)
    A4 Vert – Great for when it’s warm just pop the top and plop them in (or most any four-seat vert. I find the Audi, BMW and Volvo verts seem to have some good room in the back).
    Mini Cooper – It’s a tight fit and you have to be careful on what seat you use but they fit, again as with any two-door front facing only.

    The rides in these are also very nice although the M3 is a tad stiff and would probably be easier on small occupants than the Wrangler.

  • avatar

    I welcome the prospect of a four-door Wrangler, so long as it doesn’t push it so firmly into the realm of family vehicle that the two-door is axed. It’s unlikely, due to the iconic nature of the vehicle, but at the same time, how many other two-door SUVs are still available?

  • avatar

    We still get the old model here in Europe. But especially in the Netherlands I think they sell about 3 Wranglers every 5 years or so.

    Actually that’s a good thing, since the highest “mountain” in the country rises a respectable 321 meters above sea level, so the nearest thing you can get to real offroading is drive on the beach…if you own an ice cream stall and you REALLY REALLY have to be there thus have a permit.

    Great car though.

  • avatar
    Infamous Dr. X

    Shame about the 4.0L I6. Does the new 3.8L match up?

    When my current Beast (99 TJ) dies, I’m getting either one of these or an FJ. I think the final determination will be based on how easy/convenient it is to get a child seat into the back of each…has anyone tried that yet?

  • avatar

    Great review.

    I’ve been a Jeep fan all of my 22 years and I have ALWAYS wanted a Wrangler but I am a drummer in a band and could never get my kit into a 2 door Wrangler. I’ve got a Liberty now and it BARELY fits. Jeep made this for guys like me that want the off road ability and the drop top that the Wrangler provides but need the cargo space that a larger SUV has.

    I’ve already placed my order for a six speed Steel Blue Rubicon Unlimited. This kid is excited.

  • avatar

    Forget crawling over rocks … what this is is the coolest beach vehicle ever. Everyone, please go buy one so I can afford a used one in five years.

  • avatar

    Hmmmm… I was about to go off on a tirade about the new availability of a 2 wheel drive Wrangler… But apparently you can only get 2 wheel drive on the 4 door model… if you choose the 2 door model, you are forced to get 4 wheel drive… as it has forever been and should always be.

  • avatar

    ^I think that still deserves some sort of tirade.

  • avatar

    Last month I test drove the first Unlimited my local dealer recieved (and subsequently sold that night). I was able to take it both on the freeway and up a 4-wheel trail that was moderate to difficult in 4-wheel parlance. I gave it a very close inspection ‘up on the rack as well.
    1). It is a tremendous improvement in build quality and engineering.
    2). Off-road components like the Dana axles are beefed up making the new model even more capable off-road. (Rubicon)
    3). The soft top is still a PITA but allows more configurations than any other car you can buy.
    4). The interior – while correctly described as partly DCX parts-bin is IMO understated with well-done surfaces and lines a VAST improvement over the outgoing model.
    5). The motor, while marginally more efficent and powerful still leaves a bit to be desired – much like he outgoing model. I told the dealer that if the rumours of an impending diesel for the Wrangler came true – I would order one on the spot.
    6). Interior useability and cargo space are aslo greatly improved. My wife tried out the backseat and said the legroom was fine (5’11).
    7). Torsional rigidity (according to a DCX press release), were up 100% from the outgoing model. My test drives unscientifically confirmed this.
    8). Several studies conducted by DCX revealed that 60%+ of Wrangler owners actually took their trucks off-road. This seems to jive with the important items that were maintained. I scrutinized namely: Removeable doors, folding windshield, best softtop in the business (and the main reson I won’t be seriously considering an FJ Cruiser), floorpan drains etc.
    9). One GLARING omission from Mr. Montgomery’s review were all of the Safety improvements in both passive and active systems… All of these with the exception of side Airbags, come standard. I feel this is the most compelling reason if you’re in the market to go ahead and buy a new Wrangler -vs- getting a great deal on an ’06…
    -Steel crashbars in the doors (both full and half)
    -Rollover mitigation (similiar to Stability Ctrl. with added sensors that apply braking/remove acelleration to prevent rollovers)
    -Brake Assist – for panic stops
    -4-wheel ABS – previously an option
    -Stability control (ESP) with a disable switch
    -Seatbelt retractors – triggered in an airbag deployment
    -Dual Stage Front airbags
    -Front Side airbags (optional)

    All of this said – the JK is still a Jeep and there are plenty of SUV’s that are more comfortable and get better mileage. But as stated above – the offroad prowess, and the softtop flexibility put it at the the top of my list…. Now if they’d only re-route some of those Euro-bound JK diesels to Seattle!

  • avatar

    October 23rd, 2006 at 11:31 am
    Isn’t the Cherokee Trail Rated? If you have very small kids I’d think that would be the better option. Are you really going to do some serious rock humping with a 2 year old in the back? That said this would be good for a young person who likes to do some serious off-roading but wants to more easily get someone in the back since it’s their only vehicle.

    I am currently driving my second Jeep Cherokee. The first was a ’93, this one is a ’99.

    The Cherokee (XJ) is indeed a fine vehicle for my purposes, but not available new. My youngest is 6 years old and she (along with the 8 and 10 year olds) get out to watch the REALLY hairy stuff. Heck, my wife gets out to watch sometimes!

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    Regarding the wheelbase, just want to point out that there was a Jeep CJ-6 with an extended wheelbase from the mid-50’s to the mid-70’s. Many of these vehicles saw service providing “Jeep Tours” of the Colorado Rockies as recently as the late 70’s (and I’m sure there are still a few plowing around.) The same vehicle (with some modifications) also saw duty with the US mililtary as the M170 combat ambulance. So, the longer wheelbase doesn’t neccessarily negate serious off-roading.

    BimmerHead said:

    Hmmmm… I was about to go off on a tirade about the new availability of a 2 wheel drive Wrangler… But apparently you can only get 2 wheel drive on the 4 door model… if you choose the 2 door model, you are forced to get 4 wheel drive… as it has forever been and should always be.

    Would it surprise you to know that there have been 2wd Jeeps since right after WWII? And that AFAIK, there was never a year that a 4wd Jeep was sold when a 2wd Jeep wasn’t available? Some buyers (the Postal Service, to name one) appreciates the simplicity and ruggedness of the design without needing off-road capability.

  • avatar

    I guess my level of suprise would depend on what you mean by ‘available’… As far as I know, the 2007 model year is the first time that a consumer could buy a Wrangler without 4 wheel drive. Postal Jeeps not-withstanding, I am somewhat sure that Wranglers have all been 4×4.

  • avatar

    Good review, though I think the lack of room in the rear seat is overplayed. When I adjusted to front seat where I like it, there was plenty of head and leg room in the back. I’m not tall at 5-9, but at least half the adult population is shorter than I am.

    The rear cushion is flat and small, and the seatback is overly upright. But kid seats will fit.

    My site’s page for the Wrangler, with links to pricing, price comparisons, and my full review:

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    My point regarding both the Wrangler and the Compass is that there have been road-bound 2wd Jeeps as long as there have been off-roading 4wd jeeps (with the notable exception of 1940-45.) While the Wrangler may not have been available as a 2wd (although for some reason I think it may have been – at least for a few years) for sure there were thousands of 2wd utility wagons, Jeepsters, Cherokees, pickups and other vehicles sold by Willys, Kaiser, Kaiser/Fraser, AMC and Chrysler under the Jeep moniker. Contrary to the mythology, a pavement-only jeep is not a departure from the norm.

  • avatar

    I’m relieved. I drive a 97 Wrangler (bought it used…and it now has 122,000 miles on it – 30,000 of which are mine). Simply put, it’s been the best, most reliable vehicle I’ve ever owned. I looked forward to the 07 makeover with a sense of anticipatory dread – eager for major improvements, but dreading what they might do to the core values. After having seen both the 2-door and 4-door versions up close and personal, I’m happy to say I had nothing to worry about. The Wrangler is alive, well, and kicking, along with virtually everything on my wish-list. A couple of points on some of the comments above…

    First, the reason that DCX has released a 4-door has little to do with the Wrangler and everything to do with the Cherokee/Libery change-over. If you were an off-roader with kids, you typically had to look past a Wrangler, which meant the (original) Cherokee (cheaper and less ‘city-fied’ than the Grand Cherokee). When the Liberty replaced the Cherokee, DCX discovered they’d abandoned one market (off-roading families) and gained a new one (women who want to drive a Cute-Ute). (Disclaimer: my wife drives a 2WD Liberty. Never goes off-road. Never wants to.) The 4-door Wrangler is an attempt by Jeep to fill the demand left unsatisfied after the departure of the Cherokee from the lineup. I predict it will bring a lot of those off-road families back into the Jeep fold.

    What’s interesting are the spy pics of the 08 Liberty and the photos of the badge-engineered Jeep Patriot. They both bear a striking resemblance to the Cherokees of old. I can understand why they’d take the Caliber and create the Patriot out of it, espeically if it is to be trail-rated (how, I dunno), but if the Liberty appeals to the female side of the market, why mess around with a good thing? Apparently, the Liberty is #1 in the small SUV crowd. Why risk that market with a testosterone-makeover? Curious.

    Now about the engine…
    I, too, look forward to a day where Jeeps all come with a Diesel option. The reason the Wrangler doesn’t have a Diesel option this model year is because of the new emisions standards, courtesy of the Feds. The Liberty, too, loses it’s 4-banger CRD. Ironic, because that engine is a Hell of a lot more eco-friendly than any gasoline-powered ride. DCX plans to bring a number of Mercedes Diesels across the pond sometime next year. I hope one will be destined for the Wrangler, as I think a Diesel would be a perfect mate to what most people look for in an ideal SUV destined to be used OFF road.

    Now the trick will be to try and find one. The dealers I know tell me that they don’t expect more than a handful of either Wrangler on hand until well after the first of the year. They’ll get a minimum allocation in now, but the DCX factory evidently shuts down in November for a month or so (Thanks, UAW!), and so will the supply. I’d be surprised if there were any Wranglers available at anything less than the sticker price before late Spring/early Summer of 2007. (Maybe by that time, I’ll be able to afford one).

    Clearly, Jeep has treated the Wrangler with the respect it deserves. Of course, the CJ-fanatics will whine that the TK is “not a real Jeep” just like they did for the TJ, and the YJ. None of that will stop the Wranglers from selling to their core market – the REAL off-road crowd, where cute-utes need not apply.

  • avatar

    What’s next? A 6 door model?

  • avatar

    captaindigital “Of course, the CJ-fanatics will whine that the TK is “not a real Jeep” just like they did for the TJ, and the YJ.”

    Hey, I resemble that remark! I’m maybe starting to come around to accepting the YJ as a Jeep now that it’s nearly 20 years old. It took me a very long time to even accept the 1976-1985 CJs as Jeeps, as I preferred the pre ’76 models. I don’t know why I have such an irrational hatred towards change and updating, but sometimes maybe you just shouldn’t mess with a good thing. At least I can save money by always buying on the used market :)

    /now you kids get off my lawn!

  • avatar

    My two cents…

    I bought my last Jeep in ’87. (Two weeks before Chrysler bought out AMC) It was an 87 Comanche w/a 2.5 I 4.Super piece of equipment.I put 125,000 completely trouble free miles on it.I would love to be driving a Jeep pickup again.Why doesnt DCX bring back the old CJ-8 (Scrambler) concept and build a small pickup on the Commander/Wrangler platform ?Maybe not with the roll/light bar,but a functional pickup bed and tailgate,rugged looks and option the 4 and 6…That might be enough to get me to abandon my Toyota pickup for Jeep again.(No wait,I’ll just have one of each).Anybody ?

  • avatar
    Joe Chiaramonte

    rtz: What’s next? A 6 door model?

    I saw an 8-door Wrangler “limo” in Yosemite last week. Time to ask the question again.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    Why doesnt DCX bring back the old CJ-8 (Scrambler) concept and build a small pickup on the Commander/Wrangler platform ?Maybe not with the roll/light bar,but a functional pickup bed and tailgate,rugged looks and option the 4 and 6…

    Google “Jeep Gladiator Concept” and see what you get. DCX decided not to go forward with it, which, IMO, was a mistake.

    If the Wrangler Unlimited is a big hit (and I think it will be) then expect the aftermarket to come up with inserts for the rear doors and a half-cab to turn the Unlimited into a small pickup. A true tailgate would also be good, but it would neccessitate remounting the spare (maybe to the side like the old CJs)

  • avatar

    With the Sebring, Aspen and Compass introductions, I was getting worried about DCX. Good to see them post a “W” for a change.

  • avatar

    Ok, I added my .02 cents on the review of the new 07 2-door Wrangler so I may as well continue on here. I bought a 99 TJ back before I had kids. I knew if I didn’t get one then I would never have one after I start a family. Less than a year later we had our first child. My TJ is now eight years old and I have three little mouthes to feed. The Jeep is now too small for the whole family to ride in together. I would get rid of it but I just can’t bear to do it. Jeep has finally answered my prayers by bringing out the four-door. I can’t hardly believe it… Real world interior space in a Wrangler and the outside still looks good! Now any notions that you can’t carry the young ones in the back seat of a two-door Wrangler because the ride is too stiff are simply untrue. My lifted Jeep is stiffer than stock and all three kids have grown up with the rough ride. If anything, the ride is now harder on me (I just turned 35) than it ever has been on them. However, I can’t say that Jeep has answered all my prayers at this point. I too would put money down on a bluetec diesel that gets decent gas mileage in a heartbeat! Although I love my 4.0 Litre I agree that it was in need of some serious updating. It’s just the new V6 wasn’t the best choice in my opinion. A modern V8 with fuel deactivation would be an acceptable option as well. The question for me is how long I can hold out for Jeep to answer our prayers before I start looking elsewhere.

  • avatar

    This Jeep is a HUGE improvement over any Wrangler in the past! I have owned Jeeps on and off since I have been driving. I am seriously considering purchasing one of these, but it is a bit too small for us and I already have a toy (500 hp Mustang), so I don’t need another. If i were convinced that it could take care of our family needs, I would be at the delear now.

    One thing, though, the 4 door Wranglers have TERRIBLE reliability ratings according to Consumer Reports. It has the worst rating on the planet of any SUV. The 2 door models score above average, but the 4 door is in bad shape. What gives? This does not make sense?

  • avatar

    I’ve owned my 2007 Wrangler Unlimited long enough for the 3yr/36K warranty to expire. While I’ve owned it, it’s only had 3 major issues (two recalls and one expired battery) that weren’t caused by me. I finally was punished for my habit of gleefully rolling over the concrete dividers in parking lots by apparently scraping off the fuel vapor recovery canister. :(
    I had my soft top removed by the dealership and stored in the basement of my old apartment…where I left it when I moved. I just didn’t want the security concerns of a softie anymore, having owned an Isuzu Amigo and replaced window panels on 4 occasions when someone decided they liked my stuff more than they liked working for it and cut their way through.
    The “Freedom Top” is wonderful and I haven’t had any issues with leakage. Admittedly, I don’t off-road, since my family sold the family farm and I don’t have to make my way to the back 40 for some good fishing, anymore. I can remove the front panels inside of 5 minutes, stuff them in the back, and get some sun on my bulging forehead…offsetting my natural geek pastiness.
    As for mileage, I average 18MPG in town, but have reached 22MPG on long trips. I’m willing to basically screw the planet with this mileage because I prefer to have the capability to off-road when needed and I can only have one vehicle…and I don’t have kids so I don’t care about future generations. :)
    The ride is surprisingly smooth for a Jeep. My first Jeep was a 51 Willys customized by my grandfather and used on the farm to pull stumps, deliver lunches, haul dead animals, etc. I spent most of high school rolling in a friends CJ-7, and I find the ride to be great. I’ve been told that the ride is a good bit bumpier/sway-ier in the back seats, but it’s my ride and I refuse to be a passenger.
    This Jeep has been my first completely new car and I’ve been extremely happy with it.

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