The Truth About Cars » Wrangler http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:00:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Wrangler http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Marchionne Undecided on Toledo Wrangler Plant’s Future http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/marchionne-undecided-wrangler-toledo-plants-future/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/marchionne-undecided-wrangler-toledo-plants-future/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 17:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116481 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ top executive says he’s still not sure if Jeep’s Toledo plant will build the next-generation Wrangler, The Detroit Bureau is reporting. In a move that may or may not be union-negotiations related, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said he expects to make a decision on where to build the new Wrangler by the […]

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A golf clap, please, for Mr Marchionne's moment of truth

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ top executive says he’s still not sure if Jeep’s Toledo plant will build the next-generation Wrangler, The Detroit Bureau is reporting.

In a move that may or may not be union-negotiations related, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said he expects to make a decision on where to build the new Wrangler by the end of the summer — or about the time negotiations wrap up.

At issue is the cost associated with shutting down and retooling the Toledo plant to build the new Wrangler, which will have significantly more aluminum, according to Marchionne. Jeep is selling more Wranglers now than they ever have and need the plant to build more cars.

“If I shut it down for 60 days, I’d lose more money than I’d make in a year,” Marchionne said.

In May, Marchionne specified that the Wrangler would not be wholly made with the alloy, opting instead to use aluminum for specific parts to cut down on weight and increase fuel economy.

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The Last Cheap Four-Seat Convertible Left Is a Jeep http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/the-last-cheap-four-seat-convertible-left-is-a-jeep/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/the-last-cheap-four-seat-convertible-left-is-a-jeep/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 14:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1094609 Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to mourn the loss of the four-seat convertible. We have known for a while that its time was coming. First, they came for the Pontiac G6. Then, they came for the Toyota Solara. Then, they came for the Mitsubishi Eclipse. And when it was time to come for the […]

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Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to mourn the loss of the four-seat convertible. We have known for a while that its time was coming. First, they came for the Pontiac G6. Then, they came for the Toyota Solara. Then, they came for the Mitsubishi Eclipse. And when it was time to come for the Chrysler 200, nobody cared, because nobody buys these cars anymore.

But surely some people still buy them. I mean, there are still millions of people out there having midlife crises, looking for the last modicum of driving excitement before they start ranting about how mobile apps are tearing at the fabric of our society. But sadly, the fun is over: there are no reasonably priced four-seat convertibles left.

Yes, I admit, you can still buy the Volkswagen Beetle, if you’re into that kind of thing. But one of the principal selling points of the Solara and the G6 and the 200 was that you didn’t have to get some odd-looking retromobile in order to get a convertible. You were just buying a normal ol’ car, but it happened to have a removable roof. Or, in the case of the enormous Solara, an infield tarp.

You can also still buy the Camaro and the Mustang. But reasonably priced, they are not: the Mustang Convertible starts above thirty grand, and for that money you’re still manually moving your seats. (“It’s a lever right in front,” the Hertz guy will tell you.) The Camaro is even more expensive, and it doesn’t have any more stuff. It also has blind spots the size of New Hampshire.

So what do you do, if you want a four-seater convertible without spending thirty grand? The answer is, you do nothing. You’re screwed. All the normal stuff is cancelled, so you have to either buy a Beetle, pony up for a Camaro or Mustang, or start measuring your garage to see if it can fit a used Solara. The four-seat convertible is dead.

Or is it?

Enter the Jeep Wrangler, which isn’t on any automotive website’s list of modern convertibles even though it is, in fact, a convertible. The Wrangler has everything you need. Un-weird styling. A powerful V6. Reasonable dimensions. And a starting price you can afford: just $24,000 with shipping. This thing is the Chrysler LeBaron of the modern era.

But it’s so much better than a LeBaron, because you can do so much more with it. For example: in a LeBaron, you would only remove the doors when you wanted to get all the water out of the cabin that had leaked in through the convertible top. In the Wrangler, you can pop off the doors whenever you want! Cruising on the beach? Take off the doors! Off-roading? Take off the doors! Driving to your local post office to mail a bag of human waste to your ex? Take off the doors!

And then there’s the off-road capability. Most human beings do not take their four-seat convertibles off-road, because the trail is no place for a four-seat convertible. The Red Robin parking lot is. But with the Wrangler, you don’t HAVE to choose! You can go to Red Robin AND you can hit the trails. You can go to the nail salon AND the mountains. The Wrangler is at home just about anywhere, from the Kappa Sigma parking lot at the University of Alabama to the Kappa Sigma front lawn at the University of Alabama.

So to those of you mourning the loss of the four-seat convertible, may I just say: it ain’t over yet. And the Jeep Wrangler is proof.

Of course, there is one small problem with the Jeep Wrangler. Namely, it isn’t very easy to remove the roof. In a normal car, you just unlatch the roof and you push it down, or you just press a button and it folds right into your trunk, or, in the case of the Solara, you hit a switch, and the FAA gives you airspace clearance, and then you go inside to watch an episode of Friends, and eventually the top is stowed.

But in the Wrangler, it’s a two-person job. One person to loosen the fasteners and the other person to complain about how annoying it is that the roof in a Jeep Wrangler weighs as much as a canoe.

But the simple truth is with all the other decent four-seat convertibles gone, the Wrangler is all we have left. And if you really don’t like the cumbersome top, my suggestion is you buy two Wranglers. One to park in the garage with the roof off. And one to park outside with the roof on. You will still probably end up spending less than one single Volkswagen Eos.

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Please Make a Business Case for Hand Grenade Gear Shifters, Jeep http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/please-make-business-case-hand-grenade-gear-shifters-jeep/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/please-make-business-case-hand-grenade-gear-shifters-jeep/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 15:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1085961   Jeep has this whole concept car thing figured out. Whereas most manufacturers use concept cars as a glimpse into the near future (or not, See “NSX, Acura”), Jeep makes weird-ass, proof of bad-ass concepts like this Chief, a 2012 “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” Wrangler turned surf-weirdo-baby blue-SUV that goes to show how […]

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The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari "Chief" is an homage to the full-size Cherokees of the 1970s.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari “Chief” is an homage to the full-size Cherokees of the 1970s.

Jeep has this whole concept car thing figured out.

Whereas most manufacturers use concept cars as a glimpse into the near future (or not, See “NSX, Acura”), Jeep makes weird-ass, proof of bad-ass concepts like this Chief, a 2012 “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” Wrangler turned surf-weirdo-baby blue-SUV that goes to show how much lead Jeep designer Mark Allen has nothing to do all day.

(Allen once told me his job with the Wrangler is done every year when nothing changes and that’s how it should be.)

Part of the package Jeep brings out every year for Easter Jeep Safari, the Chief is a one-off with a 2-inch lift, Dana 44s, Fox shocks and massive BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains with 17-inch slotted mag wheels. It’s an homage to the full-size Cherokee, because the current Cherokee isn’t exactly a direct successor anyway.

The Tiki-style shifter is perhaps the best touch; the “Magnum P.I.” sticker in the back is a close second. The Hawaiian-style seats aren’t entirely awesome.

 

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari "Chief" sports a tiki shifter that would be cooler if it were a hand grenade.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari “Chief” sports a tiki shifter that would be cooler if it were a hand grenade.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari "Chief" is apparently Magnum P.I. approved. Says so right on that sticker.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari “Chief” is apparently Magnum P.I. approved. Says so right on that sticker.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari "Chief" is apparently Magnum P.I. approved. Says so right on that sticker.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari “Chief” is apparently Magnum P.I. approved. Says so right on that sticker.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari "Chief," which may or may not come standard with Beach Boys soundtrack.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari “Chief,” which may or may not come standard with Beach Boys soundtrack.

The Moab models very rarely make it onto dealer lots — and if they do it’s mostly trims like the Renegade Desert Hawk — but they do offer a tantalizing glimpse ahead.

 

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari Renegade dubbed "Desert Hawk." Because "Desert Fox" was something completely different.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari Renegade dubbed “Desert Hawk.” Because “Desert Fox” was something completely different.

This year’s Wrangler Africa sported a 2.8-liter diesel, something that may or may not make it into the next generation Wrangler. Although Jeep is hedging on whether there is a business case for an oil-burning Wrangler, it’s clear the current 21 mpg fuel economy won’t pass muster in 2017 or beyond. A diesel with an 8-speed could be a tempting solution.

One thing that should be available immediately: dealer installed hand grenade shifter. Awesome.

 

The hand grenade gear shifter on the 2015 Easter Jeep Safari "Staff Car" should be hitting dealerships soon — I hope.

The hand grenade gear shifter on the 2015 Easter Jeep Safari “Staff Car” should be hitting dealerships soon — I hope.

These cars are drivable (sometimes barely) and mostly functional, but live very short lives.

Chances are good the concept crop for next year, which is Jeep’s 75th anniversary, are already under construction. It’s possible that Allen is cooking up all kinds of weirdos to take to southern Utah, or that he’ll bring back some of the greatest hits like the Lower Forty.

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Ssangyong Planning Jeep Wrangler Rival For US Market Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/ssangyong-planning-jeep-wrangler-rival-for-us-market-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/ssangyong-planning-jeep-wrangler-rival-for-us-market-debut/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 15:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1083513 Mahindra & Mahindra’s Ssangyong is looking to enter the U.S. market, with a planned rival to the Jeep Wrangler leading the charge. The Wrangler fighter would be based upon the recently introduced Tivoli compact crossover while styling would be greatly influenced by the Ssangyong Korando, a vehicle whose life began as a licensed Jeep CJ-7 […]

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Ssangyong_Tivoli

Mahindra & Mahindra’s Ssangyong is looking to enter the U.S. market, with a planned rival to the Jeep Wrangler leading the charge.

The Wrangler fighter would be based upon the recently introduced Tivoli compact crossover while styling would be greatly influenced by the Ssangyong Korando, a vehicle whose life began as a licensed Jeep CJ-7 clone, Autocar reports. Power for the proposed model would also come from the Tivoli, which includes 1.6-liter gasoline and diesel engines, as well as an EV variant.

Ssangyong’s first entry into the U.S. market follows years of avoiding said market due to the huge investment it would have needed to make in order to build models aimed at attracting American consumers, per one company source:

The company has never cracked North America because it requires a huge investment, and because the distributor model that we use in other territories wouldn’t really work in the USA. But a Wrangler-style high-design 4×4 could create the waves we’d need in order to make a mark over there. At the same time, it’d work really well for us in the UK and Europe at a time when building profile is absolutely key.

The Tivoli-based model would follow the long-wheelbase version of the Tivoli set for 2016, and would be produced alongside the crossover.

[Photo credit: Minseong Kim/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0]

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2018 Jeep Wrangler Not Going Fully Aluminum After All http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2018-jeep-wrangler-not-going-fully-aluminum-after-all/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2018-jeep-wrangler-not-going-fully-aluminum-after-all/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 16:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071514 The 2018 Jeep Wrangler will add diesel and an eight-speed automatic to the mix, but a fully aluminum body is no longer on the agenda. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the upcoming Wrangler would not go the same route as the new Ford F-150, opting instead for specific components — hood, tailgate, doors et al […]

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2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara rear side yellow

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler will add diesel and an eight-speed automatic to the mix, but a fully aluminum body is no longer on the agenda.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the upcoming Wrangler would not go the same route as the new Ford F-150, opting instead for specific components — hood, tailgate, doors et al — to be made from the alloy, Automotive News reports. Marchionne said the decision to move away from a fully aluminum model came down to comparison costs, and ease of production:

There will be a large portion of that vehicle that will be aluminum. It will not be all aluminum. We’ve run the numbers and we’ve simulated mileage and the impact. Because of the difference in cost — not just of the material but the actual assembly process — I think we can do almost as well without doing it all-aluminum. I think we can get very close.

Were the 2018 Wrangler to have stayed the course, the Jeep facility in Toledo, Ohio would have needed a complete overhaul to manufacture and assemble the vehicle, following a similar action by Ford with the F-150 at its Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich. The Blue Oval invested $843 million to retool the plant and nearby operations, a process taking 10 weeks to undergo; FCA’s new plan would eliminate the need for such action.

[Photo credit: Kamil Kaluski/The Truth About Cars]

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Capsule Review: 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/capsule-review-2015-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-sahara/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/capsule-review-2015-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-sahara/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1026617 In the darkest depths of the Cerberus era, nobody at Chrysler could have predicted how popular the all-new “JK” Jeep Wrangler would be. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the incredible cross-section of people buying the Wrangler. Everyone from suburban parents, white-collar upper management types and my own mother. This, by the way, is a vehicle that still […]

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2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara side yellow

In the darkest depths of the Cerberus era, nobody at Chrysler could have predicted how popular the all-new “JK” Jeep Wrangler would be. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the incredible cross-section of people buying the Wrangler. Everyone from suburban parents, white-collar upper management types and my own mother. This, by the way, is a vehicle that still utilizes a full frame and live axles!

2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara front yellow

In my own opinion, the Wrangler’s success comes from several different factors. The most obvious is the availability of the long wheel base Unlimited model, which offers 4 doors and a proper rear seat. Second, the JK and JKU have been significantly improved over the TJ; in addition to a stronger frame and a better body, things like the roof options were greatly improved, while creature comforts like the heater were brought into the modern era. Third, it has been continually improved since its introduction; a new interior in 2011, an all-new engine in 2012, and various features, options, and trims over the years. All of this was done without taking away the Jeepness of it; removable doors, drain plugs, folding windshield, and unmatched off-road capability. Think about it, it has a freakin’ folding windshield! In 2015!

The JK is now in the autumn of its years, but it is as young as the day it was born. It can be configured as a base short soft-top model with steel wheels all the way up to a fifty thousand dollar four-door Rubicon with heated leather seats, Alpine audio, roof liner, climate control, and remote start. You can have half doors or full doors and three different tops in nine different trim levels. Take your pick of a proper six-speed manual or a pretty damn good five-speed automatic. There are catalogs thicker than 1989 phone books filled with accessories. AEV will drop a HEMI V8 and convert one into an awesome pickup truck for you. How much money you got?

2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara interior seats trunk

One of my hard-core-ish Jeep buddies (clean TJ with 3” lift, wheeled in summer) said that it’s sacrilegious to have some of these options on a real Jeep and something about Jeeps being built not bought. My other Jeep buddy (fuel-injected ’84 CJ-8 on 33s, wheeled very often) loves how the Wrangler has evolved and would buy one if he had the money. Search any Jeep internet forums and it is evident that people who off-road their Wranglers love them as much as those who haul kids in them. 33s can be stuffed in without a lift kit, 35s with a $200 spacer kit. A winch can be hidden behind the factory bumper, and fenders can replaced for high clearance ones with a few hours of work. The Rubicon comes from the factory with Dana 44 axles, locking diffs, and electronically disconnecting sway bars for increased axle articulation. I don’t understand why idiots risk illegally importing Land Rover Defenders when the Wrangler is just so good.

There is no denying that the Wrangler drives like a truck on the street. It doesn’t like sudden maneuvers but it was not dramatic when I needed to avoid a moron who couldn’t see a huge yellow Jeep in his side mirror. The seating position is high, so look far ahead and drive defensively.  Respect the Wrangler, and it will make a fun daily commuter. Or you can go buy the idiot-proof Grand Cherokee. Highway ride is much less tiresome than it was in older Jeeps but ain’t no Range Rover.

2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara interior dash steering wheel

Wranglers are a ton of fun, but they are not for everyone. The doors are small, the front seats lack lumbar support, rear seat backs are near vertical, and the hatch is kind of a pain. Wranglers are loud, tall, bouncy, and thirsty (16 city/21 hwy). None of that really matters, as you have either already stopped reading this or you are busy planning a weekend for the semiannual ritual of hard-top to soft-top swap. It’s a perfectly imperfect vehicle for winter snow and summer sun alike, and in my opinion all enthusiasts should own one in their lives.

The Wrangler starts at around $23,000 and the Unlimited around $27,000. The very Baja Yellow pictured Wrangler Unlimited Sahara, which comes standard with color-matched fenders, power windows and doors locks, and side steps starts at $32,295. The Sahara offers options that may not be available on other models, such as leather heated seats for $1300 and body-colored hard-top for $1895, remote start $495, Alpine audio, which sounds really good considering the fact that it is in a tin can, is $795. The Uconnect system with nav, hard drive, SiriusXM, and a USB port is $1895. Throw in a connectivity package, automatic transmission, and a destination change and you’re looking at $41,515. That is a lot, but it is still a lot cheaper than any beat up Defender 110.

2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara rear side yellow

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. His first vehicle was an ’84 CJ-7. One day he met a cute chick who was driving a black TJ with a manual transmission. He married that chick and now they have two kids who love Jeeps, but sadly don’t own a Jeep!

FCA US LLC provided the bright yellow vehicle for the purpose of this review. Seriously, the yellow body with yellow top and yellow fenders is a bit much. I tried to get it muddy but my favorite construction site was fenced off, so I only managed to get it salty. 

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Next-Gen Jeep Wrangler To Have Diesel, 8-Speed Auto Combo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/next-gen-jeep-wrangler-diesel-8-speed-auto-combo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/next-gen-jeep-wrangler-diesel-8-speed-auto-combo/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 11:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016634 We’ve said the next Jeep Wrangler would have diesel power, as well as an eight-speed auto. Now, both will be paired with each other. Autoblog reports the specific combo is a 3-liter EcoDiesel V6 mated to a ZF eight-speed auto, following similar pairings in the Grand Cherokee and the Ram 1500. When asked for official […]

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2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

We’ve said the next Jeep Wrangler would have diesel power, as well as an eight-speed auto. Now, both will be paired with each other.

Autoblog reports the specific combo is a 3-liter EcoDiesel V6 mated to a ZF eight-speed auto, following similar pairings in the Grand Cherokee and the Ram 1500. When asked for official confirmation from the brand, however, representative Gabrielle Schulte said that her employer does not comment on speculation.

As for when one might be able to battle the Rubicon — or the Rubicon Outlet Mall — in a diesel-driven, eight-speed automatic Wrangler, Autoblog‘s source couldn’t confirm the model year such a beast would appear in showrooms.

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Next-Gen Jeep Wrangler To Keep Its Solid Axles After All http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/next-gen-jeep-wrangler-keep-solid-axles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/next-gen-jeep-wrangler-keep-solid-axles/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 15:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002122 The next-gen Jeep Wrangler may have aluminum panels and hybrid power, but one more thing is now certain: the iconic vehicle will retain its solid axles. Automotive News reports the Wrangler will receive tweaks to its suspension for improvements in ride comfort and fuel economy, but the floating solid axles will remain to maintain its […]

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The next-gen Jeep Wrangler may have aluminum panels and hybrid power, but one more thing is now certain: the iconic vehicle will retain its solid axles.

Automotive News reports the Wrangler will receive tweaks to its suspension for improvements in ride comfort and fuel economy, but the floating solid axles will remain to maintain its ability to climb hills and rocks among those who actually do hit the Rubicon.

Other features for the upcoming vehicle include an eight-speed auto, fixed windscreen, and body-on-frame construction. Power will likely come from smaller turbocharged units instead of the current 3.6-liter V6, per FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne.

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General Motors Discussing Jeep Wrangler Challenger For GMC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-discussing-jeep-wrangler-challenger-gmc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-discussing-jeep-wrangler-challenger-gmc/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989898 Remember when we told you about GMC’s Duncan Aldred wanting a “professional-grade” Jeep Wrangler? General Motors thinks it’s a good idea, too. The Wall Street Journal reports GM recently sought feedback from its dealers regarding the market viability of a Wrangler challenger joining GMC’s lineup of trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the idea of which has […]

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2015 GMC Sierra

Remember when we told you about GMC’s Duncan Aldred wanting a “professional-grade” Jeep Wrangler? General Motors thinks it’s a good idea, too.

The Wall Street Journal reports GM recently sought feedback from its dealers regarding the market viability of a Wrangler challenger joining GMC’s lineup of trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the idea of which has been “kicked around real hard” according to one insider. The automaker’s growing interest comes as 150,000 units of the iconic vehicle left for the Rubicon or college in 2014, some of them going for as much as $50,000 fresh out of Ohio. The Wrangler also boasts one of the highest resale values around, second only to the Toyota Tacoma in 2015 per Kelley Blue Book.

As for what a GMC Wrangler would look like, GM said its Jeep would take cues from Hummer’s orphaned offerings; Hummer joined Pontiac, Saturn and Saab in the afterlife back in 2009 during the dark days of the Great Recession. The new model — still in the discussion phase without a name or a green light — would also help GMC capitalize on the brand’s own success, with sales rising 11 percent on the backs of the Sierra and Yukon in 2014 to 501,853.

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Manley: 2017 Jeep Wrangler Could Be A Hybrid http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/manley-2017-jeep-wrangler-hybrid/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/manley-2017-jeep-wrangler-hybrid/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985490 Are you ready for a hybrid Jeep Wrangler? The 2017 model may likely be just that to help the icon navigate through tighter fuel economy standards. According to Auto Express, brand boss Mike Manley says hybridization is a possibility for achieving fuel efficiency in the upcoming Wrangler, while also ensuring that it keeps its looks […]

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Are you ready for a hybrid Jeep Wrangler? The 2017 model may likely be just that to help the icon navigate through tighter fuel economy standards.

According to Auto Express, brand boss Mike Manley says hybridization is a possibility for achieving fuel efficiency in the upcoming Wrangler, while also ensuring that it keeps its looks and improves its on-road prowess. Such a hybrid would be more focused on off-roading and the issues that could come up:

Where you have to be careful with the Wrangler is range. If you are eight hours and four miles into a trail, there is not a hybrid that we could do which could provide the battery support. The way that combination is calibrated would be more unique for a Wrangler than it would, for example, a Grand Cherokee.

Other options for greater fuel economy include diesel power, as well as usage of aluminum and high-strength steel in the Wrangler’s construction.

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Manley: Jeep Wrangler Truck Perfect For Brand, Business Case Not There http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/manley-jeep-wrangler-truck-perfect-brand-business-case-not/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/manley-jeep-wrangler-truck-perfect-brand-business-case-not/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=983761 The B&B’s only bet for buying a Jeep Wrangler pickup at the moment is to buy a Wrangler, then send it to a third-party for conversion. CEO Mike Manley says he’d love to have such a beast in his brand’s portfolio, as well, but there’s a hitch. According to CarAdvice.au.com, Manley says that while “every […]

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Jeep Wrangler Eliminator

The B&B’s only bet for buying a Jeep Wrangler pickup at the moment is to buy a Wrangler, then send it to a third-party for conversion. CEO Mike Manley says he’d love to have such a beast in his brand’s portfolio, as well, but there’s a hitch.

According to CarAdvice.au.com, Manley says that while “every international market” would take a Wrangler pickup, and that the idea “fits the portfolio exactly,” the business case for the truck still isn’t there.

Part of that case involves Ram: a Wrangler truck would do gangbusters on the showroom floor — the Wrangler made up 25.3 percent of the record 692,248 Jeep products sold in 2014 — but at the expense of the designated truck brand, an issue that has persisted for some time.

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Aldred: Jeep Wrangler-Style GMC Model A Possibility http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/aldred-jeep-wrangler-style-gmc-model-possibility/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/aldred-jeep-wrangler-style-gmc-model-possibility/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944665 Would you like a “professional grade” Jeep Wrangler? Should Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred get his way, that’s exactly what will happen as part of Aldred’s vow to “change the face” of GMC. Edmunds reports Aldred is looking at where to take GMC to boost sales, including what segments will and will not be key […]

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Would you like a “professional grade” Jeep Wrangler? Should Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred get his way, that’s exactly what will happen as part of Aldred’s vow to “change the face” of GMC.

Edmunds reports Aldred is looking at where to take GMC to boost sales, including what segments will and will not be key to success. While only in the brainstorming phase with no plans at present to expand the lineup, he said there was “room throughout the range” if one were to segment it, with “plenty of room everywhere in the hierarchy” to spare.

Thus, Aldred’s team could bring aboard an “active all-road, Wrangler-esque type of vehicle” to the lineup, as well as a flagship SUV above the Yukon, and an Encore-sized subcompact crossover. Aldred added that the brand could play around in “more big segments” if so desired.

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2017 Jeep Wrangler To Remain Body-On-Frame http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/2017-jeep-wrangler-remain-body-frame/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/2017-jeep-wrangler-remain-body-frame/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935626 The fate of where the next-gen Jeep Wrangler will be assembled may have been settled, thanks to the fact that there will be no unibody Wrangler anytime soon. Automotive News reports sources from inside and outside Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have stated the 2017 Wrangler will remain body-on-frame, meaning the Toledo, Ohio plant responsible for the […]

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The fate of where the next-gen Jeep Wrangler will be assembled may have been settled, thanks to the fact that there will be no unibody Wrangler anytime soon.

Automotive News reports sources from inside and outside Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have stated the 2017 Wrangler will remain body-on-frame, meaning the Toledo, Ohio plant responsible for the icon’s production won’t see it head elsewhere for now.

As for going aluminum to help make weight in the CAFE fuel economy competition, CEO Sergio Marchionne says it’s still a possibility for the next Wrangler to use the metal so long as production costs are manageable, which may also mean trouble still for Toledo:

If the solution is aluminum then I think unfortunately Toledo is the wrong set up to try and build a Wrangler because it requires a complete, a reconfiguring of the assets which would be cost prohibitive. I mean it would be just be so outrageously expensive for us to try and work out that facility.

Further, the switchover would stop Wrangler production completely — the Toledo plant, which is already operating above capacity, is the only plant where Wranglers are made — eating away at both dealer inventory and corporate profits. The current forecast shows 235,000 units leaving Ohio by the end of 2014, the third consecutive year of record high production.

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UAW, Political Leaders Uniting To Keep Wrangler In Ohio http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/uaw-political-leaders-uniting-keep-wrangler-ohio/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/uaw-political-leaders-uniting-keep-wrangler-ohio/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=933842 With the possibility of an aluminum Jeep Wrangler being built elsewhere, the United Auto Workers and political leaders are coming together to convince Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to keep the icon in Toledo, Ohio. Automotive News reports the gathering will occur Monday at the UAW Local 12, with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, […]

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With the possibility of an aluminum Jeep Wrangler being built elsewhere, the United Auto Workers and political leaders are coming together to convince Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to keep the icon in Toledo, Ohio.

Automotive News reports the gathering will occur Monday at the UAW Local 12, with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, and Toledo mayor D. Michael Collins joining the group of workers, local leaders and members of the community to launch a campaign to keep the Wrangler at the Chrysler Assembly Plant, where 1,700 (out of a total of over 6,000) help assemble the icon with the help of 800 employed by neighborhood suppliers.

The campaign is set to begin as FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne warned that should the next-generation Wrangler be based upon an aluminum unibody, it would be built elsewhere:

If the solution is aluminum, then I think unfortunately that Toledo is the wrong place, the wrong setup to try and build a Wrangler, because it requires a complete reconfiguring of the assets that would be cost-prohibitive. It would be so outrageously expensive that it would be impossible to try and work out of that facility.

UAW Local 12 president Bruce Baumhower invited 40 elected officials and local businessmen to the gathering, with the intent of establishing a task force set to address the issues that would take the Wrangler out of Toledo.

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Next-Generation Jeep Wrangler To Take Fight To Soft-Roaders, Hold Rubicon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/next-generation-jeep-wrangler-to-take-fight-to-soft-roaders-hold-rubicon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/next-generation-jeep-wrangler-to-take-fight-to-soft-roaders-hold-rubicon/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 12:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=860793 With more SUVs preferring the high street over muddy, rocky trails, Jeep boss Mike Manley plans for the next-generation Wrangler to better compete against these soft-roaders while still maintaining its Rubicon cred. Automotive News reports Manley’s plan to include “continued improvements of the powertrain package,” which may mean being fitted with Chrysler’s eight-speed automatic and […]

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With more SUVs preferring the high street over muddy, rocky trails, Jeep boss Mike Manley plans for the next-generation Wrangler to better compete against these soft-roaders while still maintaining its Rubicon cred.

Automotive News reports Manley’s plan to include “continued improvements of the powertrain package,” which may mean being fitted with Chrysler’s eight-speed automatic and either a smaller gasoline engine than the current 3.6-liter V6 or a diesel like that found in Ram’s 1500 EcoDiesel.

Regarding weight, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne believes aluminium would be another key ingredient in not only bringing down weight, but improving fuel economy on top of the aforementioned powertrain upgrades.

As for the solid front and rear axles that give the Wrangler its off-road prowess to compensate for increased weight and rougher highway travel, Manley didn’t say whether or not they would stay for the next generation of the iconic vehicle — due sometime in 2017 at the earliest — though he vowed Jeep would not “dilute what Wrangler stands for,” citing his killing of the two-wheel-drive Wrangler upon taking the brand’s reins.

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Marchionne: Aluminium Better Used In Wrangler Over Ram 1500 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/marchionne-aluminium-better-used-in-wrangler-over-ram-1500/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/marchionne-aluminium-better-used-in-wrangler-over-ram-1500/#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=819721 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne may be watching Ford experiment aluminium-bodied pickups from afar, but as far as the 2018 Jeep Wrangler is concerned, the lightweight metal may wind up on the iconic vehicle before the Ram 1500 considers taking the plunge. Automotive News reports Jeep’s engineers and designers are already at work finalizing […]

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2014 Jeep Wrangler

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne may be watching Ford experiment aluminium-bodied pickups from afar, but as far as the 2018 Jeep Wrangler is concerned, the lightweight metal may wind up on the iconic vehicle before the Ram 1500 considers taking the plunge.

Automotive News reports Jeep’s engineers and designers are already at work finalizing design work for the next-gen Wrangler, set to enter production in 2017. Based on recent job postings, the brand as an eye on dropping weight for the vehicle as part of its plan to meet ever-tightening CAFE goals. The current Wrangler holds an average of 17 city/21 highway while weighing anywhere from 3,785 to 4,340 pounds depending on trim, while the new Cherokee 4×4 — based on a lighter foundation — pulls 19 city/25 highway at a weight of 4,044 pounds.

Other key components of the plan on the table include an eight-speed automatic and an expanded lineup of fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel powerplants.

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Jeep Considering Power-Retractable Top For Fourth-Gen Wrangler http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/jeep-considering-power-retractable-top-for-fourth-gen-wrangler/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/jeep-considering-power-retractable-top-for-fourth-gen-wrangler/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 14:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=768794 Rumored to be in the early stages of development, the fourth generation of the Jeep Wrangler could have an power-retractable top as one of a few items designed to attract more customers to the off-roading legend. Road & Track reports the top would be aimed as a high-end option at those who can’t be bothered […]

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Rumored to be in the early stages of development, the fourth generation of the Jeep Wrangler could have an power-retractable top as one of a few items designed to attract more customers to the off-roading legend.

Road & Track reports the top would be aimed as a high-end option at those who can’t be bothered undoing the soft-top or disassembling the hard top found on current models. Also on the agenda are removable doors and a frame redesign aimed at delivering a smoother ride while retaining the Wrangler’s solid axles.

What won’t make it to the new Wrangler? The folding windshield and rear-mounted spare tire, due to safety concerns and an overall goal of saving weight.

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Trackday Diaries: He Wrangled ‘Till The Butcher Cut Him Down. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/trackday-diaries-he-wrangled-till-the-butcher-cut-him-down/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/trackday-diaries-he-wrangled-till-the-butcher-cut-him-down/#comments Mon, 04 Mar 2013 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=479899 “So, I ordered myself a Jeep.” “Awesome! What did you end up getting?” “Loaded Sahara Unlimited, Gecko Green, tan leather, six-speed manual, just like you suggested.” “Well, that is what I suggested alright… but…” “But what?” “I didn’t think you were actually going to do it.” When TTAC alumnus Michael Karesh reviewed an automatic-transmission Sahara […]

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“So, I ordered myself a Jeep.”

“Awesome! What did you end up getting?”

“Loaded Sahara Unlimited, Gecko Green, tan leather, six-speed manual, just like you suggested.”

“Well, that is what I suggested alright… but…”

“But what?”

“I didn’t think you were actually going to do it.”

When TTAC alumnus Michael Karesh reviewed an automatic-transmission Sahara Unlimited last year, he enthused over the Jeep’s ability to be “steered with the throttle” and suggested that the manual-transmission variant might be even quicker than his tested automatic. Alas, he stated that the tires led to “mushy slides”, thus slightly reducing my enthusiasm for such a tail-happy beast. The last time I drove something that was both able to be steered with the throttle and did mushy sliding, it was a Camaro-Mustang-Challenge race car on used tires in the middle of a relatively long sprint race, and I found it to be a handful indeed.

Still, when my pal Curvy McLegalbriefs decided to go shopping for a Jeep last year I put in a vote for a manual-transmission Wrangler. She already owned a Grand Cherokee and a Crossfire so the Wrangler was simply going to be a toy for when she felt like bombing around the unimproved roads surrounding her century-old brick home, said domicile being located in the area known to readers of The Hunger Games as “District 12″. Still, it was a leap of faith; she didn’t know how to operate a stick-shift and our initial driving lessons in my Boxster, which took place after she’d ordered the Jeep, were marked by quite a bit of stalling and the occasional Ben-Kingsley-in-Sexy-Beast outburst from my place in the passenger seat.

Ten thousand miles later, she’s quite used to her green machine and she cheerfully zips it up and down very steep hills with no trouble whatsoever. I expected this would happen. She doesn’t give up easily. It’s part of her character. She grew up on a farm in the Midwest, studying the distant contrails overhead and planning her escape with meticulous precision. Cut to the present day, and she’s been everywhere from London to Guantanamo Bay. She has a bright future, a taste for vintage clothing, and no female friends whatsoever.

When a friend of mine asked me to come out to Chicago for a weekend and play bass for a guitar-club jam at some crappy dive bar halfway between the lake and O’Hare Airport, I looked at the distance (760 miles roundtrip), the equipment I’d need to bring for the trip (one SWR 4×10 cabinet, one amp rack, one Fender Jaco Pastorius Artist fretless four-string, one Carvin SB5000 five-string with a flamed koa top), and the weather (ten degrees above zero, snow predicted). I then asked C. McL if I could borrow the Jeep. She agreed, on the condition that she come along to keep me out of trouble. I had no objections.

Stick-shift Wranglers of the current generation are pretty rare. In fact, I’d never driven one before, since the press fleet at the intro was mostly automatics and I’m no longer on the Chrysler loaner list. My first impressions as we loaded the Jeep with two hundred-plus pounds of gear and pulled away towards Chicago were mostly negative. The clutch has a long pedal travel but ninety percent of it is superfluous. The long “bite zone” that I really appreciated in my old five-speed Discovery isn’t present here. Off-road, that would matter. Nor is the shifter up the standards of my ’97 Rover. Not even close. It’s long, agricultural, and extremely vague. My admiration for my traveling companion grew as I rowed the gears on the way out of my neighborhood. Was I in fourth or sixth? Only the lugging Pentastar knew for sure.

Speaking of which… Chrysler’s V-6 is my favorite among the current crop of big-power domestic sixes, well ahead of the DI Chevy in second place and the 3.7 Duratec in a distant, thrashy third. In the Chrysler 200, the Pentastar is fantastic. In the Caravan, it’s good. In the Wrangler, it feels overmatched. It needs to rev to make anything happen and it appears to have none of the casual thrust the old four-liter Jeep engine possessed in spades. Surely there’s a bit of perspective shear at work here, as I’m certain the 4.0 was weaker than the Pentastar everywhere a dyno could measure, but there you go. To make this Wrangler move with traffic, you have to shift aggressively and keep the hammer down. The observed fuel economy of 16.5mpg I saw during the trip is a reflection of that.

It’s also a reflection of the Jeep’s barn-door silhouette. The conditions of the oral travel agreement to which C. McL and I both agreed prior to the trip stated that my iPod would be plugged into the uConnect head unit for the duration, and that I would select the music. Unfortunately for me, my old 160GB iPod Classic doesn’t work with the uConnect head, so instead we listened to a hellish confection of Muse, Mumford & Sons, and the Zac Brown Band on various Sirius channels. In those conditions, I was glad that wind noise at 80mph and above makes the stereo almost useless. We stopped at Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne to pick up a 1/8″ cable, but cranking up to hear the quiet parts of “Blue Train” made the loud parts unbearable. Back to Mumford & Sons.

I’d never been in a Wrangler that rode particularly well, and I still haven’t, but this Sahara is far from the CJ-5s of my youth. The super-long (by Jeep standards) wheelbase spaces the bumps out and the tooth-rattling reaction to speedbumps I remember from various BMX-related trips in soft-top YJs is gone. As we entered Chicago proper, the Wrangler came into its element a bit. The pockmarked, off-camber streets of America’s Second City (All the hassle of New York, with none of the good parts!) didn’t bother it much. The Pentastar proved capable of pulling hard enough in first and second to make the gaps where required. The high driving position offered me a chance to stare Cayenne drivers down as I signaled my desire to acquire their current lane positions, by force if necessary. The long throws of the shifter never became second nature to me but my gearchanges became slightly less deliberate after a while.

To unload my gear at the bar, I had to make a sharp U-turn and pop up a curb, and the Wrangler handled that task at least as well as my Town Car would have. Perhaps more usefully, people in the immediate vicinity smiled at my actions, because — hey — I’m in a bright green Jeep, how bad of a guy can I be? In fact, I repeatedly noticed that kind of goodwill shown to the Sahara over the course of the weekend, including a fellow who stopped in the middle of the road of Chicago Music Exchange to offer me a paid-up parking meter pass. He wasn’t even in a Jeep; he was driving an F-150. But he was a fan.

Tuning up my Jaco bass, I confirmed what I had suspected: the combination of ten-degree external temperatures, an uninsulated fiberglass top, and an overmatched HVAC system had combined to detune the instrument’s low string from E to C#. That’s great if you’re Stanley Clarke and you’re about to hold down the low end on a Return to Forever song but for me it was a worrisome sign that extended Jeep trips would be bad news for wooden instruments. After half an hour in the bar things were back to normal, but in the interest of reviewing the Wrangler for a wide audience I should note that I’d hesitate before carrying precious items through the winter in this vehicle, whether we’re talking a PRS Private Stock with mammoth-ivory and paua heart bird inlays or something less expensive, like a human heart packed in ice. Luckily I left the PRS at home and I’ve never had a human heart of any kind.

To my immense satisfaction, the gig broke up at midnight or so, allowing me to leave the Wrangler on the top floor of the Intercontinental Hotel’s parking garage and get a full night’s worth of sleep before heading home the next day. Despite numerous attempts to do so, I never managed to steer the Jeep with the throttle, possibly because I was being a bit of a wimp. There’s nothing like the threat of an SWR bass cabinet hitting you in the back to calm down the ol’ hooning impulse. By the same token, I never managed to turn the tires to mush of any kind. They seemed fine. I made a couple of aggressive moves in the very short spaces between tollbooths on Chicago’s so-called freeway system and was never particularly disappointed in the Wrangler’s response. It wasn’t as good as my old Rovers in that respect either but neither did it ever give any sign that it was about to roll over or do anything traditionally Jeepy. The brakes were strong and dependable. The dynamic package is perfectly up to the standards of the modern road environment.

At the end of the trip, I briefly considered whether I’d buy one of these for myself. I had to conclude that the answer was “not really”. I don’t need the Jeep’s off-road capability and if I found myself doing a lot of out-of-town gigs in bad weather I’d probably just put snow tires on an AWD minivan. Still, it’s a charming and utterly unique vehicle in a marketplace that is increasingly converging towards some sort of One Tall Wagon To Rule Them All. More than anything, the Wrangler points out what crap Land Rover’s turning out nowadays. Bloated junk that won’t hold up or travel through rough conditions like the Wrangler can, at half again the money. Depressing. I’d rather have this Wrangler than any current LR product… but I’d rather have my ’97 Discovery, suitably updated with modern electronics, over the Wrangler.

For my little attorney friend, the Wrangler is just great. She’s very good at driving it now and she likes being able to make plans regardless of weather or road surface. I’m glad she got it, and I’m glad it’s still available for her and people like her to buy. It’s still the real thing.

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Review: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/review-2012-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-sahara/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/review-2012-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-sahara/#comments Wed, 30 Nov 2011 22:28:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=420871 Back in the day, the Jeep Wrangler was only for serious off-roaders. Posers might visit, but assaulted by the SUV’s sluggish acceleration, clumsy handling, rough noisy ride, and spartan hose-out interior they weren’t likely to stay long (or return after leaving). But Chrysler has worked steadily to eliminate these downsides and render the Wrangler fit […]

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Back in the day, the Jeep Wrangler was only for serious off-roaders. Posers might visit, but assaulted by the SUV’s sluggish acceleration, clumsy handling, rough noisy ride, and spartan hose-out interior they weren’t likely to stay long (or return after leaving). But Chrysler has worked steadily to eliminate these downsides and render the Wrangler fit for everyday use. Back in 2007 the Wrangler grew in size and became available in extended wheelbase four-door Unlimited form. Last year its interior was substantially upgraded. And this year the unloved 202-horsepower 3.8-liter “minivan” V6 has been replaced by a 285-horsepower DOHC 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V6. Meanwhile the chassis has been tweaked repeatedly to improve on-road ride and handling. So, with all of these improvements, is the 2012 Wrangler Unlimited as suitable as any other SUV for running the kids to school and then dropping by CostCo?

The Germans aren’t uniquely capable of tastefully refining an iconic shape redesign after redesign, decade after decade. The current Wrangler isn’t a cartoonish “retro” reinterpretation of a classic vehicle from the distant past. Like a Porsche 911, it’s a special purpose iconic vehicle that has undergone an uninterrupted evolution over the years. Chrysler has made many mistakes, but messing up the Wrangler’s styling isn’t one of them. Unchanged since the 2007 redesign, the exterior retains an unmistakable resemblance to the original Jeep. Form relentlessly follows function. The Sahara’s chunky five-spoke 18-inch alloys, though up two inches from the base Wrangler’s wheels, remain well short of over the top. Unlike with some supposed off-road vehicles, you’ll find no mere rim protectors here. There’s no “DUB Edition.” Given the 2007’s increased width, the four-door actually has better proportions than the two-door. The Jeep might not be a beauty, but no one with any appreciation for design (as opposed to “styling”) can fail to find it attractive.

The revised interior is nicer yet still suited to the Wrangler’s intended use. Though heated leather seats and automatic climate control are now available, you’ll still find no luxury car cabin inside a Wrangler, nor should you. After all, it’s still possible to remove not only the roof but the doors, and even to fold the windshield. Functionality is the clear priority. The various buttons and knobs are large, close at hand, and logically laid out. Interior storage is plentiful. Though the upright windshield can block traffic signals, the view from the cushy, thick, high-mounted driver’s seat is otherwise commanding. You’re clearly piloting no ordinary vehicle. The main ergonomic slip: there’s no good place to rest your left foot. The rear seat is similarly high and cushy, but comfort suffers from a bottom cushion that stops mid-thigh. With the four-door legroom is sufficient for the average adult to sit behind the average adult. With the rear seat in place, the Wrangler can hold 46 cubic feet of stuff. Fold the seat and you can squeeze in another 36 cubes. Both figures are competitive with mid-size crossovers.

Does the addition of 83 horsepower transform the Wrangler from slug to rocket ship? Though I half expected it to, even aided by a fifth ratio in the automatic transmission the new mill effects no such transformation. Instead, while the 2007-2011 Wrangler felt painfully slow over 40 miles-per-hour, the 2012 feels…adequate. Though sixty arrives in about eight seconds if you plant your right foot to the floor, the Wrangler doesn’t feel even that quick. Despite its 6,400 rpm horsepower peak and 4,800 rpm torque peak, the engine doesn’t ask to be revved, with some audible strain if and when the throttle is opened more than halfway. But then neither does the engine, despite its DOHC configuration and these lofty on-paper peaks, feel peaky or out of place in the Wrangler, where low-end torque has always been the priority. The new engine seems happiest in casual suburban driving, where shifts occur around 2,700 rpm. It likely feels more energetic when hitched to the six-speed manual transmission, which provides a direct mechanical connection and includes much shorter initial gearing. [Update: the optional lower final drive ratios would also help. The tested Wrangler had the standard 3.21 axles.] For even more thrust, some aftermarket firms will swap in a HEMI, and a boosted V6 should also be a possibility—all it takes is money. But would a shockingly quick Jeep even make sense?

Given the chassis, no. The latest Wrangler does ride much better than those from decades past, especially in not-as-trail-friendly 116-inch-wheelbase Unlimited form. And it even has better-controlled rear body motions than a Land Rover LR4 or Toyota’s conventional SUVs. But compared to just about any other similarly-dimensioned vehicle, the Jeep’s on-road handling, though also much improved, remains sluggish and clumsy. At 4,294 pounds, the Wrangler isn’t terribly massive, but it drives about a quarter-ton heavier than it actually is. On the road, the Jeep’s steering feels loose on-center, its body rolls considerably (if in a well-controlled, predictable manner), and its all-terrain tires readily lapse into a mushy slide. On the plus side, in 2WD (required on pavement, as the 4WD system is part-time) the Wrangler can easily be steered with the throttle. Noise levels are lower than in pre-2007 Wranglers, but at highway speeds there’s still wind rush over the header. EPA ratings of 16 city, 20 highway further suggest that the Jeep wasn’t designed to cheat the wind. Instead, it remains optimized for off-road driving, with on-road behavior a second priority.

With many bespoke bits, the Jeep Wrangler isn’t going to be cheap. A four-door Sport starts at $26,345. But opt for the plusher Sahara with an automatic transmission and body-color hard top, as with the tested vehicle, and you’re looking at a $34,585 sticker even without options like heated leather seats, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, and nav. TrueDelta’s Car Price Comparison Tool suggests that a similarly-equipped Toyota FJ Cruiser is only couple hundred dollars less at MSRP but about $1,500 less when comparing dealer invoices. Price isn’t likely to be the deciding factor between these two.

Given the list of improvements to the Jeep Wrangler over the past few years, culminating in the new V6 this year, some people might be expecting a vehicle that can go toe-to-toe with the latest crossovers in the daily commute, then tackle the Rubicon on the weekends. This isn’t quite the case. Though no longer a penalty box liable to trip over its own feet while failing to get out of its own way, the Wrangler continues to drive like…a Jeep. The latest iteration of this real thing might require less severe day-to-day hardship from the off-road enthusiasts it’s designed for, but it continues to require sacrifices nonetheless. It’s not thrillingly quick. It’s not remotely athletic through curves. It’s somewhat (down from tremendously) noisy and thirsty on the highway. Rear seat room and comfort are merely sufficient. Which, frankly, is very much the way a Wrangler should be. Any closer to being suitable for everyday life, and its essential authenticity would be lost. The world needs at least few cars that to their core aren’t meant for the daily grind, and that consequently drive differently from everything else. For those willing to compromise off-road prowess for on-road comfort and capability, perhaps because they’re never going to venture off the road, Jeep offers the Grand Cherokee.

Vehicle provided by Michael Williams at Southfield Jeep in Southfield, MI (248) 354-2950.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta.com, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Wrangling The Details Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-wrangling-the-details-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-wrangling-the-details-edition/#comments Thu, 19 Aug 2010 18:56:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=363323 Jeep has released the first pictures of its next refreshed product, the 2011 Jeep Wrangler, but the changes don’t exactly jump out. That’s because, besides a new body-color hardtop and five new exterior colors, the changes have all taken place on the inside. You know, where they’re most needed. Have they done the job? Hit […]

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Jeep has released the first pictures of its next refreshed product, the 2011 Jeep Wrangler, but the changes don’t exactly jump out. That’s because, besides a new body-color hardtop and five new exterior colors, the changes have all taken place on the inside. You know, where they’re most needed. Have they done the job? Hit the jump for the first peek…

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Jeep Crossing Over To “Broaden Urban Appeal” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/02/jeep-crossing-over-to-broaden-urban-appeal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/02/jeep-crossing-over-to-broaden-urban-appeal/#comments Mon, 01 Feb 2010 18:16:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=343691 Having re-birthed themselves at the taxpayers’ expense, one of Chrysler’s top priorities is restoring the brand equity that has bled out since the Daimler takeover.  First up was the move to spin “Ram” off as its own brand, and now it seems that no-one is safe from “re-birth,” as UPI.com reports that Chrysler are rethinking […]

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Having re-birthed themselves at the taxpayers’ expense, one of Chrysler’s top priorities is restoring the brand equity that has bled out since the Daimler takeover.  First up was the move to spin “Ram” off as its own brand, and now it seems that no-one is safe from “re-birth,” as UPI.com reports that Chrysler are rethinking their strongest brand, Jeep. Unfortunately, one man’s brand rebirth is another man’s brand betrayal. Chrysler want to replace all of Jeep’s products, except for the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, and the idea is to utilise Fiat’s experience of fuel efficient engines as the basis for it. That means Jeep is likely to become smaller, more fuel-efficient and less off-road capable [rumors of a Fiat Panda 4×4-based Jeep (rendered above) date back to the earliest days of the Fiat-Chrysler alliance]. If you had to boil the proposed shift into a single word, UPI figures it would be “soft.” And the markets have reacted to this news in pretty much the same way you’ve probably just reacted: they think the idea is bad. Very bad.

“Chrysler has to protect the crown jewel,” Aaron Bragman, research analyst with IHS Global Insight, told the newspaper. “When Jeep sticks to its core values it does well. Jeep has always been a trucky off-road brand and whenever they got away from that it did not go well.” Gerald Myers, professor at the University of Michigan and former chairman of Jeep’s former owner, AMC, was a little less subdued in his reaction, “It’s a huge mistake….I couldn’t think of anything worse for the brand.” Mike Manley, head of the Jeep brand said that the brand is capable of broadening its urban appeal and is aware of the risks, “We don’t want to dilute what Jeep means,” he said. Which is probably what Cadillac brand managers said when they introduced the Cimmarron.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Jeep’s Version Of New Product Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-jeeps-version-of-new-product-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-jeeps-version-of-new-product-edition/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2010 15:22:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=341139 In the past, Jeep’s done it up big for the NAIAS, unveiling wild concepts, driving new production models through plate glass, and the like. This year though, things are a bit tight. Instead of throwing a booze-soaked bash around some miles-from-production concept, Sergio Marchionne is going to lay out some saltines and Tang and let […]

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2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Mountain Edition

In the past, Jeep’s done it up big for the NAIAS, unveiling wild concepts, driving new production models through plate glass, and the like. This year though, things are a bit tight. Instead of throwing a booze-soaked bash around some miles-from-production concept, Sergio Marchionne is going to lay out some saltines and Tang and let visitors paste some cheap decals he picked up in China on a Wrangler. All this in celebration of Jeep’s first new products in ages: the Unlimited Mountain and Islander edition Wranglers. Featuring the cheapest, most gimmicky-looking graphic decals and upholstery ever foisted upon the buying public (random latitude/longitude readings? really?), these “special” editions need to keep Jeep gasping along until ChryCo can get the suppliers lined up for the new Grand Cherokee. Meanwhile, stand by for more special editions from Chrysler, hinted at in the firm’s five year plan. This is going to get even uglier before the actual Fiat products show up later this year. 2010 Jeep Wrangler Islander 2010 Jeep Wrangler Islander 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Mountain Edition 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Mountain Edition Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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