The Truth About Cars » Wrangler The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:47:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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 (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Wrangler Next-Generation Jeep Wrangler To Take Fight To Soft-Roaders, Hold Rubicon Mon, 07 Jul 2014 12:00:13 +0000 5-2013-wrangler-rubicon-10th-anniversary-anvil

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 Tue, 13 May 2014 13:00:50 +0000 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 Mon, 10 Mar 2014 14:00:16 +0000 002-jeep-wrangler-polar-edition-1

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. Mon, 04 Mar 2013 13:00:29 +0000

“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 Wed, 30 Nov 2011 22:28:21 +0000

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, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Wrangling The Details Edition Thu, 19 Aug 2010 18:56:20 +0000

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” Mon, 01 Feb 2010 18:16:10 +0000

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 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 4x4-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 Fri, 08 Jan 2010 15:22:33 +0000 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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