By on March 25, 2015

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. 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

84 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara...”


  • avatar
    blueflame6

    In a world with no global warming, unlimited oil, and more capable personal finances, I’d have one. As it is, I can’t justify it but it’s clearly the right tool for certain jobs.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      Damn man you are depressing, oil is fine I just filled up a 23 gallon tank for $45. Gas prices will be below $2.00 all summer we have so much we are running out of places to put it.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “Gas prices will be below $2.00 all summer…” — I’m not betting on that one, Mike. Prices have already risen nearly 50¢/gallon where I live in just the last four months; it could easily be over $3.00 by June 20 and back to $3.50 by Sep. 20th. Personally, I expect to see prices back to early 2014 levels before the end of the year and maybe even higher.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Where I live, gas rose $.50, and is now dropping like a stone again, $.25 in the last two weeks.

          Roll the dice, could go either way.

          I’d rather it stay high, personally.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            With the US drilling rig count at half what it was last year, the prices will come back up at some point. For the existing wells, the cost of drilling them is already sunk, so they’ll continue pumping, but the fracked wells in particular deplete quickly, so you can expect North American production to start declining later this year or early next. Prices will firm up sooner or later, probably some time next year.

            Enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t make long term plans based on cheap gasoline.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      I’m curious as to the effect of one Jeep on global warming and limited oil against the backdrop of four and a half billion (with a B) rapidly developing asians.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Leather seats in a Wrangler? Sacrilege!

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Thank you for not doing what other writers do and start complaining about the ride as if it competes with BMW, or worse complaining about the fuel economy that must rival a Prius.
    This is an excellent vehicle in its own right, the ride is outstanding for its capabilities, and the fuel economy is stellar, again for its capabilities.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    I was recently on vacation with the wife and we rented one of these in 2-door guise to bomb around on one of the Virgin islands for a day. Given that it was wet out and the slope of the roads, the 4wd was necessary to use even on road.

    I’m normally a sports car guy, but I’ve been in my fair share of wranglers and can categorically say I loved it. It’s definitely a vehicle that I’ll consider in 4-door version at some point in the future for myself, and then later to maybe to hand off to my kid. The interior was basic but functional, the 4wd was confidence inspiring, and the whole feel of the it was amazing.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      Are you telling me that on pavement you actually needed 4wd or were the roads dirt/mud?

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        we were on St. John, on pavement. The inclines were near 45 degrees in some sections of the island with tight switchbacks on them, so it wasn’t really possible to hit those sections with momentum. If it had been in the dry I wouldn’t have been concerned, but in the wet I getting decent wheelspin on some of them in 2wd mode, so I kicked it into 4 high to get up some of them.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Where were you? I was on St. John 3/3-3/10. Fantastic, stunning, beautiful place, my second favorite I’ve been to in the world behind Maui.

      We were going to do the same, rent a Wrangler and drive around the island, but they were all out at our resort, and we decided to just sit on the beach instead. We did do a Jeep drive when we were in Alaska in August, a little structured hokey “off roading” but it’s still fun.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        St. John, last fall. I completely agree, we stayed right on Cruz bay at Gallows Point and it was amazing.

        I’ve never done Maui, but I’ve been to Oahu more times than I care to count for work, and tacking on some vacation time to the end since Uncle Sam already paid for my airfare. The surfing is fun and the North Shore is nice, but I definitely won’t be going back to that island of my own accord if I can help it. Waikiki is too touristy in a bad way, and the rest of Honolulu is just a crappy city.

        • 0 avatar
          TCowner

          Rented an unlimited for a week in Maui last summer, and had an absolute blast. Did the Road to Hana all the way around the island, and the very treacherous North side twice. They are fun.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I imagine they’d only sell more if they had a third row.

    • 0 avatar

      Funny you should mention. My wife has a requirement for a third row seat, which is one of the main reasons why we don’t have a JKU. But there is a solution!
      An after-market company makes a kit that utilizes the rear seat of the 2-door JK to be installed in the trunk of the JKU. It can face forward or backward, comes with lap belts, and it’s kinds of cheap. Google it. It’s seems sketchy to me, but it’s out there.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Something tells me that particular modification is a really good way to _not_ pass your safety inspection.

        Mind you, this is a car you can take the doors off of.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I can’t think of why it would be an issue in Maine. As long as there are seatbelts for those seats, you would be good to go. I would want them rear facing.

          Doesn’t seem any less safe than the third row kids seats in a Volvo.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Sadly, the Unlimited Sahara in yellow with matching hardtop is probably the worst color combo for this thing. Looks too much like the little bus, which reminds me of my school daze. The 2-door Sahara (would that be the Limited?) looks fine in yellow and I like the Rubicon in it since the black fender flares break it up nicely. Regardless, these things are the awesomest.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’ve always promised myself someday I’ll buy a Wrangler. Unfortunately for FCA, I can’t promise whether I’ll buy a new $30k+ one, or just a $5k old TJ, but I will have one at some point when I have the room.

  • avatar
    Steinweg

    Greetings from Jeepville. I work in a law firm of about 20 lawyers. There are 4 – FOUR! – Jeep Wranglers in the parking lot. If I start counting Commanders and Patriots, I add another few; if I count spouse’s vehicles, it’s ridiculous!

  • avatar
    ezeolla

    I bought a TJ when I was in college and love it. Every year at the auto show I sit in a new JK and contemplate trading up, but unfortunately for FCA, every year the answer is no.

    I just can’t justify spending the money to buy pretty much the same thing I already have. Yeah it’s a little more comfortable and has more power, but it is also a lot heavier and has stability control/traction control, which if it is like my wife’s Liberty, cannot be completely turned off unless you are in 4low IIRC (sometimes I just wanna do some donuts in a snowy parking lot)

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Can’t imagine using one of these day to day – maybe as a secondary vehicle, MAYBE. But there’s an awful lot of things available for equal or less money, which are more usable and better to drive. As long as you don’t need to do big offroading with them. Which most people don’t.

    $41,515 is so much money for a live axle box with a not-nice interior It’s more than a Discovery Sport (nee LR4). It’s the SAME as a Range Rover Evoque. You can also have a GLK350.

    So what I’m saying is, this car only makes sense in very basic format.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Well, CoreyDL I will be able to let you know how well it does or does not work in short order as a daily driver,I traded my frontier CC last Friday for an 08 2 door HT 6 MT oddly yellow with the black top.

      Initial impressions are that it rides the same as the frontier and the seats are way more comfortable than the frontiers, which may be the worst available in any vehicle at this point.

      Half way through one tank and it is showing 21 mpg, have to verify at the pump of course. Mrs Morgan enjoyed using it at the grocery store as he suburban and the frontier generally have a turning radius of a Nimitz class carrier and the jeep, I think, literally turns on a dime.

      I kind of like the thing so far, time will tell.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I will await your evaluation!

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Corey, one of my fellow AF retirees owns one, a 4-door Green Sahara with a light-brown leather interior, and I can tell you from having been a passenger in it, it is every bit a Wrangler.

          He also owns a 2013 Grand Cherokee (bought for his wife based on our great experience with my wife’s 2012 Grand Cherokee) but these two Jeeps will never be in the same league when it comes to ride and handling.

          Both are immensely capable vehicles, but worlds apart when it comes to ride, NVH and handling.

          It really depends on what you are looking for, when buying such a vehicle.

          I would be loathe to take long trips in a Sahara, even on the Interstate system. For that, I’ll take a Grand Cherokee any day.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I just think for the kind of coin they want for the loaded up ones – it’s past a desirable price range. Luxury plus poor NVH in 2015 doesn’t work for me. IMO, I don’t -have- to sacrifice/compromise that much.

            Or I could just be my dad. “They shoulda never made a 4-door one, those just look so stupid!”

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Corey, I believe his Sahara cost him ~$38K after all the crying was done vs the $24K I paid for my grandson’s 2010 Wrangler Soft Top Manual.

            He didn’t trade anything in on it, but gave his excess vehicles to his grandkids to use as their DDs. Hand-me-downs are often used to help kids/grand kids launch successfully.

            My interpretation of that four-door concept is that it tries to be a vehicle for all wants and needs, since most people do not want to maintain a fleet of personal vehicles to satisfy all their wants and needs, i.e. off-roader, long-distance traveler, pickup truck, night-on-the-town limo, etc.

            And I can tell you, that much of the equipment inside that Sahara is taken directly from the Grand Cherokee, like the Pentastar V6, automatic tranny, SelecTracII, NAV system, Satellite radio, steering wheel, etc.

            OTOH, I think that 4-door pickup trucks are the cat’s whiskers. My very first pickup truck was a 1962 IHC 4-door Air Force Flightline truck and it was way ahead of its time.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The 4-door hardtop is a de facto successor to the old brick Cherokees of the 80s and 90s, and bought by the same people who want to have the off-road capability even if they never use it.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      @CoreyDL

      I agree. As a fun toy in the same vein as my Triumph Spitfire, sure, I’d love to have one. But as a daily driver, Oh Dear God they are just terrible devices. And absolutely stupidly expensive new for what they are. Even used they are a ton of money – my best friend just bought an ’06 Wrangler Unlimited (the long wheelbase 2dr), and it was $15K with a bunch of miles on it but really nice condition with both tops. But it serves the same purpose for him my Spitfire does for me, a fun convertible nice weather toy, with that added bonus that he doesn’t need a road. He commutes in a Jetta TDI.

      For the past few years he had some kind of crazy ’80s jacked up huge tired big engine super off road modified Jeep, but it was SO unusable on the road he sold it and bought this one. Which is still terrible by my standards but livable in comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @krhodes: I’ve been driving a JKU as a daily driver for 7½ years and I have to strongly disagree with your “… they are just terrible devices.” While I admit the fuel economy could be better, it simply won’t be as long as it keeps such a square face, even though that is what makes it a Wrangler. Still, I have achieved 25mpg with the old 3.8L V6 on a long Interstate drive over the Appalachians on I-81, so it’s not as bad on mileage as it could be.

        The ’06 is a TJ, not a JK. As such, your argument appears moot. Maybe you should actually try a JK before complaining about it.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Actually I have driven the latest generation. Like many, I have rented them on vacation and work trips to the Caribbean, and I have friends who own the 4dr. Good fun on small dirt roads on an island, but even brand new ones make paved roads feel like dirt roads compared to a decent car, or even a modern pickup truck. Why people who never take them off road buy these things is one of the great mysteries of the modern world, and ALL of the people who I know who have bought them new NEVER take them off road farther than a gravel parking lot.

          My friend with the ’06 uses his as it was intended to be used, but he bought it used. Cool toy, pretty wretched daily transportation. Just like my old Triumph in that respect. But hey, if you like it, more power to ya. As my former car salesman buddy used to say, there is an @ss for every seat.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      I DD a Rubicon 2DR 6MT. I like it. Does it handle mid corner bumps well? No. But other than that it is fine. Its quieter than my Subaru and is actually pretty quick if needed. As long as you don’t unsettle the suspension, it actually handles good enough that it can out-corner 99% of people that are just driving along (or for that matter that think their car will flip at anything > 0.4 g)

      Its got more infotainment tech than my Boxster, is about as fun, and can go places it can’t. Its also great in the city since its essentially door ding proof and has plastic bumpers that won’t scratch up. The stick shift makes it fun. The short wheelbase is unique. I did not like the Unlimited though. Too heavy and cumbersome feeling.

      Are things more useable and “better to drive”? Sure, but if we went by that metric alone, we would all be driving minivans. But then I question what “better to drive” even means.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        As noted I have not had mine for a week yet and thus far DDing has not been that bad, or I should say any worse than what it replaced.

        As for the cost of them, near as I can tell they hold their value like mad. I would think that if you were looking for a four door, new would be the way to go. here in CO a late model four door will have an ask price of close to 30k with 50k miles on the odo. Seems to me, if resale is your goal you are better off with a wrangler than just about any vehicle on the road in the price point.

  • avatar
    Feds

    I got all the way to the sales guy’s office on one of these last year. I was prepared for pretty much all of the compromises, but after driving a vehicle with the selec-trac transfer case (AWD + Locked centre diff + low range), I wasn’t prepared to go back to one without it.

    Yes “hard core offroaders” and all that nonsense, but adding a selec-trac case would improve the on-road, bad weather performance so much. With these things transacting at 35 to 40K I can’t believe an AWD transfer case isn’t available.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      Wife had an 06 Liberty with the selec-trac transfer case and we only used the full time mode once. We were on a dirt road and got stuck. Shifted into 4 high and were fine. Full time mode has the center diff open, one wheel off ground or on ice its over. Modern traction control and stability control make the full time mode not needed. Anytime you need 4wd you’ll want to have center locked anyway and is there with pull of lever. Not having the full time mode gets rid parts that break.

      • 0 avatar
        Feds

        Totally disagree. Like yellowduck below, I’ve had vehicles with locked-centre-diff-only (a pathfinder) and one with a selec-trac case (my Delica, which calls it Super Select 4wd).

        On the road in bad weather full time/AWD mode is miles ahead of 4×4. In the Pathfinder (and in the Delica when in 4×4) losing traction on a corner means succombing to the centripital force and sliding straight off the road, like the classic physics “rock on a string” problem.

        With AWD you get the forward traction, but overcooking it means getting into a nice controlable drift. And it handles low speed manoevers better, and the steering is lighter. For the $50 difference in part cost I’m stunned that it’s not available as an option on the JK.

        • 0 avatar
          See 7 up

          Sorry, had to comment.

          This is simply not true, and doesn’t follow physics at all.

          When a wheel starts to slip, its coefficient of friction is reduced. In a 2WD car, say RWD, if you spin the back wheels it will oversteer but your front tend to remain “on track”.
          AWD – if you are 4 wheel drifting you have markedly reduced steering control. You will be able to accelerate more, which is why its such an advantage in motorsport (and does have some effect of damping power on oversteer slip angles)

          Long story short, if you over cook a corner in either vehicle, you will slide off the road. AWD may allow you to slide into the ditch forward. That is about it.

          Now, what awd does, is provide an additional margin of error, in that its is less likely that you will spin tires an lose static friction coefficients since torque is split across 4 wheel rather than 2. THAT IS HUGE. That is what make is seem like its more controllable, more grip, safer. But trust me, if your 2 wheel drive car will slide off the road at say 40 mph do to too much speed ENTERING a turn, a AWD version will do the same (given same tires). If you overcook the exit, a AWD car will slide outward due to lowered friction on all 4 wheels. A RWD car will oversteer buts its front wheels will remain online (you may spin)

          I have a Wrangler and a Subaru. The subaru is good in the snow. The wrangler is good. In 4WD the wrangler is oh so much better, ridiculous actually.

          My comment wasn’t meant to dismiss AWD, its just that AWD in and of itself does not provide more lateral grip. It provides a buffer for excess throttle application that will result in wheel slip, and a change from static friction to kinetic friction coefficients.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            After all the 4WD, AWD, 4X4 vehicles I’ve had I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand the different systems and their capabilities

  • avatar
    YellowDuck

    We have a JKU from before the Pentastar. Even the 3.8 was pretty good in this truck so long as it was paired with the 6-speed and 1.44 axle – the 4-speed auto really sucked.

    Honestly manual 4WD is pretty outdated these days for road use. In the winter you are constantly having to decide whether you should engage 4WD (since on slippery roads RWD make this vehicle inferior to anything with FWD – it can barely get out of its own way), or if the roads are too dry of course you get all kinds of binding in the drive train when you go around corners – it just isn’t practical. Ironically, it also truly sucks on poor quality gravel roads at any significant speed. Hit some washboard surface and those live axles really get bouncing, to the point that you could find yourself dancing into the ditch. Again, any modern 2WD car is more capable on that type of road.

    I think a lot of people buy these for the wrong reasons and get disillusioned. There just aren’t that many real world situations where they are any better than a mini van. Even the tow capacity is only a bit better, at 3500 lbs.

    We still have ours but will sell soon. Replaced it with a Dodge Journey RT. Practical Haldex-style AWD, normally FWD, more luggage space, part-time use third row, quieter, much more comfortable, and better fuel economy. The only things it doesn’t do better is look cool, which I kind of care about, and traverse near-impassible rocky trials, which I definitely don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Manual 4WD? Huh as in locking hubs?

      AWD and 4WD are totally different things for totally different situations, you can’t compare the two.

      Directed below-
      Additionally if your going to compare an offroad vehicle to basically a minivan, you can’t say others will somehow not realize they are buying an offroad vehicle. That’s 100% on you. The problem isn’t the wrangler it’s the few buyers that buy an offroad vehicle and then complain it’s not as good at minivan tasks as a minivan. You didn’t buy a plow to mow your yard did you?

    • 0 avatar
      iMatt

      I hate to complain, but I found your comment YellowDuck to be more insightful than the review above.

      • 0 avatar

        Since the JK Wrangler has been around for such a along time, and since my audience consists of what I think are automotive enthusiast, I intentionally didn’t go into details of the vehicle, much like I have on my TLX review, for instance. Sorry you didn’t like it.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I disagree with YellowDuck’s complaints about the Wrangler’s ‘manual’ 4×4, I have no issue with shifting it in and out of 4WD on the fly, which is the way this transfer case is meant to work (and yes, I do have the older 3.8, not Pentastar engine). I never get into the binding unless I forget to shift out, which is rare, and I’m usually at a dead crawl even then, so can stop and reverse to unbind the drivetrain before shifting back to 2WD mode. Where I live, winters frequently make using the 4WD a requirement but the plows and salting also make the shift-on-the-fly extremely convenient. As for the binding, you really don’t get that unless you’re trying a pretty tight corner. As long as there’s any slip at all for even one wheel, you won’t notice it and you can handle all but a tight turn without worry. (A half-turn of the wheel has no bind at all for me, which is about ⅓rd of steering lock either way.) My only regret is that I didn’t order a locker for the rear diff; mine’s limited-slip both ends.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Mechanical LSD on both ends? Is this a factory thing? I think you’re probably referring to the simulated “brake lock differentials” that Jeep puts on most of their stuff. An impressive and capable system as far as these sorts of things go. There’s still that bit of drama with wheel spin vs just rolling up undulating climbs with a locker.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Custom ordered back in ’07. Delivered the last week of October, 07. Sahara. And no, it is not a “simulated brake lock differential”, they are hard, mechanical diffs with a hard, mechanical transfer case.

          And at least with a locker, that wheel may spin, but only at the same speed as the opposite wheel. Limited Slip doesn’t quite make the grade when you reach that point. Like I said, I wish now I had ordered a locker for the rear.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I certainly don’t intend to be That Guy, but this is probably the sole vehicle I wish would get a diesel option. I know my wife approves of these, but at high teens MPG in mixed driving, I couldn’t really justify it unless I drove about 10k kms a year. Not that I’m going so far as to say the lack of an oil burner is all that’s stopping me from buying one, or FCA are a pack of simpletons for not offering such an option, just something that’d be nice to see, if they can make a case for it anyhow.

    But yeah, I appreciate that Jeep’s managed to keep the Wrangler plenty unique while gaining volume.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      A diesel has been rumored for the next model, supposedly the same 3L V6 in the Grand Cherokee and Ram. Current one doesn’t offer it in the US since the engine is in short supply and the 8-speed doesn’t fit the frame.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        That would be my guess too. There are even unsubstantiated rumors that Fiatsler may build a small-diesel engine plant in MEXICO to satisfy the anticipated demand worldwide for the MV/VM 3.0L diesel.

        As everyone already knows, Cummins is actively seeking to expand through various ventures with different automakers but the negotiations do not seem to advance. Getting Cummins to build this mini-diesel would be a lot less expensive than setting up a brand new virgin plant from scratch in Mexico.

        But in the back of our minds we should always be the concerned that the UAW will muck up this deal too, with their insatiable demands for higher wages and more elaborate benefits.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          I think the primary motivation for going with the VM diesel versus Cummins is keeping the profits in-house since Fiat owns VM. I’m sure Fiat would ideally like to source the HD diesel also, if the Cummins ISB didn’t have such a huge mindspace in the segment.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        The problem with the next model is that the folding windshield is getting dropped for aerodynamic reasons. Gain fuel mileage, lose a little bit of what makes it a Wrangler.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          I’m sure its loss will be lamented by all 15 people who folded theirs down in the past year.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            It will be a lot more than 15 people who will lament it, even if they never folded their own down. It will be a very vehement complaint that it’s “Not A Real Jeep”, just as even the JK itself received that complaint the year it came out–and the YJ for its square headlamps, etc.

            It’s not whether or not they use a given capability, it’s the simple fact that it is different that will have “real jeepers” complaining.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        That’s what I thought – I’d be curious to see if they can mate it with the manual transmission as well. No doubt the 8-speed is a great transmission, and plenty adequate, but there is something to the experience of rowing that massive shifter.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    “I don’t understand why idiots risk illegally importing Land Rover Defenders when the Wrangler is just so good.”

    Because how can you be seen driving around Martha’s Vineyard in the same vehicle as your landscaper?

  • avatar

    I think the only thing keeping me from rationalizing my way into buying one is the lack of towing capacity: specifically the ability to tow a LeMons car on an open-top trailer…probably translating to a 5-6k lb rating.

    The existing drivetrain should be good for it. Maybe it’d need some extra cooling and rear airbags or up-rated springs?

    • 0 avatar
      YellowDuck

      The factory tow kit includes somewhat updated springs and a transmission oil cooler too I think. The same engine provides the Ram pickup with much higher tow capacity, so yes I too would be curious to know what the limitation is.

    • 0 avatar
      ezeolla

      The low towing capacity is due to the soft suspension set up for off-roading. Or at least that is what I have been told

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Has to do more with the short wheelbase than anything. A Wrangler is inherently unstable due to its short length and high ride height. Towing more than 3500 pounds could have it do screwy things if the trailer wants to go one way and the car another–especially when that trailer inevitably fishtails.

      • 0 avatar

        The for the 2 door, I agree with you, but the Unlimited has a 116″ wheelbase, same as a Chevy Tahoe.

        I’m 99% confident it comes down to spring rates and possibly durability/longevity testing on the transmissions.

        Oddly enough, the Jeep buyer’s guide shows one towing a CJ5 on an open top trailer:
        https://www.jeep.com/assets/pdf/wrangler_specs.pdf
        I’m really skeptical that combo’s under 3500lbs.

  • avatar

    One thing Kamui didn’t mention about Wrangler options is that FCA will sell you a Rubicon with manual locks and windows. When I looked into buying an FJ from Toyota, I had to buy “convenience package” before I could buy the rear locker. That included the 3-bulb pedestal and other worthless junk that was intended to drive up the price. I suspect that stripper Rubis do not make a big percentage of Wrangler sales, but you know, small numbers add up. Same goes for the soft top option and even the half-doors.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Definitely respectable. I’d love to be able to buy a totally stripped out 4wd from Toyota, like a ‘UN’ edition 4Runner or something with steel wheels (I won’t mention the LC70, that’s just a total fantasy). Nissan still had Xterra “X” models right to the end with 6spd manuals and very little in the way of options, but the locker was reserved for the Pro-4X.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    The wealthy suburbs near work are absolutely crawling with these, I think it’s awesome. cool looking 4 door convertible for reasonable money and practical in the winter? Sounds like a steal! I tried out a JKU 6spd but it just didn’t fit my dog/canoe hauling needs. I definitely loved driving it though. If they made a regular hard top version with a steel roof, I’d probably buy one.

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    Back in November I bought a used 2012 JKU that is nearly fully loaded with 12,500 miles and a manual. It’s been a fun truck to own. It has the aerodynamics of a wet sponge, so any head wind will affect forward progress at highways speeds and fuel economy. The handling isn’t nimble, BUT I can throw it into a turn with ease at double the yellow speed limit sign speeds. The weather is getting warmer here in PA, so I will probably remove the freedom top panels soon.

    The rear seat lacks support for the middle seating position, but MetalCloak offers a CNC support plate for a reasonable fee.
    Personally I like cue ball style shift knobs over the gaudy, offensive to touch stock gearbox and transfer case knobs. Again, the aftermarket has many options.

  • avatar
    AdventureSteve

    I hate to say it, but the Wrangler should be exempt from CAFE, because it has no competition. Everyone who wants this kind of vehicle is forced to buy a Wrangler, and it is dragging down JEEP/FCA’s CAFE numbers. This will force them to keep watering down the platform, so get one while you can. Also, sorry, but the latest Wrangler does NOT drive like a truck on the street – it’s way more civilized.

  • avatar
    AdventureSteve

    Jeeps are narrower, shorter, have better visibility and are more maneuverable. Most important of all, they don’t have rear leaf springs and an independently mounted truck bed that wags like a dog’s tail at every bump in the road. Those fancy truck interiors are just a mind trick, my 4 door Jeep drives like a Cadillac compared to my F150 on real world roads.

    • 0 avatar

      Did you read any other part of the review? The part where i said it’s composed? The part where it’s good in an emergency maneuver? The part where it absorbs potholes with a smooth thud? Did you see the part where I said that my own mother just bought one?

      Or did you just see the part where I said it drives like a truck [compared to cars and CUVs]?

      • 0 avatar
        AdventureSteve

        I don’t see the word “composed” in the article, I don’t see anything about good “emergency maneuvering,” (instead you say it doesn’t like it), and I don’t see any mention of potholes.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • stuki: You weren’t at neither Ebay, Paypal nor SpaceX to watch him “build” any of them first hand,...
  • Art Vandelay: Maybe, but at least I’d get the LSD and rear end looks better on this. Plus I bet the 3 cylinder...
  • Fordson: Holding out for the “Don’t Tread On Me” edition.
  • theBrandler: All this push for electrification is overlooking the obvious middle ground that could capture some...
  • Mike-NB2: Back after Ford made the announcement that they were going to stop building/selling cars in North America I...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States