(Editor’s Note: Most of our reviews are of vehicles supplied by the manufacturer or other source. In this case of this review, it’s Jennifer’s personal vehicle.)
Let’s discuss the iconic Jeep Wrangler, that is going on its 11th year without a remodel, and is still selling very well. Equipped with a strong V6, the 3.6L is the only engine option for this vehicle. Though some more power from, say, a HEMI, would be nice, the 3.6 is still solid, and keeps this boxy Jeep moving quite nicely. It produces 285 horsepower, and 260lbs-ft. torque, which is arguably noble for a vehicle designed to conquer, not the race track, but all that mother nature has to offer.
Some features the Wrangler I am reviewing has, that were not available as an option on previous years are, for starters, the unique olive leather interior, and the LED headlights coupled with LED fog lamps. I know one of the biggest complaints for the past years were the dull head lights. That is definitely not a concern now, as the low beams could be easily be mistaken for the high. Now, when I ordered this Wrangler from the dealership, many people thought I was crazy for ordering the olive interior. They very boldly expressed (keep in mind, I have known them for quite some time so they were comfortable enough to speak their minds) how terrible they thought it would look, calling it a potential “baby barf green.” That is, until the day it was delivered and everyone said how badass the color looked.
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Additionally, this Jeep came equipped with steering wheel controls, and the 430N touchscreen radio with navigation. While it is no 8.4 inch touch screen Mopar has available on other models (it would never fit with the design, anyways), it does its job. Heated seats, 3 piece hard top (that has yet to leak, and is simple to remove and replace), and automatic start, ya know, for the chilly days, are all included as well. I cannot speak on the cloth, but the leather seats are comfortable and well crafted.
There are some available options that this particular Jeep does not have. Firstly, the max trailer tow package was not a necessity for myself, but if you were to add one, it has a towing capacity of 2,000 lbs. If I didn’t have subwoofers and upgraded after market sound options already lying around, I would have chosen the premium sound system, which includes 9 Alpine speakers and an all weather 8 inch subwoofer, which offers some deeper bass, impressive highs, and superior tonal balance.
Though stock, I am impressed with the ride height and ground clearance, and the enjoyment I get watching my mother make multiple attempts to get inside, a problem she did not have with my Grand Cherokee. The exterior black clear coat is sleek and the gun metal Sahara wheels are sharp. Underneath, the gears have been upgraded from the stock 3.21s, to the optional 3.73s, allowing for more play when I decide to build it. Additionally, this one was upped to a 5 speed automatic transmission (from the option of a 6 speed manual.) Suspension wise, the Jeep feels sturdy, but it’s ride quality can’t quite compete with a Cadillac. Then again, when is the last time you saw an Escalade rock crawling?
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While we all know Jeep does not have the best record in the gas mileage department, the city MPG for the Sahara is rather decent. Though most V6s undoubtedly get much higher, I can tell you, it isn’t too awful. Around town, even with aggressive driving, and the steep hills of Pittsburgh, I get a steady 16 mpg. Now, if I put my grandmother behind the wheel and dropped her in the middle of Phoenix, I can see that number easily rising to 18+.
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You may spend a little more on gas, but it is the smiles per gallon that count, so I’ve been told, and I sure do a lot of smiling behind the wheel. The price tag on this specific Jeep was $42.5K, which some may say “You can drive a BMW for that price!” to which I assume they have never experienced a Jeep. The prices vary greatly, ranging from $24-55,000, so there is one for everyone! The down and dirty, bare bone, mud seekers to the soccer moms, who still want to enjoy running their kids around, and don’t get nearly as excited by the minivan life.
Overall, I feel as though the decade long run of successful sales and the community surrounding the brand speak for themselves. Jeep has a reputation to uphold, and the Wrangler is atop that pyramid, holding the Jeep image together, and in 2017, it continues to do just that. Strong exterior, comforting features, and capabilities beyond your expectations, this Jeep Wrangler is wholly the heart of the brand, and the soul of off-roading.