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WranglerFull Review of SEMA V8 Hemi Wrangler
Posted by mike on 2007/10/29 8:55:29 (9924) reads

AllCarsReview has a quick writeup on the V8 Hemi Wrangler Unlimited that was recently shown at SEMA.

Engine aside, the concept also features an enhanced suspension with a 3-in. lift to fit the immense 35-in. BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires mounted on 18-in. alloys, chromed exterior details, Nappa leather interior and a multimedia infotainment system.

The article isn't a review, but mostly just a collection of photos and the official press release describing the vehicle. It's this next quote that had me shaking my head:
The Wrangler Ultimate’s real story is its interior. Taking cues from rugged adventure sports bags and accessories, the team created a high style and detailed interior compartment that is as tough and beautiful as the exterior. Seating surfaces are clad in durable orange mesh fabric and dark slate gray Nappa/Province leather – bound with a heavy black-leather baseball stitch. Instrument panel details are treated to a stunning Argent Pearl/Satin Silver paint combination, reinforcing the machine character for which Jeep is known. The interior is also home to the exclusive MyGIG™ Multimedia Infotainment System. There are also DVD screens for passengers in the front and rear.

They drop a V8 Hemi into a Wrangler and claim that the vehicle's interior is the star?

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Poster Thread
Jeepin
Posted: 2007/10/29 10:23  Updated: 2007/10/29 10:23
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/11/28
From: TX
Posts: 190
 Re: Full Review of SEMA V8 Hemi Wrangler
Yes, for better or worse, the interior is the 'real star' of the Wrangler Ultimate. So it's got a HEMI, so what? How many HEMI JKs have we seen already? Unless it's a production model, a V8/HEMI JK isn't anything to get all worked up over anymore... especially in a show vehicle. While it's certainly cooler than the stock 3.8L V6, it's old hat. A 3.0L CRD would have been more interesting (to me anyway), or a baby Cummins! I've seen HEMI JKs on ebay already, Burnsville OffRoad has done a ton already, and there's a place here in TX doing them as well.

Granted though, this isn't just any old HEMI swap like we've been seeing for a year+ now, this is the 6.4L HEMI. The problem in this case though is Jeep has downplayed the 6.4L in this particular JK. They showed off the vehicle earlier this year, with no mention of the motor (it probably didn't have the HEMI in it at that point). The 'sales pitch' for the Wrangler Ultimate has been what's on the interior and exterior (not what's under the hood), so that's what people are picking up on. The 6.4L under the hood seems more like a side mention now unfortunately.

Chrysler needs to figure out how it wants to label it's motors anyway... the 'smaller' HEMIs are all called by their liter displacement... 5.7L, 6.1L... but now they're referring to the 6.4L as the 392? Most motors now a days are referred to by their liter size, not their cu-in size, 2.8L, 3.0L, 4.0L, 3.7L, 3.8L, 4.7L, 5.9L, etc., so most non-motorheads born in the 70's or later probably don't think in terms of cu-in and probably can't do the conversion in their heads very easily. Shoot, I had to google convert 392 to figure out which HEMI this thing had.

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GregB
Posted: 2007/10/29 9:18  Updated: 2007/10/29 9:18
Quite a regular
Joined: 2005/7/16
From: Central IL
Posts: 70
 Re: Full Review of SEMA V8 Hemi Wrangler
I wonder how well the "rugged adventure sports bags" interior can handle a cleaning with a garden hose?

Part of what makes a wrangler great is that it's simple. Yeah, I understand for safety putting in ABS or airbags, and sure offer some appearance/MyGIG package as an option. Just do us all a favor and don't tell us the real story is a bunch of crap I don't need when you just gave it a much needed power boost. The 2 things the current JK needs are more power and mid-range towing. Anything else you want to add as an option, cool, just don't feed me crap on a silver platter and tell me it's steak.

Poster Thread
tmedlock
Posted: 2007/10/29 11:23  Updated: 2007/10/29 11:23
Just can't stay away
Joined: 2007/1/11
From: New Hampshire
Posts: 83
 Re: Full Review of SEMA V8 Hemi Wrangler
Once again NO MENTION OF THE TRANSMISSION (if you look in the picture though you see it is an automatic). Scares the heck out of me that it seems to be just accepted that wrangler no longer needs to offer a manual transmission. Perhaps the assumption is that this is a luxury car so no one will want a manual transmission? Very sad when wrangler becomes a luxury car instead of a utility vehicle. Score another one for the yuppies.

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Jeepin
Posted: 2007/10/29 12:41  Updated: 2007/10/29 12:41
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/11/28
From: TX
Posts: 190
 Re: Full Review of SEMA V8 Hemi Wrangler
why do only luxury cars get an auto? I think if you looked at sales numbers, for better or worse American drivers prefer autos. Auto trans = more sales. Plain and simple. Sales of auto-equipped TJs went way up when the 4-sp auto was introduced. XJs always sold way more with autos than sticks. The Dodge Charger isn't even available with a stick, so if their HEMI sports sedan doesn't get a stick, why would they put one in a HEMI Wrangler? You can get a stick behind the 5.7L HEMI in a Ram however.

Auto trans also gives the mfg more control over how the vehicle is driven to an extent -- they can better control how the torque is delivered. This can be important when you stuff a high power motor in a relatively heavy vehicle with a drivetrain that may not really be up handling that kind of power.

(not that I agree with the lack of a manual trans option, just playing devil's advocate here).

Poster Thread
MarkH
Posted: 2007/10/29 13:58  Updated: 2007/10/29 14:10
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/20
From: The Great White North
Posts: 494
 Re: Full Review of SEMA V8 Hemi Wrangler
OK, someone has to say it... so I will.

On the switch from CJs to Wranglers, there was a demographic shift with an increasing number of chicks buying "Jeeps". Ever since '87, it seems, lots more ATs have been sold. Unless you're towing a lot or plowing snow, MTs make driving so much more fun.

In this case, you could say chicks hate sticks, but as we know, some of 'em have always felt that way...

Poster Thread
Jeepin
Posted: 2007/10/29 16:50  Updated: 2007/10/29 16:50
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/11/28
From: TX
Posts: 190
 Re: Full Review of SEMA V8 Hemi Wrangler
My chick's Jeep is a stick.

And most of the time, yes, driving a stick is fun. When it's not fun is when you're driving a stick in stop-n-go rush hour traffic for 30-60 minutes at a time.

And OK, someone has to say it... so I will.

Autos are better for offroading too.

Poster Thread
MarkH
Posted: 2007/10/30 8:26  Updated: 2007/10/30 8:27
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/20
From: The Great White North
Posts: 494
 Re: Full Review of SEMA V8 Hemi Wrangler
Good girl, rare breed!

I prefer the added finesse (skill, fun, challenge...) needed offroad to tease the clutch & throttle up, down & over the bumps...

I agree with the stop & go... if I was delivering mail in it, then I'd opt for an AT.

Also, when they break, and they do... a new clutch is only around ~$500-800... less if you do it yourself in your driveway. Fixing an AT seems to always start at ~$1500 and AAMCO can fleece you for ~$2500... not to mention the box of Kleenex.

Poster Thread
tmedlock
Posted: 2007/10/29 14:09  Updated: 2007/10/29 14:09
Just can't stay away
Joined: 2007/1/11
From: New Hampshire
Posts: 83
 Re: Full Review of SEMA V8 Hemi Wrangler
You will get no argument from me disputing that most American drivers prefer autos. I will be the first to admit that it is very difficult to hold the steering wheel, drink your beverage of choice, smoke a cigarette, talk on a cell phone, adjust the radio, and shift a manual transmission all at the same time. It is no wonder most Americans prefer not to get involved with a manual transmission . To be quite serious, if I had to commute 1 or more hours a day in stop and go traffic I would most likely want an automatic also. I would never suggest that there are not all kinds of applications for which an automatic transmission is most desirable.
My only point is that I drive a wrangler for enjoyment. I enjoy shifting a manual transmission. I would get a real kick out of driving a hemi wrangler with a 6 speed manual transmission. I am fairly sure you are correct that I am in the minority. I fully understand the economics of catering to the majority. It just makes me sad to think that there are not enough of us who enjoy shifting a manual transmission to make it profitable for jeep to offer one.
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