Wrangler Unlimited Review

Date 2004/6/25 0:00:00 | Topic: Wrangler

Car and Driver reviews the latest Wrangler variant
From caranddriver.com:

The Unlimited’s box-section frame adds 10.0 inches to the standard Wrangler’s wheelbase, extending it to 103.4 inches. There’s also an additional five inches of rear overhang, which pulls its overall bumper-to-bumper dimension to 165.1 inches, or 15.0 more than the abbreviated model. The additional space is unequally apportioned in the interior. Leg and knee room in the back seat are expanded by just under two inches. But a whopping 13.0 inches is allotted to the area behind the rear seat. Cargo volume goes from 9 to 29 cubic feet. Out-of-sight cargo space has about doubled, not a bad thing to have in a vehicle that can easily be entered by villains with a box cutter—at least in the fabric-topped version.

Detail improvements to the Unlimited include a “tip and slide” driver’s seat for easier rear access; more padding under the hood, behind the dash, and beneath the cargo area to reduce noise; and the so-called Sunrider softtop, which manually flips back to open a 45-by-23-inch sunroof above the front seats. There’s also an optional hardtop ($795), which would be a prudent buy for people in the Frostbelt states.


But a relatively rough ride on the road is the price of agility off the road, and there is no out-of-the-showroom SUV that can match the Wrangler in the rough stuff. And that’s true for either wheelbase version. The longie does yield a few degrees of breakover angle—21.4 versus 28.1—to the shortie and doesn’t turn as tightly (39.2 feet versus a 36.7-foot turning radius). But in practice—negotiating rocky grades steep enough to ground the skid plates and make a sound like razor wire being dragged across a tin roof—these were not noticeable disadvantages. One thing the Unlimited does have to offset what little it gives up to the short-wheelbase, 4.0-liter model is a greater towing capacity—3500 pounds versus 2000—thanks in part to the added strength of an additional rear crossmember.

Be sure to check out the entire review.

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