The Jeep Wrangler is a rugged off-road vehicle available with two or four doors and seating for five passengers. Under Chrysler, the Jeep Wrangler has been in production since 1987 at the same plant in Toledo, Ohio. The current third generation of the vehicle, built around the JK platform, was introduced for the 2007 model year. Technically classified as a compact SUV, the Jeep Wrangler directly competes with vehicles such as the Suzuki Grand Vitara and Toyota FJ Cruiser. In Canada, the current Jeep Wrangler is simply referred to as the Jeep JK.
The latest incarnation of the Jeep Wrangler brought dramatic changes to the vehicle's design. Most notably, the Jeep Wrangler is larger and offers more luxurious accents than previous models. With a length of 152.8 inches, width of 73.7 inches and height of 70.9 inches, the Jeep Wrangler is 2 inches longer and 3.4 inches wider than its predecessor. The 4-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited upgrade model offers even larger dimensions.
At its core, the Jeep Wrangler is built around off-road performance, and the design of the vehicle is influenced by this pursuit. High ground clearance and steep approach and departure angles improve agility and maneuverability in off-road conditions. On the inside, new additions such as redesigned seats, GPS navigation and the option to purchase an enclosed cabin model (as opposed to soft top convertible) are intended to pamper passengers whether they are driving off-road or in the city.
Jeep Wrangler Performance
In the United States, the Jeep Wrangler is available with only one engine option – a 3.8-liter EGH V6. This capable engine offers 205 horsepower and 240 lb-ft. of torque (a diesel engine is offered internationally). A 6-speed manual transmission comes standard, with an optional 4-speed automatic available. With the exception of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited variant, all Wranglers are restricted to a 4-wheel drive system.
There are three Wrangler trim levels available – X, Sahara and Rubicon. Upgrading to the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon delivers further performance enhancements that include Tru-Lok front and rear remote-locking differentials, enhanced 4WD system and off-road tires.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
All trim levels of the Jeep Wrangler are available in a short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase configuration. Long-wheelbase options are referred to as "Unlimited" models. These larger variants feature an additional 20.6 inches in length and a 4-door design. While engine and performance features are the same as the short-wheelbase alternative, the Unlimited adds a variety of unique comfort and convenience amenities. Some of these include cloth upholstery, height-adjustable driver's seat and remote keyless entry.
A non-commercial version of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is also currently being produced for military use. Dubbed the Jeep J8, these vehicles feature enhanced brakes, suspensions, axles and other performance upgrades.
Jeep Wrangler Popularity
Despite rising gas prices and a growing interest in smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, the Jeep Wrangler remains relatively popular. While 2008 year-to-date sales figures have dropped significantly in relation to 2007 figures, the vehicle continually outperforms other SUVs in monthly units sold. The Jeep Wrangler is currently Jeep's top-selling vehicle for the 2008 model year.
The 2009 Jeep Wrangler is a carryover from 2008. The 2009 Wrangler is divided into two different body styles, the two-door Wrangler and the stretched, four-door Wrangler Unlimited. Each of these vehicles is available in either X, Sahara, or Rubicon trim, and all trims use the same 3.8 liter, 202 horsepower V6 engine. Producing 237 lb-ft of torque, this engine sees fuel economy of 15 miles per gallon in city driving and 19 miles per gallon on the highway. Every version of the Wrangler comes with four-wheel drive as standard equipment, and can be shifted through either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic. The Wrangler Unlimited can be ordered with two-wheel drive in the X and Sahara trims, which come exclusively with the automatic transmission. The remaining three four-wheel drive Wrangler Unlimited trims offer the same transmission choices as the short wheelbase Wrangler.