AW AutoTest - 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

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  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Four-door Wrangler brings in buyers by the bucket load

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    AutoWeek | Published 05/09/07, 1:16 pm et

    It took 65 years, but Jeep finally broke down last year and added two more doors to its venerable Wrangler. This is like waking up one morning to discover an icemaker on your fridge door: You’ve lived without it for years, but now that it’s available, you must have it.

    The 2007 Wrangler Unlimited comes with four doors and an extra 20.6 inches of overall body length (not to be confused with the 2004.5 Wrangler Unlimited, which offered a “mere” 15-inch stretch and was still a two-door). Judging by feedback from the market—dealers reported a zero-day supply of Wrangler Unlimiteds in March—buyers had been waiting for this kind of utility in the rough-and-ready Wrangler.

    That’s good, because when it comes to most other measures, the Jeep often falls short of the competition.
    In our track testing—yes, even Jeeps get their day in court—the Unlimited was slower and less capable in the handling department than competitors such as the Toyota FJ Cruiser. Part of the reason is that while Jeep opted to make the leap from inline-six to V6 with this generation of Wrangler, the Jeep’s pushrod 3.8-liter V6, rated at 205 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque, comes up far short of ompetitors, many of which offer 24-valve double-overhead-cam engines with higher horsepower and torque.

    In straight-line performance, our test Jeep—a Wrangler Unlimited Sahara AWD—took 9.31 seconds to ramble from 0 to 60 mph, with the quarter-mile clocking in at 16.95 seconds and 79.4 mph. The 2007 FJ covered the same ground in 8.16 seconds and 16.22 seconds, respectively.

    Admittedly, the Wrangler isn’t intended to be a slalom runner or a speed demon, but performance was particularly hindered by stability control that cannot be defeated manually. The result was jerky progress through the cones, as though we were forcing the vehicle in a direction it didn’t want to go. “If you’re steering to avoid an obstacle,” one tester reported, “it suddenly countermands that and tries to go straight ahead. It’s as if it turns the wheels to straight ahead for you.”

    The result? “You clobber the obstacle, but you won’t roll over.” We suppose that’s okay, as long as you’d rather be forced to hit that deer than take a chance on rolling your Jeep. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?

    Heavy-handed stability control is probably a good thing, considering the brakes aren’t going to be what saves you from a collision. Though fitted with four-wheel antilock discs, the 4269-pound Unlimited needed 138 feet to stop from 60 mph, 249 feet from 80 mph. If it’s any consolation, that’s almost exactly the same unremarkable braking performance measured in the FJ Cruiser.

    Testers and readers agree they’d trade the sixth gear for more engine power or for a rock-crawler super-low gear. This test vehicle spun at 2600 rpm in sixth gear at 70 mph, just 450 rpm less than running in fifth at 70 mph, so the fuel and engine-wear savings are likely negligible. It’s as though engineers couldn’t decide which ratio to go with in a five-speed, so they built in both. To make matters worse, the extra complexity conspired against this test Wrangler, which developed a bad fifth-gear synchronizer, resulting in lots of gearbox gnashing.

    Four doors do much to improve life in a Wrangler—you can bring friends and some gear for a change. But even this all-new, more civilized, more spacious, quieter JK model makes demands that all but the staunchest of Jeep supporters likely will find irritating after a few long drives or everyday commutes.

    “It’s singularly uncomfortable for everyday use,” a test driver admitted.

    That brings us to a rarely spoken truth about Wrangler ownership: Unlike most SUV owners, more Wrangler buyers venture off-road—way off-road—than do owners of any other model.
    Our track tests are on pavement, but we’ve done enough time in a new JK to know it performs off-road as well as any Wrangler ever. The Unlimited makes it easier to share that joy with friends. That must be why Jeep can’t make enough of ’em to keep the pipeline filled.

    OWNERS SAY...

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    I always wanted a Jeep, and the Unlimited was my opening. On-road performance has been better than expected; it sits better than my truck and corners well for a vehicle with its ground clearance. As for complaints, I would like grab handles on the roll bars, and electric mirrors should be in the group of power options. Off-road, I’m not ready for rock crawling, but at no time did I feel I might get stuck or that the going might be too rough for the Jeep. Gary Petzer, Orange, Calif.

    I’ve always liked Jeep Wranglers, but they weren’t very practical, so I couldn’t justify the purchase until the four-door arrived. It gives me the room I need. My golf clubs fit in the back with the seats up. The hard top doesn’t seal very well; there is lots of wind noise on the freeway, but at least it doesn’t leak water. I’m 55, and it’s been a long time since I’ve had something fun to drive. I took the top and doors off last Sunday and had a ball. Darrell Medsker, Rensselaer, Ind.

    I have been interested in getting a Wrangler for several years, but it was never a practical choice for me. However, when I saw the four-door Unlimited on a dealer lot, I knew I had to have one. The Wrangler is such a fun vehicle and has top-notch versatility. It has its quirks; the soft top is a little hard to remove, and it isn’t the most luxurious. But it’s a fair trade for the sheer enjoyment you get. I’ve learned the meaning of “It’s a Jeep thing, you wouldn’t understand.” I’m now proud to say I understand. Luke Pilk, Elizabethton, Tenn.

    I previously owned a 2005 Wrangler Rubicon, and I can tell you there is no comparison! The Unlimited is much quieter, with better gas mileage. On a trip to Spokane, Washington, I averaged 19.2 mpg. The frame is stiffer, and I’d say the ride is 80 percent better. I’ve also noticed how much better the gauges are: Jeep has finally made it into the 21st century. I have 2400 miles on it now, and I’m sure I made the right decision on this one after I had a great time in Moab last week. Tim Smith, St. George, Utah

    Vehicle Specs and Test Data

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    STICKER
    Base (includes $660 delivery): $26,735
    As tested: $30,075
    Owners paid; average: $25,890 to $32,000; $28,114

    OPTIONS AS TESTED
    Dual top group, with Freedom Top three-piece modular hard top, soft top, rear window wiper/washer, rear window defroster ($1,585); supplemental front-seat side airbags ($490); AM/FM stereo radio, with in-dash six-disc CD/MP3 player ($350); Trac-loc limited-slip differential ($285); trailer tow group, with Class II receiver hitch, trailer tow with four-pin harness, 4.10 axle ratio ($270); Sirius satellite radio ($195); 18-inch aluminum wheels ($165)
    MyGIG multimedia infotainment, with navigation ($1,590)

    CHASSIS
    Body-on-frame four-door sport/utility vehicle

    DIMENSIONS
    Wheelbase (in): 116.0
    Track (in): 61.9 front, 61.9 rear
    Length/width/height (in): 173.4/73.9/70.9
    Curb weight/GVWR (lb): 4269/5400

    CAPACITIES
    Fuel (gal): 21.6
    Cargo (cu ft): 46.43
    Towing (lb): 3500

    ENGINE
    Front-longitudinal 3.8-liter/230.5-cid ohv V6
    Horsepower: 202 @ 5200 rpm
    Torque (lb-ft): 237 @ 4000 rpm

    Compression ratio: 9.6:1
    Fuel requirement: 87 octane

    DRIVETRAIN
    Four-wheel drive
    Transmission: Six-speed manual
    Final drive ratio: 4.10:1

    SUSPENSION
    Front: Live axle, leading arms, coil springs, monotube high-pressure gas-charged shock absorbers, track bar, antiroll bar
    Rear: Live axle, trailing arms, coil springs, monotube high-pressure gas-charged shock absorbers, track bar, antiroll bar

    BRAKES/WHEELS/TIRES
    Vented discs front, solid rear, ABS
    Aluminum 255/70 R-18 Bridgestone Dueler A/T RH-S

    STANDING-START ACCELERATION
    0-60 mph: 9.31 sec
    0-100 km/h (62.1 mph): 9.92 sec
    0-quarter-mile: 16.95 sec @ 79.4 mph

    ROLLING ACCELERATION
    20-40 mph (second gear): 3.6 sec
    40-60 mph (third gear): 5.6 sec
    60-80 mph (fourth gear): 9.7 sec

    BRAKING
    60-0 mph: 138 ft

    HANDLING
    490-ft slalom: 38.2 mph
    Lateral acceleration (200-ft skidpad): 0.65 g

    INTERIOR NOISE (DBA)
    Idle: 45
    Full throttle: 79
    Steady 60 mph: 70

    FUEL MILEAGE
    EPA combined: 18 mpg
    AW overall: 16.9 mpg

    TRUE COST TO OWN SM
    Total: $47,882
    Average cost per mile: $0.64

    DEPRECIATION
    After one year: $3,279
    Five-year total: $11,871

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    http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070511/FREE/70507011/1065
     
  2. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I don't like the amber signal placement on the front, integrated fog lamps and some other details. It desperately needs the HEMI as an option given it's massive weight.
     
  3. yaksha

    yaksha OT Supporter

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    pitiful
     
  4. Checker-Stripe

    Checker-Stripe Survey says...

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    I really like them when I see them on the road. Can't say I thought I would from the pictures though.
     
  5. nuclear

    nuclear OT Supporter

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    Better than any other SUV in it's class.
     
  6. [​IMG]

    I'm waiting on this one.
     
  7. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I like those painted steelies.
     
  8. clog

    clog NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!!11

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    you are not TriShield
     
  9. nuclear

    nuclear OT Supporter

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    Compared to what?
    It's a purpose built vehicle and does what it is meant for very well.
     
  10. bokhan

    bokhan i love you

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    frumunda cheese~!
    that thing is so big and ugly.

    it's the same size as an fj.
     
  11. jokka

    jokka OT Supporter

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    GO REDSKINS
    :hsugh:
     
  12. SirLumina

    SirLumina New Member

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    Jesus, that was the worst review I've ever seen for a car that is flying off the showroom floor so fast. Gotta love Jeep enthusiasm, but people should really demand more. You're telling me that a 200 hp 3.8L pushrod is the best motor they could come up with for a $30,000 Jeep?
     
  13. clog

    clog NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!!11

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    :hsugh:
     
  14. ba105

    ba105 New Member

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    as it gets even bigger... it gets prettier :naughty:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. clog

    clog NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!!11

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    ^ thats like a hummer H3 kinda
     
  16. ba105

    ba105 New Member

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    but better
     
  17. Mperor

    Mperor Banned

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    I'm on the bandwagon.

    30k for a wrangler though... :hs:
     
  18. zatar

    zatar New Member

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    Looks terrible.
     
  19. ba105

    ba105 New Member

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    look at that monster :bowdown:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Except you can have the H3 with a V8 soon.

    So ntrly
     
  21. clog

    clog NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!!11

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    yes
     
  22. clog

    clog NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!!11

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    :eek4: holy hell that's huge
     
  23. ba105

    ba105 New Member

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  24. ba105

    ba105 New Member

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    they call them hummers cuz they suck.
     
  25. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    People pay over $30k for Jeeps because they are stupid.
     

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