Jeep Wrangler is what the Jeep brand is all about. Wrangler’s origins date back to the World War II Willys MB. Today’s Wrangler has been modernized with a contemporary engine and electronics, and its body panels are artfully curved for stiffness while appearing flat, but it retains the basic premise of a simple utility vehicle that can traverse the most rugged terrain imaginable.
For 2015, a new 8-speaker audio system comes standard, and a 9-speaker Premium system with 552-watt amplifier is available. The subwoofer has been relocated under the cargo floor for 2015. All 2015 Jeep Wranglers include a new Torx Tool Kit for removing the roof, doors, and front bumper end caps (on Hard Rock edition). Included are torx heads in four sizes, a ratchet, and storage pouch. A new Black Steel and 31-inch Dueler Tire Package is available for 2015 Wrangler Sport. The 2015 Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock edition gets a unique new look, with a low-gloss black grille, along with a 9-speaker Alpine audio system.
In addition to the Wrangler Sport, Sport S, Sahara and Rubicon models, special editions include the Willys Wheeler and Willys Wheeler W, the Freedom Edition, Rubicon X, and the Rubicon Hard Rock.
The four-door Wrangler Unlimited is highly capable off-road, though not as maneuverable as the shorter two-door versions. The number of doors and the difference in wheelbases doesn’t fully describe the differences between Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited, however.
Upholstery ranges from cloth to leather, and heated front seats are available. Buyers must choose between hard tops and soft tops or both. You can swap the doors to half-size and fold down the windshield (though it’s quite a chore), or power up the windows and indulge in climate control.
All Wranglers are powered by Chrysler’s 24-valve 3.6-liter V6, rated at 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. There’s a choice of 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. A Wrangler gets away from a stop with no problem, but falls off the acceleration curve as it runs into aerodynamic resistance at highway speeds.
These are not sports cars, and if you buy a Wrangler for highway cruising, you’ve missed the point. Indeed, Wranglers will travel the Interstate with a modicum of comfort and civility, but they’re better suited as all-weather urban runabouts. Wranglers are for folks living on a beach or off the beaten path, or for those whose idea of a freeway is a fast section of dry wash or graded dirt run.
The standard soft top slides and folds horizontally on the roof, leaving the occupants further protected by door and window frames, augmented by a rollbar. The optional removable hardtop comes off in three pieces: a pair of T-tops, with a sunroof over the rear seat. With T-tops removed, at 65 mph the buffeting grates on you; but with the top on, it feels smooth.
Gas mileage is not a Wrangler virtue. Typically, it averages in the teens and doesn’t change much between daily driving and long highway runs.
Wrangler has little direct competition. The only factory trail vehicle approaching a Wrangler is the Toyota FJ Cruiser. Land Rovers offer comparable off-road capability but are more expensive. A Mercedes G-Class has the off-highway ability of an Unlimited, a more luxurious cabin, and costs three times as much.
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