2007 Jeep Wrangler First Drive
The King of Where the Pavement Ain’t goes mainstream
Published on www.car.com
Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited â€“ First Drive: It has been to more places than a Magellan, seen more moments of history than a Roosevelt and had more people obsess over it than Paris Hilton. From Eisenhower to Patton and up to todayâ€™s off-road adventurers, the Jeep Wrangler (or CJ, YJ, TJ or now â€“ JK) is arguably the most prolific symbol of the American Automotive Legacy. In one form or another, from one company or another, itâ€™s been climbing over obstacles since 1941. You can go ahead and change the name. Or the headlights. The facts still apply: The Wrangler is simple. Smash-mouth straight. As rugged as a brown bear, as canny as a coyote and as nimble as a mountain goat.
And now Jeep wants you to park one in your suburban driveway.
They say itâ€™s more mellow, and if you listen closely you can hear the whispered pleas of Dr. Z and the gang, straight into the ear of the Wrangler: Please, please, behaveâ€¦ After all, itâ€™s not in the nature of a Wrangler to behave like a good little suburban SUV. Itâ€™s not the style people have come to expect from this rugged little beast, more suited for rolling over boulders than speed bumps. Let the poseurs have their Land Rovers, their Hummers. The Wrangler was always for off-road â€“ a statement about a personâ€™s preference to be out in the wild instead of stuck in traffic.
Thatâ€™s changed, now. Blame it on the number of competing models available for purchase, and the desire to keep the heart of an American icon beating into the 21st century. Itâ€™s no longer enough for Wrangler to be Wrangler. Now it has to do double duty for families and urbanites in order to survive in a dog-eat-dog SUV segment where there are over sixty competitors snarling over declining sales. Itâ€™s not enough to be a niche champ anymore, not with other automakers encroaching on your hallowed ground. That sort of pressure would make anyone do strange things, such as build a Wrangler with four doors that canâ€™t drive off-road.
It makes us laugh just writing the words.
Why Jeep decided to stick a thumb in its own eyeball and sell such a two-wheel-drive vehicle is flabbergasting. Itâ€™s all about sales, and selling more Wranglers is a good thing â€“ or is it, when theyâ€™re two-wheel-drive? But no matter. The company may have no choice, such are the pressures of todayâ€™s mid-size SUV market. But you have a choice: you can pick the wider Wrangler with the longer wheelbase that is significantly improved on pavement and inside the cabin, with new materials, controls and more room. The one that is safer and more refined, but still rugged enough climb the Rubicon Trail. Or you can save a little money and drive around in an SUV that wears a seven-slot grille, yet canâ€™t make itâ€™s way past a corn stand.
Itâ€™s your choice. But is that really a choice at all?
There are plenty of choices when it comes to the 2007 Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, even (gasp) the addition of two-wheel-drive Unlimited models.
Talk about choices. Thereâ€™s a Jeep for everyone starting with the 2007 model year, even a two-wheel-drive model, available in the Unlimited lineup. With a starting price of $18,765 (including $660 destination), Jeep is aggressively attempting to put a Wrangler in every possible pot. Starting with a choice of either two-door (Wrangler) or four-door (Wrangler Unlimited), Jeep offers three basic models: the X, Sahara and Rubicon (no Sport trim). The new two-wheel drive Wrangler is offered only on Unlimited models.
Standard equipment on the base Wrangler X, at the starting sticker price of $18,765, includes a six-speed manual transmission mated to a more powerful 3.8-liter V6 engine, 16-inch wheels with P225/75R all-terrain tires and a full-size spare, a 12-volt power outlet, a tilt steering wheel and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary input. Standard safety features include electronic stability control, Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), and four-wheel-disc antilock brakes. Options include a four-speed automatic transmission, a 4.10 axle ratio, air conditioning, a locking fuel filler cap, an engine block heater and a Sunrider soft top that can peel back over the front seats or be completely removed. Thereâ€™s also an optional removable Freedom Top that includes three separate roof panels that can allow varying levels of UV radiation to cook the Wranglerâ€™s occupants.
But forget the base X. Itâ€™s a stripper without a/c, and nowadays air conditioning is practically required â€“ even on a Jeep. Side-impact airbags are also not available unless you move up to the X with the C or S option package, which puts you into a whole new world of available options. The C package, which is priced at $20,005, includes standard features such as air conditioning, a driverâ€™s seat height adjuster, a full-length floor console, and courtesy lamps. Options include seat-mounted side airbags, the Freedom Top, tow hooks, fog lamps, an electronic front sway bar disconnect, an anti-spin rear differential, a next-gen Dana 44 rear axle, a trailer tow group, Sirius satellite radio, and a six-disc DVD audio and movie changer with, an auxiliary jack and a 368-watt Infinity seven-speaker sound system with subwoofer. The S package, at $21,145, gets treats such as a standard compass and temperature gauge, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, tinted windows, fog lamps, tow hooks and P245/75R16 all-terrain tires. Options for the S, in addition to those for the C, include 17-inch wheels, tubular side steps, remote keyless entry, power door locks, and power windows.
Up next is the Sahara trim, at a sticker price of $23,530 for the two-door and including additional standard features such as 17-inch wheels, body color fender flares, tubular side steps, heavy-duty suspension, tinted windows, and stain-resistant fabric seats. Options for the Sahara include the S package, which adds 18-inch wheels and the MyGig infotainment system including a navigation screen, a 20-gigabyte hard drive and DVD video or audio capability.
Big Daddy off-roaders who want bragging rights on the trail will, of course, want the Rubicon, which sells for $26,750 and includes an electronic-disconnecting sway bar, a Rock-Trac 4:1 part-time transfer case, heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles, locking front and rear differentials, a 4.10 axle ratio, rock rails, 32-inch B.F. Goodrich off-road tires, and 17-inch wheels. Tinted windows are optional on the Rubicon.
WRANGLER UNLIMITED EQUIPMENT:
The Wrangler Unlimited X base model starts at $20,410 for the two-wheel-drive version and includes the C package that is offered on the regular Wrangler. For $21,850 you can move up to the Wrangler Unlimited X with the S package, which competes nicely with the Nissan Xterra S model, among others. Based on prices and features, the base Wrangler Unlimited X costs around $200 dollars less than the similar 2006 Nissan Xterra S, and offers a comparable number of features but with significantly (60) less horsepower. For two grand more you can get yourself four-wheel-drive and be a real Wrangler driver.
More expensive and better-appointed Wrangler Unlimited models include the Sahara, equipped with either two-wheel-drive ($24,735) or four-wheel-drive ($26,735), including the C package of features. The top Wrangler, the Unlimited Rubicon, comes in two-wheelâ€¦wait. Okay, so Jeep hasnâ€™t gone so far as to put a Rubicon badge on a two-wheel-drive grocery getter. The Rubicon has been spared the shame of its brothers â€“ whether you choose two doors or four, the Rubicon is all 4WD. Prices for the Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited start at $28,935.
uts and Bolts Just as rugged as ever, the 2007 Jeep Wrangler adds a slew of mechanical upgrades designed to improve all-around performance.
Eight years. For eight long years, Jeep Wrangler fans have waited for the next King of Where the Pavement Ainâ€™t. And while it may be inaccurate to say the wait was worth it, or even that itâ€™s par for the course, Jeep engineers sure did pack a passel of improvements into the mechanical features of the 2007 Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. As a result, what is perhaps Americaâ€™s most famous SUV is bigger, stronger and better than ever â€“ and still as truck-rugged as they come, though it does suffer an almost 300-pound weight gain compared to the outgoing 2006 model. Itâ€™s also wider: more than five inches for the Wrangler and six inches for the Wrangler Unlimited, though it matches up similarly in terms of overall length. In fact, the 2007 Wrangler two-door is almost two inches shorter than the outgoing model, even though the wheelbase is longer.
The wider track and shorter overhangs, along with a significantly stiffer frame and reworked suspension, improve the on-road experience and detracts little from your next off-road adventure. The new 3.8-liter V6 that replaces the Wranglerâ€™s old inline six-cylinder is more powerful, and it has to be, thanks to those 300 added pounds. Itâ€™s lighter and more efficient than the outgoing powerplant, making 202 horsepower at 5,000 rpm (more by 13 horses) and 237 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual; a four-speed automatic is also available. Off-roaders in the X or the Sahara get a transfer case with a 2.72:1 low range gear ratio and an optional limited-slip electronic rear differential. Rubicon models feature a rock crawling 4.0:1 low-range gear ratio, as well as front and rear electronic locking differentials and a front sway bar that electronically disconnects for greater articulation
The Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited feature a rugged, live-axle suspension thatâ€™s redesigned for smoother on-road manners. Gas-charged shock absorbers come standard on models with 16-inch wheelss, while those with 17- and 18-inch whees get monotube shocks. Off-road enthusiasts who buy the Rubicon model get Danaâ€™s revised 44 front and rear axles, while X and Sahara models are equipped with a lighter Dana 30 axle up front and a Dana 35 in back. Steering is upgraded to an improved recirculating ball system; chosen over a rack-and-pinion system for improved off-road performance and durability. As for towing, the Wrangler can pull up to 2,000 pounds, which is small potatoes compared to the Wrangler Unlimited and its 3,500 pounds â€“ when properly equipped.
Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes, an Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Electronic Roll Mitigation do their best to arrest speed and keep the wheels ground side down. Wheels and tires range from the 16-inchers standard on the X model to 17s for the Sahara and Rubicon. Optional wheel packages also include the first-ever 18-inch wheels for the Sahara. Tires start with on- and off-road Goodyear Wrangler STs sized P225/75R16 for the Wrangler X, or optional Goodyear Wrangler RSAs measuring P255/75R17. The Wrangler Sahara gets the Goodyear RSAs standard or optional 18-inch Bridgestone Dueler 693s (P255/70R18). Rubicon models get the Big Mommas, of course: 32-inch LT255/75R17 B.F.Goodrich Mud Terrain tires.
Design Though exterior updates are mild, the interior of the 2007 Jeep Wrangler received a thorough upgrade.
Itâ€™s so different, you can tell what it is immediately. Thatâ€™s right. It looks like the same old Jeep Wrangler on the outside, only bigger and badder. Once you sit inside, it looks and feels remarkably different, however, because Jeep people knew going into the redesign that the Wrangler had to grow up in terms of interior comfort and convenience. So the mandate was clear: leave the shell alone but dramatically improve the interior. As such, Jeep designers took a careful brush stroke to the sheetmetal, rounding off a corner here and there, snipping carefully and restyling the outside of the Wrangler with an emphasis on keeping that same â€˜ol soldier look while improving aerodynamics. As a result, youâ€™ve got the seven-slot grille and round headlights. The doors still come off â€“ even the ones with power door locks, which have electric disconnectors built right in. And there are still more straps, tie downs and exposed hinges than in that famous scene from Pulp Fiction.
Significant changes to the exterior include a slightly curved windshield to reduce wind noise and improve aerodynamics. Itâ€™s still hinged and will fold down in the classic tradition, but this iteration has its hinge in the center of the window. Wrangler fans will also notice a slight curve to the sheetmetal; designers said that while they tried to make the new version as flat and straight as possible, stamping limitations required a slight curve to sheetmetal panels. It also helps the Wrangler slip through the wind a little better, which improves gas mileage. Also new to the exterior of the Wrangler are removable fender flares and new door handles. The handles actually poke out from the sheet metal â€“ an off road no-no â€“ but the extrusion still measures within fender width.
As for the Wrangler Unlimited, well â€“ thereâ€™s never been a four-door Wrangler before. And this is gonna hurt, I know it, but here it is: driving around Lake Tahoe, we rolled down the window at the light, got the attention of a good â€˜ol boy in a beat up old Chevy truck and asked â€“ whatcha think? He tugged on his cap, screwed up his face, and said the words Jeep fans loathe:
It looks like a Hummer wannabe. Is that really the new Wrangler?
Ouch. Hey, he said it, not us â€“ donâ€™t shoot the messenger. And while thereâ€™s some truth to it, what are you gonna do when youâ€™re Jeep and those darn Hummer people are bogarting that whole military vibe? You get better gas mileage, and who do you think will be saving whom on the rocks? The Wrangler looks exactly like what it is: a four-door Wrangler, which coincidentally looks like a Hummer. Our favorite design is the hardtop, with its clean lines and sharp, boxed-out look. The soft top, however, does look more like a Wrangler.
Ah. But you know what you get when you look at a Jeep. On the inside, Jeep designers have done a superb job of making significant improvements, to the point where the Wrangler will hold its own with other four-door competitors such as the Toyota FJ Cruiser and the Nissan Xterra. While weâ€™re slightly more partial to the Xterraâ€™s interior (though we like the expanded cargo room of the Jeep), the Wrangler soundly thumps the FJ Cruiser when it comes to overall comfort, drivability and interior usefulness. Thatâ€™s a good thing, too, for the Wrangler Unlimited gets no points for being an American Icon in an SUV segment so competitive that it will eat a car company for lunch and order up another for dinner.
Altogether on three: Whew. Jeep saves the day with a much improved interior. And if you think that this means little to your typical hiking-boots-and-trail-mix-munching Wrangler dude and dudette, think twice: The charm of the two-door fades fast when they start populating the world with their own little trailblazers â€“ which is where the Unlimited comes in, see? Even Yosemite Sam shudders at the thought of shoehorning his kid in the back of a two-door Wrangler, and gee, Yosemite really loves the Jeep, but this OTHER off-roader is way more civilizedâ€¦
Here endeth the lesson.
Go now, and see the wonders of an interior that feels entirely new, from vents to seats and steering wheel. Itâ€™s usable, utilitarian, and comfortable, with plenty of leg and headroom up front. Compared to the 2006 model, thereâ€™s 5.1 inches more shoulder room and 4.6 inches more hip room in the 2007 model â€“ thatâ€™s significant. An optional driverâ€™s seat adjuster is a much-needed addition, and the seats themselves are solid and supportive. We spent most of our time in Rubicon models which feature the easy-clean Yes Essentials stain-resistant material. We didnâ€™t test its repellent qualities, but the material felt comfortable, modern and durable â€“ a big improvement. Elsewhere inside the cabin, thereâ€™s a classic Jeep aura. Consider the painted sheetmetal that carries over from the outside, the tough black sills, the four circular air vents, combined with more modern touches such as white-on-black instrument gauges and power windows. There is room for improvement, however. Weâ€™d like more versatile cupholders, and the steering wheel is a bit austere. The electronic differential button is difficult to activate when the going is rough. To turn it on, the driver must hit the button twice, which is hard to do when the Jeepâ€™s bucking like a bronco.
In terms of cargo room and convenience, the Wrangler Unlimited offers plenty of room, just maybe not as much as Jeep officials trumpet. While itâ€™s classified as capable of seating five adults, we strongly recommend that you avoid being the middle passenger in that back seat. It will, however, fit an adult and a child seat comfortably, and two grown-ups get oodles of elbow room. Cargo-wise, the Jeep offers more room with rear seats up than most of the competition, an important consideration for campers, as is the convenient 60/40 split rear seat. Also convenient is the 90-degree opening radius of the rear doors.
Soft or Hard Top? Offered with a standard soft top, the 2007 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited also comes with an optional removable hard top.
Itâ€™s possible that the top you choose for your new Jeep Wrangler is right up there next to off-road capability when it comes to priorities â€“ or maybe even more important, given the fact that the Wrangler is now offered as a two-wheel-drive vehicle. For 2007, Jeep makes it easier â€“ and harder â€“ to choose by offering two quality tops, both of which look good and are easier to take off and put on than before.
Thatâ€™s easier. Not necessarily easy, as in press-a-button-and-watch-the-show or flip-the-clamp-and-let-it-fly. The Wrangler will never reach that level of laziness, so this is possibly as good as it gets. The standard â€œSunriderâ€ soft top offers multiple configurations from up to down to sunroof. For Unlimited models, the top can be configured to open up the sky for front seat occupants and cover rear passengers â€“ an important feature if children are riding in back.
The hard top, which is optional, is otherwise known as Jeepâ€™s â€œFreedom Top,â€ and is mostly excellent in its design. A three-piece modular unit, the hard top provides flexibility and coverage so that individual front passengers can enjoy the sunshine while back seat passengers â€“ namely kids or belongings â€“ are shielded from the sunâ€™s harmful rays. Built in three basic sections, most people will enjoy riding with the front two sections off and the back section on, as this configuration also improves the security of your valuables with the windows up while offering additional protection. Removing the hard top panels is easy, though stowing it isnâ€™t, and herein lies the dilemma: Itâ€™s easy enough to take off a panel â€“ just remove two screws and four clamps â€“ that you may want to be able to take it with you. You know â€“ top on in the morning, off in the afternoon, back on when rain clouds move in. Problem is, the only location to put the two front panels is in the cargo hold. Once there, they will barely fit, and may slide around. Put them in the wrong way and risk scratching the roof of your Wrangler. Perhaps thereâ€™s an aftermarket company out there that will soon be selling a carrying bag for the hard top compartments.
Even though itâ€™s wider, heavier and sports a longer wheelbase, the Jeep Wrangler looks to continue its off-road discovery.
His eyes were brown, and they were bugging out of his head. And you could smell the fear on him, see the sweat, feel the urgency with which he spoke his words: This is a safety issue. There is a cliff on the other side of the Jeep, and thereâ€™s no room for error. Do not. I repeat â€“ do not â€“ back up.
I was inclined to agree. Stuck on the middle of a 45-degree climb up a ledge and over boulders, the only option was forward, up, to the left, and around a huge rock. The 2007 Jeep Wrangler was stuck, though, and given the fact that we were driving a model with a manual transmission, the challenge â€“ whether we wanted it or not â€“ was to get that Jeep unstuck and moving forward. No room for error. No margin. Just up, slowly, out, and onward. I flipped my cap around â€“ rally style â€“ sat up on the edge of the driverâ€™s seat and slowly began to let the clutch out, foot on the brake and eyes piercing the nose of the Jeep, watching for the peak of forward movement. I glanced up to check my line, looked down again and let the clutch slip out a little more. The Jeep began to surge, just a little, then stronger, the motion of the engine tugging at the frame and body of the vehicle. A little more. Just a little moreâ€¦
I let go of the clutch, the brake, and hit the throttle hard. The Jeep, straining to move forward, suddenly lurched, came unstuck and followed the direction of my line, around the boulder and to a relatively flat and stable section of the hill.
We made it. And though we still had about four more hours of climbing rocks and dodging trees, after that moment the rest of the Rubicon Trail was like a Sunday stroll through a patch of daisies. In part, it was because of the drama we had already experienced, but also because the new Wrangler â€“ the Rubicon model â€“ is still King of Where the Pavement Ainâ€™t. For those who have experienced the prowess of the Wrangler off-road, it comes as a great comfort to know that the new Jeep â€“ despite being significantly wider and heavier than the 2006 model â€“ holds its own and more when the going gets rough.
Trust me. We know, because we asked for the rough stuff and came out of it with no damage to the sheetmetal or body parts â€“ ours or the Jeepâ€™s. Though all Wrangler Rubicons have front and rear electronic locking differentials, we tackled Cadillac Hill without â€˜em, activating them only when we felt the urgent need to do so. This way, we could see first-hand how well the system worked. All told, we activated the lockers around five times over six hours of driving, and only to assist us in navigating a tough patch of rocks or a slippery corner. When we did hit the button â€“ once for front and once for rear â€“ we could feel the strong lift. It was as if the Hand of the Jeep God was picking up the back of the Wrangler and helping us along. For off-road types who donâ€™t wish to purchase a Rubicon model, the Sahara offers rear lockers only, which, given the capability of the vehicle, seems more than enough for virtually any adventure.
The revised Dana 44 axles, meanwhile, allowed for the kind of Alice in Wonderland articulation Wrangler fans have come to expect. Better than the lockers, and better than those axles, however, was the low-gear ratio. Set at a 4.0:1 on the Rubicon, the gearing is so low that the Wrangler will essentially walk itself through the second half of the Rubicon. Yeah. Like a Disneyland ride. Just steer the boat, bubba, and the Wrangler will do most of the work. Itâ€™s not quite Off-Roading for Dummies, but itâ€™s arguably closer than the Wrangler has ever come. That gearing, by the way, is only available on Rubicon models â€“ the X and Sahara trims get a ratio of 2.72:1.
Despite its prowess on the rocks, however, there are some trade-offs with the new Wrangler. Given the extra 300 pounds, more than the available 237 lb.-ft. of torque would be an improvement, and while we were able to navigate through all the obstacles, the nimble way in which our guideâ€™s 2006 Wrangler sprinted through tight corners vividly illustrated the difference. As for the Wrangler Unlimited, the longer wheelbase and expanded width wasnâ€™t a factor in traversing the Rubicon Trail, and the breakover angle is excellent when compared to most of the competition.
Inside the cabin, the secondary shifter was easy to use, clicking firmly into position and staying put. The seats were quite supportive and grippy, keeping driver and passenger from sliding around too much. For the passenger, however, thereâ€™s nothing much to hold onto except the roll bar and a handle thatâ€™s poorly placed, directly in front of the passenger, meaning that the weight of the passenger is on the forearms and not the handle. The driver, of course, has no such problem, and even gets a very helpful seat height adjuster.
The 2007 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited is more efficient, more powerful and more comfortable than ever before.
Itâ€™s not an easy trick, to give the Jeep Wrangler manners. But for the most part, Jeep has been able to do it, thanks to a $300 million investment from its suppliers, a new assembly plantand the tireless efforts of the Jeep crew. As a result, the 2007 Jeep Wrangler is better than ever before, more than capable of delivering a comfortable ride on pavement while still retaining its vaunted status as one of the best off-road vehicles ever built. Itâ€™s more powerful but heavier, stiffer for a more controlled ride, and more spacious for little piggies and noggins. Our limited on-pavement drive of the 2007 Jeep Wrangler revealed all of these things, and more: it showed that the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited, with four doors and a two-wheel-drive option, can be as mild-mannered and convenient as just about any ladder frame SUV available.
Granted, most of our miles were highway miles, but it was noticeable how the stiffer frame and revised suspension soaked up many road imperfections. The typical truck-based bounce is still there, but muted enough that most of the time itâ€™s not intrusive, especially in the longer wheelbase four-door. While driving around Lake Tahoe, we were able to tax the brakes a few times, and though the pedal felt a little soft with some excess play, the four-wheel ABS stopped the vehicle promptly. Because the Wrangler has a recirculating ball steering setup, it has a barely perceptible dead spot, but all-in-all the steering obeys commands with an accurate response and an impressive turning radius. With the top up, outward visibility was a bit dicey, but far better than what you get from the likes of the Toyota FJ Cruiser and the Hummer H3. We did, however, feel compelled to twist around and check traffic, in addition to using the rearview mirrors.
Where the Wrangler falls a little short is in the power department. Granted, the 202 horsepower and 237 lb.-ft. of torque that the 3.8-liter V6 engine outputs gets the job done smoothly, and itâ€™s an improvement in power and efficiency over the outgoing inline six-cylinder. Whether mated to the standard six-speed manual or the optional four-speed automatic, power is regulated nicely by the gearing. The manual shifter is easy to click and clack into place, and we appreciated its high placement, though some may need to get used to it. Despite the improved powertrain, however, the Wrangler is still a bit light on power, thanks to a weight gain of about 300 pounds and only 13 added horsepower and 2 lb.-ft. of additional torque. So â€“ the Wranglerâ€™s power isnâ€™t what will wow drivers. Itâ€™s better than the old model, to be sure, and we got 17.4 miles per gallon during the highway driving part of our testing. But shoppers should note that there are more powerful alternatives on the market, such as the Nissan Xterra.
What will turn heads toward the Wrangler is the improved ride and interior. Against comparable four-doors, the Wrangler places well. While the Xterra is more powerful, the Wrangler offers a smoother ride and gives a far better driving experience than the FJ Cruiser. And though the H3 may be more comfortable, the Wrangler is easier to see out of and is sprightlier.
Inside, the new Wrangler is positively polite, virtually all-new and superbly designed â€“ if still slightly rough around the edges. It is, after all, a Wrangler, so you get painted sheetmetal as door inserts, lots of plastic pieces and durable seats designed for wear and tear. The front seats are supportive and comfortable, and strongly consider moving up to the Yes Essentials stain-resistant fabric, as it reportedly cleans up easier and feels very durable. The Wranglerâ€™s back seats are a little flat, perhaps leaving adults on a long trip with a slight case of numb-bum.
Elsewhere, there are new grab-me door handles and circular vents that rotate and flip to easily direct hot or cool air throughout the cabin. Graphics are also well done, with white lettering on black faced gauges in order to balance out sun glare and make it possible to see how fast youâ€™re going, how much gas you have left and how hot the engine is. Cupholders were too shallow for off-roading, but fine for cruising on pavement. The center console controls are simple and easy to figure out, with large buttons and intuitive knobs that operate the radio and the optional navigation system. With tweeters positioned on top of the dash â€“ in the far corners â€“ you can really hear the music, even with the top off. What also helps your listening experience are the improved aerodynamics and sound deadening materials in the 2007 Wranglers: thereâ€™s plenty of tire noise, but not much wind whistling or vibration around the vehicle, in the hard top model.
Behind the back seat, thereâ€™s plenty of cargo room, and with the seats raised, Jeep says the amount of space is class leading at 46.4 cubic feet. Liftover height with the rear gate open is low enough to save your back, but the gate swings out toward the curb, meaning the Wrangler is hard to load when parallel parked. And if youâ€™re on a hill, the gate will close fast and hard with barely a nudge, so watch out for fingers, parents! The back window also opens, with two hinges located at the top but the supports are weak so if youâ€™re not careful it may try to close while youâ€™re loading the vehicle through the opening .
Overall, the 2007 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited offer a powertrain that just about gets the job done, a stiff frame and revised suspension that maintains its composure on pavement, and a significantly improved interior. With a low price, those improvements are likely enough to sway buyers into taking a good, hard look at the Wrangler â€“ especially the Wrangler Unlimited.