This is the most capable Wrangler ever. A strong statement, yes. But consider this: The Wrangler Rubicon (and the new-for-2007 four-door version) has the most comprehensive heavy-duty off-road package available from the factory, making it the best Wrangler right out of the box. The 2007 Wrangler also has the most horsepower to date (more than the optional V-8 from the 1970s). Plus, while its longer wheelbase could give it a disadvantage on trails compared with the two-door Rubicon, the Unlimited adds the most interior space and easiest entry/exit of any Wrangler. We found that combination irresistible enough to bring a fully loaded Bright Silver Rubicon Unlimited into our long-term fleet.
The stellar Rubicon package comes with the 3.8-liter V-6 and four-speed auto, 4:1 Rock-Trac part-time four-wheel drive, electronic front sway-bar disconnect, Dana 44 front axle, 4.10 axles, front/rear locking differentials, skidplates, four-wheel ABS, ESP and traction control, front tow hooks, and 32-inch BFG mud-terrains. All that capability comes at a price, something we quickly discovered as we ticked off options on the order sheet. It cost $29,500 before adding any other goodies. And add we did-among other items, we selected the Trailer Tow Group ($220) with a Class II hitch and four-pin connector wiring; Power Convenience Group ($500) with power doors/windows/locks, keyless entry, and alarm; the $1590 MyGIG "infotainment" system (navigation, Sirius Satellite Radio, and hard drive to store music); and the three-piece hardtop Freedom Top ($695). Final tally: $34,550.
With less than 2300 miles on the clock, the Unlimited Rubicon's versatility has already been put to the test. En route to the wilds of Las Vegas, one editor took the Jeep off-roading, exploring trails he found along the way. He had a blast rediscovering the ease with which Jeeps handle ruts, rocks, and off-camber obstacles. That's no surprise, of course-it was just a great excuse to become reacquainted with the back country. Another editor used the Wrangler to scout out photography sites near San Diego, California, where it did highway and dirt time.
This is no commuter car, of course-it's a purpose-built off-roader with oversize mud terrains that don't track well, and, though it's much quieter than Wranglers past, it's noisy. But we're not just going to use this for drives to and from the office. Just as sports cars beg for twisty roads, this long-termer entices us to take it on trails. And that's just what we intend to do.
| 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited |
| Base price || $29,500 |
| Price as tested || $34,550 |
| Vehicle layout || Front engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV |
| Engine || 3.8L/202-hp/237-lb-ft OHV 12-valve V-6 |
| Transmissions || 4-speed automatic |
| Curb weight || 4592 lb (51/49%) |
| Wheelbase || 109.3 in |
| Length x width x height || 173.4 x 73.9 x 70.9 in |
| 0-60 mph || 10.0 sec |
|Quarter mile || 17.3 sec @ 76.8 mph |
|Braking, 60-0mph || 148 ft |
| EPA city/hwy fuel econ || 16/19 mpg |
| CO2 emissions || 1.1 lb/mile |
|Total mileage || 2245 mi |
|Average test mpg || 15.2 mpg |
|Unresolved problem area || None |