The Wrangler has managed to record 15 mpg over its nearly 10,000-mile stay with us, a figure that supports the EPA's revised 2008 fuel-economy ratings for the Jeep (14/18 city/highway versus 2007's 16/19), but also a number that places it dead even with the gas mileage of the long-term Jaguar XKR. Considering that the Jag is a high-tech, sleek sports car and the Wrangler is an old-school sport/utility that cuts through the wind like an open parachute, this fact is impressive. Unimpressive, though, are the Jeep's headrests that copy editor Jim Dryden thinks are "made of concrete." Perhaps all that rock-climbing has gone to the Jeep's headrests.
Copy chief Jackie Manfredi agrees, noting, "The power-window switch placement in the center console is quirky." That said, Manfredi, who signed-out the Jeep for a Saturday matinee of "Wicked" with some girlfriends, came away impressed with the Rubicon, despite her preconceptions that it "might be a little rough for this group of ladies." Turns out, it was the opposite of what she expected: "The ride is smooth, the engine is remarkably quiet and responsive to throttle input, and it handles well, with little of that SUV top-heaviness."
Of course, there are other interior bits that have baffled editors. Truck Trend art director Thomas Voehringer opines, "The solitary button mounted in the center of the door panel is not for the window, but rather the power door locks. It's ostensibly unmarked, and I've found several people try to manipulate the windows with it. Jeep's decision is counterintuitive here."
Senior editor Ron Kiino took the Rubicon for some trail running-as in paved trails-and came away feeling like Marty McFly. "The Wrangler is a total time warp, as if Jeep refused to let go of the 1950s. I mean this thing is so archaic in so many ways-front and rear solid axles, totally Spartan interior (although the navigation and power windows and locks are modern), high step-in, no side airbags-yet it's somehow endearing. I love history, and the Wrangler is like an automotive history book that shows you how cars used to be built." History lesson aside, Kiino wasn't amused with all that the Jeep offers: "The ride is rough, bouncy, and loud; bump steer is rampant; changing lanes is often scary."
| 2007 JEEP WRANGLER RUBICON |
| Months/miles in service || 7/9760 |
| Avg econ/CO2 || 15.0 mpg/1.29 lb/mi |
| Unresolved problems || None |
| Maintenance cost || $71.16 (oil change, inspection, rotate tires) |
| Normal-wear cost || $0 |