From the day we heard Jeep was finally going to do a four-door Wrangler (an idea we've been saying for years was long overdue), we knew we needed one in our long-term fleet. And from day one, it hasn't let us down. This is the most capable SUV ever. A strong statement, yes. But consider this: The Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (we just had to have all the best 4x4 goodies) probably has the most comprehensive heavy-duty off-road package available from a factory, making it a stunning rock-crawler right out of the box. The 2007 Wrangler also has the most horsepower to date (even more than the optional V-8 offered in the CJ of the 1970s). 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 this combination irresistible and ordered a fully loaded Bright Silver Rubicon Unlimited.
The Rubicon package includes a 3.8-liter V-6 and four-speed automatic, 4:1 Rock-Trac part-time four-wheel drive transfer case, electronic front swaybar disconnect, Dana 44 axles, 4.10:1 axle gears, front/rear locking differentials, skidplates, four-wheel ABS, ESP and traction control, front tow hooks, and 32-inch BFG mud terrains. As you might imagine, all that capability comes at a price, costing $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 Freedom Top ($695) hardtop. 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--it was just a great excuse to become reacquainted with the backcountry. Another editor used the Wrangler to scout out photo sites near San Diego, California, where it did highway and dirt time. Check out our Web site for even more Wrangler adventures.
This is no commuter car, of course--it's a purpose-built off-roader with oversize mud terrains that don't track well on channeled pavement, and, though it's much quieter than Wranglers past, we're still adjusting to the tire noise. But we understand the tradeoff--this vehicle isn't just for to-and-from-the-office drives. Just as sports cars beg for twisty roads, this long-termer will be tasting quite a few trails. We'll have more to report as we get more on- and off-road miles under our belt.
|2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon|
|Engine|| 3.8L/202-hp/237-lb-ft OHV 12-valve V-6|
|EPA city/hwy, mpg || 16/19|
|CO2 emissions, lb/mile ||1.1|
| Observed worst mpg || 10.1 |
| Observed best mpg || 18.4 |
| Average distance per fill-up || 194.4 |
| Average cost per gallon || $3.67 |
| Number of services || 0 |
| Overall cost || $0 |