When word came out that the Wrangler was going to be changed for 2004, many purists cringed in fear. We're here to tell you that change can sometimes be good. The Wrangler hasn't so much changed as stretched--15 inches, to be exact: 10 inches in the wheelbase (now 103 inches), and a rear overhang extended by five inches. That equates to 13-inches-more cargo area and two more inches of second-row legroom.
Increasing the wheelbase helped refine the on-road ride quality and upped towing capacity to 3500 pounds. With the added inches, the approach angle remains the same at 43 degrees, while breakover and departure angles only get a small decrease to 22 and 28.
New on the Unlimited is the Sunrider soft-top, which includes a sunroof feature in addition to going fully topless. By folding the front section of the soft-top over the driver and passenger, a 45x23-inch sunroof-type opening is created, larger than any typical glass sunroof. To assist with ingress and egress, the dump seat feature has been added to the driver's side.
Our only complaint was with throttle tip-in. On-road it was manageable, but off-road was a different story. Rock-crawling and mud-stomping require delicate throttle manipulation, not just jamming the foot to the floor. This Unlimited wasn't happy crawling below 5 mph.
Diehard Wrangler fans, fear not: This new Unlimited offers everything your standard Wrangler does, with the added benefit of being able to take the whole family on your next Jamboree adventure in comfort.