NEW YORK, New York
April 12, 2006
In an encore performance to the earlier unveiling of the all-new 2007 Wrangler, Jeep brings back the Wrangler Unlimited, this time as a 4-door. Whereas the 2-door Wrangler caters to a tightly focused audience of off-roaders, Jeep knew they had to give the Unlimited the practicality and features to compete with a fatter and more competitive market segment.
As such, the new Unlimited boasts 56.7 inches of rear-seat hip room, 37.2 inches of rear-seat legroom and 46.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the second-row seat and 83 cu. ft. with second-row seats folded flat; more cargo space than the FJ Cruiser, H3 and Xterra. But unlike those conventional, fixed-roof midsizers, the Unlimited follows the Wrangler tradition of a removable top. Claiming to be the only four-door convertible on the market, the Unlimited features a choice between Jeep's all-new, three-piece Freedom Top and the innovative Sunrider soft top, allowing drivers to opt for open-air driving in less than 30 seconds.
Mechanically, the Unlimited is virtually identical to its shorter-wheelbase brother, with the obvious exception of a 20.6-inch longer wheelbase, and the availability of a 2WD model in the Unlimited. The Unlimited's off-road capabilities come very close to the 2-door model, with a best-in-class approach angle of 44.4 degrees, essentially the same as the 2-door, and a breakover angle of 20.8 degrees, only slightly less than the minimum 21.8 degree breakover angle of the 2-door, and a best-in-class 40.5 degree departure angle, same as the 2-door. As in the 2-door, the Unlimited offers an available electronic-disconnecting front stabilizer bar - Active Sway Bar System (ASBS) - delivering a 28-percent increase in wheel travel. Also mirroring the 2-door model, the underpinnings of 4WD Jeep Wrangler Unlimited X and Sahara models include a Dana 30 front axle and Dana 44 rear axle - featuring larger pinion shafts, pinion bearings and axle joints for increased durability. Engineered to take on the most demanding trails, the all-new 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon model features enhanced heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles.
Four-wheel-drive X and Sahara models feature the second-generation Command-Trac(r) NV241, part-time, two-speed transfer case, featuring a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. An optional Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential provides extra torque and grip during low-traction situations. The Unlimited Rubicon model features an Rock-Trac NV241 two-speed transfer case with a 4.0:1 low-range gear ratio, as well as electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Active Sway Bar System and 32-inch B.F. Goodrich Off-road tires. But the new Wrangler is no stripped-down penalty box. The interior features six speakers and a 32-percent-larger locking glove box. An available 368-watt Alpine stereo with optional navigation system is located at the top of the center stack for better visibility. Radios feature an auxiliary jack for taking your iPod on the trail. The nav system's trail feature leaves behind a virtual breadcrumb trail that shows where the vehicle has driven off-road, enabling the driver to retrace the route and return to the trailhead.
Despite speculation by some that the 4-door Wrangler would be offered with an optional V-8 engine, the Unlimited shares its standard, and for now, only engine with the 2-door. The workhorse mill is the 205-horsepower 3.8 liter pushrod V-6 engine related to the engines used in Dodge and Chrysler minivans. Foreign markets will be offered an unspecified optional diesel engine, though we're inclined to believe it's the 2.8L VM Motori 4-cylinder mill offered as an option in the Liberty. With the coming of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in the U.S. and DCX's implementation of their Bluetec diesel emissions technology, there is a good chance we could eventually see this powertrain option as well. Thankfully, the Unlimited offers the option between a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic.
The one area the Unlimited trails its competition is towing capacity. Maximum towing capacity is a rather (ahem) limited 3,500 pounds, compared to 5,000 in the FJ Cruiser and Xterra. A larger optional engine would likely remedy this shortcoming, and we may see one in the years ahead.