An Icon Reinvented
Most automakers have one: an iconic model that historically, or currently, embodies the spirit and essence of their brand. BMW has its 3-series, Porsche has the 911, and Jeep has the Wrangler. With so much symbolically riding on this single model, it was imperative for Jeep not to screw it up - especially considering how much the introduction of the front-wheel-drive, unibody Compass cute-ute has irked the Jeep faithful.
But Jeep made it adamantly clear that the new Wrangler is no watered-down, sissified pretender. Whereas all the other current Jeep models have abandoned solid front axles, the Wrangler still proudly rides on front and rear Dana axles, a Dana 30 front and Dana 35 rear. The Rubicon model sports Dana 44s front and rear, as do any models with the tow package.
Incorporating a version of the system first showcased on the Dodge Ram Power Wagon, the Wrangler offers an electronically disconnecting front stabilizer bar - Active Sway Bar System (ASBS) - delivering additional wheel travel for traversing the toughest trails. Thanks to this bit of techno-wizardry, the new '07 Jeep Wrangler boasts a 652 ramp travel index with the front stabilizer bar engaged and an 832 RTI with the front stabilizer bar disconnected - a 28-percent increase. Jeep claims an approach angle of 44.3 degrees and a breakover angle of 25.4 degrees, along with a 40.4-degree departure angle.
For the (few) fans of the four-cylinder Wrangler, there is some bad news for 2007. The four-banger is discontinued, at least for now. Though many expected the venerable 4.0L inline-six to be replaced with the 3.7 SOHC 90-degree V-6 widely used in the Dakota and Liberty, the new Wrangler will have a version of the 60-degree, 3.8L pushrod V-6 out of the minivans. In the Jeep application, the engine produces 205 hp at 5,200 rpm, and 240 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, an increase of 15 hp and 5 lb-ft, respectively.
The Rubicon model features a 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 and 32-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrains. The X and Sahara models feature the second-generation Command-Trac NV241 part-time, two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 Low-range gear ratio. In addition, a Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential provides extra torque and grip during low-traction situations, such as driving over sand, gravel, snow, or ice.