WorldWide Tech & Science. Francisco De Jesús.
Under the new management of Italy’s Fiat Jeep parent Chrysler Corp. realized that changes had to be made to keep Wrangler competitive. So now we have a new dashboard panel, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; air conditioning, USB port and information panel; powered mirrors, windows and locks; even satellite radio.
Engine options include a 3.6-liter V-6, which you will want to strongly consider if your Jeep is to have much pickup at all. New to the Wrangler this model year, it belts out 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, a gain of 83 horsepower over the old iron-block six. It will hit 60 from a standing start in just shy of seven seconds.
The Wrangler can be tied to a five-speed automatic or the six-speed manual that was on the test vehicle. I had a love-hate relationship with the manual for eating up what little floor space there is for the driver’s left foot, and for occasional reluctant downshifts.
The combination was rated 17-21 mpg by the EPA, and I got 19. During the interstate portion of our test, where I was surprised by how quiet the soft-top sport model was. This is a Wrangler you can use for a long trip.
It rides on a 95-inch wheelbase, and is only 157 inches long.
The Wrangler goes out the door for $26,355.