By KBB.com Editors
The 65-year history of what has become America's definitive off-roaderand an icon on the level of national treasures such as Corvette and Mustangbegan with a run of nearly 650,000 units built for use during the last world war. Distributed strictly for civilian enjoyment today, Jeep claims the percentage of Wrangler owners who take their vehicles off road is higher than that of any other brand. A short wheelbase, solid front and rear axles and renowned all-wheel-drive systems combine in a perennial favorite of rock crawlers, mudders and light off-roaders alike. The first all-new model in a decade, the 2007 Wrangler is both the most capable and the most livable ever.You'll Like This Car If...
Whether you're an off-road enthusiast, an occasional camper or just a city slicker with a back-country mindset, the more rugged, more refined Wrangler is sure to please.You May Not Like This Car If...
For off-roading Wrangler enthusiasts, the new model's extra five inches in width may take some getting used to. Back in town, the more livable Wrangler still isn't as buttoned down as SUVs like the Nissan Xterra or Toyota FJ Cruiser.What's Significant About This Car?
In addition to being the most powerful, most capable iteration yet, the all-new Wrangler is infinitely more refined, with a significantly smoother, quieter ride and the availability of creature comforts like power windows and locks and even a navigation system. The new lineup also includes the first-ever four-door Wrangler.Driving It Driving Impressions
That the 2007 Jeep Wrangler so effortlessly delivered us from our starting point in the middle of the notorious, boulder-strewn Rubicon Trail back to the striped pavement of civilization did not surprise us. While the latest Wrangler is rich with new and improved hardwareand softwarethat render it even more capable than its predecessor, the previous generation was already one of the most accomplished off-roaders in the world. Still, we were impressed by the uncanny ease with which the Wrangler traversed massive rocks, and by the sheer solidity of its three skid plates. One of the new features we appreciated most is the electronic throttle, which allows for smoother throttle application in low range. Where the newest Wrangler made its strongest impression, however, was at the end of the trail, where a markedly smoother and quieter ride transform the Wrangler from something best suited as a weekend plaything into a viable seven-day vehicle.Favorite Features
Electronic-Disconnecting Sway Bar
When rocks on the trail turn into boulders, the Wrangler's front stabilizer bar disconnects at the push of a button for increased wheel travel.
The Wrangler's hardtop now features panels above the driver and front passenger that can be removed independently and stored in the vehicle, allowing for more spontaneous exposure.
If the addition of niceties like power windows, power locks and a navigation system has you worried that the Wrangler has gotten soft in its sixty-fifth year, you'll be happy to know that the changes inside are as evolutionary as the changes outside. They're big improvements to be surewith higher quality materials and more contemporary stylingbut the rugged, purpose-built feel remains. Unlimited (four-door) models offer seating for five, which is a first for any Wrangler. Interior color options include gray or khaki and the exterior color carries into the cabin via the door panels. The additional five inches of width make for a noticeably roomier passenger cabin.Exterior
The doors (full-framed or half) are still removable, the windshield is still foldable and the hinges and latches are still exposed. Likewise, the signature seven-slot grille and round headlamps still present a face as distinctive and recognizable as any on the road. Still, while the new Wrangler's styling is instantly familiar and every bit as rugged as its decade-old predecessor's, it's also decidedly more contemporary. Wrangler veterans will appreciate the bigger tires and additional ground clearance, but may decry the extra five inches in width while negotiating tight trailsand the absence of easily replaceable bumper caps at the end of those trails. Roof options include two soft tops and a new three-piece hardtop. The first-ever four-door Wrangler rides on a wheelbase that's 20.6 inches longer than that of the traditional two-door.Notable Standard Equipment
The least expensive Jeep Wrangler comes with part-time four-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission, soft top, six-speaker AM/FM/CD/ audio system with MP3 capability, auxiliary audio input, vinyl seats, three skid plates, 16-inch steel wheels, front airbags and electronic stability and traction control systems including rollover mitigation. In addition to four doors, the base Wrangler Unlimited gets cloth upholstery and air conditioning.Notable Optional Equipment
Some of the Wrangler's more significant optional equipment includes a three-piece hardtop, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, MyGIG hard drive-based navigation and digital audio system, six-disc CD changer, front side-impact airbags and a variety of off-road hardware, the toughest of which come standard on Rubicon models.Under the Hood
All 2007 Wranglers are powered by a new V6 engine mated with either a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. From there, power is distributed through a two-wheel-drive system (available on four-door models only) or one of two part-time four-wheel-drive systems, both of which include a two-speed transfer case. The beefier Rock-Trac system features a 4.00:1 low-range gear ratio (versus 2.72:1 for Command-Trac) and is standard on Rubicon models, which also feature beefier axle sets and locking differentials front and rear. Electronic brake-lock differentials help get power to the loaded wheels by braking spinning wheels. A limited-slip rear differential is upgradeable to a locking rear differential. Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited models can tow up to 2,000 and 3,500 pounds, respectively.
202 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
237 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/22 (2WD manual), 17/21 (2WD automatic), 17/19 (4WD manual), 16/19 (4WD automatic)
The 2007 Jeep Wrangler starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $18,765 and can approach $35,000 when fully equipped. With the fresh redesign and sticker prices that have been adjusted downward compared to the 2006 Wrangler, we expect our Fair Purchase Prices to reflect real-world selling prices inline with MSRP. Competitors include the Nissan Xterra and Toyota's new FJ Cruiser, both of which offer more creature comforts but less overall off-road capability than the Wrangler. Sticker prices for the 2007 Xterra range from $20,655 to over $30,000, and the 2007 FJ Cruiser ranges from $22,555 to more than $35,000. In terms of resale value, we expect the 2007 Jeep Wrangler lineup to perform comparably to the FJ Cruiser and better than the Xterra.