By KBB.com Editors
The 65-year history of what has become America's definitive off-roader – and an icon on the level of national treasures such as the Corvette and Mustang – began 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 longest, widest and most livable design to date, the 2009 Jeep Wrangler continues to enjoy a wide and deeply loyal audience.
Whether you're an off-road enthusiast, an occasional camper or just a city slicker with a back-country mindset, the rugged yet refined 2009 Jeep Wrangler is sure to please.
For off-roading Wrangler enthusiasts, the 2009 model's extra five inches in width over the previous generation 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.
Hill Start Assist (HSA) is made standard.
Driving Impressions That the 2009 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. The Wrangler is rich with new and improved hardware – and software – that renders it even more capable than its predecessors; and that's saying something, considering 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 feature we appreciated most is the electronic throttle, which allows for smooth throttle application in low range. Owners of previous Wrangler models will notice a markedly smoother and quieter ride which, once off trail, transforms the Wrangler from a weekend plaything into a viable everyday vehicle.
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, you'll be happy to know that the changes inside are as evolutionary as the changes outside. They're big improvements to be sure – with higher quality materials and more contemporary styling than previous Wranglers – but 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
In proper Jeep fashion, the 2009 Wrangler's doors (full-framed or half) are still removable, its windshield is still foldable and the hinges and latches are still exposed. The familiar signature seven-slot grille and round headlamps present a face as distinctive and recognizable as any on the road. Still, while the newest 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 trails – and the absence of easily replaceable bumper caps at the ends of those trails. Roof options include two soft tops and a nifty 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.
The least expensive Jeep Wrangler comes with Command-Trac shift-on-the-fly 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, full metal doors with roll up windows, front airbags and electronic stability and traction control systems including rollover mitigation. In addition to four doors, the base Wrangler Unlimited gets cloth seats with height-adjustable driver's seat and air conditioning.
Some of the Wrangler's more significant optional equipment includes a three-piece hardtop, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, uconnect gps hard drive-based navigation and digital audio system, remote start, six-disc CD changer, front side-impact airbags and a variety of off-road hardware, the toughest of which come standard on Rubicon models.
All 2009 Jeep Wranglers are powered by a 3.8-liter 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: 15/20 (2WD), 15/19 (4WD, manual), 15/19 (4WD, automatic)
By Chico (NY) on Saturday, May 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, keeps its value."
Cons: "2 door Jeep is hard to get in the back."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought my Jeep JK 2Dr. Sahara 2007 in 2006 when the new model just first came out in the market. My jeep currently have 105000 miles on it. I haven't had any problems mechanically except for 2 recalls from the manufacturer. I changed my oil regularly with synthetic mobil oil, check all around fluids like the brake fluid, transmission fluid and changed the spark plugs at 102000 miles. The shock absorbers have not been changed and the ride is still good. Although the new 2012 Jeep Wrangler have a new powerful engine at 285 hp that is to claim an extra mile on the gas. But all in all, the Jeep Wrangler had came a long way. I love my Jeep and will not trade it for any other vehicle. I've always driven a Jeep Wrangler since early 1992. I guess thats why I can never let it go."
By Baseball Dad (TN) on Thursday, May 16, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, sturdy, reliable, and looks great."
Cons: "You'll get tired of smiling."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We bought our Jeep Wrangler Unlimited as our third car. We've wanted a Jeep Wrangler for a long time, but with two boys in sports we needed more room for equipment. The four door with the trunk was perfect. We take the top down in April every year and leave it down until around November (park it in the garage for rainy days). It drives surprisingly well and has a ton of power. We are in our second year of ownership and smile ear to ear every time we pull out of the driveway, whether it is to a baseball tournament, football practice, or a run to a store or to eat. I've owned four other Jeeps (Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Liberty) and once again we are very pleased. Reliable and solid, plus it looks great. I would highly recommend. The only reason I didn't rate value as a "10" is the up front cost is high due to resale value being so high."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By John (CA) on Thursday, May 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to Drive, Easy to remove hard top,"
Cons: "Wish the stereo was louder"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Special ordered a 2013 and couldn't be happier. It is exactly what I wanted. It's fun to drive around town, take the top off and enjoy the sun. The removable hardtop is the way to go. It's easy to use, a lot less wind noise then the soft top and it's 100% waterproof. The Jeep has been flawless and most of all, it's fun to drive."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Reza (MD) on Wednesday, April 24, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks and name"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Purchased a brand new wrangler and i was super excited, how ever i did not do my research, special ordered.... it has been a nightmare. The car has been in the dealer shop over 10 times and they can not fix any of the problems. Currently doing a Lemon Law against chrysler. WATER LEAK WATER LEAK WATER LEAK... leaks on the floors(always wet when it rains) Manual transmissions pops out of gear, Trac Control comes on randomly, Cruise control would not work unless i pull over and restart the car, clock is slow, death wobbles, random noise as if something is loose, soft top does not open and close properly, the car is underpowered all the time, very weak and always have to downshift or else you will not have any power. It is a GAS GUZZLER $$$ Please don't waste your $30k+ on a car like this. I will never purchase a chrysler product again. DO YOUR RESEARCH, just search lemon law on jeep wrangler on google and you will see others with these exact same problem. This car has been a nightmare."
9 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Shane (CA) on Monday, April 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 101,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very dependable, fun to drive in all weather condi"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have put over 100,000 miles on my jeep the only thing I have had it to dealership for is scheduled maint. and one electronic sway bar disconnect servo which was under warranty."
9 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Tim (KY) on Saturday, March 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "holds its value"
Cons: "no room in the back for passengers"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Mine has 84000 miles on it and never had any problems. This is my first jeep and I do love it. The back is useless though because it to hard to get anyone in or out. Although my 12 yr. old loves it. I think my jeep rides better off road than on pavement. over all I give my jeep a 9.5."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful