UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am
I've mentioned before that I'm a Jeep guy. Looking at my beloved old '95 Wrangler and this is the 2009 Wrangler, all I can think is, what a difference two generations makes.
The new Wrangler may look at first glance like all the Jeeps that went before. But that familiar skin hides a vehicle that is an old soldier's fantasy. First of all, it has four doors, for crying out loud. All of us who tried to haul anything bigger than a Yorkie in the backseat of an old Wrangler, will be astonished at the room in the new one. The dash of my '95 YJ looks Paleozoic compared to the modern facia of the new Jeep. Air conditioning in mine is more of a concept than a reality. Now, it's a bonafide climate control system. Add a hardtop whose front section comes off with a couple of levers, and this Jeep has manners.
Under the hood, the old 4 and 6-cylinder engines are gone, replaced by a new, 3.8-liter V6 with 202-horsepower. My old 4-cylinder gets around 23 miles per gallon in the city. The new engine barely makes 19.
But it's off-road that most of us diehards judge a Jeep, and with the Sahara package and its 18-inch wheels, this new Wrangler can tackle any trail from mild to rocky in a way that would put my kidneys in jeopardy in my old Jeep. It's quite simply the best Jeep ever made. Base price for the 4-door is around 25-large, and our fully loaded Sahara came to just under $35,000.
And that's the Jeep Wrangler, both new and old. It's a vehicle that knows what it is, and has stayed true to that.