2007 Jeep Wrangler: Four doors and still good in the dirt
September 04, 2007
With so many posts describing our Jeep's on road performance, I decided it was time to get it a little dirty. I've already driven the Wrangler on the Rubicon trail , so I know that it can pretty much climb up anything you have the guts to attempt, but rock crawling wasn't on the agenda for the weekend. Instead, I did what most owners will probably attempt -- basic fire roads with a few technical hill climbs thrown in for fun.
On the rocky fire roads, the Wrangler was much less of a pogo stick than its predecessor. The four-door's longer wheelbase helps for sure, but the feel through the steering wheel was less jittery as well. It's sturdier too, with very few rattles from the soft top. That said, the Wrangler doesn't soak up bumps nearly as well as the Toyota FJ Cruiser or Nissan Xterra. Slow speed climbs were a piece of cake, though, as the Wrangler picks its way up steep hills easily and with little tire slippage.
Tall gearing in the four-speed automatic is another area where the Jeep falls short of the Toyota and Nissan. Second is too weak, and first is too high strung. Using low range would have helped, but on such easy roads it seemed overkill.
One feature our Jeep has that its competitors don't even offer -- a navigation system that keeps track of your progress when you're not on marked roads. It simple to use and makes getting lost nearly impossible -- something no amount of horsepower is ever going to help.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 5,890 miles