March 14, 2008
Up to now, I haven't particularly enjoyed driving our long-term 2007 Jeep Wrangler. I think the Unlimited body style adds bulk without adding enough utility, and I don't like having an automatic transmission in a Wrangler.
However, I like our Jeep a lot more with the doors off. It makes our nav-equipped Sahara Unlimited feel much less serious -- and more like the adventure vehicle it's supposed to be.
In addition, it encourages resourcefulness on the part of its driver. I carry my lunch to work in a plastic bag. So I simply tie it to the grab handle to keep it from flying away.My laptop bag? Well, that can ride in the cargo bay, which is now basically an open pickup bed.
March 10, 2008
This weekend I learned that removing the doors from our 2007 Jeep Wrangler is actually easier than lowering or raising its top. Each door simply pops off after the removal of two bolts (I had to go buy a T-50 Torx head socket) and the unplugging of an electrical connection. Total operation took about 10 minutes.
Trouble is, I now have four huge doors taking up my back porch and of course there's no way to lock the vehicle.
Side mirrors aren't a problem, because there aren't any. They went with the doors. We're also getting a hard lesson in aerodynamics. Anything above 60 mph now requires goggles and a tucked in shirt.
Whatever. Sometimes you've just got to go for it. Just don't expect any of us to take the Jeep on any long trips until I put her back together.
Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 13,481 miles
February 26, 2008
I got the jeep over the weekend thinking I might take off and do a solo night of camping. The girlfriend was out of town, a bunch of friends were out of town, and I had nothing to do. Even those plans got canceled since Mother Nature decided to swing a rain storm on through Southern Cali.
I mostly stayed indoors for the weekend, but on Sunday I had to scout out a new location for an upcoming shoot.When I opened the door to the Jeep, I was appalled to see the drivers seat wet (again) and water dripping into the passenger foot well from underneath the door forming a nice little puddle there.
I did my scouting sitting on a towel.
After talking to some folk around here in the office Monday morning, I learned a leak from a soft-top Jeep is nothing new. I guess it's time for the super absorbent towels to be a new standard feature.
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer
January 25, 2008
Uncharacteristically, we've been having lots of wet weather here in Los Angeles recently. "Storms of the century" and such. I had the Jeep Wrangler last night, and drove home in pouring rain. There were no problems with leaks on the drive home, but this morning -- after having parked the Wrangler outdoors to face yet more of the wet stuff -- I awoke to find that the Jeep's front passenger seat was pretty soaked...
There was also some rain on the steering wheel.
I could see water still dripping from one leak near the windshield, but there must've been another one, or the seats wouldn't have been as wet as they were. The Jeep's soft top was zipped and locked pretty securely, by the way, so I don't think user negligence was to blame.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 11, 272 miles
January 17, 2008
Over the past weekend, I drove myself and my daughter to the airport in the Jeep Wrangler to catch our plane to the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. After 20 miles on the freeway, she'd had enough. The constant freeway noise, coupled with the rough ride pushed her into a serious state of seven-year-old crabbiness which lasted until she saw our local Chrysler PR rep at the airport gate. Poor guy was also heading to Detroit, and had no idea he was about to be ambushed by a pint-sized automotive journalist.
"I don't like the Jeep," she told him straightaway. "It's too loud and too bumpy." I apologized for her attitude and bought her off with some over-priced Burger King fries.
At the other end of the gate area, I tried to convince her of the Wrangler's merits. I lauded its off-road capability, and reminded her that you could remove the soft-top for some fresh air fun. I told her she shouldn't judge the Jeep so harshly until after she had a chance to enjoy it in its true element.
Apparently, it didn't take. When we returned to the Los Angeles airport several days later, she opted to ride home with my husband in his Volvo S60 instead.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 10,866 miles
January 03, 2008
My friend Sara used to own a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, which she had for many years and which she still loves to this day so I thought she might have an appreciation for our 2007 Jeep Wrangler. But when we were driving back from the mall last night and chatting, a propos of nothing Sara would insert a comment about the Jeep into our conversation. She has ridden in our Wrangler many times before so I found it curious that she just made these observations now.
"It sure is a noisy car."
"These headrests are hard."
OK, these might not be ground-breaking observations but I thought it was interesting that a former Jeep owner had them and seemed surprised that a Jeep has these traits... Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 10,570 miles
December 19, 2007
It isn't raining in the above photo, but I drove our 2007 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited home in a severe thunderstorm last night. And I'm here to tell you that the Jeep's soft top did not leak. Not a drop. I arrived at my residence so dry I was thirsty.
It was such a nice surprise I almost forgot how much the Jeep's four-speed automatic transmission frustrates me.
However, this morning, when I walked out to the Jeep, which had been sitting out in the rain all night, the truck's top had its revenge. I opened the driver's door and 15 hours of accumulated water dumped down onto the door panel and driver's seat. No drip rails. I drove to work sitting in a puddle.
Next time I'll climb in the passenger side and climb over the console.
Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 9,534 miles
November 26, 2007
I love taking the Jeep Wrangler for all-American holidays. It seems fitting to drive a domestic brand and the Wrangler is such an American icon, especially in that Jeepy Green (not the official color).
Despite the Wrangler Sahara's size and weight (over 4200 pounds), it feels light and manageable. It's always fun to drive and with the handy AUX port my iPod helped drown out the constant wind and road noise with holiday tunes.
But I feel bad that it got stuck doing city duty. It wants action. It wants to be set free to stomp boulders and slosh through mud.
Alas, this Thanksgiving weekend it had to settle for Christmas shopping and speed bumps. Oh, and the Partridge Family Christmas albumn.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ a palindromical 8778 miles
October 05, 2007
Before I make my comment about our long-term Jeep Wrangler Unlimited's backseat, let me lay out my credentials. A family member of mine has owned 3 previous-gen Wranglers (first a Sahara w/ roll-down windows, then an X with zip-down windows, then a standard-wheelbase Rubicon). Whenever I've gone to visit him, I've invariably done some time in the backseat.Suffice it to say that it's never been a comfortable experience.
But here's what I find curious. My relative's Rubicon had a 93.4-inch wheelbase. Our Sahara Unlimited has a 116-inch wheelbase. Yet aside from a little extra legroom and improved access via its rear doors, our long-termer's backseat is no more comfortable. It still has an unnaturally upright seat back and a short bench with minimal thigh support. And every time the driver goes around a corner, I'm grasping at the roof frame for stability.
Clearly, this Jeep isn't a backseat kind of vehicle any way you size it. I don't think the Unlimited is worth the extra money (about $2,500) over the regular version (which now has a 95.4-inch WB, by the way).
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor
October 04, 2007
I've been spending a lot of time in the Jeep Wrangler and I've noticed that the headrests are really hard. I don't mean firm, I mean almost as hard as plastic.
No matter how I adjust them, they are uncomfortable. They look normal but they are shaped strangely with a rigid line that goes across the back of your head.
I would not want to whack my noggin on one of them.
How do you feel about headrests? What are the best and worst ones you've encountered?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 7,230 miles
September 24, 2007
I like the long-term Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. It's reasonably comfortable, adequately quick, sufficiently silent (even with that canvas top at highway speeds) and completely practical for real-world use. I can deal with the manual exterior mirrors and the somewhat bouncy ride on expansion joints, but there's one feature I can not abide -- the window switches.
I'm probably supposed to feel "lucky" just to have electric windows on a Jeep Wrangler, but I'd prefer manual windows with door-mounted handles to these tiny, ill-placed switches that I can't find.
Chrysler first used this location on the PT Cruiser, and I hated those, too.
When you get into the Jeep in our dark parking garage there's basically no way to see these tiny plastic controls. The switches for the front windows have teensy lights in them that do little to help.
I still like the new Jeep Wrangler overall, but I prefer the old Jeep's manual windows rollers.
Karl Brauer, Editor in Chief, Edmunds.com @ 6620 miles
September 10, 2007
Before Vehicle Testing Assistant Mike Magrath handed me the keys to our 2007 Jeep Wrangler for the weekend, he mentioned how his girlfriend hated it because with its 10-inch ground clearance she had a hard time getting into it without being obscene. As a girl who likes to wear dresses, I got what he meant but then I replied, "Why doesn't she just step up on the running board and hold onto the roof to pull herself in?" But apparently she's shorter than me -- I'm 5'5" -- so she can't reach the roof to do that.
The next day, a friend of mine who is 6'1" complained how the step to get in is as high as the cabin and therefore not that helpful at all. In his words, "It's dumb." He also noted that the running board just gets in the way when exiting the Jeep since it's too high to be of any use in climbing down.True, I, too, just end up stepping over it to jump down to the ground. But that's fun to me. In any case, although I haven't taken this car off-roading yet, I'm sure that the high ground clearance comes in handy in the wild.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 6,208 miles