1999 Jeep Wrangler Review
Pros & Cons
- Go-anywhere capability.
- Soft top is fun, but still a pain in the butt to operate.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The Wrangler is the off-road icon. Originally built for military use, the original Jeep has retained its Spartan utility while slowly evolving into a practical means of transportation. The Wrangler is still the drive-me-hard-through-the-slop beast of yesterday, with a few appreciated improvements for the daily commute.
Jeep Wranglers have long been the standard for those valiant explorers who truly wish to go where no one has gone before. The go-anywhere ability of the Wrangler has been improved by the Quadra-Coil suspension which allows an additional seven inches of articulation over the old leaf spring set-up; thus resulting in increased approach and departure angles. The Quadra-Coil suspension, along with improved shocks and tires, also greatly improve the Wrangler's on-road manners.
Available in SE, Sport and Sahara trim levels, the Wrangler fits into several budgets. Our favorite model is the Sport, which comes with the powerful 4.0-liter engine yet retains no-nonsense utility; nicely equipped, the Sport comes in at under $20,000. The SE is for people who don't mind a lack of power or available ABS, and the Sahara is for anyone who can't live without leather and a quality sound system. Nobody, however, will mistake this vehicle for a smooth-running family sedan; the Wrangler is very much a truck thanks to its high step-in height and abundant wind and road noise. A five-speed manual transmission remains standard and a three-speed automatic is available for those who don't plan on any serious off-roading.
For 1999, Jeep has decided to give the Wrangler some additional user-friendliness by tossing out the sliding heater controls and replacing them with twist knobs. A revised frame makes the Wrangler 16 lbs. lighter than before, and a passenger-side airbag cutoff switch, introduced in May of 1998, continues to offer value for anyone who must tote children up front.
Over the past few years, Jeep has done a great job improving the Wrangler. Gone are some of the nagging complaints we had about safety, wind noise and engine roar; what remains is a solid truck with hard-core capabilities and rugged good looks. This is obviously not the truck for everybody, but those willing to put up with a cloth interior and a little road noise will be rewarded with an amazingly fun and extremely useful vehicle.