The Jeep Wrangler is one of the few, no-compromises, one-mission-in-life vehicles left on the market today. Like a two-seat sports car, the Wrangler makes a powerful "lifestyle" statement in essence that the person behind the wheel is a fun-loving and outdoors-living type who actually goes off-road with his 4WD vehicle. Still, there are quite a few Wrangler owners who don't need all-out trail-busting ability, and wouldn't mind extra cargo capacity along with a smoother and quieter ride.
Jeep tried to address this concern over two decades ago with the Scrambler, which was essentially a longer version of the old CJ-7 (the forerunner of the Wrangler) that had two seats and an open back, like that of a small pickup truck. Evidently, folks weren't ready for a stretched CJ, and as a result, that vehicle went over about as well as "Titanic" conversations on a cruise ship.
Now, however, people embrace automotive oddities a little more readily witness the success of the Cadillac Escalade EXT, a mutation of a crew cab pickup and an SUV. Although that first stretched Jeep wasn't a smash success, we were told by Jeep reps that the new Wrangler Unlimited was a response to current and potential Wrangler owners' requests for a bigger, yet not too different Wrangler.
The Unlimited is 15 inches longer than the standard Wrangler, which represents a 10-inch stretch in wheelbase with the remaining five inches being rear overhang. The majority of the expansion goes toward increasing cargo capacity. Compared to the standard Wrangler, the Unlimited has double the capacity behind the rear seat, for a total of 29.5 cubic feet and a few more inches of legroom for the rear passengers. Another advantage of the Unlimited is increased towing capacity, which moves up to 3,500 pounds (compared to just 2,000 pounds for the standard Wrangler).
Topping things off is a unique "Sunrider" three-way soft top. The Sunrider offers a choice of an open roof over the front compartment (similar to a targa top), along with the standard fully closed and fully open positions. Other standard features for the Unlimited include air conditioning, an automatic transmission, an AM/FM/CD stereo, foglamps, deep-tinted windows, massive Goodyear Wrangler (what else would you expect?) tires and disc brakes all around. Antilock brakes are not available, as the heavy-duty Dana 44 rear axle won't accommodate that technology. The standard (and only) power plant for the Unlimited is the tried-and-true 4.0-liter straight six that puts 190 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque to the pavement. More sound insulation and a tip-and-slide feature for the driver seat were added as well.
We initially drove short-wheelbase Wranglers on a mix of city streets and open highways to get reacquainted with the standard vehicle's ride characteristics. This author was immediately reminded why he didn't care for the Wrangler in past test-drives: A choppy ride along with plenty of wind, engine and road noise makes me wonder why so many people choose to use these as everyday drivers. With such a short (93.4-inch) wheelbase and high center of gravity, the Wrangler wouldn't be our first choice for a long freeway cruise.
The next day, after a product briefing, we took the wheel of the Unlimited and set out for a few hours' drive (mostly freeways and two-lane highways) and immediately noticed the difference. Whereas the standard Wrangler felt almost jittery at higher speeds, the Unlimited was secure and planted. Through the turns and over the bumps, it was the same story the Unlimited was more composed and delivered a much better ride. We also noticed that the overall noise level was appreciably lower. Earlier in the day, the engineers had informed us that they fitted the Unlimited with revised springs and shocks as well as an additional cross member out back to ensure an improved ride and no loss of structural rigidity.
In terms of performance, with a weight increase of 200 pounds over the already pudgy Wrangler (for a total of 3,730 pounds), the Unlimited ran out of steam at higher speeds, particularly when merging into fast-moving freeway traffic. You wouldn't expect such a heavy, non-aerodynamic 4WD vehicle to be frugal with fuel, and with estimates of 14 city and 18 highway, this Wrangler is anything but.
Of course, nobody buys a Wrangler for economical commuting; it's all about off-road prowess. We got a chance to test the Unlimited's off-road skills and they are indeed amazing. Led by a seasoned team of off-road instructors, we popped the Unlimited in 4WD Low and scrabbled up rock-strewn hills and through narrow, muddy trails. Unlike your author, the Unlimited never broke a sweat and the steering that seemed a little slow on the street was perfect in this environment you don't want any sudden motions when maneuvering over dicey terrain.
Several times, while attempting to get up especially rough passes, we banged and scraped the underside of our Unlimited. Although the sounds made us cringe and gave us a quick adrenaline pump, they seemed to delight the Jeep reps and off-road gurus. They'd grin as they shouted out encouragement such as: "Don't worry about it, that's what the skid plates are for. C'mon, you're doing fine, don't let up and lose your momentum." After we were done playing on the 40,000-acre "Y.O." working ranch(located around 90 miles northwest of Antonio), we understood why there are so many off-road fanatics and why Jeep has such a strong reputation in this area. Not once did we get stuck, and it wasn't as if we didn't try. The off-road instructors informed us that some of the terrain we navigated was rated a 10, meaning most difficult.
With a list price of around $25,000 nicely equipped, the Unlimited presents a viable option for active folks who never would have considered a Wrangler before. Playing in the rough is all well and good, and the Unlimited upholds Jeep's reputation by taking anything you have the nerve to dish out. But in the real world, the one with freeways, potholes and work commutes, the Unlimited shines compared to its rough-around-the-edges little brother. This is a Wrangler we could easily live with, and that's something we never thought we'd say.
Is the 2004 Jeep Wrangler a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2004 Jeep Wrangler and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2004 Wrangler featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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How do people like the 2004 Jeep Wrangler? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2004 Jeep Wrangler and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2004 Wrangler 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2004 Wrangler.
Review First thing is first i LOVE my jeep. If you dont like bumpy and loud buy a dumb cadillac if you want good gas mileage buy a stupid civic. But if you like wondering on and off road at anytime and having a blast while doing it. then look no further. the sound bar is awesome. ive only had mine stuck once that was in snow that had been plowed 2 days before and was up over my hood and i have a 3 inch suspension lift with 33" BFG A/T.. you can be driving on the street one minute and the next climbing the side of a mountain. no other vehicle can do what a jeep does. i guess you have to be a jeep person to be in love with a jeep as much as i am.
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What options are available on the 2004 Jeep Wrangler?
Available Jeep Wrangler 2004 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Trims: Unlimited Sport, Unlimited Sahara, Sport, Unlimited Rubicon, Sahara, X, Rubicon, Unlimited X, SE, Unlimited Rubicon Recon, Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock, Unlimited Smoky Mountain, Unlimited, Unlimited Winter, Willys Wheeler, Unlimited Chief, Unlimited Willys Wheeler, Unlimited Altitude Edition, Unlimited Freedom, Unlimited 75th Anniversary, Unlimited Sport RHD, S, Unlimited 70th Anniversary, Unlimited Big Bear, 75th Anniversary, Unlimited Backcountry, Unlimited Freedom Edition, Base, Black Bear, Freedom Edition, Unlimited Black Bear, 70th Anniversary, Rubicon Hard Rock, Winter
Exterior Colors: Black Clear Coat, Bright White Clear Coat, Billet Silver Metallic Clear Coat, Black Clearcoat, Granite Crystal Metallic Clear Coat, Bright Silver Metallic Clearcoat, Firecracker Red Clear Coat, Rhino Clear Coat, Anvil Clear Coat, Flame Red Clearcoat, Chief Clear Coat, Gobi Clear Coat, Hydro Blue Pearl Coat, Red Rock Crystal Pearlcoat, Bright White Clearcoat, Tank Clear Coat, Xtreme Purple Pear Coat, Natural Green Pearlcoat, Flame Red Clear Coat, Stone White Clearcoat, Steel Blue Metallic Clearcoat, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearlcoat, Jeep Green Metallic Clearcoat, Rescue Green Metallic Clearcoat, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl Coat, Baja Yellow Clear Coat, Light Khaki Metallic Clearcoat, True Blue Pearl Coat, Black Forest Green Pearlcoat, Hypergreen Clear Coat, Mango Tango Pearlcoat, Moss Green Pearlcoat, Commando Green, Amp'd, Cosmo Blue Paint, Copperhead Pearl Coat, Crush Clearcoat, Midnight Blue Pearlcoat, Sunset Orange Pearl Coat, Deep Water Blue Pearlcoat, Detonator Yellow Clearcoat, Copper Brown Pearl Coat, Dune Clear Coat, Mojave Sand Clear Coat, Patriot Blue Pearlcoat, Sahara Tan Clearcoat, Deep Beryl Green Pearlcoat, Gecko Pearl Coat, Rock Lobster Clear Coat, Sunburst Orange Pearlcoat, Dozer Clearcoat, Flame Red, Rugged Brown Pearl Coat, Surf Blue Pearlcoat, Crush Clear Coat, Dark Charcoal Pearlcoat, Electric Lime Green Pearlcoat, Flame Red CC/Black ST, Patriot Blue Pearl Coat, Shale Green Metallic, Solar Yellow Clearcoat, Light Graystone Pearlcoat, Shale Green Metallic Clearcoat, Sienna Pearlcoat, Stone White, Winter Chill Pearlcoat, Anvil Clear Coat (Late Availability), Chili Pepper Red Pearlcoat, Dozer Clear Coat, Forest Green Pearlcoat, Gecko Pearlcoat, Intense Blue Pearlcoat, Solar Yellow CC/Black HT, Steel Blue Pearlcoat, Steel Blue Pearlcoat/Black HT, Black, Black CC/Black HT, Bright White, Bronze Star Pearlcoat, Colorado Red, Deep Amethyst Pearlcoat, Emerald Green Pearl Metallic, Impact Orange Clearcoat, Jewel Blue Pearl Metallic, Lapis Blue, Medium Fern Green Pearlcoat, Poppy Red, Stone White CC/Dk Tan HT
Interior Colors: Black cloth, Black leather, Dark Slate Gray/Medium Slate Gray cloth, Black leather/cloth, Dark Slate Gray/Medium Slate Gray leather, Black/Dark Saddle leather, Dark Slate Gray, Dark Slate Gray/Medium Slate Gray vinyl, Dark Slate Gray cloth, Dark Khaki/Medium Khaki cloth, Khaki, Black/Dark Saddle cloth, Agate, Black premium leather, Dark Khaki/Medium Khaki leather, Khaki cloth, Black, Black/Dark Olive leather, Black/Red premium leather, Dark Khaki/Medium Khaki vinyl, Freedom Edition leather/cloth, Black/Dark Olive premium leather, Camel, Camel/Dark Green, Dark Saddle premium leather
Popular Features: AWD/4WD, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Aux Audio Inputs, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Post-collision safety system, Alarm, 3500lb Towing Capacity, USB Inputs, Bluetooth, Trip Computer, Hardtop, Soft Top, Towing Hitch, Navigation, Heated seats, Remote Start, Upgraded Stereo, Auto Climate Control, Leather Seats, Upgraded Engine