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 03, 2007
"Hey, what do you think of your _______?"
Drive around a variety of new, occasionally interesting cars and you'll frequently be asked this question. For strangers, I've long since skipped explaining that it's not really mine (unless it's a real heap and/or the Compass), and instead found it to be a great way to find out what I really think of a car. You're first response is usually the one closest to your gut, like one of those rapid-fire question exercises when someone throws in a serious question amongst a bunch of mundane ones to see how you really feel ("Boxers or briefs?" "Chocolate or vanilla?" "Do you stay with Victoria, or go for it with Robin?")
So, using that logic, here's what I really think about the Wrangler. The first being most important, and the subsequent answers showing what happens when pesky old rationality starts to rear its ugly head:Usually Jerk Bouncer at Hollywood Billiards: "Hey, what do you think about your Wrangler?"
(after a second to remember that yes, I apparently own a Wrangler)
Me: "It's surprisingly fun. Great steering. You wouldn't think it, but it's actually really fun to drive around the city. I like it."
Jerk Bouncer: "Cool, I've been thinking about getting one. The two-door version."
Me: "Nice. The top is a pretty big pain to put up and down, so if you're not going to use it much, I'd definitely suggest the hard top. It gets really noisy on the highway with the soft top."
Jerk Bouncer: "Oh, with the wind noise? Does that have a six or a four?"
Me: "It only comes with a six. It's OK around town, but on the highway it stinks. Only has 205 horsepower."
Jerk Bouncer: "Oh, what sort of gas mileage does it get?"
Me: "Not very good."
Jerk Bouncer: "Bummer. Like 15 or 16 around town?"
Me: "Yeah, just about." (after, the car said it was getting 15.4. EPA is 15 city, 19 highway, 17 combined)
I then went inside to watch my football game, and because I was tired of talking to a guy who up until that point had always been, well, a jerk. Funny how driving a new, interesting car can change one's demeanor towards you.
James Riswick, Associate Editor @ 8,916 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 06, 2007
Last night when offered the 2007 Cadillac SRX or the 2007 Jeep Wrangler, I jumped at the latter naturally. Ferget luxury, I wanted my fun mobile. Besides, I was driving to downtown for the evening and figured it would be much easier to find a spot to park the Jeep.
When on the freeway driving about 70 mph, I couldn't help but notice all the wind noise in the cabin as the wind buffeted the canvas roof.
At first I thought it might be because I had my window open but when I closed it there was still a lot of noise. Of course, it was no skin off my nose because I just chalk this up to another quirk about the Jeep, which I still heart.
It also has the power window buttons in a weird place (the center dash), manually-adjustable mirrors and cloth straps for door joints. What might scream "inconvenient" to others reads "charming" to me. But that's just me.
I also love driving it on the freeway. With a 3.8-liter V6, it has enough power to pass slow and not-so-slow vehicles. The steering feels light and since I'm riding high, I can see what traffic jams to avoid and easily switch lanes before the backup starts. Ha! The only thing is that I noticed that the plastic windows in the rear are starting to yellow up a bit and that makes me wonder how much that will affect rear vision in the future.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor