2007 Jeep Wrangler Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Superior off-road ability, available in short- or long-wheelbase versions, choice of soft top or hard top, upscale navigation system.
- Unlimited model's mediocre acceleration, ride and handling suffer from off-road-oriented suspension, interior materials look and feel cheap.
Though more refined and feature-laden than in years past, the 2007 Jeep Wrangler firmly maintains its heritage, image and off-road ability.
Few vehicles in America have as much history or as dedicated a following as the Jeep Wrangler. This compact SUV and its earlier CJ predecessors have been providing Americans with rugged off-road ability and iconic style for more than 60 years. Whether it's South Dakota's badlands, San Diego's Pacific Beach or mud bogs in Arkansas, the original Jeep seems right at home.
While the Wrangler's traits and affordable price have made it a steady seller through the years, the vehicle has also come bundled with a lot of drawbacks, such as a harsh and noisy ride, a cramped interior and a dated level of refinement. So for the 2007 Wrangler, Jeep has performed a full redesign aimed at fixing the previous model's most outstanding faults without diluting its character.
The new Wrangler is about the same length as before but much wider. This provides additional shoulder and hip room for both front and rear passengers. For additional space, there's the new Wrangler Unlimited. Like last year's model, the Unlimited is built on an extended wheelbase. But this time it happens to be topped with the Wrangler's first four-door body style. The four-door has a roomier three-passenger backseat and a cargo capacity that's better than many other small SUVs.
The 2007 Jeep Wrangler's body structure is stiffer than before and works in conjunction with enhanced suspension and steering tuning to provide a more refined on-road experience. Additional sound insulation and new top designs reduce wind noise. For power, Jeep has replaced the previous inline six-cylinder engine with a new 3.8-liter 202-horsepower V6. It's more powerful than the old engine, but it also must move more weight; the Wrangler Unlimited weighs in at about 4300 pounds, more than 1000 pounds heavier than last year's regular Wrangler.
Underneath, the general hardware configuration is the same -- lives axles suspended by five-link designs -- and Jeep has made sure that off-road ability is still intact. There are 10.2 inches of ground clearance, steep approach and departure angles, and low-range four-wheel drive. The hardcore Rubicon trim level returns as well, and again features many hardware upgrades meant to make it the most capable production vehicle you can buy for off-road use.
There's little doubt that the 2007 Jeep Wrangler is much improved overall. The vehicle's character and heritage haven't been overshadowed or watered down by the new features and refinement. And yes, you can still fold down the windshield and take off the doors, even on the four-door. But as before, we consider the Wrangler a niche-market vehicle. Consumers just wanting a capable small SUV will be disappointed by its average acceleration, uninspired interior design and meager handling abilities. Nissan's Xterra or Toyota's FJ Cruiser will likely suit those buyers better. But for those wanting the original American rock crawler, there is still only one Jeep.
2007 Jeep Wrangler models
The 2007 Jeep Wrangler is a small SUV with a convertible top. It's offered in two body styles -- regular two-door and the extended-wheelbase, four-door Unlimited. The basic Wrangler X is quite spartan, though a CD player with an auxiliary input jack is standard. An optional "C" Package adds air-conditioning, upgraded cloth seats and a full-length center console. The "S" Package has those features, plus 16-inch alloy wheels, tow hooks, cruise control and a compass/temperature display. Also optional is a modular three-piece hard top (Freedom top), a sunroof-equipped soft top, a limited-slip rear differential, power windows, keyless entry, an Infinity audio system, a six-disc CD/MP3 player and satellite radio.
The Jeep Wrangler Sahara is more upscale. In addition to having many of the Wrangler X's optional features as standard, it also features 17-inch alloy wheels, body-color fenders, a heavy-duty suspension and upgraded seat fabric. Options for the Sahara include 18-inch alloy wheels and a navigation system featuring "bread crumb" off-highway tracking. A 20-Gigabyte hard drive can also be added to the system to store music and pictures. Lastly, there's the trail-busting Wrangler Rubicon. This model is equipped similarly to the Sahara but features special drivetrain upgrades, an electronically disconnecting stabilizer bar and special BFGoodrich off-road tires.
Performance & mpg
All 2007 Wranglers come with a 3.8-liter V6 engine capable of 202 horsepower and 237 pound-feet of torque. It's connected to a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. Most models are four-wheel drive, though a rear-drive version of the Unlimited is available. The Rubicon trim has heavy-duty axles, a Rock-Trac transfer case with extra-low gearing, and electronically locking front and rear differentials. In testing, we've found that a Wrangler Unlimited takes a longish 9.7 seconds to reach 60 mph. Properly equipped, this Jeep can tow 3500 pounds.
Safety has been improved for the 2007 Jeep Wrangler, and all models now feature antilock brakes and stability control with a rollover sensor. Front seat-mounted side airbags are optional.
The 2007-year improvements have made a difference. The new Jeep Wrangler tracks better on the highway and leans less in the turns. But braking distances are unimpressive, and the model's big tires and solid-axle front suspension don't do it any favors when it comes time for precision handling. As before, the Wrangler, especially in Rubicon trim, is pretty much unstoppable in off-road situations. This is also true for the Unlimited Rubicon, though its increased size and weight prevent it from being as maneuverable on tight trails as the regular Wrangler.
The regular Wrangler has a small backseat for two passengers, while the Unlimited's roomier rear seat accommodates three people. The latter model also provides class-leading cargo space, with up to 86 cubic feet available when the second-row seats are folded. In front, the Wrangler disappoints due to small cupholders, a lack of storage space, characterless analog gauges, cheap-feeling climate-control knobs and plenty of budget-themed plastic on the dash and doors.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover3 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
More About This Model
It's 4 o'clock in the morning, we're still 100 miles from home and we've been driving the 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited in one form or another for nearly 24 hours. Our trip from the top of California to the bottom was supposed to include a stop at a resort town along the way, but our photographer/tour guide didn't anticipate people on vacation in August so it's one "No Vacancy" after another.
We expect he'll also be startled when the sun rises in the morning, but until then we've decided to plow the rest of the way home. An endless stream of Howard Stern on the Sirius Satellite Radio is keeping us sane, but the new Wrangler deserves a little credit, too.
You see, unlike previous Wranglers which at 75 mph provided all the solitude of a parachute jump, the 2007 Wrangler has a tight canvas top and much less wind howl. Add in decent seats, extra sound insulation and a spacious interior and driving this Wrangler at highway speeds feels less like a Fear Factor challenge and more like a normal SUV. Oh, and it's still pretty good in the dirt, too.
We started the day on the trail, specifically the Rubicon Trail. It's a legendary off-road route near Lake Tahoe, California, used by Jeep in the development of nearly all of its vehicles. It's not so much a trail as it is a series of loosely grouped boulders, ravines and ledges which leave just enough room to squeeze a well-driven four-wheel drive through, or in our case, a four-door Wrangler Unlimited.
That's right, a four-door Wrangler. It's the first one ever and unlike the previous Wrangler Unlimited, which was the stretched version of the standard two-door, the 2007 Wrangler Unlimited uses a 20.6-inch-longer wheelbase to make room for full-size rear doors. It's 5.5 inches wider than previous Wranglers, too, a trait it shares with the standard two-door model.
Actually, other than its longer wheelbase, extra doors and optional two-wheel drive, the Unlimited shares almost everything with the standard Wrangler. It comes in three trim levels — X, Sahara and Rubicon — and is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 with 202 horsepower and 237 pound-feet of torque. Its standard transmission is a six-speed manual; a four-speed automatic is optional.
All Wranglers also get a five-link straight axle suspension front and rear, revised shocks and springs, a recirculating ball steering system and a fully boxed frame that Jeep says is twice as stiff as the previous version.
Makes the Rubicon easy
On the trail we drove none other than the heavy-duty Rubicon model. It's upgraded for serious off-road duty with electronically lockable front and rear differentials, heavy-duty Dana 44 axles, 32-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires and extra-low 4.00:1 transfer case gears. All Rubicons also get a new detachable front sway bar that improves suspension articulation by 28 percent at the touch of a button, according to Jeep.
Saying the Wrangler made the trail easy might be putting it lightly. Tackling the Rubicon requires a good spotter, Gandhi-like patience and the right vehicle, and we only had two out of three. The Wrangler made up for it with more than 10 inches of ground clearance, multiple skid plates and class-leading approach and departure angles. Throw in the new electronic throttle control system, which reduces pedal sensitivity in 4-low, and maintaining a smooth pace up tough sections like Cadillac Hill was well, easy.
Since there will be inevitable comparisons between the Wrangler's off-road abilities and other trail-hungry SUVs like the Hummer H3, Nissan Xterra and Toyota FJ Cruiser we'll settle it right now. Any of the four could tackle the Rubicon, but none would do it as easily and with less body damage than a Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.
Back to the real world
It wasn't even noon before we had finished off three bags of beef jerky and one of the world's toughest backcountry trails. Having switched into an Unlimited in Sahara trim, we hit the pavement feeling pretty good about the new Wrangler. Although it has a part-time transfer case with a floor-mounted shifter like the Rubicon, the Sahara has softer suspension tuning so we expected a decent ride.
It wasn't long, however, before we remembered why the Wrangler is a trail machine first and a daily driver second. It started out with little things like the lack of storage space up front and small cupholders. But as the miles piled up it was clear the Wrangler has bigger issues.
For one, the engine is gutless. It revved smoothly up the first highway grade, but when a 3-year-old toasted his sippy cup to us as his mom blew by in her minivan we knew there was a problem. Subsequent track tests confirmed the Wrangler's laziness as our six-speed tester posted a 0-to-60 time of 9.7 seconds. The Nissan Xterra completes the same sprint a full 2 seconds faster and it's 134 pounds heavier.
Its braking and handling performance aren't any better. Actually, they are better if you compare them to the previous Wrangler as the '07 version benefits from a 3.5-inch wider track, high-pressure monotube shocks and standard antilock disc brakes at each corner. It tracks better on the highway and leans less in the turns, too, but its 143-foot stop from 60 was 20 feet longer than the last FJ we tested.
Clearly the slalom is no place for a Jeep, but given that we were able to coax a Dodge Ram Megacab dually through the cones at a faster clip, the Wrangler's 54.4-mph run is a little embarrassing.
After a few hundred miles on the highway, we readjust to the Wrangler's anemic performance and begin to appreciate its relatively comfortable cabin. Despite generic-looking seats with basic adjustments, our backsides feel pretty good. The seating position is a little too upright and the dash is tall, but visibility isn't a problem. Power windows and locks are offered for the first time ever, and clever engineering assures that the doors are still fully removable if that's your style.
Up front, this Wrangler has as much room as the FJ and in back there's more leg- , head- and hip room than either the Toyota or the Xterra. Cargo room is class-leading as well, with up to 86 cubic feet available with the second-row seats folded.
If you were hoping Jeep would spend a little time giving the Wrangler's interior some interesting design elements you're out of luck. You get characterless analog gauges; small, cheap-feeling climate control knobs; and plenty of Kia-grade plastic on the dash and doors. We're all for keeping a Jeep a Jeep, but with an as-tested price of just over $30K we expected a little more.
The modern design of the new Chrysler corporate stereo looks a little out of place, but our upgraded unit delivers solid sound not to mention an auxiliary input jack and an in-dash six-disc CD changer with DVD-Audio capability. A navigation system is also an option as is a 20-gig hard drive with a USB interface. If the designers had put as much time into the cabin as the audio engineers did this Wrangler would be a bombshell.
Admittedly some of those resources went toward improved safety as all Jeeps now come standard with electronic stability control and a roll mitigation system which can sense an impending rollover and try to stop it through selective application of the brakes. It's good to know as our Wrangler Unlimited is running the Sunrider soft top. A three-piece, hard shell "Freedom top" is also available, although the noise of the canvas cover is well controlled, not to mention you can fold it down in a matter of minutes.
Home at last
Rolling into L.A. just before the sun comes up, we've got mixed feelings about this Wrangler. In any trim it's like a rock climber who doesn't need a rope, but with four doors the Unlimited needs to be equally as comfortable on the pavement. It's not. In Sahara trim the Wrangler Unlimited is already crude and miserably slow, while in Rubicon trim, with its larger off-road tires and stiffer shocks, performance and daily comfort are compromised even further.
Still, it's far more livable than any Wrangler before it. If you're willing to trade refinement and power for agility on the trail and a convertible top, the Unlimited may be worth the dough. After nearly a full day behind the wheel we're convinced of two things: The Jeep Wrangler will remain a niche player, and we'll never rely on a photographer to make our travel plans ever again.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
System Score: 9.0
Components: Our Wrangler Unlimited came with a six-disc CD changer capable of playing MP3 CDs as well as DVD-A discs. There are seven speakers including an Infinity subwoofer mounted in the rear cargo area. The head unit also comes ready for Sirius Satellite Radio and has a mini-jack input for connecting handheld MP3 players. Audio system options include a 20-gig hard drive that contains navigation info, and you can store photos and music downloadable from USB, DVD, MP3 or a standard CD. That system also comes with Gracenote software for managing music files. Those features are accessible via a touchscreen when the Wrangler is equipped with MyGIG multimedia system.
Performance: There are only so many places you can put speakers on an off-road vehicle that features removable doors and a convertible top. Even so, Jeep has come up with unique solutions while at the same time delivering a flexible stereo with solid, full-range sound.
We were shocked to learn of the system's ability to play DVD-A discs. This feature is usually reserved for high-end luxury sedans, not $30K Jeeps. When playing DVDs, the bass is clean and tight and the sound is well-rounded considering the noisy cabin. Tweeters are placed up front but they point directly at the driver since the windshield is too upright to use it as a sounding board. To get reasonably sized speakers in back, Jeep has two midrange speakers mounted on the crossbar that supports the top structure.
When playing normal two-channel CDs, the sound quality is still good but not nearly as dynamic. The bass is prominent thanks to a cargo area-mounted sub and the highs are sharp. The stereo gets very loud but isn't prone to distortion. There's a midrange adjustment which is a feature we always appreciate. Taking some of the mids out cleans up the sound and gives most music a little more sparkle.
The head unit is attractive and displays plenty of information and the buttons seem of a much higher quality than past Jeep products.
Best Feature: Lots of options, flexible system even without the MyGIG feature.
Worst Feature: Bass from non-DVD discs can sound messy.
Conclusion: An unexpectedly excellent stereo in a vehicle where producing great sound is clearly a challenge. For just $350, the CD changer upgrade package is one of the best bargains in the industry. — Brian Moody
Inside Line Editor in Chief Richard Homan says:
I'm sick to admit it, but I've just concluded that it's more important for an off-roader to be "at one" with his vehicle than a sports car driver. The Acura NSX, among others, showed that a sports car could still be true to its purpose even as its high-tech stripped the driver of some control. That's not so true with an off-road vehicle. What I really like about the new Jeep Wrangler four-door is how basic it is. By and large, you're still expected to be involved in driving it.
I appreciate its rough, throat-clearing, under-inspired V6 connected to an imprecise, yet honest, six-speed manual transmission. Its tippy, but solid, platform. A blocky design ensuring that each of the vehicle's four corners is clearly evident to the driver, so as not to be pranged by the miscalculated location of a tree trunk or an outcropping of rock. A rear-window framing device so nonintuitive in its operation that it would send super-outdoorsman Indiana Jones walking away in tears.
This Jeep is still about roughing it (there's no dead pedal in the footwell), but it's about roughing it with some style: Even with the soft top, the interior ambience is light-years better than the old Wrangler's noisy maelstrom. There's an acre of storage space for provisions. And it's even got a one-touch-down driver window. Tres chic. Tres moderne. But still an honest, trail-worthy slap on the back from an off-road enthusiast vehicle.
Road Test Editor Brian Moody says:
Wow! This Wrangler is a strange and compelling combination of next-generation technology and rough, almost crude vehicle dynamics. I love the available audio and nav features that are on par with a Mercedes Benz S-Class but I wouldn't want to drive this thing to work every day.
I get that the extra space between the wheels adds real and usable interior space and I can appreciate the extra doors. But if I were shopping for a four-door Jeep, I'd stick with a Commander or Grand Cherokee. Those trucks are the perfect combination of everyday civility and off-road ability.
Even if I were looking to tackle the Rubicon I'd like an interior that's a little more modern Jeep and less WWII utilitarian. I'd be looking for more comfortable seats as well. On-road ride quality is another low point for me — The Wrangler Unlimited seems purpose-built for those who love to attend Jeep Jamborees but their growing family means they need a bigger truck. That's great for them, but I just can't make the needed sacrifice knowing that the extent of my off-roading will be when I accidentally back over my neighbor's rose bushes.
Used 2007 Jeep Wrangler Overview
The Used 2007 Jeep Wrangler is offered in the following submodels: Wrangler SUV. Available styles include X 2dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M), Sahara 2dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M), Rubicon 2dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M), Unlimited Sahara 4dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M), Unlimited Rubicon 4dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M), Unlimited Sahara 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 6M), Unlimited X 4dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M), and Unlimited X 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 6M). Pre-owned Jeep Wrangler models are available with a 3.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 205 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2007 Jeep Wrangler comes with four wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual. The Used 2007 Jeep Wrangler comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a unlimited yr./ unlimited mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2007 Jeep Wrangler?
Price comparisons for Used 2007 Jeep Wrangler trim styles:
- The Used 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara is priced between $15,785 and$15,785 with odometer readings between 140306 and140306 miles.
- The Used 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited X is priced between $15,950 and$15,950 with odometer readings between 101398 and101398 miles.
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Should I lease or buy a 2007 Jeep Wrangler?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.