Used 2011 Jeep Wrangler Review
In the realm of modern wheeled conveyances, the 2011 Jeep Wrangler seemingly ranks only a few rungs higher than a Jamaican jitney bus. This is a vehicle that proudly boasts of solid axles, removable doors, exposed hinges and a fold-down windshield. Yet these symbols of antiquated automotive engineering remain strangely appealing because the Wrangler is still the world's most iconic off-road adventure vehicle.
See, those doors have straps because they can be completely removed from the hinges. Ditto the folding windshield, which also comes in handy for hunting the occasional water buffalo. And with 10.2 inches of available ground clearance, solid axles and a steep approach angle, you'll be able to track down that water buffalo on just about whatever terrain it may choose to hide.
The big news for the 2011 Wrangler is its revised interior; it's part of Jeep's attempt to become more appealing to mainstream drivers. There's certainly a cognitive dissonance associated with adding new luxury features like heated leather seats, automatic climate control and a steering wheel with audio controls to a cabin that you can clean out with a hose, but then not everyone uses a Wrangler to its most rugged, dirty potential.
The 2011 Jeep Wrangler is a unique experience to be sure. This isn't to say it's the only game in town; if you'd like something more civilized that retains much of the Wrangler's off-road talent and visual machismo, the 2011 Nissan Xterra and 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser are worthy alternatives. Yet for better or for worse, nothing matches the Wrangler's array of unique talents, foibles and quirks.
performance & mpg
Every 2011 Jeep Wrangler is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 202 horsepower and 237 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual (with hill-start assist) is standard and a four-speed automatic is optional. Most Wranglers come standard with four-wheel drive (includes high- and low-range transfer-case gears), though the Unlimited can be had with rear-wheel drive. Rubicon models have a specialized transfer case that provides extra-low gearing for enhanced off-road ability.
In Edmunds performance testing, a Wrangler Unlimited with the automatic took a leisurely 9.7 seconds to reach 60 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg city/19 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined. Opting for the rear-drive Unlimited nets you 1 additional mpg on the highway.
All 2011 Jeep Wranglers feature antilock brakes, stability control and hill start assist. Front-seat side airbags are optional.
The Jeep Wrangler has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash-testing procedure. Its 2009 rating (which isn't comparable to 2011 ratings) was a perfect five stars in frontal-impact protection.
Similarly, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Wrangler its highest rating of "Good" for frontal-offset impacts. However, without the optional side airbags, the Wrangler's side-impact crashworthiness was deemed "Poor" for the two-door (the IIHS's worst rating possible) and only "Marginal" for the four-door Unlimited (the second-lowest rating).
In Edmunds brake testing, the Wrangler Unlimited came to a stop in a long 137 feet.
The 2011 Jeep Wrangler is pretty much unstoppable in off-road situations, especially in Rubicon guise, thanks to its specialized hardware. The Wrangler Unlimited four-door isn't as maneuverable on tight trails as the two-door model, but its roomier interior means you can carry more gear.
The Wrangler is also surprisingly fun to drive around the city. Although certainly tippy through turns and short on grip, the Wrangler provides a commendable amount of feedback through its wheel. The Wrangler's biggest dynamic downfall is its thirsty V6, which is gutless both on the highway and when trying to accelerate quickly. Excessive wind and road noise are two additional drawbacks for highway use.
Despite the increase in available niceties, this is still a vehicle meant to drive through dust, dirt and muck and then be easily cleaned afterward. Interior materials and switchgear are improved this year, and the design now has a rounder, more organic look.
While the two-door's backseat can host only two passengers, the Unlimited has room for three. The four-door also offers 86 cubic feet of cargo space when the second-row seats are folded. With its soft top, however, storing cargo inside the Wrangler can be a risky situation since only the glovebox and center console can be locked. The optional hardtop is a smart solution, but you'll need somewhere to store it should you wish to drive al fresco.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.