2017 Jeep Wrangler Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- All but unstoppable on the trail
- Unique rugged character
- There's a Wrangler for a variety of tastes
- Extensive factory and aftermarket parts support
- Crash test scores don't match more conventional vehicles
- Long braking distances
- On-road handling and overall comfort are lacking
- Soft top is difficult to operate and offers little security
By modern standards, the Wrangler is not pleasant to drive, no matter how you slice it. Sure, it's livable in the city, and it can get you from one place to another pretty effortlessly. But it has a rough ride, lots of body roll and a loud interior, and it isn't nimble in traffic.
Off-road, though, the Wrangler's vague steering makes sense when you're navigating through rough terrain and you don't want a car that's as sensitive to tiny inputs. The rough ride takes a backseat to the flexibility you have to navigate over large bumps, and that loud cabin seems to matter much less when you're crawling over rock walls at 10 miles per hour.
If you're looking to get the ultimate version of a Wrangler, it's clearly the Rubicon with its 4.10 gearing and off-road equipment. Stick with the two-door, though — the Unlimited four-door might not be as nimble in tight spots. In general, we recommend avoiding the standard 3.21 gearing if you can, especially if you plan to put on bigger tires; you're going to want the extra tire-spinning torque multiplication (and better crawl ratio) that the available 3.73 or Rubicon-only 4.10 gearing provides.
For power, the Wrangler's 3.6-liter V6 is definitely adequate, providing swift acceleration in two-door models with the six-speed manual. The five-speed automatic transmission is less exciting, but revs are a bit high at freeway speeds. If you are OK shifting your own gears, the manual's long-throw, long-stick shifter and easily modulated clutch add to the fun and novelty of what is already a fun and novel vehicle.
Much like the overall design of the 2017 Jeep Wrangler, the interior is simple and functional. Sure, you can specify the highest trim levels for "bright interior accents," but the Wrangler is still a purpose-built vehicle. Controls are clear and well laid-out, but most of the interior feels as if the bare minimum attention has been paid to aesthetics. Touchscreen navigation is available if you want it — albeit in the form of Chrysler's old, frustrating 6.5-inch unit — but otherwise the Wrangler's interior is about as basic as it gets. Honestly, anything more would seem a bit out of place. If you want the latest luxuries, a higher-end Jeep is probably the way to go.
Squeezing four adults in a two-door Wrangler can be tough. The rear low bench seat means limited knee- and footroom, which makes longer trips unpleasant. Access to the backseat is also awkward unless the top's off, in which case nimble riders can just clamber over the sides. The Unlimited's backseat offers room for three and conventional access via its extra set of doors, though it's still not particularly comfortable or spacious.
Cargo space isn't exactly a strong suit for the Wrangler either, although the four-door Unlimited does have a respectable amount of space. The two-door Wrangler has to make do with just 12.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 55.8 cubes when you fold down the backseat. The Unlimited gives you 31.5 cubic feet of space behind the backseat and 70.6 cubes with the rear seats folded. Of course, with a soft top, you can always just have your surfboard hanging out of the back like a pickup truck.
Having a soft top on the Wrangler can be nice, but it's not a push-a-button experience. It takes patience, which makes the separate foldable sunroof panel an appealing option when the top's up and you're short on time. Security can also be an issue with the soft top. The optional hardtop, which features removable T-top-style panels over the front seats, is a smart solution for those who don't intend to go completely roofless on a routine basis. Bear in mind, though, that the hardtop is heavy, so you'll need a friend to help whenever you want to remove it.