While most SUVs try to emphasize sleekness and sophistication, the 2017 Jeep Wrangler makes no bones about its old-fashioned, bare-bones character. Whether in the two-door, four-passenger or four-door, five-passenger Unlimited configuration, the Wrangler is the first Jeep we think of when the brand is mentioned. It represents tradition like few other vehicles presently found in showrooms, but it's also a beast in the bushes that's forever itching to turn off the beaten path and cross a stream or crawl up a trail. And yet it still offers a modicum of modern conveniences, including Bluetooth connectivity and satellite radio. As with any big personality, however, the trade-off is that it isn't always easy to live with while driving around town.
Unlike most other modern vehicles, the Wrangler is simply out of its element in the daily city grind or on the highway. It has a rough ride, ponderous handling and some of the lowest safety ratings on the road today. What's more, the seats aren't very comfortable, the infotainment system is relatively unappealing (because you can't get the Jeep brand's top-of-the-line 8.4-inch touchscreen in the Wrangler like you can in the Grand Cherokee), and it's just plain loud at elevated speeds, making it a real handful on long road trips.
Fuel economy figures are also underwhelming, ranging from the Unlimited's 18 mpg combined (16 city/20 highway) with the six-speed manual transmission to the two-door Wrangler's 18 mpg combined (17 city/21 highway) with either the manual or the six-speed automatic. In other words, you'll develop a close relationship with the local gas stations if you opt for one of these Jeeps.
With all that said, we somehow still recommend the Wrangler. It has undeniable charm and holds its value surprisingly well. If you're looking for a throwback vehicle that stays true to its history of uncompromised off-road performance, there's still only one Jeep Wrangler.
Both the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited are available in three main trim levels. The basic implement is the Sport, which is capable but simple. The Sahara adds appearance and convenience features, while the top-of-the-line Rubicon attempts to spoil the occupants with upgrades and even more capable off-road performance, plus distinctive styling that makes the Wrangler look like an American G-Wagen. Let Edmunds help you find the perfect 2017 Jeep Wrangler with our objective evaluations, rich data and unparalleled shopping tools.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.