It’s not the fastest, it’s not the safest and it’s not the most comfortable vehicle on the road, but people love it anyway. And the iconic Jeep Wrangler, dollar-for-dollar, is one of the best off-road vehicles on the planet.
Versatile, indestructible and supremely cool, the Wrangler can take you nearly anywhere on the planet, too.
There’s not a whole lot of new on the 2017 version of the Wrangler. Jeep has added LED headlights and fog lamps on higher end models.
The Wrangler continues with its body-on-frame design, front and rear five-link suspension system, live axles and electronic lockers. It’s one of the few mid-size SUVs that offer a six-speed manual transmission in addition to its five-speed automatic.
The Wrangler is available in two body styles – the two-door Wrangler and the four-door Wrangler Unlimited. There are four trim levels: Sport, Sport S, Sahara and Rubicon, and special packages are available. Standard wheels are 16 inches, with 17s and 18s available.
The Wrangler is powered by regular unleaded gasoline through a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that delivers 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Every Wrangler comes with standard 4WD that has a high and low range.
If you’re into off-roading, the Wrangler has a best in class approach angle of 42.2 degrees, a breakover angle of 25.8 degrees and departure angle of 32.3 degrees. Numbers like that help the Wrangler tackle some of the toughest terrain around. Available axle ratios are 3.21, 3.73 or 4.10.
During my test week with the Wrangler, I had to drive it to Dallas for meetings. Nope, it’s not the most comfortable 400-mile ride on the highway. But I can’t say I was suffering either, because I was in a 2017 Wrangler Rubicon Recon 4x4, outfitted with most all of Wrangler’s offered amenities.
The test car had automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated leather seats, power windows and doors, remote keyless entry, heated mirrors, an Alpine premium sound system with 9 speakers, and the company’s excellent Uconnect system with navigation.
EPA fuel economy numbers for the Wrangler are the same as last year: 17 miles per gallon in the city, 21 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg combined. The mileage numbers are for the 5-speed automatic, which is a $1,400 option on all models.
The purists will choose the 6-speed manual, though. There’s just something satisfying about manually shifting a Wrangler.
When it comes to safety, the Wrangler has been only partially tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It scored “good” on the moderate overlap front test, “marginal” on the difficult small overlap front driver-side test and “poor” on the marginal overlap side test. The Wrangler has a full complement of airbags, 4-wheel disc brakes, and stability and traction control systems.
Headroom and legroom inside the 164.3-inch-long Wrangler are 41.3 inches and 41 inches respectively. With the rear seat folded, cargo volume is 56.5 cubic feet, and with the rear seat removed altogether it jumps to 61.2 cubic feet. There is just 12.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat.
Wranglers can be configured all sorts of ways, from removing doors to removing roofs. The open-air driving experience in a Jeep Wrangler is just pure, unadulterated fun.
When you pass a Wrangler with the roof off and cabin wide open, just take a look at the smile on the driver’s face. It tells you all you need to know.
2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon 4x4
3.6-liter Pentastar V6
$33,645 ($45,070 with options & freight)
EPA mileage estimates:
17 mpg city/21 mpg highway/18 mpg combined.
Estimated highway range: