There’s no mistaking the Jeep Wrangler’s decades-old basic design when it’s coming down the highway. Compared to many vehicles, the Wrangler is noisy, cramped, and gets poor gas mileage, but if you mention those kinds of things to the fan of a Jeep, they’ll tell you it doesn’t matter. They still love them.
And if you like to drive off-road, there is a lot to love. Standard four-wheel drive with heavy duty axles, a well-protected old-school body-on-frame chassis, and high ground clearance.
Our review Wrangler is the four-door Unlimited with the Sahara option package. A body color removable hard top is an $1,100 option. A non-power soft top is standard. New for 2017 is available LED headlights.
While the interior is as basic as ever in the Wrangler, more luxury is now available. Heated leather seats are a $1,350 option. The optional automatic transmission includes hill descent control. A manual shift is standard. The touch screen strangely does not include a backup camera.
This removable hardtop is great on sunny days, but such a design means no side curtain airbags; an important safety feature that other vehicles commonly have.
Space in row two is good and the seat backs can be folded to handle bigger loads.
Out back, the heavy tailgate swings to the side and the window lifts separately. Choosing the dual top option means a folded soft top is in the way when loading and unloading.
The only engine available is a 3.6 liter V6 with 285 horsepower.
On-street handling has improved with the Wrangler over the years, but you never forget you’re driving a short wheelbase truck. Wrangler owners always wave to each other and it can be fun to zip around town.
So for the 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4×4, I say thumbs up to excellent off-road ability, many option choices, and fun; thumbs down to poor gas mileage, a rough ride, and small cargo space.
I averaged about 16 miles per gallon in the Wrangler. The as-tested sticker is $45,045.