Hardly any vehicle is as iconic as the two-door Jeep Wrangler, or as immediately recognizable. Clearly qualifying as the original adventure SUV, the Wrangler is a modern-day descendant of the military Jeep that saw service in World War II. Now part of Fiat Chrysler, Jeep offers a variety of affordable customization options for the Wrangler. Each version is intended to remain true to the core of its all-American “go anywhere and do anything” essence. Considered a midsize model, the current Wrangler uses body-on-frame construction and “live” axles, and comes with either a manual or automatic transmission.
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2017 Jeep Wrangler Overview
What's New for 2017
Not much has changed for the Wrangler, apart from new LED headlights and foglamps. They’re standard on Sahara and Rubicon models, and optional on the Sport and Sport S. A Cold Weather Group, available on the Sport S and Rubicon, includes 17-inch wheels, an engine block heater, heated seats, remote start, and a Power Convenience Group.
Choosing Your Jeep Wrangler
All Wranglers have four-wheel drive and the award-winning 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine delivering 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The six-speed manual gearbox and optional five-speed automatic transmission come with hill-start assist. Command-Trac part-time four-wheel drive is standard, except on the Rubicon, which gets Rock-Trac with a lower low-gear ratio.
Standard exterior details include a pallett of 10 body colors, three of them new for 2017. Each Wrangler gets “classic” round headlights, a seven-slot grille, trapezoidal wheel flares, removable doors, exposed hinges, skid plates, a fold-down windshield, a Sunrider soft top with sunroof, and front and rear tow hooks. Removable half-doors are available. Wranglers offer a choice of several axle gear ratios that emphasize either economy or capability. Trailer sway control is standard.
Four trim levels are offered:
Jeep has been offering several limited editions, including:
Rubicon Hard Rock: Features high-gloss black exterior accents, front and rear winch-ready steel off-road bumpers with removable end caps, a power dome hood, red tow hooks, Mopar rock rails, taillamp guards, and heated black leather seating.
Willys Wheeler: Includes a Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential, 3.73 gearing, high-gloss black 17-inch aluminum wheels, BF Goodrich KM Mud Terrain LT255/75R17 tires, rock rails, a Jeep Trail Rated Kit, and a Connectivity Group.
75th Anniversary Edition: Gets bronze-colored interior and exterior details.
Additional option groups include:
- Connectivity: Adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a tire pressure monitor, Uconnect hands-free communication with voice commands, and a vehicle information center.
- Dual Top Group: Includes a black or body-color three-piece hardtop and a premium black Sunrider soft top.
- Mopar Premium Chrome Group: Includes a chrome grille.
As its name suggests, the Wrangler Rubicon is the ultimate four-wheel-drive vehicle, whereas the Sahara model is a well-balanced choice for everyday driving and weekend off-roading. Plenty of Wrangler fans will be happy with the Sport, despite (or because of) its lack of amenities.
2017 Jeep Wrangler Review
For drivers who see roads as nothing more than an obstacle to nature, the Jeep Wrangler remains a solid and iconic vehicle choice. Still boasting its traditional silhouette, the Wrangler is a fun and capable off-roader. But, unfortunately, it demands a lot of sacrifices.
Pricing and Equipment
The 2017 Jeep Wrangler is available as a two-door or in a four-door Unlimited trim (listed separately), with four main trims to choose from. The Base Sport model starts at around $24,990, and comes with very few amenities. In fact, it's kind of annoying that buyers have to upgrade to the $27,990 Sport S in order to get air conditioning.
However, opting for a Sahara trim at a staring price of $31,440 will yield a decent amount of features. These include:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Upgraded cloth upholstery
- Heated mirrors and locks
- Keyless entry
- An auto-dimming rearview mirror
- Satellite radio
The range-topping Rubicon comes with absolutely brutal off-road ability. Upgraded axles, detachable sway bars, off-road tires, and a spate of other details give it the ability to conquer virtually every obstacle owners can conjure up from the factory. The Rubicon is also available with premium features such as leather seats and automatic climate control. But the top-end Wrangler starts at $34,640 and can crest $45,000, which may be a little steep for an off-roader.
All Wranglers come standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that’s rated at 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. And both the five-speed automatic and the six-speed manual versions do just fine both on and off road.
- The Wrangler continues to offer extraordinary off-road capabilities, especially in its Rubicon incarnation.
- The Rubicon's trick electronic sway-bar dramatically increases wheel articulation – how far an individual wheel can move vertically – allowing the driver to instantly switch to epic trail mode when the terrain gets more interesting.
- Any Wrangler can be started in gear, which we found to be useful when on an incline with no desire to roll backward.
- The Wrangler is deeply uncomfortable on paved roads, bouncing up and down over bumps and generally making a lot of noise while doing it.
- The steering comes with a “dead zone” that offers virtually no feedback or road feel.
- Interior updates have yielded a cabin with a softer feel all-around.
- There’s plenty of cargo room and the backseat is spacious enough for adult passengers.
- Even after all of the updates, the Wrangler’s interior can still be easily hosed down after a day in the mud.
- Even with the top on, the cabin is still extra noisy. The optional removable hardtop helps, but only slightly.
- While the interior upgrades have helped, in many ways, the Wrangler still feels like a military vehicle. But for Jeep purists, this may be the opposite of a problem.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Sure, the Jeep Wrangler has changed a little with the times, but it’s still a down and dirty holdover from simpler days. And we’re still shamelessly in love with its traditional shape, no frills design, and devil-may-care attitude.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
In spite of the nostalgia it inspires, the Wrangler is a noisy, sloppy drive with abysmal safety ratings and poor EPA-estimated fuel economy.
The Bottom Line
The 2017 Jeep Wrangler is the perfect rough and tumble vehicle for the outdoor enthusiast who wants a wild and rugged ride over the toughest terrain. But be prepared to sacrifice a lot for its abilities.
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