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2011 Jeep Wrangler – Click above for high-res image gallery

After a rather long product winter, 2011 is shaping up to be a big year for Jeep. Obviously, the biggest news from Chrysler's off-road brand has been the introduction of the 2011 Grand Cherokee, and after driving the new all-roader (twice), we've learned that the automaker is still fully capable of delivering competitive, well-rounded products. But beyond the Grand Cherokee, Chrysler has made tweaks to both its Jeep Wrangler and Patriot for the 2011 model year, and we spent some time this morning at the Pentastar's Technical Center in Auburn Hills, Michigan, to see what all the fuss is about.

Looking at both the Wrangler and Patriot from the outside, you won't immediately notice the new changes these vehicles receive for 2011. The Patriot receives a slight styling update – a cleaner front end with repositioned fog lamps is up front, body cladding has been added to the sides and a new rear bumper is found out back. The Wrangler has even less in the way of exterior visual updates, save the new body-colored hardtop available on the Sahara trim level.

Jeep Wrangler windshield surroundWhat really impresses us, though, is the larger attention to detail in both of these vehicles. On the Wrangler, for example, little kitschy add-ons like an off-loading Jeep integrated into the windshield outline (pictured right) or the seven-slat grille design for the sun-blocker behind the rear-view mirror. Little things like this are only part of the story, though – the new interiors that both of these vehicles receive are seriously worthy of your consideration.

Wranglers get an updated dash with softer, rounder shapes, and although hard plastics are still used throughout, it fits with the SUV's bad-to-the-bone attitude. Still, new improvements for 2011 include the addition of optional leather seating and Jeep's new corporate steering wheel.

The Patriot, on the other hand, gets a full host of updates, with soft-touch materials used throughout the cabin. Chrysler says that specific touch points have been enhanced in the Patriot to rid the interior of cheap-feeling buttons and knobs, and the new seats (both leather and cloth) are really comfortable. It's a huge, much-needed leap forward for the Patriot, and it makes it much more competitive against vehicles like the Kia Sportage, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape.

Similar updates will make their way onto the unloved Jeep Compass, which will launch closer to the end of the year. In the meantime, click through our galleries below to see live shots of the 2011 Wrangler and Patriot live from Chrysler's design dome.




Photos Copyright ©2010 Steven J. Ewing / AOL


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  • 33 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      So are the keeping that terrible 3.8 v6 or not?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Terrible 3.8???? Anemic Yes but Terrible No. You are looking at a 20 YO design that might not be up to todays standards but still is reliable as any other 3.8 out there. I agree a 3.6 should be used but at the time what other choice did Chrysler have? The 3.7.... even worse reliability record than the 3.8 ever was with less power. Not to worry, by emissions standards you will have see a new engine soon. Just think it could be worse it could have only the 2.4 4cyl LOL
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jalopnik is reporting that they were told that the new engine for it will be available in either late 2011 or early 2012.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Getting rid of it in a year or two, Ford style.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Its the CVT in the Patriot that kills it. otherwise it might be a cool let vehicle.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm just excited by the fact that Fiat seems to CARE about CHRYSLER. It's almost as though they WANT Chrysler [Chrysler/Dodge/Ram/Jeep] to be successful. Imagine that!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thanks for getting rid of the share bar. But you still have to fix the photo gallery. I have to hit the back button approximately 800 times after viewing 3 pictures of the wrangler's interior.

      Are the body colored hard tops available yet? I don't seem to be able to build one on the jeep website.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Thank god for that. On a small laptop, it takes up 10% of the friggin' screen.

        GJ dudes,
        • 4 Years Ago
        not particular smart.

        i use 'open in new tab or ... new window', i never use the back button.
        i often have like close 25+ pages open @ same time.

        try Google Chrome, a very handy brower and always silently updated.
        new features apear automaticly.

        if i get time to read autoblog, i scan the mainpage for interresting articles and and open all in a new TAB's and close them after reading.
        : )

        but you are right, it takes about several hundreds clicks the get back, lol

        • 4 Years Ago
        Make that upper left, not right.
        • 4 Years Ago
        On the wrangler page on the jeep site, click 2011 on the upper right (default is 2010), and you can build a sahara with body colored top from there.
      • 4 Years Ago
      wow, huge improvement inside. pity we're not echoing that comment as far as the engine bay is concerned.

      3.8 grumbling aside, why on earth haven't we been offered a frackin TDI mill.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm waiting patiently for both vehicles to pull a Ford Mustang and see their powertrains improved for 2011. Patriot especially needs a change.

      I like the improvements on both though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Did the improve the glue on rear view mirror mounts? Was hoping to get a non-falling off rear view mirror for the 2011 models..
      • 4 Years Ago
      Too Big the wrangler is too big. I will keep my 2005 Jeep Wrangler as long as the wrangler keeps getting bigger. I live in the UP of Michigan and like to go off road where large SUV's will not go as they will not fit or hang up as they are to long. I do not understand why any serious off roader would want one of the new monsters.

      J.L.
        • 4 Years Ago
        People like you said the exact same thing when the CJ7 came out......
        • 4 Years Ago
        CJ 7 was too big. everyone knows that who was into off road back then.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm liking the way they're going. I'm just a little surprised at the way things are going over there at Chrysler. Less than a year ago if my memory serves me well, the CEO Marchione (or something like that) was complaining that there was nothing in the pipeline for Chrysler. I'm glad to see that at least they invested time and money on the interior, that may help them survive another yr or two while they're working on replacements for all these aging models. Hopefully the new engine will come sooner rather than later as well.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So how's the Patriot? I mean, the thing's already gone through its second refresh and it's not even *that old*.

      **Have the driving dynamics changed or is it just a second aesthetic upgrade?
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Patriot needs to be killed with fire. It's still a terrible vehicle that now has a nice steering rim and that's about it. That and the Compass should have never been produced.

      The Wrangler also needs to shrink back down to TJ proportions. They are huge now, even the two doors. Huge enough that they need a HEMI option just as CJs had a V8 option.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually JPMagazine did an article on the size difference due to all the whiners. The JK has only a 1.5" wider track and is 3" longer point-to-point. Although the wheelbase did stretch a tiny bit to improve road manners. But let's be honest, if you took you TJ down a trail that didn't afford to you an inch and a half you have some trouble.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Gearhead- Apples to apples (06 to 07 Wrangler X) it gained 259lbs, got 5.4 inches wider. 5 inches wider is a big deal, so is the weight of another passenger and luggage, all the time.
        Trishield- you'll hardly hear the guys that bought 6 speed, 2-doors complaining about power. It the ones with 4 doors and automatics that are slugs, especially with bigger tires.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I never understood the Compass but the Patriot fills a void.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good.
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