2009 Wrangler Unlimited New Car Test Drive
Few vehicles are better off-road than a Jeep Wrangler. This is the one that started it all. Traceable to the original Jeep, the Wrangler is the very symbol of off-road capability.
The Wrangler was redesigned for the 2007 model year. At the same time, the four-door Wrangler Unlimited was added to the lineup. The four-door doesn't change the character of the Wrangler but makes it easier to own and more practical for many. It's much more comfortable and convenient, offering more cargo and rear-seat passenger space.
Still, the traditional two-door Wrangler has its charms. We enjoy all of them, including the entry models with skinny tires.
The 2009 Wrangler has only minor changes over the previous year, including a couple of new colors and some minor interior storage features. Hill Start Assist, which makes it easier to get moving from rest while heading uphill, is standard equipment, and the optional Trailer Tow Group includes Trailer Sway control, which monitors vehicle movement relative to the driver's intended path and initiates the activation of the electronic stability control if the trailer begins to sway to an excessive degree.
The Wrangler is available in a very wide range of models and trim levels and with an extensive array of optional equipment and features. This makes the possible number of combinations much more than we can cover here. To have the most complete information on the Wrangler that would best suit your purposes, you would do well to visit your local Jeep dealer.
All Wranglers have a 3.8-liter V6 engine; there is no four-cylinder engine available. The standard six-speed manual fits the Wrangler's personality, but the optional four-speed automatic is more convenient. We can't imagine getting a Wrangler without the highly capable four-wheel-drive, a part-time system that includes low-range gearing, but there are two-wheel-drive Unlimited models available.
The 2009 Jeep Wrangler and four-door Wrangler Unlimited are offered in Wrangler X, Sahara and Rubicon trim. In all versions, the 3.8-liter V6 engine develops 202 horsepower and 237 pound-feet of torque. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional ($825).
All two-door models come with four-wheel drive (4WD). The Unlimited X and Unlimited Sahara are available with rear-wheel drive (2WD) or 4WD. Rubicon models come standard with four-wheel drive.
The Wrangler X ($20,460) comes with the basic soft top, vinyl upholstery, center console, theft deterrent system, folding rear seat, locking glove box, 12-volt auxiliary power outlet, tilt steering wheel, six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, skid plates to protect the transfer case and fuel tank, and P225/75R16 all-terrain tires on steel wheels. Options for the Wrangler X include air conditioning ($895), a Black Appearance Group ($620), a Chrome Edition Group ($920), and a 3.73:1 axle ratio ($50) instead of the standard ratio of 3.21.1. The Wrangler X S trim level ($23,445) adds P255/75R17 tires on alloy wheels, and its options include a limited-slip differential ($295), the Dual Top Group ($1,695), Sirius Satellite Radio ( $195), tubular side steps ($395), Infinity sound system ($395), front seat-mounted side airbags ($490), tinted windows ($300), the Power Convenience Group (power windows, power door locks, and remote keyless entry; $585), an AM/FM six-disc in-dash DVD/MP3 player ($350), and trailer towing ($320). Wrangler Sahara ($26,045) adds a height-adjustable driver's seat, front-seat map pockets, monotube shock absorbers, stain-repellant fabric, air conditioning, Infinity sound system, and P255/70 R18 tires on machined alloy rims. Options for the Sahara include remote start ($185), and the Uconnect navigation system ($1,275).
Wrangler Rubicon ($28,565) is the model for serious off-roading. To the Sahara, it adds an electronic-disconnecting front anti-roll bar, the Rock-Trac heavy-duty transfer case, a heavy-duty front axle, Tru-Lok electronic locking front and rear differentials, a 4:10 axle ratio, rock rails and other equipment intended for the serious off-roader. The Rubicon is also available with the same options as the other models.
The four-door Unlimited X has either 2WD ($22,815) or 4WD ($23,990). Standard equipment includes all that the two-door X offers, plus cloth upholstery, height-adjustable driver's seat, split-folding rear seat, Sunrider soft top, heavier-duty Dana 44 rear axle, 21.6-gallon fuel tank, and air conditioning. It offers all the options as the two-door X and two-door Sahara.
The Unlimited Sahara 2WD ($27,520) and 4WD ($28,695) are equipped like the two-door Sahara, except power door locks, power windows and remote keyless entry are standard.
The Unlimited Rubicon ($31,840) might be considered the ultimate family 4X4, and it will carry up to five people where any Land Rover or Hummer can go, for about half the price.
Safety features that come standard include dual front airbags, tire-pressure monitor, anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control with rollover mitigation. Seat-mounted front side airbags for torso protection are optional.