Inside the New Jeep Wrangler
The 2017 Jeep Wrangler features some minor updates on the rugged, all-American classic, making it one of the best go-anywhere and do-anything vehicles on the road today. This year’s Wrangler sticks to its guns, adhering to its original design in a fashion that is sure to please Jeep purists around the world. Flashy features and frills are simply not this vehicle’s focus, which has always been designed to serve one purpose: take you places that other standard crossovers and SUVs simply can’t handle.
Jeep has promised an all-new Wrangler on the horizon in 2018, meaning that this year’s model doesn’t make huge strides as far as updates go, but innovation has always been incremental. The 2017 Wrangler comes with LED headlights and fog lamps, standard on the Sahara and Rubicon models while coming as optional on the Sport and Sport S. Jeep has also rolled out an optional cold-weather package that provides special all-terrain, all-weather tires, heated seats, heated mirrors, and an engine-coolant heater to provide optimum performance in all climates. Despite the minor upgrades, the Wrangler still stays true to its past, and there’s no denying that it’s a one-of-a-kind vehicle.
The 2017 Jeep Wrangler retails at $23,995 for the base line Sport edition, ranging up to $37,445 for the higher end Rubicon model. This represents just a slight uptick in price from the 2016 model of the Wrangler, with an MSRP of $23,895 for the Sport model.
The 2017 Wrangler offers an estimated 17 MPG city and 21 MPG highway driving. Standard models offer two door-four passenger seating, but there is also a four door-five passenger Wrangler Unlimited edition for those looking for a bit more of a roomy interior.
Every version of the 2017 Wrangler is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine which produces 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Four-wheel drive comes standard with this edition, with a six-speed manual transmission including hill start assist. A five-speed automatic transmission is an option as well, with hill descent control.
The Wrangler produced a pleasing display of acceleration, going from zero to 60 mph in just 6.9 seconds, while the heavier Wrangler Unlimited with automatic transmission needed 8.1 seconds. However, the towing performance is a bit on the lower end for its class, offering a 2,000-pound maximum for the Wrangler, and 3,500-pound max for the Unlimited.
Safety and Entertainment Features
All 2017 Wranglers come standard with antilock brakes, traction control and front airbags. Side airbags are also an option in all models except for the Sport trim. Given its skeletal frame, Wrangler crash safety scores are on the lower end of the market. Without the optional side airbags, the 2017 Wrangler was rated as Poor in side-impact testing, with a Marginal rating for rear impact collisions. The Wrangler did, however, receive a Good rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in front-impact testing. All models come with a 3-year, 36,000-mile warranty.
For entertainment features, the base model Sport trim offers an eight-speaker audio system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack. Every version of the 2017 from the Sahara on up also provides you with satellite radio. Instead of adding on a bunch of cool entertainment features for higher models, the Wrangler chooses to focus more on performance features, including upgraded wheels, lower crawl ratio, and an electronically disconnecting front sway bar. But there are still some technological perks to be had. Optional on every Wrangler model is a nine-speaker Alpine sound system as well as the Connectivity Group, which adds a tire-pressure monitor display, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a USB port, upgraded touchscreen, and 28 gigabytes of digital music storage.
How it Stacks Up Against Competition in the Same Class
Wranglers are notorious for having a rougher ride than other vehicles in its class. The 2017 Wrangler is no different, and isn’t exactly a pleasant ride, as it lacks agility in traffic and has a relatively loud interior in its base models. It’s for these reasons that the 2017 Wrangler ranks 15th out of 19 in US News and World Report’s rankings of Compact SUVs. But ranking the Wrangler by traditional standards proves to be a traditional task.
The fact of the matter is that Jeep does not concern itself with traditional benchmarks for a Compact SUV when it comes to the Wrangler, and placing the vehicle in a classification is a difficult task, as it really has a class of its own. Sure, the Wrangler will not provide you the comfort or the elegance of many other compact SUVs, but that’s not what it’s built to do. If you’re looking for an off-road vehicle to take on the toughest of terrains, this vehicle is still the golden standard. The less responsive steering is actually preferable once you go off-road, navigating rough terrain, and a loud interior hardly seems relevant when you’re climbing rock walls or trudging through mud pits in your car.
Given its 17 MPG city and 21 highway, fuel economy is not exactly the 2017 Wrangler’s strong suit. Of course, it’s not built for those looking to optimize their fuel efficiency, but it still leaves a little bit to be desired, that’s just part of the territory with the Wrangler. 18 combined MPG isn’t ideal for someone concerned with the cost of their daily commute to work, but it’s the price you have to pay for the off-road flexibility of the vehicle. Still, it’s a price tag that you want to take into consideration, as you can expect to spend close to $2,000 in gas annually if you’re planning on driving it around 15,000 miles per year.
The obvious pro of the 2017 Wrangle is the same one that has made a name for itself with nearly every model since its inception in 1986. The car is basically unstoppable on the trail. If you’re looking for a car that can conquer all kinds of terrains, look no further. The Wrangler also provides a number of different models that can satisfy a number of different tastes, each providing its own rugged personality. At the end of the day, there really is not a driving experience that rivals that of the Jeep Wrangler, which makes it fun to drive in its own unique way.
If you’re not planning to take the 2017 Wrangler off-road, then this vehicle is simply not for you. Poor gas mileage and safety features mean that this model is not sensible for the driver merely looking to transport between destinations. The Wrangler doesn’t do much to concern itself with on-road performance or comfort, so if overall comfort level and precise handling are important factors for you, it makes more sense to explore other options within the Compact SUV class.