Jeep Wrangler Performance
Reviewers find that the redesign of the Wrangler for 2007 offers improved performance in every way over previous generations, but the focus on off-road performance leaves the vehicle less-than-practical as a daily driver in the eyes of most. As Automotive.com says, "We can't forget that most of the Wrangler's wrongs are necessary to make other things right ... Of the 77 vehicles calling themselves 'SUV', try finding even one that the Wrangler won't walk all over when the pavement ends."
All three versions of the 2007 Wrangler are powered by the same 202- horsepower V6. Edmunds points out that "It's more powerful than the old engine, but it also must move more weight." Handling of the vehicle on-road was difficult for some. The finds its suspension and huge tires "lousy for pavement driving, where their ruggedness often translates to a brutally bumpy ride."
Acceleration and Power
All versions of the all-new Wrangler are powered by the same 3.8-liter 202- horsepower V6. The new powerplant "has the feel of a truck engine, with loads of torque accompanied by plenty of roar. Acceleration is modest, but not bad," according to Cars.com. The new engine puts out 237 pound-feet of torque. That modest acceleration proved to be a problem in certain common driving situations. "It struggles to accelerate for passing or even maintaining speed on a highway upgrade without a downshift," according to . The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the engine will net 16 miles per gallon in city driving, and 19 mpg on the highway. All versions of the 2007 Wrangler ship with a standard six-speed manual transmission, though a four-speed automatic is optional.
Handling and Braking
Auto writers note the 2007 Wrangler is designed to maximize its off road performance, even when that leads to sub-par on-road performance. The most praise any reviewer manages to offer the vehicle's handling is still faint. U.S. News' Rick Newman says "For being tall and short, and prone by physics to considerable body roll, the Wrangler feels reasonably stable -- better than I expected. You'll never want to attack curves, but the Wrangler can hold most comfortably at the speed limit." Automotive.com echoes that sentiment, noting, "For a tall, tippy cube with so many details in its disfavor, the Wrangler honestly feels not that bad."
In order to maximize its off-road abilities, the Wrangler features simple beam axles and an old-fashioned recirculating ball steering system -- a rugged off- road system that most reviewers find to be rugged on the road as well. Cars.com calls it "a handful on the highway, with a punishing ride and dicey handling." Automotive.com adds that "it's not such a cinch to control, either. The tires have good diameter and width, but their 75% sidewall profiles and knobby tread patterns conspire to limit the Wrangler to 0.66g of grip -- probably the slipperiest score of anything outside the UPS fleet." The advises, "With those off-road tires, it's wise to back off the accelerator when taking sharp turns and corners." Steering on pavement is less than ideal. "There was a lot of play in the steering wheel," comments The , "which meant that handling at expressway speeds was sometimes dicey."
All 2007 Wranglers include standard four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. Some reviewers had concerns about the way these brakes felt to the driver, even if their tested performance was fairly standard for this class. Automotive.com explains this by saying, "The tires break free at speeds Camry drivers take for granted, and the threshold for triggering the antilock brakes or stability control are crossed with frightening frequency (though they're subtle, and stopping distances are perfectly fine)."
All 2007 Wranglers are rated for a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. Most vehicles in the affordable small SUV class manage between 3,500 and 5,000 pounds, placing the 2007 Wrangler near the bottom of the class for towing capacity.
The same harsh suspension, simple steering and tall, deep-tread tires that caused reviewers complaints about on-road performance motivate them to praise the Jeep off-road. "We can't forget that most of the Wrangler's wrongs are necessary to make other things right," says Automotive.com. "Of the 77 vehicles calling themselves 'SUV,' try finding even one that the Wrangler won't walk all over when the pavement ends."
Every 2007 Wrangler manages approach, departure and breakover angles of 45, 41 and 26 degrees, respectively. It offers best-in-class ground clearance of 10.5 inches, which Jeep claims enables the Wrangler to drive through up to 30 inches of water.
The 2007 Wrangler is wider and longer than previous generations, even when ordered as a two-door. Motor Trend notes the difference when compared to an earlier model, saying "On some of the narrowest, hairiest trails our convoy encountered, an old TJ in front of us clearly slipped through more easily," but "for 99 percent of driving situations buyers will unquestionably prefer the [2007's] superior ride and bulldog-solid stance." Using Jeep's standard Command-Trac 4WD transfer case, X and Sahara models achieve a low-end ratio of 2.72:1. All 2007 Wranglers include three steel skid plates to protect the vehicle's underbelly.
Rubicon models are even more capable off-road. They feature a newly designed Rock-Trac transfer case that achieves an incredible low-end ratio of 4:1. "When you shift into low range, the V-6's electronic throttle switches onto a more progressive throttle curve. Combined with the 4.00:1 low range, the engine will simply idle up and down astonishingly steep terrain," marvels Car and Driver. Automotive.com adds to the praise, noting "Get this: a Wrangler Rubicon driving on all fours can electronically lock both its rear and front differentials (in that order), forcing every wheel to claw the ground in unison for the best chance of escape." Rubicon models also allow the driver to disengage the front stabilizer bar with the push of a button, adding 28 percent more pivot to the front axle.
In addition to the standard skid plates, Rubicon models also include tubular-steel rock rails to protect the underside mechanical components.