Offroad Icon Mostly Remains The Same

FOR 2011, none of the improvements to the Wrar.gler involves its capability, on-or off-road. Returning unchanged is the 3.8-lit©r V-6, six-speed mar.ual and four-speed automatic, and two or four doors, in Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon trims. A new-Sahara option i3 a removable body-color hardtop It's made of composite material, just like the black top, but gives the Wrangler a liiyher-qualily look. Because iL's the same material underneath the paint job, it doesn't add any weight. The interior got more sound-deadening material, so the cabin is quieter for 2011.

The Wrangler could use a new engine, or at least an update to the current one. A new transmission is overdue, too. While rumors suggest the JK will benefit from the new Pentastar engine, that hasn't arrived for 2011 The switch would add almost 90 horsepower and 23 pound-feet of torque. Don't get us wrong—the current engine provides enough power off the line, and is quite capable of keeping up with traffic.

But we know there is a better engine out there. The Wrangler still works well off-road, as you'd expect. When we drove it in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, snow mud, and rocks didn't stop this beast. It takes a lot more to discourage a vehicle with this level of capability.

Aside from the new top the other major difference is the JK's new interior, with softer-louch iiitxlerials and a redesigned dash and gauges. That the most rugged member of the Jeep family now has such available features as leather with seat heaters; heated, power sideview mirrors; steering wheel audio controls; and U-Connect with Bluetooth audio may seem like heresy, but even the most die-hard Jeep owner gets cold in the dead of winter. Even with the new electronics, the doors are still removable.

The Wrangler, in essence, is the same as it ever was—an awesome off-roader with extreme capability and good looks that work on rocks, on the road, or in the sand. Jeep managed to make tlie Wrangler more user-friendly, more comfortable, and more luxurious, without taking away anything that makes this model legendary, allyson harwood

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