2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4X4 Review
The perfect car for all terrains, except paved roads.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: September 27th, 2013
When it comes to vehicles that have the word "utility" in their vehicle class, Jeep is very hard to beat, especially when the utility in question is off-roading. The Jeep Wrangler is an iconic vehicle for a reason — it's what we see in our minds when we hear the word Jeep. The Wrangler has but one mission to fulfill — to be the biggest, baddest 4X4 it can be. It fulfills this mission exquisitely, but it's what happens when you take the Wrangler over smoothly paved surfaces that matters to most people, and that's where the Wrangler becomes a study in overdoing it.
On the Road
The Wrangler is marketed as some bizarre form of luxury vehicle, which is difficult to figure when you drive it. It struggles mightily to keep you from feeling every slight depression in the road, but the laws of physics are against it. It's a soft ride, to be sure, but it's not a steady one, or a quiet one (especially if you get the optional soft top — which if you're going to use this in the manner in which it was intended, you definitely should). Forget about road noise. That's there too, but what you'll notice is sidewalk noise, the-stereo-of-the-car-next-to-you noise, sounds for which you can't identify the source. If there's a noise being made in the general vicinity of your Wrangler, you will hear it, even with the stereo turned up inconsiderately loud.
The Wrangler's beefy 24-valve V-6 delivers plenty of power, to the tune of 285 hp. But it needs every bit of that to keep you moving at a normal car's pace. At 5,277 pounds, this thing will never seem sprightly. But it does a workmanlike job of getting up to speed on freeways, and it generally handles confidently. Although it sometimes emits the squeaks and groans that one would expect from a large piece of machinery, it doesn't drive like a bus.
It's really impossible to fault the Wrangler in any way for its looks. It looks like what it is — a rock-hopping, stream-fording, desert-crawling behemoth. It's a thing of beauty, in its way, and despite the disturbingly pink-hued red of our test vehicle (the actual color is called — no joke — "Rock Lobster") it looks every bit as badass as it is. With the soft top down (something that can be achieved with relative ease) you have easy access to nature on all sides and a 360-degree view that you'll no doubt be needing when you're trying to best some heavy-duty trail.
When Jeep talks about luxury, they're clearly aware that that's a relative term. Trying to balance any degree of luxury with the rugged bar metal look of the Wrangler is a challenge, and the cabin is indeed nice, but you never really forget you're in a truck. The stereo gets loud, but the fidelity can best be described as plastic, while the seats are comfortable enough to give you the extra cushion you need to put up with all the road feel you'll experience in every-day driving.
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is a vehicle that makes you want to spend the majority of your driving time on uneven terrain, with as many obstacles in your way as possible. The Wrangler dares driving conditions to get bad, it begs to show off its ground clearance, its 18-inch off-road tires, and its hill-climb assist and hill-descent control (although real off-roaders will scoff at these features). To drive this thing to work and back, or to take the kids to school, or to pick up groceries, is a shameful waste of a magnificent machine. It's like taking an aircraft carrier on a fishing trip. If you buy this car, you'd better be going off road a lot, otherwise you're simply being foolish driving something this big, this ungainly, and with a paltry 18 mpg combined fuel economy. The Wrangler dares you to try and abuse it. It's ready, willing, and able. Too bad you probably aren't.
Specs & Prices
Engine: 3.6-liter V-6
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Power Output: 285 hp / 260 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 16 city / 21 highway
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, click here: 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.