Jeep's iconic off-roader has received its first complete redesign since 1998. The 2007 Wrangler looks very similar to the previous generation, which should bode well for most Wrangler enthusiasts. Offroad mainstays include a non-independent suspension (solid front and rear axles) and a part-time four-wheel-drive system with available dual locking differentials.
The four-seat Wrangler is wider, but shorter from bumper to bumper, than its predecessor. An extended-wheelbase Unlimited edition adds 20.6 inches to the Wrangler's wheelbase, as well as two additional doors.
The Wrangler is built in Toledo, Ohio.
The previous generation's boxy, modular construction is largely unchanged in the 2007 model. A vertically slatted grille, removable doors, exposed C-pillars and a tail-mounted spare tire are among the classic elements that live on. Changes for '07 include shorter grille slats, clearly separated fenders, and fog lights incorporated into the front bumper. Jeep says a curved windshield and tighter roof integration help reduce interior noise by 20 percent, which means passengers should be able to actually hear the stereo now.
Three trim levels — X, Sahara and Rubicon — have ascending amounts of offroad equipment. The Wrangler X uses a standard four-wheel-drive system incorporating a two-speed transfer case for part-time use. Sahara editions add monotube shock absorbers in place of the X's twin-tube setup, and Wrangler Rubicons get a four-wheel-drive transfer case with a 4:1 low-range gear ratio plus heavy-duty Dana 44 axles, each with a locking differential.
Other offroad features include three underbody skid plates, an available tow package with Dana 44 axles for lower trim levels and an available electronically disconnecting front stabilizer bar for increased ground clearance. A longer wheelbase and shorter rear overhang increase the departure angle for 2007 Wrangler Rubicons to 40.6 degrees, which is 6.7 degrees more than the previous generation's. Ground clearance and the breakover angle remain about the same, but the approach angle drops slightly due to a longer front overhang.
An available three-panel hardtop has removable sections above the driver, front passenger and rear passengers. Sixteen-inch steel wheels are standard, while alloy wheels in 16-, 17- and 18-inch diameters are available.
At 173.4 inches long, the Wrangler Unlimited is more than half a foot longer than the previous Wrangler Unlimited. The side doors, available as full or half-size, are removable, and the windshield can be folded down for those who like to catch bugs in their teeth.
Changes to the 2007 Wrangler are much more apparent inside. The thin-spoke steering wheel has a circular hub, and a vertical center control panel features a high-mounted radio with circular air vents underneath. Newly available options include power windows and door locks — a Wrangler first — and an in-dash navigation system.
Total passenger volume measures 102.9 cubic feet in the regular-length Wrangler and 104 cubic feet in the Unlimited. Both figures represent about a 10 percent increase over their predecessors. The rear seats fold, leaving a maximum of 56.5 cubic feet of cargo volume in the regular-length Wrangler and more than 85 cubic feet in the Unlimited. Lockable storage spaces include the center console and a compartment integrated into the rear load floor.
Under the Hood
A 3.8-liter V-6 is the sole drivetrain for the 2007 Wrangler. It produces 205 horsepower and 240 pounds-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard across all trim levels, while a four-speed automatic is optional.
Standard four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS incorporate an offroad feature that allows sustained lockup over loose surfaces. Also standard is an electronic stability system with Chrysler's new rollover mitigation technology, which can pulse individual brakes in an attempt to prevent impending rollovers. Side-impact airbags are optional for the front seats. Side curtain-type airbags aren't offered.
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