Chrysler Corp. says its Jeep Wrangler is for the rugged. True, meaning if your seat hasn`t been well padded by Mother Nature (or is that Nature Person?), you`d better bring a big pillow. Chrysler also says the Jeep Wrangler is for the
adventurous. Absolutely. When you pull up to a toll booth and have to unzip your driver`s side plastic window to pay, you realize what adventure means. And it`s not one of those light-as-a-feather, finger-tip smooth zippers, either.
Chrysler also says the Jeep Wrangler offers freedom for the well educated. That`s freedom as in no door locks and well educated as in thinking of a spot to hide the package after you`ve pulled into a mall parking lot. Wrangler, to say the
least, is crude. The Corvette in the `70s was noted for providing a buckboard ride. The Wrangler puts the old `Vette to shame. To appreciate the ride in a Wrangler, you need only take up trampoline lessons. Wrangler is a four-wheel-drive
utility vehicle. It stands tall to allow room for the part-time, shift-on-the-fly, four-wheel-drive hardware. That means the center of gravity is raised, too. Combine that with the short 93.4-inch wheelbase and 152.6-inch length, and you find
there`s more stability bouncing up and down on a dry straightaway than there is in any corner or turn. We test drove the Wrangler Islander, which has a graphic of the sun across the doors and the word Islander across the spare tire cover.
A 2.5-liter, fuel-injected, 4-cylinder engine is standard, a 4.2-liter carbureted 6 is optional. A 5-speed manual is standard, a 3-speed automatic optional with the 6. Our vehicle had the 6 and 5-speed. Standard equipment includes power brakes,
folding rear seat, mini front carpet pads that kept slipping out of place, column-mounted windshield washer/ wiper controls, padded sport or roll bar, swing away tailgate, removable softtop and doors and tinted windshield. The center console
probably holds something of note but the top wouldn`t open so we can`t be sure. When we went to open the console cover the key stuck in the lock, which popped out of the cover when we removed the key. Yet the console never opened. If you can put
up with a jarring ride, cold and noisy plastic windows and no insulation along the inside quarter panels, check out the Wrangler. But the Chevrolet Tracker provides better ride, handling and comfort, not to mention quiet. The Wrangler Islander is
priced at $11,721. The optional 6-cylinder costs $417 and automatic $497. You`re on your own for pillows. Despite the crudeness, the nation`s youth can`t get their hands on Wrangler fast enough. There have been three production increases since
Chrysler acquired American Motors Corp. and its Jeep operation in August, 1987. Just a few weeks ago, Chrysler added a second shift at its Brampton, Ontario, plant in Canada to produce 32,0
00 more Wranglers annually. >> 1991 Jeep Wrangler Wheelbase: 93.4 inches Length: 152.6 inches Engine: 2.5 liter four/4.2 liter carbureted six Transmisssion: 5-speed manual/3-speed automatic Fuel economy: 16/20 m.p.g. manual- 15/16 automatic
Base price: $11,721 Strong point: Goes in snow Weak point: Bring padding >>