By Cars.com EditorsApril 16, 2010
About the video
Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. It competes with the Nissan Xterra and Toyota FJ Cruiser.
<v Instructor>Cars.com auto review. Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for cars.com. The Jeep Wrangler nameplates been around for more than 20 years, and it owes its heritage to Jeep original civilian vehicle, the CJ.
We've got a 2010 model here and it remains first and foremost, an off-roading vehicle. It's got pretty formidable off-roading chops, but that does limit some of its on-road daily driver appeal. We've got a four by four Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. That's the highest trim level for the Wrangler and it's got the most off-roading gear. Things include a disconnecting front sway bar that allows more wheel articulation up and down over real tough stuff. There's also a heavy-duty two-speed transfer case that allows a four-to-one low-range gear ratio. You've got skid plates over the automatic transmission oil pan, the transfer case and the fuel tank. There's 32 inch off-road tires and Jeep says approaching departure angles are both more than 40 degrees on this car. It's pretty impressive. There's front and rear locking differentials as well that means all four wheels can move at approximately the same speed. So if only one of them has traction, the other three aren't gonna be spinning and spewing up mud everywhere. So if you want to do some serious off-roading it's hard to go wrong with one of these. But Jeep sells the Wrangler Unlimited in four, as well as two wheel drive, which means that some people buy these things and don't actually plan to do any off-roading. That's troubling because the Wrangler is not a car that's well-suited for daily driving. Remember it's got solid front and rear axles and so the ride is extremely truck like, and the 3.8 liter V6 doesn't have a lot of highway passing power. Our test car has most of the options checked and yet the cabin has a pretty crude feeling to it. The turn signals are rubbery, the climate controls are to the head restraints, really rock hard. A lot of things are just missing. Telescoping steering wheel, nope. Power mirrors, nope. The view out the back window, not really. Back seat in the four-door model is also pretty tight in the front seat, really needs to go back a couple more inches. I'm about six feet tall and I need like two or three more inches to really be comfortable here. You know gas mileage? Yeah you do. EPA ratings have the Wrangler four-heel drive pegged at 15 miles per gallon city, 19 miles per gallon highway, not so good. Neither are the current generation's reliability ratings pretty bad on that front as well. Without standard side impact airbags, they remain optional here, side impact crash tests, are also pretty bad. But really, who needs any of that when you can blaze trails that would leave an ordinary crossover SUV with its tire spinning in the mud? Just make sure that's what you plan to do, because if you don't that crossover is looking like, pretty good alternative. <v Instructor>For more car related news go to cars.com or our blog KickingTires.net.