2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Review

Wrangler Unlimited

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Based on 9 reviews

2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Overview

With inspiration from several previous Jeep concepts, including the 1997 Jeep Dakar, 2004 Jeep Rescue, and 2005 Jeep Gladiator, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited entered the market in 2007 as an extended 4-door version of the legendary Jeep Wrangler. Jeep had long teased the idea of making a vehicle with both the Wrangler’s off-road pedigree and added space and utility. And so far, the Wrangler Unlimited has had its fair share of the Wrangler’s success. The 2009 Wrangler Unlimited stands out among other compact SUVs with its open-air design and typical Wrangler styling cues like the round headlamps, seven-slot grille, trapezoidal wheel flares, and exposed hinges.

While all the 2009 2-door Wranglers come with 4-wheel drive, the Wrangler Unlimited comes with two rear-wheel-drive (RWD) trims, including the 4-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited X, which is essentially the base trim for the Unlimited lineup. The Unlimited X comes with a 3.8-liter V6 with 202 hp and 237 lb-ft of torque mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission that gets 15 mpg city/20 highway. Its performance is enhanced with traction control and electronic roll-mitigation systems.

The exterior features a Next Generation Dana 44 heavy-duty rear axle, an easy-to-use Sunrider soft top, full metal doors with roll-up windows, a fuel-tank skid plate, and 16-inch styled steel wheels with P225/75R16 BSW on-/off-road tires, a matching spare wheel, and a full-size spare tire. Interior highlights include a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 playback capability and air conditioning.

The 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited X 4-wheel drive (4WD) shares an engine with the RWD Unlimited X, but it is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission and gets mileage of 15/19. It also adds Chrysler’s Command-Trac Shift-on-the-fly 4WD system and Electronic Stability Program, a Next Generation Dana 30 solid front axle, and a transfer-case skid-plate shield.

The 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara shares a drivetrain with the Unlimited X, but adds Chrysler’s Electronic Stability Program, traction control, and speed control for increased performance. The Unlimited Sahara also adds many noteworthy interior upgrades over the Unlimited X – power windows with express up for the driver, stain-repellent seating cloth, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, a full-length floor console, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, deep-tint sunscreen windows, tubular side steps, keyless entry, a security alarm, and a 368-watt, 7-speaker Infinity sound system (including a subwoofer) for the AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 playback capability.

Exterior changes include fog lamps, two front tow hooks, a rear tow hook, a fuel-tank skid-plate shield, and 18-inch machined cast-aluminum wheels with P255/70R18 OWL on-/off-road tires, a matching spare wheel, and a full-size spare tire.

The 4WD version of the Sahara shares the X's drivetrain and a 4WD system, along with most of the interior and exterior features of the RWD Unlimited Sahara, with these exceptions – it adds a Next Generation Dana 30 solid front axle and a transfer skid-plate shield, and it subtracts the deep-tint sunscreen windows and tubular side steps.

The 2009 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon is the king trim. It shares a drivetrain with the Unlimited X and Sahara 4WD trims, but also includes a 4:1 Rock-Trac part-time 4WD system that is enhanced with Tru-Lok electronic locking front and rear differentials. It also has the same sound system and seating as the Unlimited Sahara 4WD, along with an electronic front sway bar disconnect, a performance suspension, speed control, rock rails, and 17-inch machined cast-aluminum wheels with LT255/75R17 BSW off-road tires.

The Wrangler Unlimited's interior represents a significant increase in space over its smaller Wrangler sibling. With a total of 102.9 cubic feet of interior space, the Unlimited models can comfortably seat five adults and carry a substantially higher amount of cargo, with 46.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats. This added room benefits more than just the cargo, as rear passengers will enjoy a vital few inches of additional legroom. Over your head, you’ll have the option of the standard Sunrider soft top, which includes a removable sunroof in addition to the full top-down look. Also available is the modular Jeep Freedom Top, a three-piece hard top with left and right front passenger panels and a rear panel that provide more options for open air driving.

As far as safety features go, the Wrangler Unlimited comes with a roll bar, dual front air bags, an anti-skid system with rollover sensors, and a tire pressure monitoring system. All trims are equipped with traction control and Jeep’s trailer sway control, and the Unlimited Rubicon comes with front and rear heavy-duty locking differentials. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Wrangler Unlimited 5 out of 5 stars on both driver and passenger frontal-impact tests and 4 stars for rollover resistance.

The 2009 Wrangler Unlimited remains the only 4-door 4WD convertible on the market. It commands a very unique sales niche, one it will likely occupy for quite some time. Wrangler fans seem to have adapted well to the extra couple doors, and the Wrangler's popularity seems to have easily carried over to the Wrangler Unlimited. The added practicality does not detract from the capability you should expect from a Wrangler.

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2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Top Comparisons

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    Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Questions


    Jeep Jk Soft Top

    Does a soft top roof from a 2016 Jeep Jk fit on a 2009 Jeep JK? I am looking at purchasing a roof but am not sure it is will fit. Thanks in advance.

    9 views with 1 answer (last answer 2 months ago)

    Why Is My Jeep Driving So Strangely?

    It was driving normally up until about 15 mins of driving today despite normal use. Then on the highway, with no change in driving conditions, it felt like the engine was working too hard. This was...

    10 views with no answers yet

    Can I Put A Plow On A Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

    I looked at a 2009 wrangler unlimited, manual trans, 3.8L 12 valve SMPI v6. I have a 1/4 mile drive, very easy plow job

    55 views with 1 answer (last answer about a year ago)
    Sheri Moleen

    Jeep Wrangler Starting Issues

    My Jeep Wrangler made this weird engine sound when I tried to start it. Almost like it was going to start but wouldn't. Dash lights and radio come on. I turned the key off and I and by the 3rd t...

    50 views with 3 answers (last answer about a year ago)

    2009 Jeep Wrangler Squeaks

    I purchased a 2009 Jeep Wrangler brand new in Aug of 09. Within a week of driving off the lot I heard a squeak coming from underneath the vehicle. Couldn't tell exactly where. I took back the the de...

    79 views with 4 answers (last answer about a year ago)