Wrangler Unlimited

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2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Overview

The 2010 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited roll into the 2010 model year with the same iconic look they’ve had since their inception, and the same look they’ll probably keep until they’re no longer in production, if that ever happens—their enduring popularity seems to make a pretty good business case for keeping them around. The Wrangler Unlimited, a 4-door variation of the traditional 2-door Wrangler, is entering only its seventh year of production, but it features the most of the same rugged looks and off-road abilities that attracted so many people to the Wrangler in the first place. The Unlimited does have a slightly large passenger capacity (5 instead of 4) than its smaller sibling.

The 2010 Wrangler Unlimited comes in three trims, the base Sport, the Sahara, and the top-shelf Rubicon. The X trim does not carry over from 2009. Although all 2-door Wrangler trims come with standard 4-wheel drive (4WD), the Wrangler Unlimited Sport and Sahara are actually available in rear-wheel-drive (RWD) base trims—opting for 4WD adds significantly to the price tag. This seems somewhat strange: the Wrangler has always been completely dedicated to off-road performance, and an off-road-oriented vehicle without 4WD or all-wheel drive seems out of place. But you could also call the Wrangler Unlimited—particularly those RWD trims—something of a concession to the inevitable customer who will the vehicle more for its image than its driving strengths, and will drive it primarily on the pavement rather than off.

Under the Wrangler Unlimited’s hood is a 3.8-liter V6 engine producing 205 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque, mated to either a standard 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed automatic. A fuel-savor indicator is now standard, showing when the Wrangler Unlimited is being driven in a “more fuel-efficient manner,” although what exactly that means is not completely clear. The fuel-saver indicator is presumably an effort to combat the Wrangler Unlimited’s notoriously poor fuel economy, which currently stands at 15 mpg city/20 highway/17 combined with RWD and 15/19/17 with 4WD—the choice of transmission does not affect those numbers. Maximum towing capacity on the Wrangler Unlimited stands at 3,500 pounds, up from 2,000 lbs. on the regular 2-door model.

In terms of off-roading: the 2010 Wrangler Unlimited Sport and Sahara feature a Command-Trac part-time 2-speed transfer case and an optional Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential for extra traction on slippery driving surfaces. The Rubicon is equipped with an Off-Road Rock-Trac 2-speed transfer case, electronic front- and rear-axle lockers, electronic sway-bar disconnect, and 32-inch off-road tires. Fog lamps and tow hooks also come standard. The Wrangler Unlimited uses dual live axles for a superior ride over difficult terrain.

The Wrangler Unlimited’s Sunrider soft top has been notably improved for the 2010 model year, fitted with a new cable-top system that makes it easier to open, close, or remove. The Sunrider top comes standard, but a 3-piece modular “Freedom Top” hard top is also available. Cloth seats are standard inside, and two-tone leather seating is available on the Sahara and Rubicon. The interior is fairly Spartan, fitting for the Wrangler Unlimited’s heritage; air conditioning is optional on the Sport and standard on the Sahara and Rubicon, and those top two trims also include a stereo with a CD player—again, not the most impressive interior, but hopefully the driving itself will keep you entertained, if you’re really using the Wrangler Unlimited as it’s meant to be used.

The Wrangler Unlimited includes safety features like hill-start assist, antilock brakes, brake assist, electronic roll mitigation, electronic stability control, and dual front airbags. Trailer-sway control is optional. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2010 Wrangler Unlimited scores of Good on the small and moderate frontal-overlap tests and a score of Marginal on the side-impact test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded Wrangler Unlimited 5 out of 5 stars on frontal-impact tests, but only 3 out of 5 for rollovers. Safety, as with many other aspects of the Wrangler Unlimited, suffers somewhat due to the vehicle’s exclusive focus on off-roading.

Many Wrangler Unlimited owners like their vehicle for its style or fun. They praise its off-road driving capabilities and the fact that it might be the best-looking Jeep out there. But owners also tend to be less excited about the Wrangler’s avid fuel consumption and general unpracticality.

Updated by Chase Hammond

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Wrangler Unlimited

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