Wrangler Unlimited

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2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Overview

Now in its fourth year, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited continues to be the only 4WD 4-door convertible on the market. Conceived as an extended, more practical riff on the legendary Wrangler design, the Wrangler Unlimited has emerged as the ideal Jeep for combining extreme off-roading with everyday errands. Practicality and capability blend perfectly together in the Wrangler Unlimited, with enough room to seat five adults within the body-on-frame design. For the 2011 model, Jeep has focused on refining this successful formula by introducing an all-new interior with updated styling, upgraded touch surfaces, and an increased emphasis on comfort.

The 2011 Wrangler Unlimited is available in a variety of trims, from the Sport to the Sahara, Rubicon, and Sport Mojave - a special edition of the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited with a unique desert-themed exterior and interior. Making do with the same gritty, unsatisfying 3.8-liter V6 engine as the regular Wrangler, the far-heavier Wrangler Unlimited feels slightly lethargic. 202 hp and 237 lb-ft of torque paired with more than two tons of mass isn't a recipe for quick acceleration. For each trim, you’ll have the option of a standard 6-speed manual transmission or available 4-speed automatic. You’ll find that the Unlimited Sport and Sahara trims are equipped with part-time tow-speed Command-Trac NV241 transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, whereas the Rubicon’s low-range gear ratio is 4.0:1. An available Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential provides extra torque during low-traction scenarios, such as driving over sand, ice, or snow. The Wrangler Unlimited has, of course, been designed to be as capable as possible, with a balance configured for minimal body lean during cornering and braking. A standard three-mode electronic stability control (ESC) system assists in keeping the vehicle steady in extreme driving conditions.

The Wrangler Unlimited’s exterior continues Jeep’s tradition of designing an SUV that looks the part of an off-roader and is notable for its open-air options. With both a soft top and three-piece modular hardtop available, Jeep has provided a roof option to suit any scenario. In addition to a full top-down approach, the Sunrider soft top includes a sunroof that allows passengers to enjoy the open air without the hassle of removing the top altogether. Likewise, the hardtop features left and right passenger panels and a rear panel that let you choose exactly how much roof you want over your head.

On the exterior, you’ll find plenty of features to appeal to the most enthusiastic off-roading fans. From the Wrangler Unlimited’s approach angle of 44.3 degrees and departure angle of 40.4 degrees to the three skid plates protecting the underbody, the Wrangler Unlimited was designed with all the off-road capability you’ve come to expect from a Wrangler. An electronic-disconnecting front stabilizer bar, standard on the Unlimited Rubicon, allows for additional wheel travel (the distance the wheel/tire assembly moves vertically) for challenging terrain. For the suspension, you’ll find a 5-link coil setup with tuned shock absorbers working in sync with a Dana 30 front and Dana 44 (next-gen heavy-duty) rear axles. The Unlimited Rubicon uses the Dana 44 axles both front and rear, because it’s hardcore.

Space inside the Wrangler Unlimited is, as you would expect, a bit bigger than in the typical Wrangler. With enough room to comfortably seat 5 adults, the Unlimited also manages to bump the Wrangler’s 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space up to a modest 46.4 cubic feet. Additionally, a fold-and-tumble feature allows the rear seats to be conveniently stowed for an increase in cargo capacity. Jeep boasts that the interior now has an all-new ergonomic, comfortable design using improved materials.

There is also a wide array of interior comfort features and information/entertainment system features. A new USB device interface connects storage devices and MP3 players to the Wrangler Unlimited’s Media Center. You’ll also find 12-volt accessory outlets and a new 115-volt auxiliary power outlet for anything with three prongs. Infotainment can be accessed through an advanced voice-recognition function that enables the driver to safely communicate, navigate, and select entertainment options. Passengers can enjoy a variety of entertainment features, including Sirius satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming audio, and Uconnect Phone and Web features. You’ll find heated seats and an automatic temperature control system in addition to a redesigned instrument panel and new storage areas with upgraded materials.

As far as safety features go, the Wrangler Unlimited features standard electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, all-speed traction control, tire pressure monitoring, and brake-assist to prevent rollback on steep surfaces. Larger rear windows afford increased visibility out the back of the vehicle. You’ll also find dual front airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners, and optional side airbags. Government crash testing has earned the Wrangler five out of five stars on frontal impact tests, but has not evaluated side impact.

It’s very apparent that the Wrangler’s stellar reputation and success carries over onto its 4-door counterpart. With solid axles, removable doors, exposed hinges, a fold-down windshield, and convertible tops, the Wrangler Unlimited maintains what Wrangler fans most enjoy. The Wrangler Unlimited manages to be both a lifestyle statement and a supremely capable off-road machine.

Updated by John Harrington

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Wrangler Unlimited

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