moment we've all been waiting for is finally here. Jeep has
debuted the all-new 2007 Jeep Wrangler in Detroit at the North
American International Auto Show.
been a more nervous bunch of Jeep enthusiasts since the outgoing
TJ's debut in 1996. At that time, Jeep took a big step
by going to newer automotive technologies and designs, such
as coil springs - at all corners! CJ and YJ owners cringed
as their blessed leaf springs went the way of the dodo. I
was one of the early owners of that new TJ (I got mine in
June of 1996) and I can tell you from experience, the "old
school" Jeepers did not take too kindly to the newfangled
Wrangler. But that would all change, and change fast, as
we built our TJ's up and proved that they could go anywhere
the older Jeeps could go - better, and more comfortably,
with a few more bells and whistles.
the TJ evolved, but in very tiny steps, until 2003, when
the Rubicon was born. The TJ has endeared itself to the Jeep
community over the past ten years and has built a huge
following that few other automotive models can match. But
now this...change again.
fear change. Changes usually mean corporate bean counters
in Detroit taking away the very things we love so much about
our Wranglers. One of the biggest worries over the last couple
years was whether or not Wrangler would lose its solid axles.
Thankfully, it has not. Dana 30 and 35 axles are still standard
on the Wrangler X and Sahara models, while the Rubicon retains
its Dana 44's. The new Wrangler is wider, however, so it
stands to reason that the axle shafts will be longer and,
thus, incompatible with the TJ's. We'll let you know once
we confirm this.
Wrangler has so many new things going on that one really
has to sit and study all of the materials from Jeep to really
digest it. One thing's for sure, though - this new Jeep is
going to give the aftermarket a headache at first, because
practically nothing made for the TJ will work on this guy.
No rockers, bumpers, suspensions, interior goodies, engine
goodies - nothing.
look over the photos you'll immediately notice the larger
appearance. You're not seeing things. The new Wrangler is
more than five inches wider (3.5" wider in track) and 5.1
inches longer overall, with 2 inches of that being wheelbase
(95.4" total). Combine actual size with a brawnier body and
top shape and the Wrangler - well - just looks bigger.
that extra size translates to an increase of nearly 5 cubic
feet up front, with 5.1 inches more shoulder room and 4.6
inches more hip room So us XL-sized guys should feel a lot
more comfortable and those of you wanting to add aftermarket
racing-style seats should have a little easier time finding
ones that fit. The extra size continues to the rear seat
where there is an inch more leg room, 3.9 inches more shoulder
room and 1.6 inches more hip room. Sounds minor, but if you've
ever sat in the back of a TJ you'll know this is significant.
Finally, there are two more inches of space behind the rear
seat, which nearly doubles the cargo capacity compared to
a standard 2006 Wrangler.
the other burning questions for enthusiasts are still not
answered, so let's move on to some of those.
Models Will There Be?
will be Wrangler X, Sahara and Rubicon models. Gone are the SE
and Sport Models and Unlimiteds. Stay tuned probably later this
year for a four door Wrangler.
start at the front. Gone is the venerable but old-fashioned 4.0L
and there is no more four-cylinder. All Wranglers will be equipped
with a new 3.8L overhead valve V-6 (yes, you read that right),
which produces 205 hp and 240lb.-ft of torque. This new engine
is lighter, shorter and has higher torque at high RPM's above
back, Wrangler maintains the same 42RLE four-speed automatic
and NSG 370 manual, six-speed transmissions.
the NV231 Command-Trac transfer case. Wrangler X and Saharas
will get a NV241 Command-Trac while the Rubicons retain the
NV2410R Rock-Trac transfer case. Both cases are part-time
4WD. The NV241 has a 2.72:1 low-range, while the 2410R has
a 4.0:1 low-range - both the same as the 2006 models.
was mentioned, earlier, the Wrangler still has solid axles. Hallelujah!
The gear ratios for the axles are 3.21 standard and 4.10 Optional
(std. on Rubicon) for manual-equipped models, while all automatics
get 4.10 gears.
ESP, and Other Safety Stuff
Wranglers now get four wheel anti-lock 16" disk brakes with
both on and off-road calibrated modes. In addition, Brake Assist is added to
sense panic stops and apply maximum braking power. This works in conjunction
with the ABS to help bring the Jeep to a safe stop. ESP (Electronic Stability
Control) also steps in during emergency maneuvers to help control over and understeering
ESP features three modes – “full on,” “full off” and “partial
on.” Even with Wrangler's wider and longer stance, it is still apt to roll-over
under extreme on-road conditions. Electronic Roll Mitigation monitors the vehicle
and can intervene if necessary and adjust engine torque and braking to the appropriate
wheel(s) to reduce the vehicle's lateral force.
all sounds like some serious new-fangled gobbledygook for
the down-home Wrangler, and it is. While these features are
becoming more and more prevalent in other cars, trucks and
SUV's, they are just now finding their way into the Wrangler.
Like it or not, safety is a big concern for the industry
and this is a fact of life for us now. We'll know better
once we drive it how these features work for us in our daily
driving and off-road trailriding.
and Occupant Classification System (OCS) remain, of course.
OCS senses the size and weight of the front passenger to
determine automatically whether or not air bags should be
activated in the event of a crash.
door beams comply with the latest collision regulations and
the doors are still removable, which obviously, means those
beams also get removed since they are inside the doors. Speaking
of safety regulations, the fuel tank no longer lives behind
the rear axle. It now resides between the frame rail and
driveline in order to comply with new rear-impact rules.
are the 15 inch wheels of old. For 2007, Wrangler gets 16, 17
or 18 inch wheels, depending on the model and package selections.
On those wheels come the following tire sizes:
29.28" x 8.86" x 16" (P225/75R16) Goodyear Wrangler ST on Wrangler
x 9.65" x 16" (P245/75R16) Goodyear Wrangler SRA on Wrangler
- 32.05" x 10.03" x 17" (P255/75R17) Goodyear Wrangler SRA on
- 32.05" x 10.03" x 18" (P255/70R18) Bridgestone Dueler 693 on
- 32.05" x 10.03" x 17" (P255/75R17) BF Goodrich Mud Terrain
It All Off
off the new Wrangler is a new Sunrider soft top and an all-new
modular hard top. The hard top is particularly interesting, in
that you can take sections out targa-top style, make it a hard
bikini top, or take it off completely. It should prove to be
very popular and should be easier to remove and store. The new
top, combined with a new curved windshield (yes, it still folds
down) and other sound-dampening enables the new Wrangler to be
up to 20% quieter inside.
I'm pretty excited about the new Wrangler.
I like the evolution of the appearance and design and feel
that Jeep has kept everything in tact that needed to be
kept, while still advancing the Wrangler into the 21st
century (is it really 2006 already?) and complying with
the latest Government regulations and safety initiatives.
100% stiffer frame, thanks to the Dodge Boys, an electronically-controlled
swaybar disconnect, larger tires, longer wheelbase and wider
stance, this new Wrangler should be every bit as capable
or more so than the outgoing model. Sure, there are more
bells and whistles, and yes, it looks a lot different. But
at heart, and underneath where it really counts, it's still
wait until the aftermarket gets a hold of it!
to read all of the Jeep press materials and check out the