2007 Jeep Wrangler

It's time once again for a new Jeep Wrangler, and, for this brand-making icon with a large and vocal following, it's important to establish what hasn't changed. Off-roading remains its reason for being, and we again find solid axles front and rear, but the suspension now adds anti-roll bars (borrowed from the Grand Cherokee), which are electronically detachable, so as not to limit suspension travel. Ground clearance under the new frame is increased, improving the breakover angle--approach and departure angles are unchanged.

The new body retains removable doors, a folding windshield, separate fenders, exposed hood latches, and door-and-hatch cargo area access. But the styling is subtly revised, with actual curvature in the bodysides; the wheelbase grows by 1.5 inches and the track is 4 inches wider. The softtop has been redesigned again, the removable hardtop now comes off in three pieces, and power windows are available for the first time (yes, even in combination with the removable doors--a snap plug handles the electrical connection).

A moment of silence, please, for the 4.0-liter straight six, which dates from the CJ era and has finally been laid to rest. In its stead is an OHV 3.8-liter V-6 making 205 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque, mated to a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Standard stability control and options like satellite navigation and eighteen-inch wheels modernize the Wrangler. The two-door Wrangler is available in only one length for '07, and it goes on sale in the fall of 2006. Jeep is keeping news of the biggest change to the Wrangler under wraps until later this year, when the it will unveil the long-body Wrangler--with four doors.

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