The wave from the guy in the passing Jeep was an eloquent gesture, suggesting that (a) he probably wasn’t talking on a cell phone and (b) an unquenchable “esprit de Jeep” persists, as with the owners of Harleys, Beetles, and uncommon sports cars.
It also suggested that he recognized the 2007 Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4×4. Maybe the color, Rescue Green, was a tip-off. Maybe it was the long wheelbase and the four doors.
I was near the end of a weeklong test in this Wrangler and had certainly seen its merits from the inside out. Compared to previous Wranglers, it rode as plushly as a Pullman and as quietly as a late amendment to a Congressional bill. It exhibited many other refinements and innovations, and I was most charmed. This isn’t to award a gold star for perfection: the 3.8-liter V-6 requires much exhortation from the right foot before it goes about its tasks; and I could have made do with a more places to tuck my wallet and phone and so on. Overall, however, this Jeep shows great pluck and is fun to drive: in fact, much of the fun lies in contemplating the incipient adventures for a crew of four.
And aside from any questions of usefulness, this is just one great-looking Jeep. The stretched wheelbase and four-door body add a new measure of what I can only call dignity to this long-revered form. It might be comparable to the time Abe Lincoln grew his first beard. Nothing else can touch the Jeep for a bona fide appearance. With this new stance and the eighteen-inch wheels and tires, I rate the Wrangler Unlimited as a true inspiration and solemnly salute it at the end of a happy week.