The 20041/2 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is a Wrangler with a ten-inch-longer wheelbase and five extra inches of rear overhang, so it has more room inside and a better on-road ride but is slightly less nimble off-road.
Hey, where are you going? There’s more to the story than that. We haven’t told you about the extra underhood sound insulation yet!
The Unlimited also features a new soft top called the Sunrider, which folds in two stages, so it can be either peeled back all the way or opened over the front seats like a large sunroof. The side windows are tinted, which helps minimize the visual impact of the added length-the Unlimited manages to avoid the wonky proportions that often characterize stretched vehicles. Unless an Unlimited is parked next to a short-wheelbase Wrangler, those extra fifteen inches aren’t immediately obvious.
They are obvious, however, when it comes time to carry stuff, as the cargo area is twice as large as the standard Wrangler’s. Towing capacity goes up 1500 pounds, to 3500, although payload is only 800 pounds. Even with no cargo, four guys could push the 800-pound threshold, but why are you driving around with three guys, anyway? Go pick up a couple chicks and a keg, bro.
On-road refinement is improved by the longer wheelbase, which helps reduce seesaw motions over bumps, and there’s the aforementioned extra sound-deadening material under the hood. The Unlimited penalty off-road is less favorable breakover and departure angles, but if you even know what a breakover angle is, then you probably already own a jacked-up CJ-5 and weld your own skid plates. Power comes from Jeep’s 190-horsepower, 4.0-liter straight six, which is torquey and effective here just as it’s been torquey and effective all the way back to its original application in Roman chariots. A four-speed automatic is the sole transmission.
Jeep touts its “Trail Rated” off-road tests, but the Wrangler Unlimited proves that it’s nice to be Grocery Rated as well.