Thank God beleaguered Chrysler has Jeep, and especially the Jeep Wrangler. No other automaker in the world has anything like it. Yeah, it could use a more modern powertrain, but powertrain refinement is not what the Wrangler is all about. I think they did a great job with updating the interior without making it too fancy. I first saw a styling buck of the changes to the instrument panel back in December 2008 at the Chrysler design dome, when Chrysler invited journalists into their design studios to prove that they had lots of good stuff in the works, even though they were on the verge of going out of business during those dark days. I like how the passenger's-side grab handle now says "Jeep" and "Since 1941." Hey, if you've got heritage, flaunt it.
One thing I do note is that the headlights are not the greatest. They have a decent amount of reach but not a very broad beam. They illuminate road signs that are far ahead, but there's not a lot of depth to them. Historically, Chrysler had crappy headlights, and they have fixed them in most of their vehicles, but the Wrangler seems to have been left behind on that front.
- Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
Aren't convinced that Chrysler group products are moving in the right direction? The interior of this 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sahara should be all the evidence anyone needs. It still has the poor ergonomics that we've come to accept in the Wrangler but the fit and finish are leaps and bounds ahead of Wranglers of the past. For the first time, the interior is not the Wrangler's Achilles heel and it actually looks like it belongs in this $30,000+ vehicle. (The as-tested price of this particular example is $36,310, and it has optional two-tone leather-trimmed seats.)
Despite the newfound refinement inside, on the road the Wrangler still feels a bit like being behind the wheel of an oversized ATV. Translation: steering, throttle, and brake inputs are a bit slow to take effect. But it's an acceptable price to pay for the iconic Jeep's unrivaled off-road capability and the intangible coolness that it embodies.
- Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor