Base Price: $23,995
Price as Tested: $45,700
EPA City/HWY: 16/20 mpg
Engine: 3.6L V6
Power: 285hp, 260lb-ft
Drivetrain: 4WD


WRITTEN/PHOTOGRAPHED BY: ANTHONY HERTA

I don’t need to tell you what kind of vehicle this is. Glance at this retro, boxy body and you already know it’s a Jeep Wrangler.  

There’s really nothing else quite like it on the road. It’s a piece of American history. Not to mention, it’s currently the most American-made new vehicle being produced, according to Cars.com.

It attracts a sort of excitement in people that may not really care about cars. Specifically women. My female friends know I’ve gotten cars to review in the past, but when I said I’d be getting a Wrangler, they wanted to drop every plan in the world to see it.  

Maybe that’s because the Wrangler isn’t just selling you a form of transportation, it’s a whole lifestyle. There are many things you can’t do in any other modern car that you can in a Wrangler.

1. DOORS

Don’t want to drive with them on? Take ‘em off.

Step One: Remove door screws

Step 2: Place screws in the tailor-made spot in the trunk

Step 3: Unplug electric outlet

Step 4: Unhook

Step 5: And lift

And you’re door-less

2. ROOF

With the hardtop like this press car, you can easily remove the two front panels, or the entire roof to make this a true 5-seat, 4wd convertible SUV.

3. JEEP WAVE

According to Urban Dictionary the Jeep Wave is "a form of unspoken communication amongst jeep wrangler owners, acknowledging each others shared bada**ery for owning the ultimate driving experience."

Before I drove this Wrangler, I knew of the wave but completely forgot about it until someone did it to me on the road. My response to it was pretty awkward and cringe worthy, but after many hours of practicing, I finally got it. 

But unfortunately not everyone responds to my now perfected jeep wave. But when it does happen, it’s like waving to someone you know. There’s this instant bound and you feel part of a community. Honestly, I get way too excited over it.

All that aside, many vehicles can’t touch the off-road performance of the Wrangler. Although it’s very capable, unfortunately many people seem to forget that and don’t take advantage of it.

I briefly took it off road on a back trail and it felt completely at home. Although it wasn’t exactly the Rubicon Trail, the Wrangler still handled it with ease

Back on the pavement though, it’s obvious what this vehicle was built for. All the sudden the steering is so loose with a massive deadspot in the middle.

It’s not the smoothest riding or quiet car on the road with the noticeable tire-roar and wind-noise, but many people don’t care. All these things I just mentioned aren’t necessarily criticisms. — it’s all part of the character. There’s a sort of rawness to this car that you can’t find any other new car.

Off-road, I feel completely in control. Doors off, it feels smooth on the road. So what I’m saying is there is a lot that makes up for the quote on quote downfalls. If you can’t deal with those things on the road, don’t buy it. It wasn’t made for you.

Under the hood is a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 285 horsepower and 260lb-ft of torque that feels just fine in most conditions. With the speedometer only reading out to 100 miles per hour though, don’t expect it to throw you back into your seat. But again, that’s not what the Wrangler is built to do.

This Wrangler in particular is the Chief edition. With this package, the outside gets unique badges, stickers, beltline decals, 17-inch wheels a white hardtop roof and several other small details. It’s distinctive and even more retro-looking than the regular Wrangler.

On the inside, there’s black heated leather seats, a bangin 9-speaker alpine stereo system and a bespoke sport bar cover with grab handles. I love the styling of this interior and overall look with small Easter eggs planted all over.  There’s plastic all-over, but that just means it’s easier to clean. It doesn’t feel cheap in here. There’s no bs.

I love the high driving position and commanding view of the road. What I noticed immediately was how shallow the dash was. There’s really not much space between you and the windshield, which I’ve grown to appreciate.

Also optioned on this press car is a 6.5-inch touchscreen from the Daimler age. It responds quickly to inputs, but looks old and isn’t the most intuitive to use compared to other Uconncect systems found in other new FCA vehicles. I couldn’t even figure out how to pair my phone to the car’s Bluetooth.

I’m a millennial; I shouldn’t have to look these things up.

But, I’m sure the next-gen Wrangler will finally have a more modern infotainment system.

Altogether, the Wrangler offers a truly unique driving experience. Although I didn’t have it very long, I can definitely see and respect the appeal of the Jeep Wrangler.

But it all comes at a cost. Equipped like this Wrangler Chief Edition, get ready to spend over $45,000. Skip all the niceties and you still have a vehicle that is nothing like anything else on the road. I’m sold.