The Jeep Wrangler is a ready-for-anything vehicle that can trace its lineage right back to the original military-grade Willys that debuted just in time for the Second World War. Today’s model still features the same body proportions, has a spare tire mounted on the rear door, and has option hard/soft top, traits that go all the way back to 1941. Yes you heard me.... 1941. That's 75 years of heritage, countless other manufacturers have come and gone, and the others have done dramatic changes to their lines, but Jeep remains.
I have driven countless Jeeps in my time in the auto business, and not one has ever let me down. I worked for a C/D/J/R Franchise for many years and came to understand not only the cult following but why. There's a Jeep motto "It's a Jeep Thing , You Won't Understand" that many people laugh at, until they are in the passenger seat of their buddies Wrangler and pass another Wrangler on the road, and there's the subtle "Wrangler Wave" between drivers. Or they get picked up by a friend on a beautiful sunny warm day, and drive across town with the top's and doors off giving the ultimate free experience while driving. Or maybe, just maybe it's when there is a ton of snow and you are stranded at your house but need essential and your friend pulls up in their Jeep knowing they have by far the BEST 4 wheel drive system on the market. I will never forget the day I learned, it was my second day at work for the Jeep Dealership. It had snowed the night before (Perfect way to start my new venture) 14" of snow dropped overnight and was blowing huge drifts. Another salesman and I were trying to move vehicles so we could start to plow. I came across a new 2011 Jeep Patriot that was parked in with vehicles front, back, and a huge wall of snow on the drivers side from the snow plow and what looked like a 2-2/2 foot drift on the passenger side. I looked at Lance and asked how are we suppose to get these out. He laughed, clicked up the 4x4 button and said "don't you know how to drive?? Turn right and crawl over the drift, this will walk out without an issue". Sure enough I was out in seconds. A feat I tried with other pre-owned vehicles on the lot and had to dig out. I WAS SOLD!!!
Over the years I drove all the models and fell in love with the flagship for many reasons I listed above. The Wrangler is the ultimate driving machine, I'm not going to say it doesn't have its fault but what vehicle doesn't. And when the biggest faults are, it hasn't really had a body style change in decades, it has a little more road noise than other vehicles, and it's not a fully equipped luxury vehicle, those "faults" many see, are also the MAIN reason Jeep owners LOVE THEIR WRANGLERS!
When a new Jeep Wrangler hits the lot, I am the one who calls dibs on taking it home for the night to "familiarize" myself with it. Mainly I want to make sure any bugs have been worked out and fixed after it comes out of our safety inspection (and I really just LOVE driving Jeeps). So when this 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara hit the lot, I was all over it.
Now being 5'7'' I get a lot of ribbing when people see me get in trucks and Wranglers. But in all reality, the Wrangler has easy access with the newer Unlimited 4 door models (the 2 door Wranglers, I will admit make it a challenge for the rear seat) and yes they have better ground clearance than most SUV's but the design makes it easy for even someone a little shorter to get in and out of.
So it was a beautiful Wisconsin March night, you know 21 degrees at 6pm. I was getting ready to close up for the day and noticed that this 2016 Wrangler Sahara had remote start. I clicked the lock button, lights flashed, then double clicked the remote start button and the vehicle started in seconds. I let it warm up for a few minutes and as I walked out, unlocked the Jeep and got in. Now there is something to be said for the newer Jeeps, I have driven some older ones where there was a lot more gaps and weren't insulated as well as the new models. The cabin had warmed up in just that short time I let it run. As I put it in drive to head off the, lot I noticed the big screen that was installed as an aftermarket radio. Much to my surprise, it was a touch screen and was wired in so that the controls on the steering wheel also worked the features.
As I drove down the road I did notice the little things like a little stiffer seat, and you definitely feel and hear the road more. But not half as bad as the Wranglers of the past, and again it's what makes a Jeep a Jeep. As I was getting ready to merge from the off ramp onto the highway, I remembered another great feature of the Wrangler, which is the amount of open window view for blind spots and visibility. The biggest change in the Wrangler from the original version over the past decades, was it now has a smoother ride due to extending it into the Unlimited 4 door model. And this 2016 Wrangler proves just that. As I'm driving down the highway it has a smoother ride, and plenty of power from the 3.6 Pentastar motor pushing 285hp. As I pulled into the driveway, my little guy got the biggest smile on his face. When he was really young, everything was a Jeep, and he loves Wranglers. So of course he had to come over and check it out.
As I headed back into work the next morning, and put the Wrangler in reverse to back down the driveway I noticed that the aftermarket head unit also had a back up camera. The nice big screen made for a great monitor to assist in backing out. On the ride in I played around with other features I noticed were included in this Jeep like the power window switches located just under the center screen, the power locks and windows. I set the cruise as I traveled down he highway and enjoyed the rest of the ride.
It's just a shame that it's Wisconsin in March and I was unable to pop the tops above my head off or take off the entire top for a fun convertible ride. But I'm sure we will have another Wrangler in I can enjoy in the summer month. As for now, if you're in the market for a fun 4x4 multi versatile SUV come check out this 2016 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited 4x4 we have currently at our Oliver Motors Baraboo location with 114,299 miles.