2005 Jeep Wrangler
|The Good: |
– Rugged exterior look
– True offroading capability
– Open-air driving experience
|The Bad: |
– Hard to manage removable roof
– Few modern features
The 2005 Jeep Wrangler is a 2-door, with up to 4-passenger sport-utility and is available in hard-top and soft-top version. The Wrangler roughly competes against the Honda CR-V, the Mitsubishi Outlander, and the Toyota RAV-4, but is a true offroader compared to these other vehicles. The Wrangler is been a carryover model since 1997.
All Wrangler models in the Middle East are equipped with a standard 4.0-liter, I6, 190-horsepower engine that achieves a poor 15-mpg in the city and 18-mpg on the highway according to American government tests. The engine is not exactly ideal for acceleration, so it is a somewhat slow street vehicle, especially with the automatic. It has more torque than horsepower, thereby making it more suited for climbing hills and maybe even mountains.
One of the selling features of this vehicle is its feeling of solidity. When you are driving the Jeep Wrangler you feel much more secure thanks to its old-style build of flat metal panels and exposed screws. Such rugged construction, though very roughly finished, is essential for the Wrangler’s true purpose–offroading.
When reviewing the Jeep Wrangler we found plenty of passenger room in the front. The vehicle is tall and the front seats are flat to accommodate all body sizes, though is useless in holding you steady when cornering fast. The back seat is useful for only two people, but can get painful during long drives.
The makers of the Jeep Wrangler are not exactly known for quality vehicles, but this vehicle is so simple and old-fashioned that it is more reliable than a brand new Mercedes-Benz from the same company. The look and feel of the original Jeep is exciting for many car enthusiasts. Minor refinements to this vehicle have been made since the current shape came out nearly a decade ago. The one and only Jeep really has no direct competitors. The Jeep Wrangler is most entertaining when the roof is down and everything is wide open. With all the covers off, the feeling of total openness is exhilarating. Driving around in an open vehicle with the smell of fresh air is reward enough for buying this outdated vehicle. The Jeep Wrangler somehow forces you to enjoy simple things, like the passing scenery as you intentionally take the back roads or go off-road. Its simplicity is awe-inspiring considering to all the technology and gadgets found in most cars today.
Going from a roof-up closed Jeep to a fully open Jeep is a lot of work. On the soft-top model, all of the soft plastic windows are lined with zippers. To reduce wind buffeting, the edges have plastic liners. Taking everything off is much simpler then putting things back together, which can take a long time and maybe even some help from friends. Zipping up the windows requires a lot of force and getting those plastic edges into the metal body is very annoying and tiresome. We feel a Wrangler with a power soft-top would be very convenient, but such a top would be a complicated mechanism to design. During the last rainfall season in the Emirates we had to close the roof at times and put on all the plastic windows when it started raining. By the time we finished, we were drenched and had spent approximately 20 minutes properly closing everything. The hard-top is easier to handle, but it is very heavy and hard to store when removed if you do not have a garage.
We would however like to add that the Wrangler is best suited for travel at speeds less than 100 kph. In fact, the slower you travel, the more you enjoy the ride. The lack of insulation makes for a very unpleasant and noisy ride on highways. Unite this with a stiff suspension and odd steering response, and the ride becomes even worse. Don’t even think about travelling at high speeds with the roof fully opened. Wind noise is so high that you’ll need a pair of aircraft-style headsets to communicate with the person sitting next to you. All these problems are eliminated once you’re on local roads traveling at a slow pace. Its braking capabilities are also somewhat disappointing, especially with no optional ABS. Its off-road capabilities are second to none however, and with 319 Nm of torque at its disposal, it can climb some steep rock faces that even the overrated Land Cruiser cannot handle. The wide tyres ensure ample traction in soft sand, and the thin front bumper with high ground clearance avoids obstacles with ease.
These new Wrangler models come with either an upgraded 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Some problems we found while reviewing with the Jeep were the lack of power door locks, and no available height adjustments for the front seats. The small amount of luggage space with the rear seat in its normal position is also a flaw. The rear seat can be tumbled forward for more luggage space. A recently introduced longer Wrangler Unlimited model takes care of this problem, but it is not offered in the Middle East unless on special order. We also found that getting in and out of the Wrangler is best suited for flexible people. The lack of side steps in our model would put off some people. The standard cloth seats grab dust and hair like glue. Also the width of the vehicle leaves little elbow room for large people. It is a tight fit and driving with the door pushed next to your arm can get difficult.
The Jeep’s styling remains true to its military heritage. Perhaps this is the reason it has remained an icon among both young and old buyers. It is almost like a poor man’s Hummer. The workmanship is questionable but it feels solid nonetheless and it should last for quite a while.
What do you think?