When you think of rugged vehicles, a select few come to mind first. The most common one has to be the Jeep Wrangler. So how does the most popular rugged vehicle hold up? I drove one to find out
The 2001 Jeep wrangler I drove had a 4.0L inline 6-cylinder engine, paired to a 4 speed automatic transmission. While a 4.0L may sound big, the engine really only put out about 181hp. This would be an issue in any other car, but horsepower isn’t the point behind the straight six. Torque is more important off road, and that’s what the straight six brings to the table. So no, the straight six isn’t fast but it does what you need it to do in the dirt. The transmission gave me no issues which was surprising given the fact that it’s essentially a ‘90s Chrysler transmission.
The interior is bland but useful. The jeep offers you everything you need and not a feature more. You can take the top fully off, which is a huge draw for the wrangler. The seats are comfortable, and the heat works well even with a cloth top.
The one thing I didn’t like about the jeep was the way it drives. It drives like a brick on wheels, and handles like a bowl of half cooked ramen noodles. But that’s the price you pay for having a vehicle that can conquer all terrain. Other SUVs drive a lot better than the Wrangler, but when it comes to off-road use, those same SUVs fall to the wayside while Wrangler soldiers on.
I would love to own a Wrangler, but not to drive every day. While they’re amazing off road and in ditches, driving them on pavement leaves a lot to be desired. To me, it seems like Jeeps are like lake houses & boats. It’s better to have a friend with one so you can enjoy it from time to time, but don’t have to deal with it when problems arise and maintenance is required.