The Jeep Wrangler is a perfect example of vehicular evolution. While nearly unchanged in its overall appearance in approximately 70 years, it’s also adapted and evolved into what it is today. Some changes include a longer wheelbase, new powertrains, and many contemporary technologies.
Despite the Wrangler’s modern twists and improvements, it remains unmistakingly a Jeep. Be it to look at or to drive, there is no denying that the Paleolithic man is directly related to the Homo Sapien; in other words, the Jeep Wrangler has its roots in the Willys MB and Ford GPW. As such, the Wrangler drives like a Jeep -- like it or not.
What is a Jeep Wrangler?
The Wrangler is the spokes-truck for Jeep, which is in turn the Frigidaire or Kleenex of the off-road truck world. Many know SUVs simply as “Jeeps,” and that’s just fine.
The Wrangler is the bastion, the original Jeep, and is without a doubt one of the most recognizable vehicles in the history of the automobile. The Jeep Wrangler is known and worshipped worldwide for its off-roading prowess, not to mention its inherent robust nature.
2013 Jeep Wrangler Price and Specs
A base “regular” 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport starts at $23,195. At this price point, the Wrangler is shod with the only available engine: a 285-horsepower 3.6L V6. Transmission choices reside between a 6-speed manual and 5-speed automatic.
Increasing the wheelbase also increases the price. A basic Unlimited Sport starts at $29,295 (FYI, 2014 pricing is unchanged).
As evolution dictates, numerous options for the 21st century Jeep enthusiast can be specified including a Connectivity package, navigation, and leather-clad seats.
My 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon was a 10th Anniversary edition and included the Dual Top group, package 23J (lotsa goodies), and navigation for $47,085. You read that right.
Driving the 2013 Jeep Wrangler
Only a handful of vehicles currently roaming this earth have the depth of pedigree and history as does the Wrangler. It would therefore be ridiculous to expect this Jeep to ride smoothly and quietly along.
To drive this truck is like embarking on a 20-year-old adventure. The first difference is in the start-up. Strange perhaps, but the starter makes a “modern” noise as does the V6. This engine’s presence under the Wrangler’s bonnet is the mechanical exception to the Jeep’s 4x4 ways. It makes little noise and idles easily, in stark contrast with depressing the heavy-ish clutch and shoving the long-throw shifter all the way into 1st gear.
Despite being the most powerful standard engine ever in the Wrangler, the Rubicon is far from quick. It will merge without fuss onto a freeway; however, the throttle will need to meet the floor to ensure maximum acceleration.
There is an inordinate amount of pleasure to be had at first when manipulating the shifter from one extreme of the cabin to the other. After a while, the job becomes tedious. Most of those looking to actually use the Wrangler for its intended purposes will opt for the autobox, anyhow.
It is this Jeep’s intended purpose that limits its on-road abilities. Unless tackling corners as though this was a Grand Cherokee SRT8, the Wrangler handles fine. Choppy is the name of the game, but never out of control. The Jeep will lean, but again it feels far more at home when the dirt-rock surface does the leaning.
Steering is another aspect that dates back to a different time. Luckily (and this applies to the entire Jeep Wrangler driving experience), as drivers we can quickly adapt to what this truck is all about and forgive it. I found myself taking it easy while driving in almost every situation. An overall average of 14L/100km also helped keep my excitable driving nature at bay…
Inside and Out of the 2013 Jeep Wrangler
Exceptions in the car business are few and far between when it comes to design. The Jeep Wrangler is one such example and it will -- no, it needs to remain the same. The recipe from the seven vertical-slat grille, single round headlights, outside-mounted hinges, and rectangular taillights are staples of this timeless truck.
Truly, my 10th Anniversary Rubicon was the best-looking Wrangler I’ve ever had the mostly pleasurable opportunity to drive. The red tow hooks, black wheels, and special Anvil colour did wonders for this box on big tires.
The cabin is not exactly rustic, but is generally simple in its presentation. The dashboard encompasses all of the necessary controls and all within reach.
Fit and finish are… Yes, are. But it’s all good. The seats could use a little more of everything. A Wrangler should remain a tool for crossing treacherous areas, not showing off on the main downtown drag. Navigation and leather need not be included.
Comparing the 2013 Jeep Wrangler
The Wrangler is a prominent member of a very small group that includes the Toyota FJ Cruiser and Nissan Xterra. Both are excellent at the rough stuff, but only the FJ can claim any real history to counter the original (the real deal): the Wrangler.