First Impression Reviews issue #2: 2015 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

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The Jeep Wrangler has been around for decades, starting out as a war hero during World War II and developing into the popular off-roader we know today. It has been around for so long that nobody really knows the origins of the name Jeep.

Some say it was a slurred pronunciation of the letters GP, which stood for General Purpose vehicle, while others claim it was named after the character Eugene the Jeep from the Popeye comic strip of the 1930s. Wherever the name originated from, it is certain that the Jeep has stood the test of time and has become an automotive icon recognized all over the world.

Over its long production run, the Wrangler has gone through many face-lifts and improvements. The most recent was the introduction of a 4-door Wrangler, which has since been outselling the traditional 2 door.

Last week I test drove the latest version of this off-roading icon, a 2015 4-door Jeep Wrangler Sahara edition. Having driven older model Jeeps in the past, I already had an idea in mind as to how this new Jeep was going to feel on the road — a bouncy ride with a hard clutch. As I settled into the driver seat, I quickly began to doubt my assumptions as I was greeted with a plush interior, 5-speed automatic transmission and satellite radio.

On the road, the Wrangler handled surprisingly well even on pot-hole-filled streets. It used to be that a Jeep felt like it was rock climbing even on the smoothest of roads due to its stiff suspension, but now the SUV feels like any other modern vehicle on the road. That being said, the Wrangler can still perform when the road gets tough. All Wranglers come equipped with 4-wheel drive that can be engaged at the pull of a lever.

One issue I had with the 2015 Jeep Wrangler was the electronic throttle control, which is the technology that connects the gas pedal to the engine throttle. It was too vague — you do not feel like you are in control of the car’s acceleration at all. You really have to stand on the pedal in order to feel like you are making the car respond. The 3.6 liter V6 Pentastar engine, which comes standard in all Jeep Wranglers, does not feel like it is pushing 305 horsepower. The car feels a little sluggish trying to reach 40 mph unless you put your foot down.

Starting at $32k, the 2015 Jeep Wrangler Sahara is a spacious sport utility vehicle that comes with a generation of off-roading pedigree. The great thing about the Wrangler is that you can choose from a variety of trim levels such as the Rubicon, Willy’s and sport, as well as a list of options to truly make your Wrangler a unique commuter.

To sum up the Wrangler in one phrase, it would be “It ain’t your grandfather’s Willys.” Chrysler and Jeep have civilized this once rugged nomad into an urban weekend warrior — a car with which you can take the kids camping on Sunday and drive to school on Monday.

I would like to thank Ancira Chrysler on 10807 IH-10 West for allowing me to use their car for this review.