2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara Test Drive

Jerry Reynolds | February 21, 2017
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara Test Drive

Jeeps started being produced back in 1941, strictly for military use.  As the story goes, the name Jeep came from the initials GP, for “general purpose” and the name Jeep stuck.  Last year, Jeep commemorated its 75th anniversary of the Jeep.

Today I bring you the 2017 Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4x4.  This is the 4-door version, but you can still get a 2-door also.

The Wrangler Unlimited comes as a Sport, the Sport S, the Sahara like I have here, and the top-of-the-line Rubicon, a number of special edition models.

No matter which Wrangler you choose, they all have the same engine and they are all full-time four-wheel drive. I am a big fan of this 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar engine.  It puts out 285-horses and since it came out, it has a great reputation for overall quality and long-term durability.  You have a choice of transmissions, the 6-speed manual, or a 5-speed automatic like my review vehicle has.

The evolution of the Wrangler has gone from very basic to SUVs that have a lot of amenities.  This model has very comfortable leather seating, and like all Wranglers, everything inside is clean and well laid out.

Unlike days past, you now get power windows and door locks, keyless entry, automatic headlights, tilt wheel with finger controls, and much more, all as standard equipment. The gauge cluster is simple and easy to read and it has a nice center console with a USB connection inside.  You also get a 115-volt electrical outlet.

Options on this one include: heated front seats, the painted hardtop, side airbags, automatic temperature controlled air conditioning, remote start, and Chrysler’s terrific system complete with navigation system.

With Uconnect, you get a suite of apps, a 40-gig hard drive, Sirius XM radio, and Travelink, which gives you real-time gas prices, sport scores, movie information, stock prices, and weather.  Everything is operated from a vivid, easy to operate color screen.

On the safety front, you get some standard features that are needed on a vehicle with a high center of gravity: such as traction control, electronic rollover mitigation, hill start assist, and electronic stability control.

The Jeep Command Trac 4-wheel drive system is one of the best in the industry and features shift-on-the-fly, which is engaged by using a shifter next to the automatic transmission.

Let’s talk about tops on the Wrangler since that seems to be one of the big decisions that Wrangler owners have trouble deciding on. 

Wrangler can be bought with no top, a hardtop, a hardtop painted to match the exterior like this one, or a Sunrider soft top.  This Jeep has the dual top group, so you have the hard top, which you can remove, and put on the soft top when the weather is nice. The dual top system costs a total of $2185.

I think what is fun about Wranglers, and the thing that makes people enjoy them is that in short order, you can take this vehicle, remove the top, take all four doors off, and even fold the windshield down against the hood to transform this vehicle into something totally different.

As I say on the Despreporno Show often, a Wrangler is not for everyone, but the people who buy them really love them.  You have to accept a bit of a rough ride, some outside noise, and road noise, but the hardtop does give the Wrangler more interior quietness and stability than the ones with just the soft top.   

Jeep is one of the most recognizable vehicles on the road, from its 7-bar grille and round headlights to the rear where the spare tire is exposed…you know at a glance it is a Jeep Wrangler.   

I’m getting right at 19 miles per gallon in mixed driving, which is OK considering this is one of the most capable off-road vehicles you can buy.  The suggested retail price on this Sahara package is $45,045 nicely equipped.

2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4X4

  • What I liked most:  Overall capability and 4-wheel drive system.    
  • What I would change: I expected a rearview camera for $45,000.        
  • MSRP: Base price $34,245. As equipped $45,045.
  • Fuel Economy:  Rated at 16 city, 20 highway, 16 overall.
  • Official Color:  Firecracker Red Clear Coat.
  • Odometer reading when tested: 5500 miles
  • Weight:  4294 pounds.
  • Length-Width-Height:  184.9” long/73.7” wide/70.9” high.
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 22.5 gallons with the filler on the driver’s side.
  • Towing Capacity: 3500 pounds.
  • 2017 Wrangler in a few words:  A great off-roader with lots of function.     
  • Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper. 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance. 
  • Final Assembly Location: Toledo, Ohio.     
  • Manufacturer’s website: 
Tags: 2017, Jeep Wrangler
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