All-New – a term that, for the most part, is used quite loosely by most auto manufacturers to describe a major change in a vehicle’s overall platform. In the case of the all-new 2007 Jeep Wrangler however, “all-new” is a shoe that fits quite well. More importantly however, the 2007 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, Rubicon Unlimited (4-door), Sahara and X models- also available in 4-door models – is now into full production. And while the term “all-new” certainly applies to the ’07 Jeep model lineup, the term “more” should really be the theme for this off-road Prince, turned King. You will find more off-road capability, more on-road refinements, more interior space, more open-air options, and much more value, but trust us when we tell you that it absolutely does not stop there.
While we won’t get into driving impressions and pricing just yet – that will be available in a few weeks – we will say that the styling is edgy, different, modular, and more refined, while still staying true to the Jeep Wrangler heritage look and feel. The 2007 Jeep Wrangler is more aerodynamic and softer in some aspects, yet rugged and aggressive in most others. It is, in my mind, a welcome blend of old and new.
The overall design of the 2007 Jeep Wrangler, while similar and dissimilar in the same breath, has bold looks and stays true to the culture that is everything Jeep. “I was inspired by the older Willys style Jeeps” said Mark Moushegian, Chief Designer of the ’07 Wrangler lineup “and I carried an industrial, power tool theme throughout the exterior and interior of the new Jeep.”
|2007 Jeep Wrangler Styling
While some will flinch with the new design – few people like change – there is one thing about the ’07 Wrangler that everyone will be absolutely fond of, and that is the modularity built into it – great news for the large number of Wrangler owners that love to modify their Jeeps with suspension systems, bolt-on accessories body changes and more. The Jeep design team took this into account when they built the new Wrangler models and you’ll find modularity just about everywhere you look. Case in point – while at a recent Camp Jeep event, Mark Moushegian watched a Jeep owner smash a front fender against an obstacle, and he instantly saw room for improvements. The new front fenders on the Rubicon models are now made of pliable ABS plastic which will take quite a beating, but more importantly can be removed from the Jeep all together with a few simple hand tools, and when removed will leave a nice, clean line.
What Makes The ’07 Jeep Wrangler All-New
While the Sahara and X model Jeep Wranglers sport a number of similar improvements such as enhanced Dana 30 and 35 axles (Dana 30 and Dana 44 for unlimited models, among other things), our interest was piqued with the Rubicon and the Rubicon Unlimited, of course. The Rubicon models sport a series of substantial improvements over last year’s model, such as:
A set of live-axle Dana 44’s, that now have a larger set of pinion shafts, pinion bearings, axle joints and ring gears stuffed inside. Oh yeah, the axles are now high-pinion models which mean less bangs on the driveshafts for you serious off roaders. Of course, the twin Dana 44’s still sport electric lockers that works flawlessly.
The new Wranglers also feature – and this is really slick – an Active Sway Bar System (ASBS), which allows the driver to disconnect the front sway bar with the flick of a switch from the comfort of the cab. This allows for increased front axle articulation while in 4-wheel drive (either high or low range). If you’ve had a particularly good day of trail riding or rock crawling, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to reactivate the sway bar – it will do it automatically once you’ve accelerated beyond 18 m.p.h.
Approach, breakover and departure angles (respectively 44.3°, 25.5° and 40.4° for the Rubicon, and 44.4°, 20.8° and 40.5° for the Unlimited) are best-in-class.
The 2007 Jeep Wrangler (Rubicon, Sahara and X models (and unlimited versions as well)), feature a newly designed, fully boxed frame that is 100% stiffer in bending and 50% stiffer in torsion. This allows the suspension to do more of the work and provide a more stable, comfortable ride for the occupants, both on and off the road.
The new Jeep Wrangler X and Sahara possess a second generation Command-Trac NV241, part-time, two-speed transfer case with 2.72:1 low-range gear sets, while the Rubicon (including the Unlimited version) features an upgraded Off-Road Rock-Trac NV241 two-speed t-case with a 4.0:1 low-range. The Rock-Trac has flanged front and rear output shafts mated to CV joints, replacing last year’s slip yolk setup.
Back to the axles – The Rubicon models (including Unlimited version) offer Tru-Lock selectable, locking differentials – as before – but now come replete with the new Brake Lock Differentials (BLDs), which are incorporated into the also-for-the-first-time-in-a-Wrangler, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), thereby providing even greater control in off-camber, loose or uncertain positions. The BLDs apply braking force to an axle’s spinning wheel in order to provide an equal amount of torque to each wheel and deliver greater traction for rock-crawling and severe off-road terrain.
The ESP system provides three modes: “full on,” “full off” and “partial on.” The Jeep Wrangerl’s ESP system integrates systems such as Hydraulic Brake Assist, Traction Control, Brake Lock Differentials and Electronic Roll Mitigation. This system allows the vehicle to maintain driver-intended direction by applying any number of the systems, within limits of traction.
New on all 2007 Jeep Wrangler models is an overhead valve, V-6 engine pumping out 202 horsepower and 237 l.-ft. of torque – more on both ends than the venerable 4 liter I6.
With record-breaking sales for the Wrangler lineups – nearly half of a million units sold in 2005 – it’s easy to see that Jeep is staying true to its heritage, and it’s underpinning core values – Mastery, Authenticity, Freedom, and Adventure. Personally, I think they should add Innovation, Creativity and Off-Road Prowess to that list, but that’s just me.