2013’s The Good 12 – Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – $25,000-$30,000

JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED

2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Strange as it may sound, Jeep’s stretched Wrangler is a pleasant place in which to spend time. A decent sound system, ample room, and moderate equipment levels are just the beginning. Visibility, paired with the Wrangler’s squared-off corners, makes maneuvering the Unlimited in tight spaces a breeze. Compared to many SUVs with this level of interior capacity, city life in the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is easy.

The Good 12 2013 logoAnd don’t act as though interior capacity isn’t a reason to buy the Wrangler Unlimited. When contrasted with the regular-wheelbase Wrangler, it’s the only reason. Seats up, the Unlimited has 163% more capacity for camping gear. With the rear seats down, the Unlimited has 91% more cargo volume. Not that we’re submitting the Escape as a Wrangler Unlimited rival, but the Ford has three fewer cubic feet of cargo volume. 

The Wrangler’s other attributes? It will take you through flooded valleys and up snow-covered mountain trails. This much you knew. 

You also know that it looks like a Jeep: iconic, influential, memorable, and nearly mythical in its status as an off-roader. Perhaps it’s not your cup of tea, but factually speaking, it is a do-it-all SUV. To end up as a vehicle that’s capable of so much more than you need it to be, Jeep needed the Wrangler Unlimited to make some sacrifices. Some are more difficult to accept than others; none are insurmountable.

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Engine: 285 horsepower; 260 lb-ft of torque from a 3.6L V6

Base USD/CAD Price: $25,695 / $30,045

City Fuel Economy: 16 miles per gallon

It’s Not Perfect: Highway stability isn’t the Wrangler’s forte. Maintaining the straight-ahead requires more concentration than in most vehicles. Fuel economy is better than it used to be, but the city figure still makes the Wrangler a difficult pill to swallow for a buyer who’s also considering a Kia Sorento or Nissan Pathfinder.

Sales Stats: The Wrangler is one of North America’s best-selling SUVs, not just in comparison to other rough-and-tumble bruisers like the Toyota FJ Cruiser (which sells once for every twelve Wranglers) but crossovers like the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot, too.

Viable Alternatives: For those who want to be different, the Toyota 4Runner is more costly, but it’s an awfully attractive proposition.