Jeep Wrangler Doubles Down

The extra doors mean the Wrangler goes up in size, adding 20.6 ins. to grow its wheelbase to 116.0 ins.

NEW YORK – Auto show goers here may think they are seeing double at the Jeep stand, where the first-ever 4-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is making its debut.

In addition to the two extra doors, the ’07 model also is the first Wrangler to accommodate five passengers, Chrysler Group says.

The extra doors mean the Wrangler goes up in size, adding 20.6 ins. (52.3 cm) to grow its wheelbase to 116.0 ins. (294.6 cm). The stretch job triples potential cargo room to 83 cu.-ft. (2.4 cu.-m) with the rear seat folded down. With seats up, cargo room is 46.4 cu.-ft. (1.3 cu.-m), Chrysler says, offering more space than the ’07 Toyota FJ Cruiser and ’06 Hummer HS and Nissan Xterra.

In all, the 4-door Wrangler provides 102.9 cu.-ft. (2.9 cu.-m) of interior room.

“No other vehicle in the world can replicate the all-new ’07 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited’s unique combination of best-in-class off-road capability, open-air fun and everyday convenience and versatility,” says Mike Donoughe, vice president-body-on-frame product team.

To enhance its passenger-carrying capability, the Wrangler’s rear doors open a full 90-degrees, providing a 26.5-in. (67.3-cm) wide opening. Rear windows roll all the way down, and the 60/40 split rear seats provide 37.2 ins. (94.5 cm) of legroom.

The Unlimited’s all-new modular hardtop features three removable panels – one each for the driver, front passenger and rear seating area – allowing for several different open-air configurations. A soft top, with a sunroof feature, is standard and, as is typical with past Wranglers, the windshield folds down.

The new Trail Rated Jeep is packed with off-road capability, thanks to availability of heavy-duty transfer cases and axles (base Unlimited X and up-level Sahara models offer enhanced Dana 30 front and Dana 44 rear axles, while the top-of-the-line Rubicon model gets Dana 44s front and rear). Four-wheel-drive models get three skid plants, protecting the fuel tank, transfer case and automatic transmission oil plan.

The Unlimited X and Sahara models offer the second-generation Command-Trac part-time 2-speed transfer case. A Trac-Lok limited slip rear differential is optional. Rubicon models get a heavy-duty Off-Road Rock-Trac 2-speed transfer case, with electric front- and rear-axle lockers, active sway bar system and beefy 32-in. Goodyear treads.

All models get antilock brakes and electronic stability control, with full on, full off and partial on operating modes, as standard. Seat-mounted side airbags are optional.

New for the ’07 model is a 3.8L pushrod V-6 that generates 205 hp and 240 lb.-ft. (325 Nm) of torque. It is mated to a standard 6-speed manual transmission or optional 4-speed automatic. A diesel engine will be offered in some markets outside North America.

Towing capacity is rated at up to 3,500 lbs. (1,588 kg).

Exterior styling was inspired by a bevy of concept vehicles, Chrysler says, including last year’s Jeep Gladiator, the Jeep Rescue (2004) and Jeep Dakar (1997).

Inside, the Wrangler Unlimited is identical to the standard 2-door model, featuring an all-new instrument panel with analog gauges, round vents, integrated top-mounted tweeter speakers and a large locking glove box. Radios boast an auxiliary jack to accommodate portable MP3 players. A navigation system is optional.

Chrysler says the new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited will be sold in more than 100 countries, in both left- and right-hand drive. The Toledo, OH-built model will hit U.S. dealerships this fall and reach international markets beginning in first-half 2007.

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