Just as the Jeeps of the Seventies lit up my imagination, the 2008 Wrangler Unlimited caught the attention of our boys and all of their friends. The big, chunky, mud terrain tires and the removable hard top were enough to get them going. The 3 piece hard top is wonderfully simple in design. The front panels can be removed or installed in under 3 minutes by one person, which is perfect for a spring afternoon drive home in Ontario. As The Garage is full of flotsam at the moment, we left the main section in place during our time with the Jeep but with the front sections off and all the windows open we felt at one with the outdoors.
Use of space and real world utility are strong points for the Wrangler Unlimited. That means that a surprise rain shower isn’t much of a concern when the roof panels are along for the ride in the rear cargo area. There is so much space back there that the 4 door off roader passes the 3 Hockey Bag test with flying colours. You couldn’t say that about an old school Wrangler. Beneath the floor is a small, but handy hidden storage compartment.
The only place that storage was lacking was up front. A large, locking center console armrest keeps all of your junk in one place and somewhat safe from the bad guys when you’ve parked with the roof off. One would assume that the security factor is the reason there is little else in the way of cubbies. The rugged looking dash houses everything the driver houses a killer stereo that is equipped with an aux in jack for your mp3 player, which is something I consider a must in a vehicle aimed at the hip people. The only proble is that it is right at the top of the center stack and there is nowhere to put your mp3 player. Likewise, if using a long patch cable, there is nowhere to put it (or your phone for that matter) on the center console. That stereo employs a subwoofer out back to ensure there are enough tunes to drown out traffic noise on a busy highway or keep the campground awake.
The front seats are comfortable and supportive enough that we’d be happy to set out on a long distance trip any time. Like tomorrow, or even today! All the seats are clad in Chrysler’s new Yes fabric, which makes cleaning up spills a snap, which is important to an active family.
The interior also boasts a unique housecleaning feature. Call it hose-ability. The floor mats are easily removable and conceal floor drains so that one can quite literally hose out the interior. Perfect when that river crossing gets a little bit deeper than expected.
They call it The Jeep Wave. When drivers of Jeeps all over will wave at a fellow Jeep driver. I have never, ever had so many pretty girls smiling my way as when I was around town in the Wrangler Unlimited with the top off. Unbelievable! That really is the point here. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon is all about a fun lifestyle, but it doesn’t cramp the real world needs of a busy family. The truck made such an impression on this family that it may not be too long before we see JWUR in The Garage.