The Jeep Wrangler is one of our favorite vehicles of all time, but certainly not because it drives well. It has never done that, and if Iacocca wants to, it will never do that. No, we love this faithful 4×4 because of its determined focus on its rough mission, which permeates it with a rich character that is rare in today’s marketplace.
Of course, despite all its ability to tame boulders, there are legions of Wrangler buyers who rarely use their jeeps on much more than a two-lane road, despite Moab’s red stones. For those people, those who use their Wranglers every day, something like the Willys model you see here is near ideal. With lots of features and a nice package of built-in off-road equipment, it is perhaps the best balance between daily driver and factory track machine in the range.
Our test jeep started as a $ 33,570 Unlimited Sport, which was then tossed in $ 245 utilitarian cool Sarge Green over black fabric upholstery. Willys comes in both barefoot and functionally charged models; this was the latter, with LED headlights and fog lights, mountain rails, power windows and heated mirrors, all-weather floor mats, upgraded brakes, remote input, locking rear differential, glossy black exterior details, leather on the steering wheel, and a few other pieces at a reasonable $ 39 initial purchase 565.
Even if you stay there, such a Jeep Willys provides good weather and off-road capability while taking the bite off the broken edges of the Wrangler. It gets special off-road dampers but does not have Rubicon’s disconnecting anti-roll bars or powerful Rock-Trac four-wheel drive. However, the standard edition Command-Trac setting is very capable, it can be locked in a 50/50 front / rear split and offers a low range with a ratio of 2.72: 1 (compared to Rubicon’s 4.00: 1). It also allows shifting from rear-wheel drive to 4Hi mode at speeds of up to 85 mph.
But this Willys also mixed in a large can with comfort and convenience features, including the $ 995 technology package, the $ 4,190 Sun and Sound package (larger central screen, navigation, Sky slider, premium sound, automatic climate control, removable rear quarter windows, and a ton more ), $ 1,500 automatic transmission, $ 995 Cold Weather Group, a pair of safety packages, a towing package and a lot of extra goodies.
The total price was $ 50,965, which seems like a lot – damn it is a lot – but damn if this was not the most habitable Wrangler we’ve been in for a while. And considering that Jeep Wranglers are among the very best new vehicles at keeping their value, we say check all the boxes you want or can afford. You will get a decent portion of your money back when it’s time to move on.
We loved the Sky fabric top, the most versatile of Wrangler’s many roofing options, as it combines the finished look and most of the weatherability of a hardtop with a convertible-like experience. And even though we drove this jeep during the last of Michigan’s winter weather, we stayed very warm despite some single-digit temperatures. Quick-heating fabric seats and a heated steering wheel also helped.
The soft-shifting automatic was a forced upgrade with the free 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood; the engine may be the only thing we would change. With 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft, the four-cylinder desire has enough to move a four-door Wrangler really well. But the engine never lets you forget that it works, with lots of growling noises and turbosus and the like, all of which only get worse in 4Hi mode, when it has two wheels to drive. And there is a noticeable difference in how much pedal input you need to maintain the same speed between rear and four-wheel drive modes. We would probably stick to the standard V-6, which also lets you choose a six-speed manual – which saves $ 1,500 – if you want.
Of course, neither its options nor the engine greatly affect the Jeep Wrangler Willy’s road handling, which is like most other Wranglers: heavy, somewhat sloppy and absolutely athletic. But no one buys a Wrangler for how it moves on the sidewalk; they buy one because of how it makes them feel and its potential to explore large terrain areas.
For this reason, the Wrangler has long dominated a segment of one, and its great possibilities for adaptation from the factory and via the aftermarket play a major role in its continued success. Wrangler faces perhaps its most formidable challenge to date in the form of the new Ford Bronco, but with a wide, well-established range that includes models such as the Wrangler Willys, the V-8-powered 392, plug-in 4xe hybrid, and more, the Jeep seems well prepared for the fight to come.
Looks good! More details?
|2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Willys||Specifications|
|AWARD||33 570 USD / 50 865 USD (base / as tested)|
|LAYOUT||Front engine, rear / 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||2.0L / 270 hp / 295-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|EMPTY WEIGHT||4 196 lb (mfr)|
|L x W x H||188.4 x 73.8 x 73.6 inches|
|0-60 MPH||7.5 sec (MT est)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||21/24/22 mpg (stad / hwy / comb) (est.)|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / YARD||160/140 kWh / 100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.87 lb / mil|