I was filled with excitement as we strolled on over to the Chrysler Jeep dealership. I targeted the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 2008 as one of the front runners for my perfect dog car. Many of you may not know, but beginning with the 2007 models Jeep added the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited which is a 4 door version of the venerable Jeep Wrangler. I’ve always loved the classic styling of the Jeep Wrangler, but the 2 door off-roading vehicle just seemed a tad bit too small for my liking. However, the four door just might be the perfect dog car.
I must say our salesperson at Chrysler Jeep was excellent and new every aspect of this car. There’s an optional hardtop (yep with the top down this baby is a convertible). All four doors are removable and the front windshield folds down (take a look at the picture at the bottom of the page for windshield down look). The interior carpet is removable with drainage holes on the bottom floors allow you to hose out the inside of the vehicle.
I happen to think that this one of the best looking SUV’s on the market. Of course that’s just personal opinion. A couple great things I did notice about this vehicle are:
- The style of the Wrangler almost never changes. If you compare this car to the same car made 20 years ago the style is very similar. I’m not sure you can say that about any other car/SUV.
- It’s the only convertible SUV (maybe on the market) on my test list.
- The rugged interior and drainage holes really suit an outdoor lifestyle and in my situation dog friendly lifestyle.
- Historically the Jeep Wrangler has a great resale value.
So, let’s get down to the nitty gritt details on this SUV!
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 2008 Specifications
|type||4 Door mid-SUV|
|standard engine||3.8L V6|
Does It Stack Up? Dog And Human Criteria Lists
Criteria for the dogs:
- Seats that fold flat or easily removable – hopefully fits a crate or two - Once again I did not bring a tape measure or crate to test the backseat of the car. I did notice that the seats did not fold totally flat, but cargo space with the seats down appeared to be adequate (before purchasing I will re-evaluate and bring my crates for a full test of the back seat on this vehicle).
- Plenty of usable cargo space relative to the size of the vehicle with wide, square backs, and little rear slope to make most of cargo area. - If you take a look at the picture of this vehicle with the hardtop it almost defines the meaning of a square back. Needless to say there is a lot of cargo space in this vehicle for a mid-size SUV.
- Dog friendly interior – Even the best dog can have accidents in the car. - I already knew this car was built for the outdoors, but before I took it for a test drive I noticed cloth carpets in all the pictures (I preferred the plastic floors you see in the Honda Element and Toyota FJ Cruiser). Fortunately the carpet interior is very easy to remove and there are drainage holes in the floor for hosing out the interior if needed. Our salesperson also mentioned that the Sahara model came with water resistant seats. We test drove the Unlimited X 4X4 with base model seats which also appeared to be very durable.
- Door & window locks – Dogs are smart and some can open a car door. - Door and window locks are an option on the Wrangler. I believe the hardcore Wrangler followers prefer the non-mechanical workings of manual windows and manual door locks.
- All-wheel or four-wheel drive and high ground clearance – for camping or going to the mountains with your best friend (I’m talking about your dog of course). - You can opt for either the 4X2 or the 4X4
- Price Range: Under 30K - One of the better values out of the cars on my list. The base model 4X2 comes in just under 21K, but you can go all out and get the Rubicon which will run you over 30K. Again, like the FJ Cruiser I’d probably find middle ground opting for some, but not all the options.
- Curb Appeal – Hopefully the car is not hard on the eyes. - Okay, so out of all the vehicles on my list I think this one has the most curb appeal. Not everyone will like it’s look, but I give it a 10!
- Fuel Economy -Unfortunately SUV’s get worse gas mileage. - 16/21 mpg’s for the 4X2 and probably slightly worse for the 4X4. This is a couple mpg’s better than the FJ Cruiser, but still when looking at SUV’s unless it’s a hybrid gas mileage is going to suffer.
- Reliability – If you’re car is not working what good is it? - This is the sore spot for the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. While I’ve heard glowing reviews from friends who own jeep wranglers I’ve also come across several comments on the internet to the opposite. Unfortunately, Jeep does not have the best reputation for reliability. To make things worse I took a look at the consumer reports review of the 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and it got below average reviews for reliability.
- Retains Value – Cars are terrible investments, but we want it to retain some of it’s value. - I was pleasantly surprised in this category. The Jeep Wrangler ranks relatively high when it comes to resale often times appearing inside the top 10 of some lists. Check out the Vehix.com website.
- Extras – Any miscellaneous extra goodies the car may have. - Removable doors, fold down front windshield, removable carpets, drainage holes in the floors, and a convertible.
- Car in the City – Smooth ride? Does it have power? Handle Well? - This SUV is renowned for it’s off-road talents, but also has a reputation as a rough ride in the city. I came in with these expectations, but was again surprised by the way this vehicle handled in the city. I drove the automatic version of the car which felt a little under-powered, but I thought it was adequate. There was very little noise with the soft top up. While it didn’t feel as nice and smooth as some of the other SUV’s I felt like it was just smooth enough and just rugged enough for my liking. The soccer mom may not enjoy this car because of it’s less than luxurious ride and the outdoor enthusiast may think that Chrysler Jeep refined the car to much for their liking. However, as my dog car I thought it was just right.
Advantages – The Things I Like
The things I like about this vehicle are:
- Great looks.
- Low Price – Just under 21K.
- Durable Interior.
- Removable Carpets with drainage holes.
- Removable doors and fold down front windshield.
Disadvantages – The Things I Don’t Like
Some things I didn’t like in test drive and read on the internet:
- Jeep’s reputation of less than stellar reliability with their cars.
- Fuel Economy at 16/21 MPG’s not as bad as the FJ Cruiser, but not good either.
- Seats don’t fold totally flat.
- Ho-Hum control panel.
- City driving is a little rough.
This is a great vehicle and only two things stop me from immediately declaring it the winner. First, is the awful gas mileage. At 16/21 Miles Per Gallon I’ll be gassing this baby up on a regular basis. And second, the below average reliability rating Jeep and specifically the 2007 Wrangler received from Consumer Reports.
I am just a regular consumer just like everyone else and don’t get to thoroughly test drive these vehicles. I review information already on the internet and couple that with my own test drive and opinions. Hopefully this review helps you make your decision, but I’d highly recommend you do additional research on some of the other great auto review websites like Edmunds, Yahoo Autos, or DogCars.com and take this car for a test drive of your own.
Two cars down and many more to go. I have the review of the Toyota FJ Cruiser 2008 already posted. I hope you enjoyed this article and please feel free to post any comments about this vehicle in the comment section below.
If you liked this article check out my first article on the Perfect Dog Car.
What do you think about the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 2008? Do you own this vehicle?