Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 2008 – Dog Car For The Off-Roading Outdoorsmen

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.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 2008I 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
msrp $20,580
transmission automatic/manual
gas mileage 16mpg/21mpg
horsepower 202hp @5000RPM
standard engine 3.8L V6
seating 5 passengers

Does It Stack Up? Dog And Human Criteria Lists

Criteria for the dogs:

  • Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 2008 Cargo SpaceSeats 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

Criteria for the humans:Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 2008 With HardTop

  • 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 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.

Yahoo! Autos

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.


Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 2008 Windshield DownThis 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 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?


  1. says

    I came across this little snipped at the Kelley Blue Book website:

    “Back in town, the more livable Wrangler still isn’t as buttoned down as SUVs like the Nissan Xterra or Toyota FJ Cruiser.”

    These are the first three cars I reviewed and would agree with this statement that the Wrangler was least at home on the pavement.

  2. chris pinadella says

    I own the Unlimited x verion, with only the soft top, but with the upgraded suspension and wheel package. Overall cost was 25k. I couldn’t be any happier with this vehicle. With gas at 3.70 a gallon, my cost to fill the 22 gallon tank is roughly 68 dollars. (but look at it this way, the truck is only 25K, ure saving alot in overall cost) However the extra few dollars per tank are well worth it. This is one of the only 4 door convertibles on the planet. (and it is easy to take the roof off, and put it back on) Not only is it fun to drive, and great off-road. But it is just cool. I have an ear to ear grin every time I get behind the wheel, and the soft top provides surprisingly good isulation during the winter. This truck is definately made for those who are outdoors oriented. I can’t say enough good about this truck. My only complaints after a year of ownership are as follows. 1. The price of gas. 2. If you take out the rear windows with the soft top, and don’t put them back in properly, they can bow out while driving and allow in air. (but hey, but them in right, and ure fine) 3. When the car is washed, the doors tend to retain a little water. So after you have fully dried it, you always find drip marks the next day. That is it. This is my favorite vehilce I have ever owned, hands down the most fun truck to drive.

  3. chris pinadella says

    oh and by the way… Life time power train warranty… I haven’t had one problem over the course of 1 year, but if I ever do, it’s covered.

  4. says

    @Chris, I’m so glad you left a comment. I really like the Wrangler Unlimited and the only thing holding me back from buying is the low gas mileage it gets and the high cost of gas. I haven’t test drove any new cars in a while, but plan on looking again.

    The last few weeks I’ve been looking less at the SUV’s and more at smaller cars like the Scion xB, Toyota Prius, and Mini Clubman.

    Again, I’m really glad you left such a positive comment about the Wrangler Unlimited. This is definitely the car I want and would be very easy for transporting my dogs.

  5. chris pinadella says

    Hey, all I gotta say is if it’s going to make you as happy as it makes me, It’s worth buying. Cut back on some other frivilous expenses, (save about 25 dollars a week) and you won’t notice the extra cost in gas)

    By the way, My dog LOVES this truck. just make sure you don’t bring him/her in with the doors off :-)

  6. says

    @Chris, I think my dogs would absolutely love the Wrangler Unlimited too.

    However, the way gas prices keep creeping up makes me very hesitant. The gas price by my house here in Irvine, CA is now $4.29 a gallon for regular unleaded!

    If I drive this car the way it’s meant to be driven…off road, through the snow, camping trips,…etc. then there’s really no reason why I should have any reservations. I plan on getting the 4×4 if I get this vehicle.

    I think I’m trying to talk myself into this car. It really is on the top of my list. If only jeep would include it in their $2.99 a gallon gas promotion. Of course the Wrangler Unlimited is not included presumably because they’re not having any problem selling this truck.

    Please let me know if you have anymore comments on the Wrangler Unlimited. Maybe I’ll go test drive it again this weekend!

  7. Talia Vincente says

    I just bought a 2008 Wrangler Unlimited, manual transmission. I previously owned a 1998 Wrangler SE. I love Jeeps. I bought the Unlimited for the cargo space and four door, but it still drives the same as a 2 door, in my opinion, and I love that aspect. I was afraid that it would feel unlike a standard Jeep, but it remains truely a trail rated vehicle. What I don’t like is that it stalls in the first gear is not given enough throttle; the stick shift vibrates at times to the point it seems as if it will jump out of gear; the soft top collects puddles in strong rain storms. I am a girly girl, and the exterior style and interior coziness fits my personality well. Oh, and I love that the back seats fold down nearly flat, leaving the cargo area very roomy for my dog’s crate, groceries and other stuff.

    My husband owns a 2006 Toyotal FJ Cruiser. He loves it. It’s manual transmission and fulltime all wheel drive. He’s got the full package (all options). We’ve driven to Wisconsin and North Carolina for family vacation and the FJ has stood up to all inclimate weather. We’ve driven on the beaches of the Outer Banks in North Carolina and never got stuck in the sand, but we did pass a few Jeep that did. The FJ has a very roomy cargo area and a roof rack that really comes in handy during our trips. The shifting is easy. The ride is somewhat quiet, but there is noticable wind noise. But we love trucks in my family, so we aren’t bothered by a little wind noise. The seats are comfortable. The dash is attractive. Because of the its large size and limited rear view, the blind spot is larger than some other SUV’s and we often must turn our heads to make sure coast is clear for changing lanes. Our dog loves the pop-out read window. What we don’t like about the FJ is the cheap paint job. The paint chips very easily and is already wearing down after only 2 years. The windshield is cheap. The slightest thing that hits it chips away the surface. I don’t like the back seats, they are not for tall people. Also, because of how the doors open, backseat passengers are trapped as the back doors cannot be opened unless the front doors are opened first. In short, someone has to let the backseat passengers out.

  8. says

    @Talia, Thanks for the great reviews of the 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and the 2006 FJ Cruiser. The biggest issue I have with the FJ Cruiser is probably the rear doors. My last car had suicide doors and really didn’t care for them.

    One complaint I’ve heard about the Wrangler Unlimited was the fact that the rear seats didn’t recline (sometimes not very comfortable on longer trips). Have the rear seats been a problem for you at all?

    Also, can you fit two large crates in the back with the seats folded down? The crate I have is actually medium/large for my labs who are approximately 70 pounds each.

    The only thing really holding me back on purchasing the Wrangler Unlimited is the price of gas and the future price of gas.

    Once again thanks for the great reviews!

  9. JeepMammouth says

    I have a rubicon 2008, purchased last november 2007. I’m a big guy, at 6,5 feet, I got a wife, 3 kids and a dog. I just love the way I can take the top down, take the doors off and go off-reading with the whole bunch.

    I get about 10.3 ltr/100km, which, all things consider is pretty good for something this size and since I mostly do long commute and little in town use, my rubicon rugedness in street “pot holes” don’t affect me all that much. Maybe that’s why I just LOVE my jeep. i’ll admit that when u get into bad street, the ride is a little rough but it’s a jeep, not a minivan

    Oh, and did I mention I can take the top and the doors off?

    We get a lot of flash spring water floods around here, I love the way I can slowly ride through 2 feet and half of water with no concern whatsoever and not even hae to worry about water seeping in.

    I live in the country, I love the way I can just plow through 3 feet thick by 3 feet high snow at 05h00am because I don’t have the time to snowblow the mountain of snow that some annoying freak snow plowed in my driveway

    I love the way I can access just about anything to repair myself (cause when you seriously off-road, you WILL have learn to be a monkey wrench and don’t you just hate when you have to dismantle half the vehicle to get at what you want to repair).

    Oh, and did I mention I can take the top down and the doors off?

    I’m 40 year old and i’m lazy so I love that I can disconnect my sway bar or lock my front/back lockers at the push of a button.

    I TRULY love my jeep when I see 90% of the other stock off-roader swing, cuss and otherwise push the limit of their SUV often to the breaking point to go place where I just slowly climb with ease.

    The ONLY thing I regret is that I bought mine before all the latest price reduction due to gas increase. 6 months would have made a few hundred $$$ difference. I still would have bought my jeep anyway.

    Oh, and did I mention I can take the top down and the doors off?

  10. says

    Every time I see a Wrangler Unlimited with the top down and the doors off I instantly become jealous. Here in California the summers beg you to remove the top and doors.

    10.3 ltr/100km is really good. If I did my calculation correctly that’s almost 23mpg…which is 3-4mpg higher than I’ve seen on the sticker…hmmm…I might have to head over to the Jeep dealership soon.

    Thanks for the great review! You’re really tempting me!

  11. Greg says

    Just stumbled across this blog and I wanted to add my two cents worth. I went looking for the perfect dog vehicle and it seems I looked at the same vehicles you did. I have 1 year old Newfoundland and a 10 year old Belgian Tervuren. With the back seats up I can fit my Newfies crate sideways in the cargo area. (I have a crate that has a side door and an end door.) If I fold the back seats down I can get both the Newfies and the Tervs crates in the back but the Terv then has to enter through the side back door. With my Newfie being a drooler the seats and the YES fabric are great for the stain resistance and ease of cleaning. The carpeting seems to clean just as easy but does seem to hold onto the hair a little bit. Since this is posted 6 months after your last response I am assuming you have purchased your new vehicle. When I had my Newfie neutered he was unable to stand for long after the surgery so we just left him in his crate and lifted into the back of the Jeep. I know that it wouldn’t been possible in the Honda Element or FJ cruiser because the extra large crate wouldn’t have fit. I have owned my Jeep for 14 months now and I haven’t had a single mechanical problem with it yet. There is a lifetime warranty on the drivetime train which is a good thing. My dogs love it when they get to ride with the top down. My wife and son love it when the top is down so it is like the perfect middle age car for the person that wants a convertible but find that a sports car is not pracitcal for a family that likes to travel with its dogs.

    • says

      @Greg, Sorry for the late response here. Unfortunately, I haven’t purchased a new car yet. A couple things have been stopping me from buying a new car. First, I’m still concerned about the price of gas. The Wrangler doesn’t get the best mileage and even though gas prices are lower now watching the price rise above $4 a gallon made me rethink getting an SUV. The second issue I’m having is the state of the economy and the stability of my job. I feel pretty secure with my job, but I’m just being cautious.

      I appreciate your comments and everything you’ve mentioned is exactly what I want in a dog car. That’s great that you haven’t had any mechanical problem that was one of my concerns after reading the consumer report. I’ll probably be back at the auto dealerships at the end of this month and right now the Wrangler is still one of the front runners.

  12. Yvon Decelles says

    Still getting great mileage. About 10.5 liter/100 km. Of course, the fact that I do almost exclusively highway helps a lot. Once i’m in town, Urhg! 15 liters/100 km. That’s ugly.

    Still…. I just love beeing able to take door and top down… This year, I might even take the windshield down. Now THAT would be something.

  13. says

    @Yvon, unfortunately for me I’d be doing more city driving rather than highway. So, I’d be getting pretty sad gas mileage. Thanks for posting your mileage numbers…it definitely helps with my decision making…although as you can tell I’m very indecisive on my dog car purchase.

    Yes, the doors off, top down, and even windshield down are very appealing with spring and summer right around the corner (and living in Southern California).

    I’ll make sure to update everyone when I finally do make a decision.

  14. Annie says

    What car did you end up buying. I’m in the same predicament. I had a wrangler for 10 years that was stolen this summer and LOVE everything about the look and feel of the unlimiteds however I am concerned about

    worse gas mileage in its class

    poor reliability reports of the the newer jeeps compared to the better engines in the older modes

    Jeep’s problems since coming out of bankrupcy where they have decreased production and I have heard parts being on back-order

    and FBI investigating fires in unlimited transmission which may lead to recalling 200,000 wranglers of 2007 and 2008 wranglers (the 2009s have the same transmission but they are investigating 07s and 08s b/c there have not been any problems with 09 yet

    My back up choice would be the new 2010 prius which I think is much better looking than the older model inside and out and I love the 50 miles per gallon but it is rather ho hum and boring compared to the jeep unlimited.

    Two totally differents cars entirely.

    Let me know what your thoughts are and if you’ve decided what to purchase.


  15. says

    @Annie, you’re not going to believe this, but I still haven’t purchased a new car. I’m still driving the 2000 Honda CRV. Right now I’m understanding the difference between “Want” and “Need”. I want a new car, but I don’t really need one yet.

    I’m sorry to hear your Wrangler was stolen. Thanks for listing all the information about the new Jeep Unlimited problems. It helps make my decision not to buy a car yet much easier. Although I saw one on the rode the other day top down doors off…made me want to run to the Jeep dealership.

    I’ve been eyeballing the new prius and other gas efficient cars and I will probably end up being more practical and going with something like a Prius. I’d like to get car that gets good gas mileage and one that can fit two large crates in the back (with seats folded down).

    Anyhow, I’ll probably start posting dog car reviews again when I start looking for a car and will definitely add a post when I purchase a new car.

    Let me know how your car shopping goes.

  16. Lina Chun says

    I’m guessing you already purchased a car, and not sure if you even check this site…but thought i’d write anyway. Everything you wrote is exactly how i’ve been feeling for quite some time. I’ve always been a sports car, vroom vroom type of gal, but my pup comes first. She’s a 55lb husky. And living in orange county, i go to huntington dog beach pretty often. I’ve been wanting the wrangler for a while BUT i’ve been hesitant because of reviews of reliability. I don’t even mind the gas as much.

    So just curious…what did you end up getting and why?

  17. says

    @Lina, nope I still haven’t purchased a new car. I sold my Mazda RX-8. It was just too small for my dogs. I’ve been driving a 2000 Honda CRV.

    We like going to the Huntington dog beach too. My Lab, Stetson is not much of a water dog (he’s not a very good representative of his breed), but he does like playing in the sand. Linus my Aussie mix will venture out into the waves once in a while.

    Two years ago I really wanted to get the Wrangler Unlimited, but I’ve heard so many bad stories about the reliability and the low MPG makes me extremely hesitant to pull the trigger and buy that car.

    I was at the LA Auto Show a month ago and took a close look at the Pet-Friendly version of the Honda Element and the Toyota Venza which also has many pet friendly accessories. I’m still not thrilled about the gas mileage on these cars, but I am happy to see Toyota and Honda catering to us dog owners. I’ll probably try to get a couple posts on my thoughts about those two cars in the next couple weeks.

    Are you considering any other dog cars besides the Wrangler?

  18. Lina Chun says

    @Colby I test drove the Wrangler and I’m definitely crossing that off my list. Though I love the exterior, the interior is just a little too Flintstones. It also lacks a lot of power and torque. I was hoping that with 202hp, it wouldn’t be too bad but I was mistaken. I was impressed with how quiet it ran though. As you know, since you live here, its been pouring and the wrangler was nice and quiet.

    I’ve been considering a lot of different cars. I agree with you completely about the Honda Element, the interior, dog accommodations, etc are amazing…I just can’t get past how ugly the exterior is! I’ve been looking at the Pilot, 4Runner, even the new GMC Terrain. Overall, I’m just as unsure and lost as you are. I’ve seen a LOT of Honda Fit dog owners where they put the back seats down and its a 2 seater car with the back fully dedicated to the furry family members. I think I’m more interested in getting a slightly larger vehicle which is why the Prius isn’t on my list. The Venza, along with other crossover/hatchback vehicles, would work…I’m just not a fan of the confused station-wagon look. Suv or Car, one or the other, but definitely not a station-wagon.

    I currently drive a Jetta GLI 6-speed manual turbo which i love. Its just slowly breaking down on me since VW’s aren’t the most reliable. Plus, the cloth Recaro bucket seats are so covered in my husky’s fur that I forget what color the interior is.

  19. says

    @Lina, I totally agree with everything you said in your comment.

    Regarding the Honda Element. I agree with you that it’s an ugly car, but another thing that bugs me about it are the suicide doors. My last car had suicide doors and it was very difficult getting my dogs in and out of the back seat especially when I parked next to another car. I have the same issue with the Toyota FJ Cruiser.

    My ex had a husky and I do remember the clumps of fur falling off of her dog and into my car.

    Let us know what car you end up buying.

  20. animalangel13 says

    I have a 2008 jeep wrangler jk unlimited w/the rubicon package. I’v added several after marked products, smaller wheels,bigger tires,3 inch lift, steel bumpers,beefy brush guard, have several other add ons I plan in the future (jeep, just empty every pocket) I love my 4-door w/the port door area being the ride area for my 2 aussie dogs who can’t be left behind. The gas milage is not a factor for me, it’s the ride that matters. I love my jeep and the only way I’d trade it is if they came out with one that got 24 or more mpg. I will probably have this jeep till it will no longer run.

  21. says

    @animalangel13, I still haven’t gotten my car and I’m still hesitant about the Jeep Wrangler mainly because of the reliability concerns. Every time I see a positive comment like yours I want to revisit and test drive it again.

  22. Yobub says

    I have the 4 door wrangler – about 2 years old. Either you are a jeep person or you are not. If you are a jeep person, you will LOVE the 4 door wrangler, for all the reasons you talk about. If you are equally considering a Prius and a Wrangler, you are not probably a Jeep person. That’s OK, I’m not knocking it, but if you aren’t a Jeep person, you will get rid of your Jeep in a year.

    Regarding reliability, this is my 5th Jeep. 2 Wranglers and 3 Grand Cherokees. The reliability has been about as good as any car I’ve owned, including 2 BMWs. I’ve had nothing but good experiences.

    Some considerations when thinking about the Wrangler for dogs:
    We have two 85lb yellow labs, 4 years old, so that is my frame of reference.
    What I love:
    My seats do fold flat. Maybe it was an early model you saw, but mine are simple to fold down and fold all the way.
    There is plenty of room, even for big dogs.
    I don’t worry about mud or hair. You can pull the carpet out and hose down the interior (and hose down the carpet).
    Mud comes off the seats pretty easily. Hair doesn’t.
    Top down driving can’t be beat. I don’t take the doors off with the dogs in the car, becuase they would both jump out. I do take the doors off without them in the car, and it’s pretty easy to do.
    High back seat pretty much keeps the dogs in the 2nd row. They *can* get out the back, but they haven’t yet.
    Dogs love trucks.

    What I hate:
    The plastic (dash, door panel) scratches really easily – much more so that my Grand Cherokees. Plan on losing some resale value becuase of the scratches.
    The carpet does hold dog hair, and so do the seats. It’s a little surprising, since Jeep markets this vehicle for outdoor enthusiasts, but this is one issue they haven’t figured out. My Grand Cherokees were like this too.
    The veichle sits really high, which is great, but I expect when my labs get older, they will have trouble jumping in.

    Other general opinions about the vehicle (4 door only):
    With the top down, this vehicle is better looking that anything else on the road.
    With the doors off, it’s a totally different feel for driving – more ike a go-cart.
    This drives and handles MUCH MUCH better thanany of the previous wranglers. The steering, longer wheelbase, and wider stance really make a difference. It still bounces more than a normal car, but that’s the trade-off for the offroad capability.
    Plenty of room for 3 in back seat.
    No automatic headlights – not a big deal, but a stupid little ommission
    No backseat heat – the heater is great, but nothing in the back seat. All the heat comes from the front seat. In the winter in Chicago, this is a problem.
    Mileage is better than I expected – 17mpg average, 20 on HWY.
    Visibility is really good.
    I’ve become addicted to the Satellie radio. When I go back to FM, I’m immediately bored.
    6cly is a little underpowered for towing. <2000 lbs is OK, but 3500lbs is optimistic.
    Putting the top down is easy once you get used to it, but a little tough if you don't do it regularly.
    Even with kids in the abck seat, there is plenty of room for weekend stuff in the back. Beach stuff, camping stuff, whatever, this will hold it.

  23. says

    @Yobub, thanks for leaving such great information about your experiences with Jeeps and the four door Wrangler in particular.

    That’s great to hear that you’ve had 5 reliable Jeeps. We’ve had two Jeeps a Wagoneer and a Grand Cherokee and didn’t have the same kind of luck with reliability.

    After reading your comment I think I might just be in need of two cars. A commuter car that I can use just for driving to and from work and a 4 door Jeep Wrangler. However, I don’t have the money for two cars and that’s why I can’t find a good compromise.

    By the way, I totally agree with you Wrangler top down is better looking than anything else on the road.

  24. Lina Chun says

    Ok so I’m back, with a new car. *drum roll*

    I bought a 2010 Mazdaspeed 3. Its a hatchback, perfect for my kid (the pup), and has 263 turbo hp for me!

    After test driving a million different cars, I chose the mazda because it is reliable (or at least known to be), I like the way the car looks like its smiling, i looooove the power it has, the price is amazing, AND with the seats in the back down, its perfect for the kid. But what about all the dog hair you ask? I had extra carpet left over from my parents remodeling their house, so I measured and cut a piece out so it covers the entire back perfectly. The dog hair sticks to the carpet and I just vacuum the carpet every 2 weeks. So far, its been perfect. Ive had 3 dogs in the back and they all love that they can just lay down.

    I am completely in love with my new car. =) Granted, its a 2 seater, but anyone that knows me knows that my pup is more important than them anyway. haha.

  25. says

    @Lina, Congratulations on your new Mazdaspeed 3! One of my good friends has an older model Mazdaspeed 3.

    My last care was a Mazda RX-8…too small for the doggies and I always wished that it was a hatchback. I might have to take a look at the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3.

    Anyhow, I don’t have the cash for a new car right now so my new dog car will just have to wait anyways.

    Thanks for the update and enjoy your new car.

  26. says

    Living in Alaska, I can’t imagine being without our personal Jeep, even though we rent Jeep for a living. We’ve had 6 2-door 2004 Wranglers, and 2 4-door Wranglers, all with few to no problems mechanically. Our favorite is the Rubicon, because of the additional features for off-roading: push button sway bar, etc. And my black lab loves it! We keep one rear seat folded down so she can go into the cargo area, but she basically prefers to sit in the seats like a human, with a window down.

    It cleans easily, and we’ve found heavy-duty rubber replacement mats for the floors. Can’t say I’m wild about the carpet: hair sticks. I clean the seats with upholstery foam, a wet brush and a damp towel with no problem. Love the t-tops, removable doors, fold-down windshield. Mileage is decent on the highway, about 18 mpg, but stinks around town. You need to clear it out with some highway miles to keep the mpg up.

    A Jeep is the ultimate 4-wheel drive outdoor vehicle. If you’re looking for good, basic, no-frills transportation, this is it. When you head in somewhere with a Jeep, you know you’ll be making back out.

    • says

      @Jeanne, thank you so much for the review. Now that the CRV has over 170K miles I’m starting to look around for a nice dog car again. The 4 door Jeep Wrangler is at the top of the list. However, we want to do our due diligence. Are there any other cars that compare to the Jeep Wrangler as a dog car?

  27. Ash says

    Did you end up buying a car? Which one? We’re looking for two cars (one for my wife and one for myself). We both work and have to commute ~5 miles one way each day. We go camping every so often and hiking and some locations are automatically out because we can’t off road to it.

    We want one “small” car and one “small” SUV. We would love to have manual shift in both cars. We’re considering the Mazda 3 hatchback or a slightly used Subaru WRX as the small car. For the small SUV, we’re looking at the Subaru XV Crosstrek or Forester. The Jeep Wrangler is also possibly an option…

    • says

      Amazingly I still haven’t purchased a new car. My CRV now has 225,000 miles! The Subaru XV Crosstrek is on my shortlist too. I was at the Orange County Auto Show this past year and I really liked the 4 door Wrangler Willy with the half doors and soft top. We actually got to ride in one on the off road course. If the Wrangler Willy got 30 mpg I’d buy it tomorrow, but the fuel alone will probably end up costing me an additional $1,000 year. My frugal side just won’t allow me to get a Wrangler.

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