Above: All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara
When was the last time you’ve been considered a hell-raiser? Or maybe just unruly, perhaps a scamp? Now you’re plying the Post Road in an opulent SUV (they’ve all gone posh, haven’t they?) and wondering about your inner devil.
Folks at the club will thus understand should you pull up in an open-air Jeep Sahara with the front doors removed, all the better to air out your life and pursue some shenanigans.
The venerated Wrangler is not the cheapest Jeep, nor is it the most practical. But, gee, do its owners feel a devotion to the friendly knockabouts. With the latest JL version, Jeep has cranked out an incarnation of the rowdy old warhorse. Among the new blessings is a soft-top version that can get into full blue-skies mode in a matter of seconds.
It rides far more smoothly now than in days of yore, although the bounce is there. All the modern electronics and computer connectivity are available, including a hearty (optional) Alpine stereo system. If all that fresh air gets too hot, the Wrangler has an amazing air-conditioning system.
There are four models, starting with the Sport in the low 30s, going up to the serious off-roader, the Rubicon, in the 40s. But the basic Sport delivers this car’s raison d’être—the party-animal thrill of an elemental fun-bucket. According to our dealer, it’s selling to Wall Street types as well as recent college grads.
The four-door model can comfortably accommodate two adults in the second row. An eight-speed automatic is standard, but tough campaigners hitting the beach will want the six-speed stick.
Of course, if you want to be all Connecticut Sensible, then you’d opt for the hardtop model; taking off that top merely requires the removal of eight bolts and the assistance of a friend to remove the 60-pound lid. But then you are really free.
JEEP WRANGLER SAHARA
Entry price: About $30,000
Drivetrain: 3.6-liter V6, 285 horsepower All-wheel-drive
EPA Mileage Rating: 18 city/23 highway