The thrill of Jeep, with giggle-and-jostle only when you want it.
I love my sports bra. On the treadmill, tennis court or yoga class it keeps me comfortable and free from the embarrassment of, um, too much jiggling.
But in some cars it’s hard to tame the jiggle factor. And, it’s not always possible to wear a sports bra. It just doesn’t look right under a flowy sun dress with spaghetti straps. For many of us when it comes to choosing a car, one with a smooth, comfortable ride is important and this is one of the reasons why.
This unique issue is something most men can’t possibly comprehend, so I was really surprised when Jeep’s leading message about the new Wrangler was that they sought to eliminate the jostle of the daily drive experience. Of course they were thinking that in general, a smooth ride is appreciated by everyone in the car, so I wonder if they recognize just how many women will appreciate this change?
This was a topic of conversation recently when Jeep presented the new Wrangler. “I won’t buy a Wrangler because the ride is too rough,” one friend confided. When she test drives the 2018 Wrangler she will change her mind.
Who This Car is For
- Singles, couples or small families
- Drivers who drive off road or in challenging road conditions, such as snow and ice
- Drivers who want a sporty, adventurous drive experience
- Drivers who also want comfort and luxury for daily driving
- Buyers who want to take some or all of the top off–there are lots of options
- Buyers who need to accommodate rear seat passengers
- Buyers who want flexible cargo space
- Buyers who want a convertible for off road
- Buyers who need to haul cargo on the roof should consider a hard top edition
What This Car Costs
- Two door base sport model: $26,995
- Rubicon 2 door base model: $36,995
- Four door entry-level sport model: $30,495
- Four door Sahara: $37,345
- Four door Rubicon model: $40,495
Jostling Only Where You Want It: Off-Road Is Still As Much Fun
Of course, this comfortable ride is on city streets and highways. Off road the Wrangler is still a master at crawling over rock hills, across logs and branches and through creek beds where jostling is a natural occurrence and half the fun. But of course, you’d be able to prepare for a drive like that and wear a sports bra.
We took the Jeep Wrangler for a drive through the city streets and highways of Tucson recently, and then across some rocky mountain tops at Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona. The Wrangler performed equally as well in both settings.
Rugged Outside, Luxurious Inside, and Fun All Over
Jeep owners used to be a particular type: Rugged, rough and ready for work and play in the great outdoors. If you dated a guy who drove a Wrangler you knew he’d be more comfortable in a log cabin than a high rise condo. But more and more, we like to live double lives: Pampered weekdays framed by rugged weekends. And we want our cars to live the same life. So Jeep as accommodated.
The newly redesigned Wrangler takes its cues from the Grand Cherokee, adding luxury details and finishes that leave the rough-and-tumble appeal to the exterior and performance, but pampers passengers with the things we need for daily driving.
Starting with awesomely comfortable heated leather seats — I love Jeep’s seats; they are regularly among the most comfortable on the road— design details like chrome accents, stitched leather on the steering wheel, gear shift and emergency brake, and back seat passenger comforts have all been added.
Among the new luxe details are:
- Leather seating (YAY)
- A newly sculpted design that reduces wind and road noise
- A new soft top designed to hold its shape better and is easier to open (we tried it and made a video)
- Upgraded rear seat with climate control, USB ports and console with cup holders in the center arm rest, which stores in the seat back
- Lots of little nooks for stowing stuff, like phones or charge cords
- Apple Car Play ?
- Passive entry system that opens the car when the key fob is near
- Quieter, more comfortable ride, even in the convertible soft top
- 4th generation UConnect system that is faster and features pinch and zoom function (because we love that!)
- More cargo room and a wider rear opening to accommodate cargo
- Better fuel economy (because not buying gas is a luxury)
But Jeep didn’t abandon the look and performance of the Wrangler; even with the new sculpted design, the 2018 model keeps classic details in place, from the seven-slot “Sarge” grille to the grab bars to the spare tire on the rear gate.
The updated, but still classic, details include:
- High strength steel bumpers for more winch ability
- Lighter weight materials to keep weight down
- ‘Freedom roof panels’ invoice the hardtop that pop out and store in the cargo area
- Fully removable side panels and windows
- Fold down windshield
- Removable doors, and removable door panels so even with the doors in place you can see the rocks you’re crawling over
- “Lunchbox” latches to keep the hood closed
- Rear gate mounted spare tire; this is where the rear view camera is housed!
- A heritage interior design so it still looks and feels like a Wrangler
- Improved turning ratio
- Same classic Jeep capability off road
Putting the Wrangler to the Ultimate Test: The Highway to the Hilltop
Our test drive started out on the highway and the ride was quiet and comfortable. It was so quiet that my drive partner Dan and I discovered a mutual love for the same classic alternative rock. [Since we were test driving in Arizona, I assembled a play list of some of our faves; see if you can guess the AZ native or influenced bands!).
We drove for a bit and stopped in at Old Tucson, an old west town originally built as a film set but now a park where visitors can get a taste of cowboy life, from festivals to shoot outs. We toured the dusty roads before heading out to our final destination, where we would put the Wrangler to destiny: Saguaro National Park.
Summiting Saguaro Park: Cue the Nerves
The road into Saguaro (pronounced sa-wah-ro) National Park starts from a relatively mild altitude and climbs to about 4,000 feet (though there are spots in the park that peak at more than 8,000 feet). Once at our base camp we got in line with the others in our group to climb a terribly pointy hill of rocks. Watching the Wranglers trail up the hill, make a turn and trail back down again was enough to make a novice want to barf (that would be me).
But I was only in the passenger’s seat! Dan was at the controls and, having done this before, gave the off-road trail a “pretty good.”
We followed the instructions of our guides and spotters and began the trek. I watched closely; soon it would be my turn (again, that sick feeling welled up in my stomach).
You can see Dan’s masterful summit in the Jeep Wrangler, here. And keep watching; at about 34:30 I take the wheel, too.
Drive Off Road, Then You Know You Can Do Anything
You know that saying about stretching out of your comfort zone to know what you can do? Well, that is what off-roading is. Absolute absence of comfort zone. It’s bumpy, it’s scary and it’s unsure. You see the rocks, hills, trees, muck and more around you and your car drives right through it all. It’s hard to believe, even when you’ve done it.
Sitting in the passenger’s seat you just pray that the driver knows what he’s doing. Sitting in the driver’s seat you’re not praying, your driving. And you’re doing these things:
- Listening to your coaches, spotters and gut instinct
- Listening to your navigator, if you have one
- Letting the car do it’s job; a 4 wheel drive is prepared for the challenges of the trail and is built to meet them
- Watching the ground ahead of you to anticipate where to go
- Listening to the car so you can give it what it needs, such as more accelerator, less accelerator, braking, low gear, downhill descent control and more
- Listening to your coaches and spotters. This is worth saying twice. These people are looking at the clearance and the wheels of the Jeep and where it will get traction to continue on the trail. As with most everything, success is a team effort
- Listen to your gut instinct. This is where you soar. You know you can do it, and your gut will tell you so—and reward you later with the most elated feeling ever
Phew. I Knew I Could Do It
I will admit I was nervous. I didn’t want to the the one to topple a brand new Wrangler off the top of a hill. But I listened to the coaches and spotters; I love that they are always so sure you can do what they want to teach you. And I never want to prove them wrong.
On this day, I did just that: I summited the hill and giggled more than just a bit while doing it. And then, we took a quiet, comfortable jostle-free ride back to the hotel where I could enjoy the thrill of the day and not be in pain from too jiggly of a ride.
What We Listened to in the Jeep Wrangler
Here are the songs we were inspired to listen to during our drive–a mix of old and new, low key and high energy, just like the Wrangler.
Disclosure: I was Jeep’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are all my own.