2011 Jeep Wrangler Review

A vastly improved interior for 2011, the Wrangler is still a Jeep’s Jeep

2011 Jeep Wrangler Review

Dirt roads. Paved highways. A narrow passageway through woods covered by water or snow. Regardless of the destination, the route is what really matters when the mode of transportation is the Jeep Wrangler.  


1. For 2011 the Wrangler gets a significant interior makeover that includes a new steering wheel with redundant controls, a new center stack and dash, added storage compartments and even heated lather front seats (a $700 option).

2. The Wrangler is sold in two-door and four-door versions with an MSRP range of $22,045 to $32,745. Out Wrangler Rubicon test car starts at $29,245.

3. Unchanged for 2011 is the engine with a 3.8L V6 that makes 202-hp and 237 lb-ft or torque with a terrible 15/19-mpg.

As the ‘need-to-be-somewhere’ crowd heaved shovelfuls of snow in back-busting unison to create exit paths for garage-stranded vehicles, the smiling ‘just-want-to-have-fun’ driver of a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon left tire tracks across a snow-congested driveway. It wasn’t the only time people gave an envious nod. Shifting from two-wheel drive to 4WD high at 40 mph instantly upped the SUV’s traction quotient, enabling the Wrangler to cut through choppy snowdrifts as two sedans and a pick-up truck became stuck on a snow-swamped expressway over the winter.

Offered in three trim levels—Sport, Sahara and Rubicon—the latter (our test model) is outfitted as the off-road warrior. Its two-speed transfer case provides a 4.0:1 low-range gear ratio, whereas the Sport and Sahara versions have a part-time, two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. The Wrangler Rubicon also includes electronic locking front and rear differentials, an electronic sway bar disconnect, and 32-inch BF Goodrich off-road tires.

While its massive tires give the Rubicon a claw-like grip on wet surfaces, on dry pavement the tires project a noisy interlude inside the passenger compartment. Even though Jeep engineers intensified the vehicle’s acoustical treatments for the 2011 model year, the Wrangler has never been—and still isn’t—a quiet SUV. With its military-use heritage, the this Jeep remains a duty-focused vehicle. Trudging through pothole-pitted roads, snow clogged arteries, and nasty off-road terrain is this compact SUV’s specialty.


The Wrangler’s dashboard stack display no longer seemingly borrows its inspiration from a stepladder. While the former interface point for radio, HVAC and other controls came across as a design afterthought, the current stack conveys an unbroken flow with its lower sitting, slightly wider presentation. Instrument panel controls remain appropriately sized for glove- or mitten-covered fingers, but now the dials are easier to reach. As a new feature, secondary buttons for cruise control, radio and other vehicle functions take position on a new, wider-spoke steering wheel.

Although the two-door Wrangler isn’t flush with stow spots, the makeover includes the addition of a bin on top of the instrument panel as well as a new lockable console. Wrangler’s rough-and tumble character gets softened as door armrests and other touch points are no longer rock hard. On bone-chilling outings, the best new-for 2011 upgrade is the heated front seats. Other updates include the addition of 12-volt accessory outlets, a new 115-volt outlet, Bluetooth streaming audio (part of the Media Center), and a passenger grab handle emblazoned with ‘Jeep Since 1941’.

Entering and exiting the two-door’s back seat is still challenging, so anyone taking rear seat duty needs super-flexible limbs. Two-door Wrangler’s cargo space behind the upright rear seat stays at just a tad more than 17-plus cubic feet, making the cargo bay considerably smaller than the Ford Escape, Honda Element and other compact SUVs. Although the Wrangler’s rear window is approximately 15 percent bigger than the predecessor, the driver’s rearward vision remains compromised by the rear seat headrests.

The Wrangler’s interior facelift is not, however, wrinkle-free. Although the carpeting is thicker than in 2010, it doesn’t fully cover floor panels. And the mechanical seat lever-adjusters frequently stutter and stammer when engaged. While far from a radical makeover, the revisions are noticeable and give the interior a more pulled together look and feel.


In off-road excursions, the Wrangler Rubicon’s 3.8-liter V6 is loaded with gusto, but the engine that produces 202 hp and 237 lb-ft of torque lacks pep on the highway. Drivers that intend to spend more time on-road than off-road need to note two fundamental realties: the Wrangler doesn’t unzip with acceleration, and it doesn’t take long to drain the 18.6-gallon fuel tank. EPA estimates for the two-door 4x4—whether fitted with the four-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission—are 15-mpg city and 19-mpg highway. In contrast, the Jeep Patriot in a 4×4 configuration snags estimated EPA fuel economy of 22/28-mpg with a 4-cylinder engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.

While the Wrangler is a one-trick pony in that it offers only a V6, the SUV seemingly has two ride and handling personalities. The on-road demeanor has an energetic, bouncy up and down rhythm while the off-road character reveals a slow, deliberate attitude. But the body-on-frame SUV’s driving dynamics grab with a charm that is uniquely Jeep Wrangler. The two-door’s 95.4-inch wheelbase and perfectly matched front and rear track (61.9 inches) compliment this SUV’s 10.2-inches of ground clearance and its substantial approach and departure angles.


Jeep Wrangler Rubicon’s interior alterations do a nice job of unifying the cabin presentation. Few vehicles strike all the right notes with regard to price, power, fuel economy, attributes, and capabilities, and the Wrangler is no exception. What truly stands out is Wrangler’s off-road prowess. What remains Wrangler’s nemesis, however, is finding a better balance between being a backwoods brute and wearing a halo on the highway.


2010 Nissan Pathfinder SE 4×4 Review 2010 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Review 2011 Dodge Durango Review – First Drive 2011 Ford Explorer Review – First Drive [Video] 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review: First Drive

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked