2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport S Review

A Blank Canvas is Best

2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport S Review

Like the Mazda Miata, the Wrangler is an unlimited fun machine. It’s a vehicle everyone needs to drive at least once in their lives. Nothing on the market gives the same raw, utilitarian feeling. I’ve driven several versions of the Jeepiest Jeep and one thing is always true: I feel like a kid again within minutes of getting behind the wheel.


Engine: 3.6L V6 makes 285 hp, 260 lb-ft of torque.

Transmission: Six-speed manual.

Fuel economy: 17 MPG city, 21 MPG highway. 18.1 MPG observed average.

Price: Starts at $23,390 after destination charges. Our Sport S model came to $28,645 as tested.

It’s a Jeep Thing

And it may be that youthful feeling that has given this Jeep one of the largest diehard fan bases in the entire automotive world. Owners of Wranglers live and breathe Jeeps. They’re part of secret society that gives each other the “Jeep wave” as they pass by on the street.

Officially on sale since 1987 as a replacement to the Jeep CJ, the Wrangler’s lineage dates back to World War II. Sticking to these roots, it is still equipped with solid axles and a low speed transfer case. Since owners love to modify and accessorize their Jeeps with a seemingly unlimited array of aftermarket accessories, lower trim models are popular.


Keep it Simple

Sure it’s possible to outfit a Wrangler with navigation, an Alpine audio system and locking Dana differentials front and rear, but where’s the fun and originality in that? For $23,390 after destination charges, a base 2015 Wrangler Sport can be purchased with a six-speed manual transmission and a 3.6-liter V6 making 285 hp and 260 lb-ft. of torque. This price point means puny 16-inch wheels and open differentials, but it’s a blank canvas for the true Jeep enthusiast to begin adding items like lift kits, 32-inch mud tires, rugged locking differentials and winches.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Review


The Sport comes standard with a soft top roof although you can pay $995 for the hardtop as a standalone option. With side windows that can be unzipped from the outside, a soft top Wrangler is as secure as sending your banking information through an email claiming you won an offshore lottery. This means valuables need to be removed from the Jeep at all times or kept in the lockable center console and/or glove box.

Power Options Need Not Apply

With no power windows, power locks and power mirrors, a Jeep owner’s favorite pastime of removing the side doors is an easy task since there is no wiring to worry about. Rear seat passengers have ample space thanks to 35.6 inches rear legroom and unlimited headroom when the top is down. The rear seats can also be removed to offer 61.2 cubic feet of cargo space or 56.5 with them folded but still installed. With passengers in the back, that space diminishes to just over 17 cubic feet.

The Wrangler features a flat, high-mounted dash that puts all the controls well within reach of the driver. My test vehicle isn’t the absolute base model as it’s the Sport S version optioned with the connectivity group, a 3.73 rear axle ratio (3.21 is standard), the Mopar black appearance group and a more premium soft top roof. This brings the price up to $28,645 after destination charges, which is quite an increase from the base model, but a lot of these options could easily be left off of the build sheet.


Big Tires, Solid Axles

The Sport S model also upgrades the base 16-inch steel wheels to aluminum 17-wheels wearing wider 255/75R17 rubber. Although not much of a difference in performance is felt on road, these tires do give the Jeep a proper aggressive stance for those owners not ready to upgrade their Jeep into a mud bogger quite yet.

With two solid axles and a rugged off-road suspension, ride comfort is not a priority. The Wrangler bounces down the road with the suspension bounding and rebounding over the smallest of pavement imperfections. Particularly rough roads can get the vehicle sufficiently upset to start wagging its tail involuntarily.


Tractor Tranny

The current six-speed manual transmission is a much more refined unit than found in previous Wranglers, but still very agricultural in its operation. Throws are long, engagement rubbery and all actions need to be made slow and deliberately. Once in gear, the shift lever shakes like an addict in withdrawal. Sometimes when reaching for fifth gear, I’d push the lever over too far towards reverse.

The Wrangler has never been a pillar of fuel efficiency and the latest model is no different. Despite improvements made to bump up fuel economy, the Wrangler is still officially rated at 17 MPG in the city and 21 MPG on the highway. During my week with the vehicle I averaged an as expected 18.1 MPG.

SEE ALSO: 2016 Jeep Wrangler May Ditch Solid Axles

For a 3,760-lb. vehicle as aerodynamic as an office building, that isn’t too bad. Designed for tackling off-road trails, this Jeep is not at home on the highway. Wandering worse than a conversion with someone suffering from ADHD, the Wrangler requires full attention when piloting it at speed to keep it in a straight line. Wind noise also becomes excessive above 60 MPH as the air relentlessly slams into the flat front windshield.


The Verdict

The Wrangler is especially quirky and that’s a big part of what makes it appealing. Jeep owners are proud to mount stickers on their rides declaring “it’s a jeep thing you wouldn’t understand”. Even though I’m not an owner, I fully understand the affection people have for these unrefined off-roaders. They’re unique vehicles with go anywhere capabilities that promise freedom and a good time.

« 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