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2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4×4 Test Drive

posted by Malcolm Hogan  
Filed under Automotive, Featured, Jeep, Test Drives

2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4×4 – ‘MORE DOORS AND MORE FUN IN THE SUN’

The 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited remains the only four-door convertible on the market. With room for five adults, it features the most cargo space ever offered in a Wrangler, plus class-leading off-road capability and everyday practicality.

Whether you have many similar lifestyle friends or a family of five with an active lifestyle, the Wrangler Unlimited has won of the customers who always wanted a Jeep, but also needed more space and versatility. By adding 20.6in. to the standard two-door’s 95.4in. wheelbase, the Unlimited’s 116in. wheelbase allows for a larger rear seat and significantly more occupant and cargo room.

Unlike the four-wheel-drive only configuration of the standard Jeep Wrangler, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is also available in two-wheel-drive. All Jeep Wrangler Unlimited models use the same tough body-on-frame construction, full-framed or half doors, exposed hinges, fold-down windshield and innovative convertible tops.

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Additionally, the Unlimited models add refinement to the mix with standard Hill Start Assist (HAS) that prevents rollback on graded surfaces. Trailer Sway Control (TSC) also is optional to monitor vehicle movement relative to the intended path and activates the Electronic Stability Program if the trailer begins to sway outside set parameter.

First introduced in the 2008 model year, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, a true off-road warrior, gets new colors, a Sunburst Orange Pearl Coat, that I tested, and Deep Water Blue Pearl Coat. Inside is a drop-in bin with coin slots added to center stack and storage nets added to the lower center stack and the sides.

The 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited stands out with its four-door, open-air design and Jeep brand signature design cues: classic round halogen headlamps, seven-slot grille, trapezoidal wheel flares and exposed hinges. The Unlimited’s styling is marked with taut lines, sharp angles, flat surfaces and subtle curves, giving Wrangler Unlimited a timeless quality: traditional but not stodgy, rugged but not intimidating, strong without being overdone. The result is a design that is simple, strong, purposed built yet contemporary.
While its legendary off-road capabilities are well known, the 2009 edition also boosts another feature that appeals to a growing number of customers: a spacious interior that takes comfort and convenience to new lengths.

Interior space equals 102.9cu.ft., providing room for five adult passengers and delivering more cargo storage and seating configurations than any previous Wrangler. Front seat legroom is 41in. and 37.2in. in the rear. With the rear seats upright, you get 46.4cu.ft. of cargo space, and 83cu.ft. of space with the second row 60/40 fold-flat split-seats down.

All four doors are front-hinged, with inside and outside handles, and windows that lower completely. Rear doors feature exposed forged hinges, open a full 90-degrees and provide a 30.5in.-wide opening. Power windows with front one-touch operation are optional, with a plug-in/out capability that still allows the Unlimited’s doors to be removed.

The 2009 Wrangler Unlimited offers several top options. Standard is the innovative Sunrider soft top, which includes a ‘sun roof’ in addition to the full top-down option.

Jeep’s Freedom Top, a three-piece modular hard top, is optional. This system features three panels-left and right front-passenger panels and a rear panel-providing more options for open-air driving. And, of course, either top many be completely removed for a true open-air experience as you travel during your off-road adventures.

Capability has always been the core attribute of the Jeep Wrangler, starting with the basics. While improving its legendary 4X4 Jeep capability, the 2009 Jeep Wrangler benefits from a frame that is 100% stiffer than before and a body structure that is 50% stiffer.

Suspension is a refined five-link coil setup with tuned shock absorbers. It works with Dana 30 front axles and next-generation heavy-duty Dana 44 rear axle. With a high ground clearance combined with short front and rear overhangs, the Wrangler Unlimited is able to conquer incredibly challenging off-road obstacles, especially severe inclines. Off-road lovers recognize the key numbers: a large breakover and departure angles and a front skidplate with underbody protection provided for the fuel tank, transfer case and automatic transmission oil pan.

The only engine available is a 3.8 liter V6 producing 202hp and 237lb.ft. of torque mated to a standard 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic with O/D off button. the Sahara model is equipped with the second-generation Command-Trac NV241 part-time, two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. An optional Trac-Lok limited-slip differential provides extra torque and grip during slippery, low-traction situations, such as driving over sand, gravel, snow or ice. Further enhancing grip, traction and also providing a smooth ride on pavement are the standard, 18X8in. machined cast aluminum wheels wrapped with giant 255/40R18in. 31in. on-off road tires.

On-road balance is the 2009 Wrangler Unlimited is refined with mimimal body lean while cornering. Suspension geometry provides precise ride and handling characteristics, while lower suspension spring rates provide a softer, more comfortable on-road ride. More braking power is provided with power assisted, 12in. vented discs up front and 11in. solid discs in the rear. Braking power and control is further enhanced with ABS and Brake Assist. And ESP system which aids you in maintaining vehicle directional stability in severe driving maneuvers on any type of surface, is standard and features three modes-full on, full off and partial on. This system works in conjunction with standard traction control and electronic roll mitigation.

The 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara model comes with a long list of standard equipment including A/C, power windows with one-touch down in front, power door locks, remote keyless entry, AM-FM/SIRIUS Satellite stereo radio with in-dash CD/MP3, 368-watt, 7-speaker audio system with 7-speakers and a subwoofer, reclining front bucket seats with height adjustable driver-seat, stain repellent-stain/odor/static resistant fabric, security alarm, premium instrument panel with easy to reach dials, buttons and switches, dual cup-holders, large storage bin and armrest, temperature and compass readouts, leather-wrapped/tilting steering wheel, auxiliary 12-volt power outlet, sport rollbar with full padding, rear compartment covered storage, bright interior accents, thick-cut pile carpeting with front/rear floor mats, tubular side steps, fog lamps, halogen headlamps, variable intermittent wipers/washers, rear wiper/washer/defogger, two front tow hooks/one rear hook, 3,500lb. towing capacity with the trailer tow group option, deep-tint sunscreen glass, body-color fender flares, and bright bumper overlays.

Options include a 3.75 axle ratio, remote start, and Chrysler’s Navigation System.
Standard safety equipment includes advanced multi-stage airbags, belt-alert, child-protection rear door locks, load limiters/pretensioners up front, 3-point belts for all five seating positions, front/rear crumple zones, energy-absorbing steering column, interior head-impact protection, LATCH system for child seats. Optional is side-impact front airbags.

The Jeep Wrangler is revered all over the world for its spectacular off-road ability ‘right out of the box’, and the four-door Unlimited model just makes it more appealing to consumers looking for a 5-passenger on-road/off-road vehicle without equal for the price that starts at just $23,345.00, and $32,975.00 for the fully loaded Sahara model that I tested and thoroughly enjoyed.

COPYRIGHT:2008:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

Specifications

Price: MSRP $28,695 Invoice $26,194
Type: Midsize SUV
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Sport Utility Vehicles

Dimensions

Exterior
Length: 173.4 in.
Width: 73.9 in.
Height: 70.8 in.
Wheel Base: 116 in.
Ground Clearance: 10.2 in.
Curb Weight: 4269 lbs.
Gross Weight: 5400 lbs.
Interior
Front Head Room: 41.3 in.
Front Hip Room: 55.6 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 55.8 in.
Rear Head Room: 40.4 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 56.8 in.
Rear Hip Room: 56.7 in.
Front Leg Room: 41 in.
Rear Leg Room: 37.2 in.
Luggage Capacity: 46.4 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 87 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 6 Base Engine Size: 3.8 liters
Base Engine Type: V6 Horsepower: 202 hp
Max Horsepower: 5200 rpm Torque: 237 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4000 rpm Maximum Payload: 1000 lbs.
Maximum Towing Capacity: 3500 lbs. Drive Type: 4WD
Turning Circle: 41.3 ft.

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 22.5 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway)
Manual: 15 mpg / 19 mpg Automatic: : 15 mpg / 20 mpg
Range in Miles: (City/Highway)
Automatic: 337.5 mi. / 450 mi. Manual: 337.5 mi. / 427.5 mi.

 

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