2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the answer to a question no one was asking.

The basic two-door Wrangler is an institution. Few cars can take you anywhere for so little money. It’s not flashy; it’s not meant to be. The interior is cheap but functional. The dashboard has what you need and nothing more (unless you spring for the navigation system, which sorta defeats the purpose of “getting lost” off-road). It’s not a car you’d take to the opera, but to an amphitheater ten miles from the nearest road.

There’s plenty of cargo room. Plenty. Fit and finish are less than stellar. The steering wheel wasn’t on straight. The passenger door wouldn’t close without slamming. It drove well enough, but the stick shook in my hand under acceleration off the line. Speaking of which, the Unlimited wanted more gas from a standing start than my right foot wanted to give. I’m ashamed to admit I stalled it twice. I had to rev it well above two-k to get it going. Yeah, not gonna happen on a daily basis with EPA estimates of 15 city/19 highway.

It doesn’t have door springs, but straps that keep it from going too far. Full frame doors, half frame doors; ragtop, hardtop; steel wheels or…chrome? Seriously? Jeep has tried to civilize the restless native in their midst, forgetting that every other model in their lineup serves that need.

And to further this process, they added over twenty inches to the wheelbase and a set of doors for the rear passengers, creating the Unlimited model. Must mean the back seat has First Class legroom, right? Business Class? Economy? Two inches, are you effing kidding me? That’s the kind of math that’s gotten the Big Three into a financial mess from which they may never recover.

And on the road, the extra length makes itself known. Even their literature admits that the turning radius goes from 34.9 feet to 41.2. Six feet! All for two inches of legroom in a cramped rear seat that could have used most of that twenty?

And they want how much for that? $23,815?! That’s over two grand more than a standard Wrangler.

Jeep has, in an effort to expand the brand, lost their way. If the rumors are true and Fiat wants to join Chrysler’s band of merry men, maybe they can start by showing the Jeep kids some basic math, followed by some lessons in packaging efficiency (see the Fiat 500).


The Generalissimo should have been in his element. The Wrangler Unlimited was Jeep’s version of his beloved LM002. We didn’t have a chance to take her off-road, so we stuck to city streets.

“It feels…heavy,” he said. He wasn’t yelling, which was never a good sign.

“It is heavy,” I said. Forty-two hundred pounds or so, give or take passenger weight.

“Can you move the seat up, dude?” Zak the Intern asked. I complied. “Thanks.”


“Not really.”

The Generalissimo stood on the brakes. I heard Zak’s skull conk into the speaker housing set in the roll bar behind my head.

“Good brakes,” I said. I made a note of it in my log.

“They’re…fine,” the Generalissimo said.

I could smell the melancholy. “Trouble at home?” I ventured.

“It’s…it’s nothing.”

“Okay.” He took a turn at a reasonable rate of speed. “I’m told I’m a good listener.” I’m told no such thing.

“It’s my counterpart, the Generalissima. She’s…she’s displeased.”

Ah, crap. “If this is about what I said regarding her hair, I only meant—”

“She does not care about your opinions. No, she found out that I’d ruined her favorite ball gag when I used it to beat that fake Nigerian prince unconscious.”

“Uh…” The things I don’t need to know about…

He pulled to the side of the road. “I cannot continue. The intern may drive.”

“Yes!” Zak yelled. He got out.

“Oh hell no.” I chased him down and pinned him to the spare tire bolted to the tailgate. The last time he drove, he tried to play chicken with a line of full trashcans. Needless to say, they won after he flinched too late. ARDVARC’s insurance adjuster was les than amused.

I dragged Zak to the front passenger seat and stuffed him in the Jeep. The Generalissimo got in the back, between the front seats. Riding the hump we used to call it. I got in the driver’s seat and started the Jeep.

“I said I was sorry, dude,” Zak said to me.

“Sorry won’t replace the front end of an eighty thousand dollar Audi.” I adjusted the mirrors. The Generalissimo sighed. “Sir, would you like to stop on the way back?”

“Stop? No, I’m fine.” Another sigh.

“There’s a new bakery downtown…”

“A new…indeed?”


He smiled. “Then stop lollygagging! Let us commence! Ha ha!”

I pulled out, then made a quick left.

“And if we could stop at the adult entertainment store on the way, the Generalissima would be most pleased!”

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