Monday, August 22, 2011

First Drive: 2012 Jeep Wrangler [w/video]

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2012 Jeep Wrangler

Despite the global economic crisis and the effect it's had on recreational vehicle sales, the Jeep Wrangler is doing better than ever in the icon's 70-year history, selling a record 14,355 units in July in the United States alone. That trend should lead to sales of more or less 150,000 units in 2011, with the added benefit of creating over 1,000 more jobs at the company's famous Toledo, Ohio plant as Fiat-Chrysler pushes to make the Wrangler an international hot seller.

Even though the introduction of the four-door Wrangler Unlimited deserves much of the credit for this growing success (it now accounts for 60 percent of sales), we wanted to grab a two-door model, as it's the purest model in the line. If you want to know just how addictive really good off-roading can be, grabbing the short-wheelbase model is a no-brainer. Two-door Wrangler fanatics like us have willingly lived with the paved-road compromises inherent in a short wheelbase, ladder-framed, mountain-climbing dirt dog. But plans are afoot within Fiat-Chrysler to address these on-road issues as the next-generation Wrangler is readied for 2014 or so.

We began our test drive on road in northern Oregon with a Wrangler Sahara painted Retina-Singe Blue with a matching removable hardtop. Once off in the woods, we switched to a red Wrangler Rubicon with an open soft-top - the best configuration we can think of as we prepare for the promised Apocalypse in 2012. (Hey, we saw the movie and Hollywood never lies.)

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2012 Jeep Wrangler [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Aug 2011 11:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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