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2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4x4 Chicagoland Review By Larry Nutson

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2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4x4

2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4x4 For over seven decades

by Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Jeep is one of the world’s true icons and is now in its 72nd year. Jeep just keeps on keepin’ on. Last year the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited got an all-new powertrain. For 2013 the concentration is on interior improvements of this legend.

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My week-long tester was a 2013 Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4x4 finished in a very bright and lively Dozer Clear Coat paint. The base price on this Jeep is $25,695 and with options such as a Connectivity Group, 5-speed Automatic, 3-piece hardtop, Alpine premium audio system, anti-spin differential, SiriusXM satellite radio, and shipping the price maxed-out at $32,310.

Now if you’re inclined to be a Jeep driver, whether it be in the 2-door Wrangler that is priced starting around $22K going up to $30K, or the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited with pricing from $25K to $34K, the range of offerings will fit most any budget.

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For 2013, front and rear seats are a new design having been re-contoured and with larger bolsters. Longer drives should be more comfortable and support is better for off-roading. Wrangler Unlimited gets a new release handle for the rear seat fold-down function allowing one hand operation. New interior courtesy lighting is under the instrument panel as well as in the cup holder areas for front and rear passengers. An auto-dimming electro chromatic mirror is standard on all models and feature LED map lights for front passengers.

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The Alpine premium speaker system is available for standard and navigation-equipped audio systems, and an optional premium Tire Pressure Monitor system can gives direct read-outs for each individual tire. Jeep Wrangler offers many options for top configurations from soft to body-color three-piece hard tops. New for 2013 is a revised soft top on Unlimited models that is easier to raise and lower for one person.

Another highlight is the addition of a premium soft top. Available on all models, the new, premium soft top is easier to clean and a more upscale material. Consisting of three layers, the new top also helps reduce interior noise and is easier to fasten. The Haartz Corporation, a leading global manufacturer of soft top convertible material, is the supplier. The new, premium soft top uses Haartz’s Twillfast RPC which is an acoustically enhanced three-ply composite made of acrylic twill weave outer fabric, a rubber inner layer and polyester lining fabric. The rubber inner layer provides enhanced acoustics.

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Both Wrangler Rubicon and Sahara models have new wheel designs. Rubicon models now get a more aggressive 17-inch 10-hole alloy wheel with polished accents and a mid-gloss gray painted inner face running 255/75R17 BFG Mud Terrain tires; Sahara models feature an 18-inch five-hole alloy wheel with a polished lip and sparkle silver painted inner face and 255/70R18 Bridgestone Dueler tires. Also, dual windshield washer nozzles are now standard to improve windshield cleaning.

To kick off the 2013 model year, Jeep Wrangler debuted a limited-edition model named after one of the most popular off-road destinations in the world – Moab, Utah. The Jeep Wrangler Moab is based on the Wrangler Sahara model and is equipped with hardware popular with off-roading enthusiasts.

The editors of Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine have given their top honor – “4x4 of the Year” – to the new 2013 Jeep® Wrangler Moab edition. And, the Wrangler Moab edition also received the “Four Wheeler of the Year” award from the editors of Four Wheeler magazine. For the third consecutive year, Jeep® Wrangler has been named Best Resale Value in its class by Kelley Blue Book’s Wrangler also landed on’s Top 10 list for the second year in a row.

Automotive journalists and elite athletes from a variety of sports gave the Jeep Wrangler the “Best Value Off-Road” award among Active Lifestyle Vehicle (ALV) winners for 2013.

The 285HP 3.6-liter V6 coupled to the 5-speed automatic do a nice job of moving the Wrangler. EPA fuel economy is nothing to brag about at 18 combined mpg, with 16 city mpg and 20 highway mpg. The Wrangler Unlimited Sport’s 22.5 gallon fuel tank does help make fuel stops less frequent.

I don’t love the Wrangler for Chicagoland city driving nor on the open highway. But…give me some wide-open spaces and the Jeep Wrangler is THE vehicle to be driving.

© Larry Nutson