2011 Jeep Wrangler review

If the Donner Party had Jeeps, they never would have found themselves on the menu.

Jeeps can eat up just about any trail.

During a recent rock crawl through Utah, the state where the actual Donner wagon train hit its first delay of many on the move west, the Jeeps never got stuck. The complete Jeep lineup from the Compass to the Grand Cherokee made child's play of rocks, ridgelines and mountain passes.

My particular test vehicle, the new and improved 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, never stalled, stuttered or paused at any big boulder challenge in front of it. It was almost stoic as it glided up rock faces or down potential disasters for other vehicles. Four-wheel low gobbles up tough terrain, leaving any driver feeling as if he can conquer anything.

More importantly, the Wrangler Unlimited has been spruced up with a major interior overhaul that should appeal to people whose toughest off-road test is a two-track to the family cabin. The idea is pretty straightforward and somewhat the same as when Jeep introduced the Wrangler more than 20 years ago and the Unlimited five years ago: Attract more customers.

The Unlimited arrived in 2007 as the four-door, long wheelbase Wrangler. Most people at the time said, "Duh, where has this been?" It opened up a whole new market to Jeep enthusiasts who grew up and got themselves a family. The two-door Wrangler, while iconic and fun, could do just about everything but carry more than two adults. The Unlimited changed that.

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