Santa’s new red sled
Word on the street says Saint Nicholas recently traded this season’s sled for a new 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4X4.
Good choice, as the jolly old elf shares Jeep brand’s spirit of freedom, adventure and ‘go-anywhere’ fortitude.
Last week, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dropped off a 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara edition for a hill-and-dale romp across the Snow Belt.
Built in Toledo, Ohio, this Unlimited 4-door go-getter manages the throws of winter effortlessly with standard Command-Trac shift-on-the-fly part-time four-wheel drive.
Other silent allies include electronic stability and traction control, 4-wheel disc brakes, electronic roll mitigation, hill start assist and trailer sway damping system.
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited hauls a 3,500-pound towing capacity with interior cargo volume of 46.4 cubic feet behind the second row bench and 82 cu-ft with the rear seat folded.
Providing the momentum is a 3.6 liter V6 engine teamed to an available 5-speed automatic transmission for 285 horsepower.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard across Unlimited’s Sport, Sport S, Sahara and Rubicon line up.
An available Cold Weather Package adds such niceties as special BF Goodrich tires, engine block heater, heated front seats, heated power outside mirrors, all-weather floor mats and one touch power windows.
My Sahara tester comes with a Dual Top Group providing a three piece Freedom hardtop that features fully removable roof panels for open-air driving enjoyment. A black canvas soft top is also provided.
A rear window defroster and wiper along with a soft top side panel storage bag is part of the package content.
The hardtop is weather tight and greatly reduces outside road noise filtering into the five passenger cabin.
Inside temperature control is also evenly distributed and comfortably contained for front and back seat occupants. Heated front seats are standard on the Unlimited Sahara model.
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara is fun to drive on all surface conditions with responsive steering that connects the driver to the road.
However, Jeep’s knobby on/off-road tire tread grabs onto dry pavement imperfections and requires both hands on the wheel for safe and competent control.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the only four-door convertible SUV in today’s marketplace.
Base price for the 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4X4 starts at $35,240 with freight.