Happened on the big Chrysler 300 and similar Dodge Charger sedans, too. The 2011s got the looks that made them worth considering. The 2012s have the guts that make them worth buying: a well-tuned eight-speed automatic transmission, wider availability of all-wheel drive, better navi/info system, nicer screen for displaying it.
Thus, the Wrangler. Body and interior got modernization for 2011, but the drivetrain carried over. The 2012 gets Chrysler’s modern Pentastar V-6 to replace a cranky old engine, and a five-speed automatic replaces the four-speed.
The big improvements for 2011 shouldn’t be dismissed too quickly. They brought the crusty Wrangler nearer today’s standards. For instance, bigger tailgate glass and side windows minimize claustrophobia. And mirror defoggers, heated seats, Bluetooth streaming audio to play tunes stored on your phone without plugging it in. All commendable.
Chrysler isn’t withholding features on purpose. It’s running to get new models into showrooms ASAP to generate revenue, and not everything is ready at once.
So, styling one year, drivetrain the next.
We had the chance to drive 2011 and 2012 Wrangler Unlimiteds (Jeep-speak for four doors) back-to-back.
Accelerating the 2011 is like trying to hurry a sleepy oaf by poking with a dull stick. Can be done, but wretchedly unsatisfying. Steering is slow. Ride is on the bouncy side, even for a Jeep.
The 2012’s new drivetrain and the suspension changes that accompany it, however, make the new one a Jeep to savor. Not only can you still do hardcore Jeep things — slam around off-road, take off the doors and the top, fold down the windshield — but now you also can take it home to meet the family.
Visit us at Kelly Jeep Chrysler and test drive the all-new (inside and under the hood) 2012 Jeep Wrangler with Chrysler’s brand new 3.6 L V6 Pentastar Engine! We’re located at 353 Broadway (Route 1 North) in Lynnfield, MA 01940