The 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara is a blissful retreat from the everyday vehicle. I have to believe that at some point in our lives everyone wants to drive around in a Wrangler on a sunny day with the top off. The Wrangler Unlimited I tested gave me an opportunity to live out this dream, and also reminded me that at some point we all have to wake up.
The Wrangler Unlimited is a 4-door version of the regular Wrangler. This made me happy because the kids could get in and out on their own. The fun part about the Jeep was that there are so many pieces and parts that can come off, be put on, fold up, fold down, and convert. The most predominant aspect of these traits is the Freedom Top, a set of three hard panels you can remove from the top of the Wrangler. The front two panels over the front seats are pretty easy to take off.
The rear panel (which is actually the top and back of the Wrangler) requires a Torx wrench to remove. In addition, you have to disconnect some wires, but Jeep has made this very easy with plugs on the end you just remove from the outlets.
The more interesting point is that the Jeep is fun. Even parents on my block were interested in this vehicle for their families. It’s so fun in fact, that I was reticent to let these parents in on the downer side of the Wrangler Unlimited-the safety. I’ve never been one to glaze over some safety issues, so…
I know, boo on me for being a buzzkill. But the fact is that the Wrangler Unlimited doesn’t do so well in side impact tests or rear crash protection tests conducted by the IIHS. The Wrangler scored an “M” in these tests, standing for Marginal. The IIHS scores vehicles with Good as the highest ranking, Acceptable as the next, Marginal below that, and Poor at the bottom. That being said, IIHS gave the Wrangler a “G” rating for the frontal offset test, and NHTSA gives a 5-star rating for front passengers in their frontal crash test. There, you’ve been informed.
But will you care? The bright green paint job was perfect on the Wrangler, reminding me of the military roots. I also had a couple chrome packages that really amped up the look of the Jeep. Who knew such a rugged vehicle would look so good with some sparkle? And the rough ride just adds to the outdoorsy, who-gives-a-rip, I-love-Jeeps mentality that envelops me every time I start the engine.
I have to confess, maybe I did give a rip about getting the Jeep messy. The floors can be washed off with a hose, and a Wrangler just isn’t looking right unless there’s some dirt on it. But when it started to rain one day I couldn’t help but put the top panels back on for fear something might melt. No, I didn’t care about my hairdo.
I also didn’t care about the mileage during my test, which maybe I would over time. The Wrangler Unlimited gets an estimated 15/19 mpgs, so consider that if you want the Wrangler to be your commuter car. I didn’t care about the $28,905 base price either, but I did flinch at the total price of my test car landing at $37,080. The optional features were the aforementioned chrome package, the media center which includes CD/DVD/HDD/NAV, 30GB hard drive with 4250 song capacity, and Uconnect phone with voice command. There’s a tow group, and a remote start system.
But what peeves me a little is that there are supplemental front-seat mounted airbags that are optional, not standard. Those should be standard in my book.
The 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is a blast. It was great to be a Jeep driver and live the dream for a week. Knowing what I know about the safety issues though, keeps the Jeep at arm’s length for this girl.
On our TFLcar recommendation scale of:
– Buy it
– Lease it
– Rent it or
– Forget it
I would recommend Rent It to people like myself.
If you are willing to overlook the safety issues and maybe scale back the options to make the Jeep fall into a more reasonable price range, I say Lease It!
If you are an off-roader (and I mean a real one, not just taking the Jeep on a dirt road from time to time) you don’t need me to tell you to Buy It! But I will anyway….
Growing up in Colorado Sara Lacey was always kind to her cars. These days however, she spends her time punishing automobiles with the help of her children. Reviewing cars from the unique perspective of a woman and mom, Sara also writes for MotherProof.com and Cars.com. In addition, she sits on the board of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press Association.