Exterior Appearance *****
Plato was interested in ideal forms. Your eyes are round, he taught, because somewhere there exists a perfect circle. May I present to you the archetypal SUV. In fact, the 2007 Wrangler is so perfectly formed, I can't even imagine how, say, a 2013 model can be made to look any better. (An extra gas can hanging off the back? Shovels mounted below the doors? Naw, too busy.) Luckily, and assuming DCX survives the new year, they'll have the better part of a decade to figure it out.
Interior Appearance ****
Jeep has a huge advantage here. Compared to other 'merican-side DCX products, buyers expect the interior to be cheap and hard. Just by adding a minimum of aesthetically minded ergonomics, designers made the Wrangler feel classier than it is. (It's like eating at Black Angus instead of Applebee's.) However, like the vehicle itself, the parts you touch the most have a reassuring solidity. The steering wheel, column stalks, door pulls and "oh shit!" bar all feel rugged. And nothing inspires more confidence than reaching up and grabbing a fist full of roll bar. Why not five stars? Ask a short female friend in heels to climb aboard. Want more laughs? Tell her to get in the back.
I'm giving it two stars because the Wrangler exists in the form of a painfully slow vehicle; zero-to-60 times are best left unmentioned. Relatively speaking, it deserves four stars, just because putting pedal to metal is such a hoot. The Jeep rears back on its haunches and the engine snorts — a horse-and-buggy experience that makes you think you're doing something quite dangerous, which you probably are.
Back to our general theory of relativity here. For an open-top Jeep, the new Wrangler's ride is superb. Compared to other SUVs with fully independent suspension setups, not so much. As the Rubicon is still a top-heavy, body-on-frame type affair — and you are longer than the wheelbase — the ride is fairly crude. There is a big however, however. There is a particularly brutal set of expansion joints near Dodger Stadium that I use to evaluate a vehicle's ride. In the Shelby GT500 traversing these road imperfections was miserable, highlighting just how primitive the ber-Mustang was underneath all the bluster. In the Wrangler, the ride is so ignoble that it seemed to leap from joint to joint. Imagine your favorite wooden roller coaster. You're driving it.