Tips FOR BUYING A Used / Preowned Car, Truck, Jeep or Van

Advice for BUYING A Used / Preowned Car, Truck, Jeep or Van

The first thing to do when buying a used car, is to know how much money, you are willing to spend, knowing what money you have to start with and what is the maximum you are willing to pay, is a good way to stay on top of the negotiations, cause there’s always negotiations.
Car dealerships will always try to sell you a more expensive car than the one you want.Always have in mind the total price of the automobile, cause monthly payments can fool you, 180$ a month can seem really nice but if you calculate the total cost, it could be very high.And think ahead; maybe now, you can afford to pay a monthly payment of 400$ but what about next year, or the next?Will you have money left each month after you pay all your bills?, and still have some left if some unforeseen expenses arise?So, if you have not been scared yet, good for you!Let’s stop talking about money, and start talking about how to choose a used car:Do you have any model in mind?Any preferred brand?

And don’t say I’m just looking for a cool shiny car! We won’t get too far if that’s the case, although the car salesman would be rubbing his hands.

You should look for a brand that has good reviews, reliability and good scores on security.
SUVs’ and luxury cars are very expensive to maintain, and they burn gas like it was water, so take that in account.

The best second hand cars are between 2 and 5 years, check the car’s maintenance sheets you want a car that has his oils changed regularly and that hasn’t gone through mayor repair issues.

How to check a used car

Check the general condition of the car, if it has rust don’t buy it, unless it comes from a scratch, rusty cars even if they are repaired, always has problems.

Don’t be put off by some scratches on the car; the important thing is that the car is in good mechanical condition, you can use the scratches to get the dealer to apply some discounts.

Check the interior of the car: if the seats and the driving wheel are worn out, it means that the car has been used a lot, check the air conditioner too see if it works, the CD player, the lights etc.

The mileage is important but not the most important thing, a good mileage for a used car is 10.000 miles per year.

Is the trunk in good condition? A worn out trunk is sign of a very used car.

If you find a car that’s only one or two years old, make sure you know where it comes from before buying it, people don’t sell cars so new without a reason, some have problems that the previous owner couldn’t live with or didn’t find a solution to, an insurance company write off, a car that’s been used by a lease company, so make sure you know what you getting into.

Open the hood and look inside.

Okay now we are looking at the engine, In this case the best thing would be, to have someone with mechanic knowledge to check the car for you, if you don’t have a mechanic friend, it’s about time to meet one, they are very useful! I’m kidding! Well, Maybe not,think about it.

You can always hire a mechanic to go with you to check the car; it’s going to be your car for a long time, so it’s a good idea, you can do this after you have visited some dealers and have a list of the automobiles you like.

The VIN number

Where were we? Oh yeah the open hood, Okay, first we have to look at the VIN number (the vehicle verification number)

it’s inside the car in the drivers side, in the windshield, you can see the number from outside the car.
That number has to match the one on the fender, and on the cars papers, the VIN numbers are located where the hood joins the car, usually in the middle, there has to be a metal piece with numbers, if it doesn’t match or if there’s no number on the fender, it means that car’s fender has been changed, could have been in an accident.

Check here for welding they could have change the fender, look at the bolts on the fender in the hood frame if there are scratches it could indicate that the fender could have been replaced due to a bad accident.

The hoses and belts of the engine shouldn’t have cracks, check the engine oil, if it’s too black it means the oil hasn’t been changed in a while, if it has a beige substance on the dipstick it could be a symptom of head gasket leakage.

If the engine parts are too clean it could mean they have cleaned it to disguise some leakage problems.

And if the engine is too dirty it may mean that it hasn’t been well maintained.

Now, close the hood and put some force in the frontal corner of the car and push it downwards, yeah do it, we are checking the suspension, the car has to bounce right up when you do this, it should bounce only once, if it keeps bouncing that would mean problems.

Look at the transmission dipstick; is the fluid red or pink colored? The correct answer is yes, if not, is not necessarily bad, but the dipstick should never be burned or smell like it was burned.

Timing belt

Now the timing belt, this is very important because if the timing belt breaks, it could cost you more than 500$ to replace it, so make sure that it has been replaced.

Check the service history of the car, see if it has been replaced, they usually have to be replaced from 60 to 100 thousand miles, so if the car you’re looking at, is inside that mileage ask about it, if the car doesn’t have that mileage yet, check the timing belt for signs of tears.
If the timing belt is a chain, then great, you don’t have to worry about it.


Check the treads there should be more 2 mm of treads depth on the tire, the sidewalls shouldn’t be damaged.

All the tires should be equally worn, if not, it could mean that they have suspension, tracking or steering wheel problems.

If the tires of the back or more worn out that the tires from the front, or vice verse, it could mean that the tires have been changed at different times.

Get behind the car and look at their alignment.

Inspection of the engine beneath the car

Kneel on the front and look under the engine, you should look at the guy front the dealership, If he’s not nervous after all the checks you done, it’s a good thing.

Look at the engine for any brown or black stains, but don’t you dare ask the seller:
“where is the engine?”
Because we lose the upper hand, he has to think you’re an expert on this, that you are capable of leaving him without a sell just because the car has a sticker you don’t agree with.

Anyway, there has to be no stains on the engine or nearby, because this could become an expensive fix in the future, the belts shouldn’t have cracks or be overly dry.

Check for frame damage, sometimes car have a bad accident, they save the half that has not been damaged and they weld it with another similar car half, so if there’s signs of welding, run away!!

You can get up now, but we are not done, let’s look at the oil filter cap, right were you put the gas on the car, it shouldn’t have a foamy substance, if it has, get away from that car it has a leakage.
Okay I think we are done, oh one more thing…

don’t ever buy a car that smells funny, well if it’s funny maybe is good, but never one that smells badly, you will never get the odor out of it.

f you live in the United States you could order a History report,to make sure your car hasn’t been in a car accident, all you need is the VIN number, there are some websites that sends you a report, it tells you if this car has mayor repairs, safety ratings, has been in an accident, they even check police records, etc.    Tips FOR BUYING A Used / Preowned Car, Truck, Jeep or Van.


Don’t forget to ask for the kind of warranty you are going to get.

Of course you have to pay, the most trusted one and cheapest, 7$ per car is NMVTIS, this website has been set up with the help of the federal government, because of the little information that other commercial sites like Carmax and Autocheck offered, so spending three times less you get a more accurate record.

haven’t tried it, so I can’t recommend it, but here’s the homepage so you can take a look:

For the best prices and selection of used cars and trucks in Louisville, KY and Southern Indiana, please go here:

After all this looking for used cars and following the advice for buying a car, you may think ” is it worth it ? ” well, yeah it is, you can find a good used car at a great price,after all new cars can turn out bad too.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Moab Long-Term Road Test Review, Information for Sales & Service

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Moab Long-Term Road Test

April 5, 2013

2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

The Easter Jeep Safari in Moab is a big deal. Jeeps and Jeepers take over the town for the week, which makes it a natural place for Jeep, the corporation, to wade in and mingle with the Jeep faithful.

Once I arrived I participated in some of these Jeep-organized Jeep activities, which means I would park our 2012 Jeep Wrangler while I Jeeped in some of Jeep’s Jeeps.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

But first there was a warm-up run over Hurrah Pass to Chicken Corners. This is an easy trail, but the scenery is stunning. I wouldn’t be surprised if our Honda CR-V could get here, but don’t take that as a guarantee that it’ll make it up here. There are rocks and ledges that require clearance along the way.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

Next day we hooked up with Jeep to try some of their production equipment on Elephant Hill, a more difficult trail that is a good test of unmodified stock Jeeps.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

They brought a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel with the height-adjustable air suspension option, a combination I drove in Austin, Texas a month ago. But this trail was much more serious, despite the rather calm scene depicted here.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

The axle articulation isn’t huge, but the sophisticated 4×4 drive system makes up for it, at least on this trail. I glanced at the tachometer a few times while climbing some tough obstacles and noticed the engine was giving me everything I needed at just 1,100 or 1,200 rpm.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

There was a 2013 10th Anniversary Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. The 10th Anniversary package combines all of the Rubicon stuff we’re used to, plus hill descent control and a TMPS system that finally displays all four individual tire pressures.

There are trick new bumpers, too. The front one can hold a winch and has removable outer ends that can be unbolted to create a “shorty” bumper for extra obstacle clearance. The rear one has a fitting to accept a swing-away tire carrier.

The tires are 32-inch versions of the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires on our own 2012 Wrangler project car. Two huge vents are built into the hood and the interior is dotted with 10th Anniversary touches.

Elephant Hill is far too easy for this one.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

I hadn’t driven the new-for-2013 Moab version yet, but we might have started with one of these if this model had existed when we began our 2012 Jeep Wrangler project.

Why? It’s pretty much a Sport with a rear locker, rock rails and a winch-capable front bumper (but not the unique configurable one on the Rubicon.) It has the same axles and 2.7-to-1 transfer case that we have, and the tires fall somewhere between the 29-inch rim protectors our Jeep came with and the knobbies found on a Rubicon.

That rear locker is very nice to have. And so are the rock rails, especially on this four-door Unlimited. And it’s nice to know that you don’t need to buy a new bumper if you want to add a winch.

Elephant Hill is not a terrible puzzle for this one, but the locker was necessary a few times. And the long Unlimited wheelbase required a few three-point turns in places where the two-door simply made the turn. The four-door’s less favorable breakover angle also puts it right on the edge of needing a lift for anything rockier than this.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

Elephant Hill is an in-and-out trail with several one-way sections because it’s simply way too narrow to let others pass in many stretches. One of the viewpoints ends where a small hike leads you to the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers at the Center of the Park.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

I don’t have pictures of the toughest obstacles because I was too busy driving over them. For example, there’s a whole switchback section that’s far too tight to make any turns. You drive forward up one switchback and then reverse up the next. I have some Go-Pro video that I’ll post when I get it edited and uploaded.

Elephant Hill is a beautiful trail in a stunning national park about 90 minutes drive south of downtown Moab. Go and do it sometime. You can rent a Rubicon right there in Moab if you don’t own one.

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2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Review, Information, Selection, Inventory, Sales, Parts and Service

  • 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in five trims: Laredo, Laredo X, Limited, Overland and Overland Summit. For 2013, an all-new off-road-tuned Trailhawk model is available, and the performance-oriented SRT8 carries over. The base Grand Cherokee comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine paired to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Standard features include a six-speaker stereo system and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Higher trims come with features like a backup camera, a voice-activated navigation system and heated front and back seats. The Grand Cherokee was last redesigned in 2011, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 to 2013 model years.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Review


Overall: 8.1
Critics’ Rating: 8.3
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 8.1
Safety: 9.2

Pros & Cons

  • High-quality interior materials
  • Excellent off-road performance
  • Comfortable, roomy back seat
  • Powerful engine options
  • Below-average cargo space for the class
  • Sparse standard features for the price

Research Other Years

  • 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee ranks 4 out of 21 Affordable Midsize SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of 30 published reviews and test drives of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee is ranked:

  • #4in Affordable Midsize SUVs
  • #1in Off-Road SUVs
  • #4in Affordable SUVs with 2 Rows

Thanks to its excellent on- and off-road performance, good safety scores and well-designed interior, the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the top midsize SUVs in the class.

The base Grand Cherokee comes with a V6 engine, which test drivers say supplies good power. A more powerful 5.7-liter V8 engine is optional. There is also an SRT8 performance model, which gets applause from the automotive press for its outstanding 470-horsepower V8 engine and sporty handling. All engines are paired to an automatic transmission. Test drivers think the Grand Cherokee has excellent off-road performance and they like its comfortable on-road ride. Critics say the steering feels well-connected to the road as well. Fuel economy is rated up to 17/23 mpg city/highway according to the EPA, which is about average for the class.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the 2013 Best 2-Row Midsize SUV for Familiesbecause it has the best combination of quality, size and family-friendly features in its class.

Reviewers agree that the Grand Cherokee’s interior is one of the best in the class. The auto press says the cabin has comfortable seats in both rows, good fit and finish and intuitive controls and gauges. Where many midsize SUVs seat at least seven or eight, the Grand Cherokee only has seating for five. Fewer seats do not mean increased cargo space, though, as the Grand Cherokee’s cargo capacity is below the class average. Still, test drivers note that the Grand Cherokee should accommodate most owners’ things and has ample cabin storage. The base trim is fairly sparsely-equipped. You’ll have to check off option boxes or opt for an upper trim level to get features like a backup camera, satellite radio and a voice-activated navigation system.

  • “A stunning interior bolstered by cutting-edge infotainment and electronics systems awaits the lucky occupants while, underneath, Jeep’s legendary 4-wheel-drive (4WD) systems prove the Grand Cherokee hasn’t gone weak when it comes to its off-road capabilities.” – Kelley Blue Book
  • “On-road refinement, a well-trimmed cabin and traditional off-road ability make the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee fully competitive with other midsize SUVs and crossovers.” – Edmunds
  • “The Jeep Grand Cherokee balances pleasant and confident on-road handling with capable off-road tenacity. Good looking, comfortable interiors, a relatively modest exterior size, and a plethora of available options further increase its appeal.” – Consumer Guide
  • “For families surrounded by concrete jungles rather than natural terrain, the … Jeep Grand Cherokee can be a lot more SUV than is needed on a day-to-day basis, but its stylish looks and powerful engine will win more than a few families over.” – (2012)

Jeep Grand Cherokee for Sale



the New GRAND CHEROKEE FROM JEEP A 2014 in Louisville,ky

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep appears to have nailed it this time. After two decades of assembling its Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle, the American automaker has finally delivered a world-class off-roader capable of taking on everything in its segment – and more – with a high likelihood of coming out on top.

And if you drove last year’s model, it’s time to climb behind the wheel again as Jeep has significantly updated the SUV for 2014 with a bold new exterior appearance, an upgraded interior with enhanced electronics and a new transmission that completely transforms the way it drives.  Test Drive the New 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee in Louisville, KY.


We recently spent a full week with a dark blue 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4×4, a well-optioned model fitted with the standard gasoline-fed V6. While it didn’t have the punch of the range-topping V8-powered SRT8, or the fuel-sipping economy of itsnew EcoDiesel sibling, the high-volume variant left us quite impressed.

Without question, the 2014 is significantly improved over its predecessor.

Slightly more than 20 years ago, Jeep launched its all-new Grand Cherokee for the 1993 model year. The current chassis is its fourth-generation iteration (known as the WK2 to brand purists), which made its debut at the 2009 New York Auto Show, but it didn’t go on sale until the following summer as a 2011 model. Three short years later, Jeep has introduced the revised 2014 model with a slew of significant upgrades.


Jeep is offering its 2014 Grand Cherokee in no fewer than six different models (listed in order of increasing base price): Laredo, Laredo E, Limited, Overland, Summit and SRT. Depending on the model, there are three engine choices (3.6-liter V6, 5.7-liter V8 and the new turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesel) and several powertrain choices (4×2 and three different 4×4 systems). While the aforementioned diesel and high-performance SRT models capture most of the spotlight, the standard gasoline-powered V6 models comprise the bulk of sales – more than justifying this review.


As indicated, Jeep made several improvements to the Grand Cherokee for the new model year. Mechanically speaking, a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the outgoing five-speed gearbox and the four-wheel-drive system has been improved with new modes. Cosmetically, the front fascia has been redesigned and there are new taillamps, a larger liftgate spoiler and more wheel choices. Jeep didn’t leave the interior alone either, as the 2014 models are fitted with a new steering wheel with paddle shifters, revised instrument cluster, redesigned center stack with the company’s larger 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, upgraded Uconnect Access and other enhanced interior materials. Without question, the 2014 is significantly improved over its 2013 predecessor.  For Best Pricing on a New Grand Cherokee click the available link.

The Overland in standard configuration is fitted with a very high level of equipment.

Our particular 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4×4, painted in True Blue Pearl over two-tone Vesuvio Indigo Blue and Jeep Brown interior upholstery, started with a base price of $45,995. Few would blame the owners who add absolutely no options, as the Overland in standard configuration is equipped with a very high level of equipment that includes leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power-operated eight-way driver and front passenger seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Chrysler’s Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen, 506-watt audio package, heated steering wheel, power liftgate, bi-xenon headlamps and more. Even so, our tester was upgraded with the Customer Preferred 23P package ($1,695), which included adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, advanced brake assist, blind spot and rear cross path detection. The bottom line on our SUV’s window sticker, including the mandatory $995 destination charge, was $48,685.


Like most late model Grand Cherokees on the road today, our vehicle featured Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, rated at 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. New for 2014 is a standard ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic that provides not only improved fuel economy and better acceleration, but a new lower crawl ratio of 44:1 to aid off-road prowess when equipped with the two-speed transfer case (Jeep’s Quadra-Trac II is standard on the Overland). The EPA rates the SUV at 17 miles per gallon city and 24 mpg highway, which is a slight improvement over last year’s 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. The engine is also E85 compatible, but burning the ethanol fuel blend delivers reduced economy.

The 2014 Grand Cherokee starts off strong even before the engine is started.

Underpinning the Grand Cherokee is an independent suspension mounted to a steel unibody chassis shared with the current-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class (consider it a gift from the earlier DaimlerChrysler days). The front features upper and lower control arms while the rear is fitted with a multi-link design. Twin-tube, gas-charged shock and coil springs round out the package. The Quadra-lift air suspension, with four drive heights and a low Park mode to ease ingress/egress (4.1 inches of total travel), is standard on the Overland. The steering is electrically assisted, and the Grand Cherokee requires just 37.1 feet to turn curb-to-curb. Our Overland was equipped with 20-inch cast aluminum wheels, wrapped in 265/50R20 Goodyear Fortera HL all-season tires.


First impressions mean quite a bit in the automotive world, especially when emotion sells more vehicles than any pushy salesman. In that regard, the 2014 Grand Cherokee starts off strong even before the engine is started.


The exterior refresh is attractive, as it maintains the Jeep’s obligatory aggressive and capable appearance while losing some of the shiny chrome in the process. Headlights are now sleeker and more detailed, and the lower fascia receives the same attention. The alterations to the back of the vehicle are less obvious, but Jeep has repositioned some of the flashy trim and cleaned up its overall appearance.

All of the touch surfaces feel substantial and of high quality, solving that common complaint.

While the contrasting dark blue and chocolate interior would not be our first choice, the white piping on the seats and wood on the dashboard provided an upscale appearance. All of the touch surfaces feel substantial and of high quality, solving that common complaint. The front seats are comfortable, with nice bolsters, long lower cushions and good lumbar support, and the driving position fit your editor’s six-foot two-inch frame well. A bright and very legible multi-configurable instrument panel is easy to see, even through polarized glasses, and the Garmin-based Uconnect navigation was intuitive for all who used it (although we didn’t like how many of the seat heat/cooling functions required more than a few actions to access). To ease connectivity, the driver and front passenger are offered an AUX, USB, SD and 12-volt DC power outlet in a panel at the bottom of the center stack.


Second row passengers were equally as content, with acceptable leg, knee and toe room; large tinted windows; and plenty of power to charge their own personal electronics (Jeep has put twin USB ports and a 115-volt outlet on the rear of the center console, exclusively for their use). When the center armrest is raised, the cushion beneath it is flat to make a comfortable fifth seating position.


A lack of a third row (Dodge will sell you a Durango for that role) means there are no bulky hide-away cushions to prevent the 60:40 split second row from folding, thus creating a flat and expansive cargo area. The front passenger seat folds flat to increase cargo space, too. There are also four metal rails, and steel tie-downs, to help secure larger loads and grocery bag hooks to keep the little things from rolling around (another 12-volt DC outlet is in the rear cargo hold).

The gear selector requires a slight learning curve, and it cannot be rushed without drawing profanities.

The push-button stop/start is carried over from last year. The more significant news is the new electronic shift lever replacing its gated predecessor on the center console. Seemingly lifted right out of the current-generation Audi A8 sedan – they are virtually identical as both share the same ZF eight speed transmission – the stubby T-handle only requires a nudge to engage the gear. In practice, the gear selector requires a slight learning curve, and it cannot be rushed without drawing profanities, but it works well after a bit of familiarity.


Our initial positive impressions of the exterior and interior are complemented by the Grand Cherokee’s new driving dynamics.


The V6 will never match the brawn of the SRT’s V8 (or even the Hemi), and nobody should expect it to, but the new lower first gear allows the volume model to leap off the line with newfound energy. The Jeep weighs 4,984 pounds, which is about average in this segment, but a happy marriage between the six-cylinder Pentastar and the ZF eight-speed transmission (it reportedly has 90 different shift algorithms from which to choose) means the SUV will hit 60 miles per hour in about seven seconds flat. On the road, the power seemed to fall off at higher speeds, but it was more than adequate for most passing maneuvers. According to Jeep, our test car will tow 6,200 pounds (those seeking more pulling capability should look at the diesel or SRT, as those are both rated to pull 7,200-plus pounds).

The SUV excels on the open road, especially at speed.

Once at speed, extensive soundproofing and thick door seals kept wind noise to a minimum. Unlike the beastly SRT8, docked points for road noise in our recent review, the narrower all-season rubber on this four-door never howled on the open road. While it likely doesn’t help lower cabin noise, the air suspension automatically lowers the vehicle at highways speeds to improve the vehicle’s overall aerodynamics and aid fuel economy (the Grand Cherokee earns a drag coefficient of 0.37).


Tuned for on- and off-road travel, the ride was on the firm side yet its damping response aligned with our expectations – softer than the SRT8, but still maintained a sporty edge. Its European-bred chassis is stiff and responded well to steering requests. Even so, we found ourselves skipping the tight mountain curves where the Jeep began to feel a bit awkward, and taking the highway routes to make good use of the excellent radar-based adaptive cruise control. The SUV excels on the open road, especially at speed.

It appears that Jeep has finally delivered one of the best overall vehicles in the midsize SUV segment.

Sadly, and despite setting a day aside for it, we never had the chance to take the Grand Cherokee off the pavement and try its Select-Terrain system (our planned trip to an off-road park was pushed off the schedule when another automaker was late with a vehicle delivery). Based on previous experience, the new revisions will only improve its competence after the concrete ends.


As you have likely concluded, we really enjoyed our time with the improved Grand Cherokee. It appears that Jeep has finally delivered one of the best overall vehicles in the midsize SUV segment.

Yet more impressive than beating a typical mid-priced soft-roader is the Overland’s ability to be a worthy lower-cost alternative to the widely praised BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. The American beats both in content, equals them in ride quality and is more capable on rough terrain. Thanks to a host of new cosmetic and mechanical upgrades for 2014, the Grand Cherokee has emerged as America’s new midsize SUV standard of excellence.  For more information see the site:

Jeep Wrangler for Sale Louisville, KY and Indiana

 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara Road Test: . . .

There aren’t many obstacles that slow down a Jeep Wrangler. It can climb impossibly steep slick rock at Moab, bash its way up the Rubicon Trail, plow through mud or make its own trail across the desert.

But then there are those pesky paved roads. Those it doesn’t cotton to.

Enter the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara. Like all Wranglers for 2012, it has an all-new engine and an interior that was completely redesigned just last year. It also offers a new five-speed automatic transmission if you don’t want the standard six-speed manual. Rest assured it can still do all those great things off road, but this time it promises good things on the road, too.

Pentastar to the Rescue
Even traditional Jeepers will admit the previous pushrod 3.8-liter iron-block V6 was a slug. It made adequate torque, critical when trying to climb up the face of a cliff in 4WD Low, but on city streets the Wrangler could barely get out of its own way.

For 2012, the Wrangler has been upgraded with Chrysler’s newest V6. Dubbed the Pentastar, the new 3.6-liter DOHC engine pumps out 285 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Those are typical numbers for a modern V6 these days, but compared to the old 3.8 they represent an improvement of 83 hp and 23 lb-ft of added torque.

The all-aluminum Pentastar is also some 90 pounds lighter and 3.7 inches shorter than the outgoing 3.8-liter six. And as if that wasn’t enough, it’s more efficient, too, as the Wrangler gets an EPA rating of 16 city/20 highway mpg, a 1-mpg improvement over the previous numbers.

We averaged a less-than-stellar though not completely globally irresponsible 16.7 mpg during our two weeks with the Wrangler. Not terrible for a 4,493-pound vehicle with virtually no aerodynamic efficiency whatsoever.

Five Is Better Than Four
Jeep also replaced the long-outdated four-speed automatic transmission with the A580 five-speed ($1,125) found in the Grand Cherokee. A six-speed manual remains the standard transmission on the Wrangler, as does a low-range transfer case. Off-roaders fear not, as the new five-speed has a lower 1st-gear ratio than the outgoing tranny.

At the test track this combo of more power and an extra gear ratio netted a not-quite-as-underwhelming 0-60-mph time of 8.8 seconds (8.5 seconds with a 1-foot rollout like at a drag strip), a full 1.8 seconds quicker than the last four-speed automatic-equipped Wrangler Unlimited we tested. The quarter-mile came and went in 16.4 seconds at 85.1 mph.

Clearly, the Wrangler still won’t set your hair on fire with its breathtaking acceleration. It’s still slower to 60 than a Toyota FJ Cruiser (8.3 seconds) and the Nissan Xterra (7.6 seconds). One new SUV it can leave behind is the 2012 Ford Explorer with the EcoBoost turbo four-cylinder (9.1 seconds). Not exactly much of an off-roader, but still a vehicle that buyers of the four-door Wrangler might consider.

Out on the road, the new engine and tranny offer big improvements in terms of refinement. The engine is smooth, reasonably quiet and has a nice surge of power from 3,700 rpm to 6,400. The automatic offers supple shifts, but it’s not exactly eager to offer them up. We found ourselves dipping into the throttle deeper than we expected to get it to kick down. We’re guessing that Jeep’s goal of improving the Wrangler’s fuel economy no doubt contributed to that.

Handling? Don’t Talk About Handling
Despite its newfound refinement, this is still a Jeep Wrangler. Therefore, on-road handling is not its forte, even with its newly retuned suspension. Between the live axles at both ends and the recirculating-ball type steering system, the Jeep feels far more detached than most modern SUVs. The long-travel suspension allows lots of roll and the nonlinear, slightly overboosted steering provides little in the way of feedback. Fast corners require an extra correction or two because there’s a delay with each steering input.

Any hopes of legitimate numbers were quashed with the first run through our slalom course. The Wrangler’s insanely aggressive electronic stability control system can’t be fully defeated (except in 4WD at less than 35 mph), and it stabs the brakes at the slightest bit of roll angle or tire slide. Hence the pathetic 51.4-mph slalom speed and 0.63g of lateral grip. We didn’t sweat it much, though; it’s a Jeep after all.

With 11.9-inch rotors up front and 12.4s at the rear, not to mention its substantial weight, the Wrangler’s 138-foot stop from 60 mph isn’t half bad. We were less impressed with the Wrangler’s mushy pedal, considerable nose dive and noticeable side-to-side squirm that will grab your attention when you’re hard on the binders.

In Its Natural Habitat
You can’t do the Wrangler justice without taking it off-road. So we headed to the desert where we bashed around on rough fire roads, climbed rock-filled ascents and put the Wrangler’s hill descent control to use on a couple of steep downhills. Everything worked as advertised. In fact, it felt almost too easy sometimes.

Through it all its suspension easily soaked up everything we threw at it while the 10.2 inches of ground clearance kept us from touching down on any rocks. The Command-Trac four-wheel-drive system is a snap to use and the addition of the optional Trak-lok limited slip makes it that much more capable, even with the Sahara’s meager on-/off-road tires.

If there’s one downside to the 2012 Jeep Wrangler’s off-road prowess, it’s the difficulty in finding its limits. With most SUVs, it’s easy to predict what they’ll tackle with ease and what’s better left untouched. In the Jeep, you’re tempted to take on just about anything. And with the right driver and a good spotter, you’ll probably make it, too.

The Price of Progress
Although a base two-door Wrangler starts at just $22,845, pricing on our four-door 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara begins at $31,545 (including $800 destination). Yeah, four-door Wranglers with a healthy set of standard features aren’t cheap. With options such as the automatic transmission, navigation system and three-piece body-color hardtop, our Wrangler shot up to a whopping $37,200.

To anyone who hasn’t been in a Wrangler for awhile, that kind of money looks downright ridiculous for a Jeep. But get inside the latest version and it’s not so hard to believe. After a heavy interior redesign last year, the Wrangler now looks like a modern SUV inside. The materials quality has drastically improved, there are modern electronics and the cabin is relatively quiet with the hardtop in place.

It’s nowhere near the refinement you get in something like a Ford Explorer or Dodge Durango, but that’s fine with Jeep. The Wrangler will never be a crossover or even a truly mainstream choice. Even though the level of refinement has been raised yet again, the Wrangler is still authentic. In other words, the Wrangler is right where it was before: perfect for nontraditional SUV buyers and a stretch for typical SUV buyers.

The new engine is a huge improvement, but the 2012 Jeep Wrangler still isn’t the fastest or the most efficient vehicle in its class. It doesn’t have the most features either, or the most comfortable cabin.

What it does have is a combination of modern conveniences and legendary off-road abilities wrapped up in one of the most distinctive shapes on the road today. 

2012 Jeep Wrangler Review

2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon SUV

Though more civilized than ever, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler remains a no-nonsense American icon. Its quirky character and unique off-road abilities continue to hold appeal.

Superior off-road capability; strong engine; surprisingly fun to drive around town; two- and four-door variations; rough-and-tumble image; it’s a convertible.


  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Up to 17 cty/21 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Bluetooth (Optional)
  • Side/Curtain Airbags (Optional)

Unlimited Sport

  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Up to 16 cty/21 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Bluetooth (Optional)
  • Side/Curtain Airbags (Optional)


  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Up to 17 cty/21 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Satellite radio
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Navigation System (Optional)
  • Bluetooth (Optional)
  • Side/Curtain Airbags (Optional)
  • DVD player (Optional)


Jeep Wrangler SUV Sahara
  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Up to 17 cty/21 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Satellite radio
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Navigation System (Optional)
  • Bluetooth (Optional)
  • Side/Curtain Airbags (Optional)
  • DVD player (Optional)

Unlimited Sport RHD

  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Automatic transmission
  • Up to 16 cty/20 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control


Unlimited Sahara

  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Up to 16 cty/21 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Satellite radio
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Navigation System (Optional)
  • Bluetooth (Optional)
  • Side/Curtain Airbags (Optional)
  • DVD player (Optional)

Unlimited Rubicon

  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Up to 16 cty/21 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Satellite radio
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Navigation System (Optional)
  • Bluetooth (Optional)
  • Side/Curtain Airbags (Optional)
  • DVD player (Optional)


Rarely does a car reviewed have as many pros and cons as the 2012 Jeep Wrangler. Most vehicles have a lot of one and not much of the other. The Wrangler, on the other hand, has a wealth of extremes. It has old-school solid axles at both ends and standard crank windows. It’s incredibly noisy and rough-riding. The soft top is a puzzle to operate and is basically a big “break in!” sign to potential thieves. Indeed, measured against virtually any other new SUV, the Wrangler is in many ways, well, terrible.

And yet the Jeep Wrangler not only remains appealing but remains one of the best-selling SUVs in the country as well. Part of the reason why is because some of those foibles are actually indicative of an incredibly honest, back-to-basics off-roader. Of course, the Wrangler also looks pretty cool and can dive headlong into places where few other vehicles would dare dip their toes. Plus, what other new car allows you to remove not only the roof, but the doors and windshield as well? The answer is none.

Of course, some of the Wrangler’s issues can’t be brushed off as simply “quaint.” The soft top’s issues are real, as are long braking distances and limited secured storage. But there is finally good news for what lies under the hood. Gone is the agricultural and gutless old V6, and in its place Chrysler’s new “Pentastar” 285-hp V6. Smooth, robust and reasonably efficient, this engine radically transforms the Wrangler. Boasting a whopping 83 more horses than the outgoing engine, the new V6 is more than a second quicker from zero to 60 mph. A newly available five-speed automatic improves power delivery and efficiency as well.

Whether you get a basic two-door Wrangler with crank windows and a soft top or a high-dollar four-door Wrangler Unlimited Sahara with heated leather seats and a hardtop, this iconic Jeep is without question a unique vehicle. However, we highly recommend taking it on a lengthy test-drive and paying attention to the above issues to see if you could really deal with them on a day-to-day basis. It’s not uncommon for folks to be taken in by the Wrangler’s cool factor only to quickly realize after purchase that a compact crossover or a more livable off-roader like the Nissan Xterra or Toyota FJ Cruiserwould’ve been a wiser choice.

If you know what you’re getting into, however, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler is a wonderful way to not only get back to basics, but nature as well.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler is a convertible SUV available in two-door Wrangler and four-door Wrangler Unlimited versions. Each comes in Sport, Sahara and Rubicon trims.

The Sport comes sparsely equipped with 16-inch steel wheels, front and rear tow hooks, foglamps, a removable soft top, crank windows, manual locks and mirrors, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, and a six-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack, CD player and steering wheel controls. The Unlimited gets a bigger gas tank, four doors, more backseat and trunk space, air-conditioning and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The Power Convenience Group adds heated power mirrors, power locks and windows, and keyless entry. Air-conditioning (two-door), satellite radio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and 17-inch alloy wheels are also optional.

The Sahara adds the above optional items plus 18-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded suspension, under-hood insulation, side steps, automatic headlamps, body-colored fender flares and a six-speaker Infinity sound system.

The Rubicon is not the most abundantly equipped trim level, per se, but rather the trim that boasts the most robust off-road credentials. It adds on top of the base Sport equipment special 17-inch wheels, 32-inch tires, heavy-duty axles and transfer case, electronic front and rear locking differentials, a disconnecting front sway bar, rock rails, air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and satellite radio. The Power Convenience Group is optional on the two-door, but standard on the Unlimited.

The following packages are available on all trims. The Connectivity Group adds Bluetooth, an iPod/USB audio interface, an upgraded trip computer and a leather-wrapped wheel on the Sport. A multi-piece removable hardtop with a rear defroster and wiper is optional with or without the standard soft top remaining. It comes standard in textured black, but can be had in body color on the Sahara and Rubicon.

Optional on the Sport and two-door Rubicon are a limited-slip differential and half doors that include plastic side windows. The Sahara and Rubicon can be equipped with leather upholstery and heated front seats, automatic climate control and a navigation system that includes a touchscreen interface, digital music storage and real-time traffic.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 285 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. Four-wheel drive is also standard and includes high- and low-range transfer case gears, though the Rubicon features an upgraded transfer case with extra-low gearing. A six-speed manual transmission with hill-start assist is standard, while a five-speed automatic is optional.

In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped, two-door Wrangler went from zero to 60 mph in a surprisingly quick 7.1 seconds. A much heavier automatic-equipped Wrangler Unlimited did it in 8.8 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the two-door is 17 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined regardless of transmission. The Unlimited is 16/20/18 with the automatic and 16/21 with the manual.


The 2012 Jeep Wrangler comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, and hill start assist. Front side airbags are optional. In Edmunds brake testing, both two- and four-door Wranglers came to a stop from 60 mph in about 140 feet.

It should be noted that the Wrangler’s doors do not provide the same level of protection as regular doors do in a side crash. As such, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it didn’t fare well in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s side crash test. Without side airbags, the two-door Wrangler earned the worst rating of “Poor,” while the Unlimited got the second-worst “Marginal.” However, the Wrangler did get the best possible rating of “Good” in the frontal-offset test.

Interior Design and Special Features

Despite the increase in available niceties over the years, the Jeep Wrangler is still a vehicle meant to drive through dust, dirt and muck and then be easily cleaned afterward. Interior materials and switchgear were dramatically improved last year, and the design now has a rounder, more organic look.

The two-door’s backseat can host only two passengers and suffers from limited leg- and foot room. If that isn’t sufficient, the Unlimited has room for three and its extra set of doors makes for easier access. The four-door also offers 86 cubic feet of cargo space when the second-row seats are folded, which is quite substantial.

With any Wrangler’s soft top, however, storing cargo inside can be a risky situation since only the meager glovebox and center console can be locked. The soft top is also complicated to raise and lower, and requires you to store its bulky plastic windows somewhere inside the cabin (which is tough in the two-door). The optional hardtop, which features removable T-top-style panels over the front seats, is a smart solution for those who don’t intend to routinely go completely al fresco.

Driving Impressions


The Wrangler also used to be described as slow, but no longer. It won’t be winning any drag races, but the new V6 is a thoroughly modern engine that can actually get the heavy Wrangler moving briskly. The standard six-speed manual features precise but long throws and an easily modulated clutch. The automatic is now a much more modern five-speed unit that further aids power delivery and fuel economy.


The 2012 Jeep Wrangler is pretty much unstoppable in off-road situations, especially in Rubicon guise, thanks to its specialized hardware. The Wrangler Unlimited four-door isn’t as maneuverable on tight trails as the much shorter two-door model, but its roomier interior means you can carry more gear. It also feels more stable around corners and on the highway. Nonetheless, all Wranglers suffer from tippy handling, a rough ride and steering that is kindly described as nebulous. Road and wind noise are also excessive.