The quintessential off-road icon, the Jeep Wrangler began as a vehicle for military use and has retained its no-nonsense utility while slowly evolving into a practical and popular means of transportation. This Jeep SUV has never lost its drive-me-hard-through-the-slop attitude, despite refinements for more enjoyable daily commuting. And don't forget, it's one of the least expensive convertibles around.
Jeep introduced a long-wheelbase Unlimited version in 2004. The Unlimited has a number of benefits, such as a slightly better ride quality, added cargo capacity and a bit more rear legroom. Like the regular-wheelbase Jeep Wrangler, the Unlimited also has the option of a hard- or soft top, and the soft top picks up an unusual Sunrider feature that makes it possible to fold back part of the roof to mimic a sunroof. Jeep also offers a specialized Rubicon style for both the regular Wrangler and the Unlimited. Named after the famed off-road trail in Northern California, the Wrangler Rubicon comes with hard-core equipment such as air-actuated locking differentials and heavy-duty axles.
As a Point-A-to-Point-B vehicle, the 2006 Jeep Wrangler is a pretty poor choice. Rear visibility can be a challenge and its highway manners can be described as primitive at best. Removal and installation of the soft top requires superhuman levels of patience, and once in its place, be prepared for obtrusive flapping at speed. Then again, that's what most people expect the Wrangler to be all about -- a tough, no-frills off-road machine that delivers cheap thrills and little refinement but plenty of style.