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Weidel on Wheels: Jeep's Wrangler Sahara meant for off-road

By: Jeffrey Weidel
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There is no disguising the real mission here. Despite efforts to make this an everyday vehicle, the 2010 Jeep Wrangler Sahara is clearly designed for the off-road crowd that wants some serious versatility. And Jeep has accomplished that, producing a four-wheel drive vehicle that will do cool things like climb boulders, plod through the dust and mud and go where other sensible car owners dare not enter. Thanks in part to its 10.2 inches of ground clearance, a short wheelbase and several other amenities, the Wrangler is a go-anywhere sport utility vehicle. But what about the times when one is driving to work, heading to the grocery store, or hauling the kids to activities — what happens then? If the off-roading isn’t frequent, it makes little sense to purchase the Wrangler because as an everyday car it’s seriously lacking. Some of the reasons the Sahara doesn’t measure up include a noisy cabin, an engine that has been labeled (appropriately) “gutless," hard interior plastic in abundance, uncomfortable seating and the tedious amount of time taken to get the quirky Sahara ready for an off-road experience. The Wrangler can be purchased in two-door and four-door configurations. Although it has enjoyed a solid run of popularity, sales have been dipping because the Wrangler is simply not a practical choice for most car shoppers. Since the Wrangler’s main appeal is the off-road crowd, we’ll stay there, and get into a little more detail concerning this unconventional vehicle. The Wrangler can become a convertible with some work and patience. The doors include a strap because they are removable. The windshield can surprisingly fold forward onto the hood. When dismantled, which is a good description, considering the time it takes, the Sahara is zippered-up plastic that isn’t very helpful for safety purposes or to discourage break-ins. However, unlike previous models, the 2010 Sahara doesn’t include the untuck, then tucking in of the side rails, which will be greatly appreciated. It’s strange that the Wrangler doesn’t come with more power. The 3.8-liter, V-6 engine with 202 horsepower clearly isn’t enough. While the Sahara does have extra-low gearing to enhance off-road capability, it goes 0 to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds, which is fairly slow. The asking price is a bit steep at $29,905 and the gas mileage is poor at 15 to 19 mpg. __________ 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara Price: $28,905 Power:3.8-liter, V-6 engine with 202 horsepower Mileage estimate:15 mpg city; 19 mpg highway Standard features include:Four-wheel drive; 16-inch steel wheels; foglamps; folding soft top; hill-start assist; stability control; rollover sensor; tilt steering wheel; removable rear seat; six-speaker stereo, CD player, auxiliary audio jack; transfer case, fuel tank skid plate shield