After a hiatus of more than two decades, Jeep brings back the Golden Eagle Edition of its venerable Wrangler for 2006. The special edition is an upgraded model that comes with a Dana 44 heavy-duty rear axle, gold-color 15-inch Ravine aluminum wheels, 30-inch tires, two-tone seats, and special insignias on the hood, fenders, and spare tire cover.
Chrysler Group's Jeep is a descendant of the original 1941 Willys MB, which was designed for use by U.S. Armed Forces in World War II. After the war, the so-called CJ (Civilian Jeep) went into production, and in the ensuing decades has become the benchmark vehicle for off-road driving adventures. Jeep badges all its Wranglers as "Trail Rated," meaning that they have been designed to provide the traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation (suspension travel), and water-fording capabilities expected by off-road driving enthusiasts.
The Golden Eagle Edition marks the end of production for the current generation of the Wrangler. An all-new version will be launched as a 2007 model and will feature a stiffer frame, enhanced on-road ride quality, more interior room, new roof options, and a more powerful V-6 engine. The 2007 model will also offer electronic stability control as well as side air bags. Introduced in 2005, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon comes with front and rear "air-actuated" Tru-Lok locking differentials, front and rear Dana 44 axles, four-wheel disc brakes, a Rock Trac transfer case with a 4:1 low range, unique diamond-plate body sill guards, special graphics, and 16-inch aluminum wheels with Goodyear Wrangler "Maximum Traction/Reinforced" 31-inch tires.
The Wrangler is available in short (standard) and long-wheelbase versions. The standard versions include the SE, X, Sport, and Rubicon. Longer wheelbase models are known as the Unlimited and are available in base, premium, and Rubicon versions. Short-wheel models are available with a 147-hp, 2.4L inline four-cylinder engine or a 190-hp, 4.0L inline six. All long-wheelbase versions have the larger engine. Six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions are available on all models.
The Jeep Wrangler competes in the Compact Utility category, as does the Jeep Liberty. While the Wrangler emphasizes off-road capability, the Liberty is a five-passenger, hard-roofed vehicle designed for the sort of use expected from compact sport utilities.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the Jeep Liberty leads this small category, with 166,883 units sold in calendar year 2005. The Jeep Wrangler was second in sales (79,017 units in 2005) in this category, and was closely followed by the Nissan Xterra (72,447). Suzuki sold only 15,472 copies of its XL-7. Joining this category for the 2006 model year is the all-new Toyota FJ Cruiser.
|SE||6 speed manual||$18,390||147-hp / 2.4L 4-cyl||18/21|
|X||6 speed manual||$20,650||190-hp / 4.0L 6-cyl||15/19|
|Sport RHD||4 speed automatic||$20,693||190-hp / 4.0L 6-cyl||14/18|
|Sport||6 speed manual||$23,540||190-hp / 4.0L 6-cyl||15/19|
|Unlimited||6 speed manual||$24,295||190-hp / 4.0L 6-cyl||15/19|
|Rubicon||6 speed manual||$27,930||190-hp / 4.0L 6-cyl||15/19|
|Unlimited Rubicon||6 speed manual||$28,930||190-hp / 4.0L 6-cyl||15/19|