If you’re new to our Base Camp series – welcome! Each week we select a new model on sale in Canada today with the goal of determining if its cheapest version is worth a look when it is time to shop for a vehicle. If we deem it to be watered down coffee, we’ll attempt to build one that tastes a little better.
The Jeep Wrangler has, with each successive iteration, become more and more liveable as a daily driver. On sale now for three model years, its interior and road manners are infinitely more civilized than Wranglers of old. Toss in the carefree feeling of a removable top, foldable windshield, and detachable doors and it’s abundantly clear why this model has found such sales success in this country.
Kicking off the model range is the entry-level Sport trim, stickered at $36,295. Under a hood that’s flat as the Prairies and twice as wide resides the company’s familiar 3.6L V6 engine, making roughly 300 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is fitted as standard equipment; fitting this engine with an automatic will cost $1795. When combined with the six-speed, two selector levers sprout from the floor – one for gears, one for 4×4 – like overgrown alders. It’s all very Jeepy up in here.
Wrangler is one of the few models to offer a wide palette of paint colours on its base trim. Shoppers have the good fortune to select from no fewer than ten different shades, though exactly half of them are extra-charge items. The wonderfully named HellaYella costs $0, as does the equally eye-popping Firecracker Red. Muted tones like Sting Grey and Black are available to those who are less extroverted.
Don’t expect to find power windows or air conditioning inside the entry-level Jeep Wrangler. The former will be no big deal to traditional Wrangler shoppers, though it might be a bit of a surprise to those trading out of a car-based crossover like a CR-V or RAV4. The lack of A/C is slightly more egregious, given that feature is included on other new (but not competing) vehicles costing less than half the price of this Wrangler. Spending an extra $1200 will add conditioned air to the Sport.
That’s a fabric-based soft top, by the way, so anticipate more road noise than you’d find in a mainstream crossover. Infotainment is handled by the smallest of Jeep’s touchscreens, though the software runs an easy-to-use- and responsive version of Uconnect. Satellite radio is absent. Those new to the base Wrangler need to know they’ll be trading features generally found in other vehicles for off-road capability and the freedom to drive without a roof or doors.
What We’d Pick
We’re sticking with the Sport trim but choosing to spend extra cash on air conditioning rather than make the $4000 walk to the Sport S where it is standard equipment along with power windows and a few other features. Because we’re sticklers for off-road performance, the $525 Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential makes it on our order list as well. Tastes good to us.