We compare the Jeep Wrangler to a sedan

From Sedan to Jeep Wrangler Sahara

Both of us have primarily driven sedans all of our lives. We had the occasional experience of driving a truck or SUV but most of the miles under our bottoms came from driving or riding in a sedan. As you can imagine, going from a sedan to a Jeep Wrangler was quite a jump...but not as far as one would imagine.

From the outside, the differences are obvious. Other than four wheels, a Jeep Wrangler doesn't have much in common with a Sedan. But it was the inside that really took us by surprise. We have seen photos of older Jeep Wranglers and know that they can be pretty sparse inside. But the new 2009 Jeep Wrangler was more modern than we ever could have imagined and loaded with tons of technology.

The Jeep Wrangler Sahara was meant to bridge the gap between two completely different worlds - taking on extreme, rugged terrain and riding in luxury with all of the creature comforts a traveler needs. We must say that we feel Jeep has accomplished this with the 2009 Jeep Wrangler Sahara. But how does driving and riding in a Jeep Wrangler compare to a car? For all of you sedan-driving, non-Wrangler owners thinking about making the jump, we've outlined the basics below.

For more detailed information and photos of the 2009 Jeep Wrangler, please visit our "Photo Review" section.


From the outside - first impression:

Compared to our sedan, the Jeep Wrangler appears taller, wider, and shorter from front to back. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, which provides an extra set of doors for rear passengers, is about two feet longer than the standard Wrangler which makes it about the same length as an average sedan. We went with the standard length Wrangler. Even though the Wrangler Unlimited seemed more practical, we weren't looking for practicality. We wanted the original Jeep Wrangler experience!

The stock wheels and tires on the 2009 Jeep Wrangler are much larger than those on an average sedan. Our Wrangler Sahara came standard with 18" wheels. The large wheels add to the overall height of the vehicle and make it look absolutely stunning. However, the 18" size means we now have a HUGE spare tire and wheel taking up a lot of space on the backside of our new vehicle.

The fenders of the Jeep Wrangler Sahara match the color of the body, which is not true with the Wrangler X or Rubicon. While matching fenders don't make the Wrangler look like a sedan, this quality makes it seem more like a passenger vehicle instead of an all-terrain vehicle. But the stylish Jeep Wrangler Sahara still looks rugged and ready to take on anything that may come its way. Plain and simple - when you stand outside of a Jeep Wrangler, you can tell that your experience inside of it is going to be different from anything you've ever known.

From the inside - first impression:

While sitting inside of the 2009 Jeep Wrangler, it's hard to tell that you're not in a modern sedan. As I said earlier, the interior has come a LONG way from the Wranglers of the past. Having never owned a Jeep before, I'm sure we cannot truly appreciate how much the interior has advanced.

The interior looks and feels like that of a sedan, but when you look through the windshield you begin to realize an obvious difference. You sit so much higher off the ground in a Wrangler! We both consider this a good thing. Sitting up high allows you to see far more than you ever could in a sedan.

The ride:

We were both very surprised at how smooth the steering felt. The new Jeep Wrangler is easy and fun to drive. Because of the short length of the vehicle, the turning radius is extremely tight. U-turns are a way of life down here in Florida and the Wrangler is able to make them with such ease.

As stated above, I think it is much better to sit higher while driving. It's safer. The traffic down here in Florida is downright terrible and it's so nice to sit up higher and see above everyone else, or at least be as high as the bigger vehicles out on the road. Because of the height of the Jeep Wrangler, there are no more unpleasant surprises. We can see several vehicles ahead of us and know when the person directly in front of us is about to slam on the brakes.

Overall, the ride is much stiffer than that of a sedan but that's exactly what we were expecting. There's not a bump in the road that goes unnoticed. Traveling is not uncomfortable by any means, you just feel the road a lot more in a Jeep Wrangler.

You also happen to HEAR what's going on around you a lot more in a Wrangler than in a car. We got the soft top with our Wrangler Sahara, and we love the freedom of taking out windows and removing the roof completely. But even with the soft top entirely intact, you will never be able to separate yourself from the surrounding world. Oftentimes we think a window is open when really it's just the road noise from a passing vehicle. I'm sure it's no different than any other soft top convertible but we have never owned a convertible before. This is all new to us and I am sure we will get used to it in time.

Compared to a sedan, you might expect a Jeep Wrangler to feel like a hog when stepping on the pedal. This is not true. The V6 engine provides more than enough power to really move if the need arrives. When pulling out from a dead stop, the Jeep Wrangler has no problem getting up to speed. The only minor complaint worth mentioning is that making a quick pass on the interstate at higher rates of speed isn't so simple. You really have to step on the pedal and listen to the engine scream - I find this unpleasant. The best thing you can do is relax and wait for other cars to pass by first instead of trying to cut into a passing line of traffic.

One of the biggest differences between the Jeep Wrangler and a sedan comes while traveling at higher rates of speed. Interstate driving greatly accentuates the aerodynamics of the Wrangler...or lack thereof. It literally feels like we are trying to push a gigantic box through extreme winds. The road and wind noise are also pretty loud but not unbearable. In order to carry on a conversation you will have to talk a lot louder or you can just turn up the awesome stereo that comes standard on all 2009 Jeep Wranglers and your problem will be solved. Don't be frightened though - believe it or not, we found that the best gas mileage really does come while riding on the highway at these higher rates of speed.

We always spent a lot of time "exploring" new places in our sedan and found ourselves on unpaved, sandy back roads in rural Florida. Quite often we had to turn around because the roads got too rough and we thought we may get stuck in the deep sand. This will never happen to us again. 4-wheel drive isn't just great for mountainous terrain and snow; it also does a great job while driving through deep sand. One of the best things about riding in a Jeep Wrangler is that you never have to worry about what may lie ahead - you will always make it through.

If you are currently driving a sedan and thinking about buying a Jeep Wrangler, there are a lot of differences. But we can almost guarantee that you won't be disappointed.


For more detailed information and photos of the 2009 Jeep Wrangler, please visit our "Photo Review" section.