Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Willys Wheeler: Rebirth of a Classic

April 20, 2014 Updated: April 20, 2014

Jeep has resurrected a legendary name for its 2014 Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited: Willys, the car that started it all.

With the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Willys Wheeler, Jeep combines serious off-roading capability with classic Willys design elements. The Willys Wheeler is based on the Wrangler Sport model, so it starts out as a proven performer, then Jeep bumps it up a notch or two.

With satin black fenders, bumpers, roof and rock rails and a high-gloss black grill and bumper inserts plus proud Willys logos on the hood, and a 4-wheel-drive decal on the tailgate reminiscent of the 1940s Willys CJ-3A, the Wheeler stands out on or off road.

The Wrangler Unlimited is a full-sized off-road SUV, with four doors to ease ingress and egress, and with its a 116-inch wheelbase there is plenty of room for passengers and gear. The Willys Wheeler comes with either a soft top of r a three-piece hardtop; either lets the occupants choose protection from or enjoyment of the outdoors.

Tuned for tough terrain, the Wrangler Unlimited Willys Wheeler comes standard a Command-Trac® 4×4 system, a 3.73 Trac-Lok® rear differential, Rubicon rock rails, and BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A® tires on 17-inch wheels.

The 3.6-liter Pentastar® V6 engine engine cranks out 285 bhp and 260 lbs-ft of torque; mated to either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission it has the muscle to pull through deep mud and up steep slopes. Yet for all that power, the Pentastar still delivers 21 mpg highway/16 mpg city with the stick, and 20/16 with the automatic.

Translating that power into traction is Jeep’s Command Trac®4WD system, a shift-on-the-fly transfer case which splits torque equally between the front and rear axles for off-roading or when the road gets slick. The Rubicon rock rails protect and stiffen the chassis and bodywork when the car is out rock-crawling.

The New Wrangler Unlimited Willys Wheeler might be a barbarian on the trials but it offers civilized refinement to its occupants, with black cloth seats, grab handles, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and all the electronics one would expect from a modern Jeep, including hands-free Bluetooth, an Electronic Vehicle Information Center, and a built-in USB port.

The 2014 Wrangler Unlimited Willys Wheeler can handle anything from mountains to desert to city traffic, and do it all with traditional Willys style and Jeep dependability.

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Willys Wheeler has a manufactured suggested retail price of only $29,595. If the names “Jeep” and “Willys” stir something inside, find a local dealer and see what it’ can do in person.