2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
I was living in New Jersey at the time and went down to the local Jeep dealer to have a look at these new Jeep Wrangler Unlimiteds that I had seen so many yuppie, soccer moms driving around in and wanted to see if it really was a REAL Jeep or just a Chrysler creation. I found one I absolutely loved. It was so new, that the plastic wrap was still on it from when the delivery guy brought it to the dealership. I am proud to say I was the first person to actually drive the truck on the streets. And boy was I impressed. After the test drive and finishing the paperwork I brought my new baby home.
Right away, Joe and I decided to tackle the install of a hitch and trailer light wiring. Installing the hitch itself was a fairly easy project once we figured out we needed to take the rear bumper cover off to gain access to the mounts. After removing 6 bolts the rear bumper slid right off giving us access to the rear cross-member where the 4 bolts held the tow hook on. Once the tow hook was removed the Reese Class II Insta-Hitch went on with a bit of persuasion. Then it was bolting it down in the same 4 spots as the tow hook and re-installing the rear bumper cover. The electrical harness for the trailer lights I left up to the professionals at Warnock Chrysler in Morristown. NJ. They put in the harness and had everything buttoned up in a day for me.
Driving up to Michigan from New Jersey went so smooth and almost effortless. With the longer wheelbase the truck doesn't ride like a Jeep anymore. All the while, the truck averages 21 mpg over 760 miles and gets about 400 miles out of a full tank. The seats are nice and comfortable as well as the smooth ride over most bumps. Every now and again it hits a good bump and reminds you that it is still a Jeep.
In Michigan we picked up the trailer at the U-Haul dealer there and the salesman, helped attach the trailer and get me on the road. They were unable to get me a 5’ x 8’ trailer like I had originally ordered, but they were awesome and didn't even flinch, upgrading me to a 6’ x 12” trailer instead. The extra room helped so much. A bit more trailer to pull down the road, but made plenty of room for my stuff.
After picking up the trailer we drove it to my storage unit to get my stuff there and loaded it up and headed to the next spot to get more of my stuff. We disconnected the trailer for a bit to make a run for lunch. This trailer is a tandem axle so it balances on itself, making it more difficult to maneuver but with a wheel on the tongue of the trailer it moves well and was easy to reattach. Once we got put all back together we hit the road once again. The Wrangler Unlimited pulls the trailer with ease as we get on the highway.
With a 12-foot U-Haul trailer hooked on and half full of my furniture and little knick knacks the Jeep gets about 14 mpg cruising at 65 down the freeway. The 3.8 V6 in the new Unlimited works like a charm. I will say she had a little wobble over 75, but that was my fault as I loaded the weight in the trailer all wrong.
We drove part of the night we stopped at a Red Roof Inn in Toledo, Ohio. The staff was really friendly and helpful with getting a room on the first floor and a place to park the truck and trailer. After a good night’s sleep, we headed out for New Jersey. Pulling into the driveway warranted a sigh of relief as we parked for the night. The following day was for unloading and returning the trailer.
Since then, I have driven twice more back and forth to Michigan and I still am thoroughly impressed with this truck. In the snow, I got to test out the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and the ABS. The Unlimited handles like a charm on the slick roads. Cargo room inside the truck is huge! With the rear seats down it makes a huge flat bed to carry larger items.
I opted for the dual-top package, so I have the 3-piece hard top, which is beautiful in cold weather. You can even take out the 2 t-top panels over the driver and passenger seats for some fresh air. The other soft top that came with it has the ability to roll back the front section for a little sun and air or take the whole thing off and just GO TOPLESS. And, of course, I have to take all 4 of the doors off on those killer summer days.
And with the doors off, the opening for the rear door is large enough for me to fit my chair in whole and just wrap a bungee cord to it so it doesn't go flying out.
I also bought a pair of roll bar handles to make it a little easier to get into. They work like a charm and for only $24.95 for a pair.
To date, I have to say, “I love this truck!”
One Year later..
So, it has been a year now since I first drove my 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara (affectionately named KD from the initials K and D on her license tag) off the dealership lot with 5 miles on the odometer – all of which I was the one to put on her.
Boy, let me tell you, I have put some use to this Jeep over the last 12 months! I have driven back and forth from Jew Jersey to Michigan now 6 times, moved three people to new houses, and spend a bunch of time out in the weeds. I figure driving this Jeep now in excess of 15,000 miles that I had enough seat time to really know it well and give a good update.
Through all the brutality I have inflicted on this vehicle it has still never ceased to amaze me. I have fit more stuff and more people inside the cab, towed more and more weight with ease and grace, and punished it off-roading to the wooded trails in my home town. I have only gotten stuck enough to need help from another vehicle once, which my girlfriend at the time came to my rescue in her 2006 Wrangler Sport. Nothing better for a guy’s ego than to get stuck and his girlfriend is the one to pull him out of the mud trench he found himself deep in.
I have even been able to revisit trails I used to ride before my injury that I spent hours on horseback and dirt bike. I haven’t been back on those trails in at least 14 years and this Jeep finally opened that door for me again.
I truly cannot find a more perfectly suited vehicle for me that this Unlimited.