Pre-Owned Vehicle Review: 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport

NOTE: The author is a single male in his mid-40s, and daydreams about living full time in a Prevost Coach, with a tow vehicle pulled behind. That leads to this article about a vehicle many refer to as the perfect tow vehicle.  Here is my Jeep Wrangler Review, followed further down the page with instructions on how to properly flat-tow a Jeep Wrangler. I’ve also provided a PDF version of the 2017 Jeep Wrangler Owner’s Manual at the end of this article.

Don C.
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport from West Mitsubishi
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi

Jeep Wranglers appeal to me.  From everything I’ve read, the Wrangler is the best off-road mass produced vehicle available to consumers.  Some might argue that the Ford Raptor is just as capable but, as I have yet to test drive a Raptor, I can’t address that assertion.

As often as I’ve envisioned travelling the highways in a non-slide Prevost Coach, I’ve envisioned a four wheel drive being towed behind.  The Jeep Wrangler is the vehicle I most imagine as being that vehicle. That said, up until taking the Jeep in this article out for a spin, I don’t think I’ve ever driven one.

2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi.
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi

While I really like this Wrangler, there were a few things about it that I found to be disappointing.  My reasons for this, however, will likely not match yours.

I remember when a decent Wrangler could be seen for sale for around 10 grand.  Those days are now behind us. Even used, a late-model Jeep Wrangler is pricey. The sticker price on this one is in the mid-30s.  Yikes.

Presently, I own a 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, which I purchased brand new from West Mitsubishi in Northern California.  So when I decided I wanted to take a Jeep out for a spin, I headed on down to their dealership to see if they had a Wrangler in stock, and if so, would they let me jump behind the wheel?  I didn’t want to take the typical spin around the block. I wanted to take the rig out for several hours, drive it up into the mountains, and enjoy it in the environment in which it’s meant to be driven.  West Mitsubishi had one Wrangler in inventory, and the owner agreed to allow me to use it, if I agreed to take some photos of it, for use in their online advertising campaigns.  

2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi

For me, the fuel economy of this Jeep Wrangler was a huge disappointment.  Online, I’d read it would get around 16 in the city and 21 on the highway. I didn’t find that to be the case.  Admittedly, I didn’t manually check this: I relied on the Jeep’s computer to tell me what the fuel economy happened to be.  That number stayed right around the 15 miles per gallon mark for the entire time I drove it.

This is the Wrangler Sport, the four door Wrangler Unlimited model.  It comes with Cruise Control, a hard top (this one doesn’t have an included soft top), air conditioning, power windows, power locks, tilt wheel… the basics.  

2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi.
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi

Basic, however, is exactly how I’d describe it.  It has all the creature comforts, but I wouldn’t call it a luxury vehicle.  Of course, that’s probably not a big concern for those who are driving this type of truck.  What would be of most concern would likely be off-road capability, and for that, this Wrangler would not disappoint.

Another area of disappointment for me was the level of road noise.  I realize that is to be expected. There is very little sound insulation in a truck intended to take the driver just about anywhere one wishes to go, and the oversized tires lend to the noise level as well.  I kept thinking to myself that it would annoy me to have to listen to that level of noise all the time if this vehicle was my daily driver. I appreciate my Outlander Sport all the more.

The vehicle didn’t track as well as I’d have preferred.  I didn’t feel as if I could relax while driving it. That may be due to the fact that I am not yet familiar with this truck, as it’s the first time in my memory that I’ve ever driven one.  But while I almost always feel a little apprehensive behind the wheel in a vehicle that’s not my own, that apprehension usually goes away. That didn’t happen. I felt the need to be alert and vigilant the entire time I was behind the wheel, because this truck needs someone constantly keeping it pointing in the direction it needs to travel.  Some might say that’s a good thing.  Being ever alert is what we expect of those sharing the road with us.

2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi.
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi

After driving this, what are my thoughts on having it as both a daily driver and tow vehicle?  I’d test drive the Raptor (West Mitsubishi can get a pre-owned Raptor for you, if you’re looking for one) before making a final decision, if I could find one in my budget (Raptors are typically even more expensive than Wranglers).  That said, if I didn’t find the Raptor to be just as capable off-road, if the noise level wasn’t acceptable to me, and if the larger size of the Raptor significantly impacted maneuverability, I’d get used to the Wrangler and would likely end up very happy with it.  It definitely does the job it’s intended to do.

If you are looking for a 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, you can buy this one from WestMitsubishi.com.  If necessary, they’ll deliver to you, anywhere in the country.

2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi.
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi

Instructions for Towing The 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport Behind Another Vehicle

If you’re like me, and want to make sure you’re properly towing a Jeep Wrangler, you’ll want a checklist.  I’ll give detailed instructions on how to do so below. I’ve simply taken the Wrangler Unlimited’s owner’s manual and paraphrased the instructions listed within it.  What follows are Jeep Wrangler Flat Towing Instructions.

Towing Condition

Flat-tow your Wrangler.  Never take the wheels off the ground.

Again: NO Wheels OFF the Ground

That means NONE. All four wheels need to be on the ground.

Four-Wheel Drive Models

Instructions For Towing:

  • If your Wrangler has an automatic transmission, place it in PARK. 
  • If your Wrangler has a manual transmission, put the transmission in gear (NOT in NEUTRAL).
  • Put the Transfer Case in NEUTRAL (N). 
  • Tow your Wrangler only in the forward direction.  Don’t tow it while it is facing backwards.
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi

AGAIN, TAKE NOTE:
The transfer case of your Jeep Wrangler must be shifted into NEUTRAL (N), automatic transmission must be in PARK, and manual transmission must be in gear (NOT in NEUTRAL) for recreational towing.

DOLLY TOWING IS NOT ALLOWED.  
Never, ever tow your Wrangler with one set of wheels off the ground.  Make sure all four wheels are always on the ground.  

CAUTION! 

(yes, this is being repeated one more time, because it’s very important)

  • DO NOT dolly tow any 4-Wheel-Drive Jeep Wrangler. Towing with only one set of wheels on the ground, front or rear, will cause severe transmission and/or transfer case damage. Tow with all four wheels either ON the ground, or all four wheels OFF the ground using a vehicle trailer.
  • Tow only in the forward direction. Towing this vehicle backwards can cause severe damage to the transfer case.
  • Automatic transmissions must be placed in PARK for recreational towing.
  • Manual transmissions must be placed in gear (not in Neutral) for recreational towing.
  • Before recreational towing, perform the procedure outlined under “Shifting Into NEUTRAL (N)” (belowe) to be certain that the transfer case is fully in NEUTRAL (N). Otherwise, internal damage will result.
  • Towing this vehicle in violation of the above requirements can cause severe transmission and/or transfer case damage. Damage from improper towing is not covered under the New Vehicle Limited Warranty provided by Jeep.
  • Do not use a bumper-mounted clamp-on tow bar on your vehicle. The bumper face bar will be damaged.

Shifting Into NEUTRAL (N)

Use the following procedure to prepare your vehicle for recreational towing:

WARNING!
You or others could be injured or killed if you leave the vehicle unattended with the transfer case in the NEUTRAL (N) position without first fully engaging the parking brake. The transfer case NEUTRAL (N) position disengages both the front and rear drive shaft from the powertrain, and will allow the vehicle to roll, even if the automatic transmission is in PARK (or manual transmis- sion is in gear). The parking brake should always be applied when the driver is not in the vehicle.

2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi

CAUTION!
It is necessary to follow these steps to be certain that the transfer case is fully in NEUTRAL (N) before recreational towing to prevent damage to internal parts.

  1. Bring the vehicle to a complete stop. 
  2. Press and hold the brake pedal. 
  3. Shift the automatic transmission into NEUTRAL or depress the clutch pedal on a manual transmission. 
  4. Turn the engine OFF. 
  5. Shift the transfer case lever into NEUTRAL (N). 
  6. Start the engine. 
  7. Shift the transmission into REVERSE. 
  8. Release the brake pedal (and clutch pedal on manual transmissions) for five seconds and ensure that there is no vehicle movement. 
  9. Repeat steps seven and eight with automatic transmission in DRIVE or manual transmission in first gear. 
  10. Turn the engine OFF. 
  11. Firmly apply the parking brake.
  12. Shift the transmission into PARK or place manual transmission in gear (NOT in NEUTRAL). 
  13. Attach the vehicle to the tow vehicle using a suitable tow bar.
  14. Release the parking brake.

Shifting Out of NEUTRAL (N)

Use the following procedure to prepare your vehicle for normal usage:

  1. Bring the vehicle to a complete stop, leaving it connected to the tow vehicle.
  2. Firmly apply the parking brake.
  3. Turn the ignition to the LOCK position.
  4. Turn the ignition to the ON/RUN position, but do not start the engine.
  5. Press and hold the brake pedal.
  6. Shift the transmission into NEUTRAL.
  7. Shift the transfer case lever to the desired position.

NOTE: When shifting the transfer case out of NEUTRAL (N), the engine should remain OFF to avoid gear clash.

  1. Shift the automatic transmission into PARK, or place manual transmission in NEUTRAL.
  2. Release the brake pedal.
  3. Disconnect vehicle from the tow vehicle. 
  4. Start the engine.
  5. Press and hold the brake pedal.
  6. Release the parking brake.
  7. Shift the transmission into gear, release the brake pedal (and clutch pedal on manual transmissions), and check that the vehicle operates normally.
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi.
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, provided for this review by West Mitsubishi

More About This Particular Jeep Wrangler:

Here’s West Mitsubishi’s Walk-Around of the Wrangler I Drove

2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited from West Mitsubishi

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