2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition (© Perry Stern)Click to enlarge picture

2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition

Jeep is keeping the Wrangler fresh by introducing another special-edition model. The 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler edition is inspired by the off-roader's predecessors from the 1940s. Debuting at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show, the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler edition will arrive in early 2014 with a base price of $26,790 or $30,590 for the four-door Wrangler Unlimited.

The Wrangler Willys Wheeler edition is more subtle than other special-edition models we've seen — well, at least compared to the Dragon edition. The newest Wrangler model is available in any color, and comes with a gloss black grille plus a matching black Jeep badge, front and rear bumper trim, and unique 17-inch alloy wheels. Perhaps more important to those who may actually consider this vehicle, "Willys" hood decals make clear you're driving no ordinary Wrangler, and there is a black "4 Wheel Drive" rear tailgate decal, as well.

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A Sunrider soft top and tinted rear windows are also standard, as is Bluetooth and satellite radio. The Wrangler's half doors and a black-splatter Freedom Top are also available.

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler is powered by a 285-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and uses a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. We've tested a 2012 Wrangler with the manual accelerating from 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds. In the review, we noted that although peak torque with the 3.6-liter V-6 arrives at a higher rpm than the previous V-6, there was no noticeable difference when off-roading, which proved to be more fun than before.

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While the 2014 Jeep Wrangler may continue to be a good seller for the brand, EPA-rated fuel economy that tops out at 21 mpg on the highway could be a problem in the future. Recently, Jeep's Mike Manley suggested that there's a chance the next-generation Wrangler may live on without a solid axle. Until that SUV arrives, expect from Jeep more special editions like the 2014 Wrangler Willys Wheeler.

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