Cooler than cool Moms are kicking it up a notch with one of the funnest people-carriers on the market today: the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. You can’t help but want one when you see it driving by on Rts. 71 and 88… or on the beach for that matter. Careful, though: when you get inside one, you just may find yourself taking the top off, cranking the music, and shouting a whoo-whooooo as you take it for a ride. It’s exactly what we did with three gal pals on a beautiful, spring day, after we dropped the kids off for an afternoon of fun. (Just don’t whoo-whoooo it up in front of your kids. They will wonder what alien being captured and replaced you with one of those — dare I say it — Bennies.)
Debuted in 2004, the Wrangler Unlimited entered the mini-van, cross-over, SUV world, but this vehicle taps the free-spirits who seek adventure, even if they are just running errands or driving to work. The Unlimited delivers the most alfresco driving experience possible. It seats 5 comfortably, with room for beach chairs, blankets and a cooler. But buyer beware, a big drawback — especially in these summer months — is the gas mileage. The Unlimited offers only 15 MPG (19 MPG highway), which is a genuine concern.
The 2011 Wrangler Unlimited has an improved interior to its predecessor, making it sharper, sleeker, and thoroughly modernized. The steering wheel offers audio and cruise controls; the 2011 also offers two-tone interiors, a change from the monochromatic Jeeps of old. The vehicle is also enabled with USB and Bluetooth, and features a fully-upgraded audio system.
Hula Girl is a Must-Have
One of the best things you can do with a Wrangler Unlimited (or any other vehicle equipped with 4-wheel drive) is to drive on and along the beaches of the Jersey Shore. On Island Beach State Park in Toms River, for example, an annual permit – running January 1 to December 31 – costs $195. A three-day permit (great for vacationers or weekend trips) will run $50. Other beaches in the area that allow driving include Berkeley, Brick, Brigantine, Seaside Heights, and Ocean City. Contact your local beach to find out more information about their specific rules, regulations, and prices.
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited starts at $25k. Visit Jeep’s website for more information. If you’re interested in learning more about driving on New Jersey beaches, visit the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association.