But the real news with the Wrangler for 2012 is its 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which replaces last year's lump of a V-6, the old iron-block 3.8-liter motor with a paltry 202 horsepower.
The all-aluminum 3.6 cranks out 285 healthy horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, a 40 percent increase in power.
Though the new engine doesn't pin you to the seat under acceleration, it is a breather that likes to wind, stretching out above 3,000 rpm.
When tied to a six-speed manual like mine was, the new engine can propel the 3,900-pound Wrangler to 60 in a quick 6.7 seconds, according to Motor Trend — a shocking 2 to 3 seconds faster than last year's model, Jeep says.
And it's more economical too — 17 mpg in the city, 21 on the highway.
Of course, most people would rather eat boiled cabbage than stir a six-speed. But the do-it-yourself transmission in the Jeep is smooth, with long throws and positive engagement, and works in fine harmony with a tight, civilized clutch.
As you might expect, cutting corners and running weekend gymkhanas are not Wrangler strengths. But its slow, highly boosted steering provides pretty good road feel and tracks clean and straight.
Moreover, for a stiffly sprung vehicle taller than most stepladders, the Wrangler actually felt OK in moderate-speed corners, leaning some but turning into curves with reasonable authority.
Still, you can expect only so much from a tall, short-wheelbase, heavy-duty vehicle designed to be a jut-jawed off-road warrior.
Let's just say the Wrangler is fidgety at best on paved surfaces and that's the price you pay for driving one — besides the nearly $32,000 window sticker on mine.
While the ride is slightly improved, the Wrangler still transmits every wave in the road through its cabin, crashing hard over real potholes.
Nonetheless, it cruised pretty effortlessly at 80, actually feeling a little smoother as the speed increased. Just tell Officer Ticketright that you're trying to preserve your back and internal organs. I'm sure he'll understand.
We geezers can laugh if we like.
But the bare-knuckled Wrangler has been a big part of Jeep's highly impressive 44 percent increase in sales this year.
Who says we're becoming a nation of distracted softies — or at least softies?
Did I just bounce past my exit?
With rough edges softened, Jeep Wrangler grows beyond niche
2012 Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4x4