Its seven-slot grille and distinctive wide fender flares make the Jeep Wrangler one of the most recognisable vehicles on the market today. With excellent off-roading capabilities, the emphasis has to be on fun with its open top option and ‘Go Anywhere, Do Anything’ attitude.
The goodIt can take on any terrain and oozes character
The badPrices have crept up to almost £50k for range-toppers
JEEP Wrangler (2019) – First Drive
With the closure of the traditional Land Rover Defender production line, true hard core off-roaders that are bursting at the seams with character are few and far between. So, enter the latest generation JEEP Wrangler with all the mightand muscle to plug that gap.
Prices start from £44,865 and rise to £48,365 with three generously equipped trim levels to choose from. There are two all-new powertrains – one petrol and one diesel, plus customers can select either two or four-door body styles.
Boasting a rugged, bold design, the all-new 4th generation Wrangler certainly lives up to its ‘Go Anywhere, Do Anything’ slogan with design cues including the instantly recognisable seven-slot grille, round headlights, trapezoidal wheel arches, new LED headlamps and rear lights, folding windscreen, square door mirrors, removable doors and roof, plus chunky wheels. According to JEEP, it’s the only full open-air 4×4 SUV on the market today.
Move inside and creature comforts include the likes of heated seats, new Connect 8.4-inch touchscreen with pinch and zoom functions along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 3D navigation, a seven-inch TFT information display that is configurable in more than 100 ways, a heated steering wheel along with integrated buttons for the audio, voice and speed functions.
The interior has definitely taken a step upmarket with all the mod cons we demand in cars these days. In fact, JEEP executives explained that the latest model easily meets the needs of the lifestyle market without any compromise on 4×4 ability. With that in mind, there are high quality materials throughout the quirky, yet functional cabin with soft-touch surfaces, leather upholstery, contrast coloured inserts and sturdy switchgear.
The trim line-up starts with the Sahara, then steps up to Overland which introduces additional luxury or Rubicon for all the off-road expertise and more endurance styling traits. This model is also ready to be personalised by owners who may want to add all manner of extra kit and lighting to their vehicle.
The old 3.6 V6 petrol and 2.8 diesel engines are replaced by a new 2.0-litre turbo petrol unit developing 272hp and a new 2.2-litre diesel engine with 200hp.
With a ‘proper’ off-road course on the agenda featuring plenty of rock climbs, slippery ascents, gravel tracks and boggy water plunges, we opted for the perfect model for the job – the JEEP Wrangler Rubicon four-door powered by the new 2.2 Multijet-II diesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. New Wrangler is on sale in 10 body colours with lots of brighter shades joining the more traditional grey, silver and black. We chose the Firecracker Red car and what a firecracker of a vehicle it proved to be.
Priced at £48,365 (£49,640 with options), it could accelerate to 62mph from a standing start in 10.3 seconds, topping out at 99mph. Fuel economy is rated at a combined 36.2mpg with carbon emissions of 206g/km.
Our four-hour driving route through the wet and windy Lake District included some on-road driving where the Wrangler proved impressively composed and well balanced. The acceleration through the gearbox was smooth and there was a constant stream of power on tap at all times. But with a car that looks like it should be dropped into an extreme terrain zone with a mission of getting out safely, it was the off-road sections of the route that really tested the car to its full potential.
It’s worth adding that our vehicles were identical to showroom models, so didn’t have any clever trickery added to make the tasks easier. Without any hesitation, the Wrangler climbed over tree roots, leaned at crazy angles, balanced on three wheels and trampled across ragged boulders.
There are various driving modes to the 4×4 system – 2H, 4H Auto, 4H Part-time, 4L and Neutral along with front and rear differential locks and an electronic sway-bar disconnect system to help achieve even greater angles of lean.And I have to say our once-gleaming red Wrangler looked even more awesome and imposing when it was splattered from top to toe with mud, grime and boggy water. All that was missing was the Rocky ‘step-climb’ sound theme blaring through the nine-speaker plus subwoofer sound system.
Driver visibility has been improved on the new Wrangler with larger windows and I particularly liked that, as well as the touchscreen that can be used to heat the seats etc, there are manual buttons which are far easier to operate on the move and cause less driver distraction. There is also a rather clever Off-Road Pages app allowing you to view all manner of information about the pitch and roll of the vehicle during off-road antics.
Back seat passengers have plenty of legroom and storage options have been increased on the new model with a boot capacity ranging from 548 to 1,059 litres. There is a split rear door and other convenient storage options scattered throughout the Wrangler include a deep central console, cup holders, door bins, a small glovebox, plus additional space beneath the boot floor.
JEEP has upped the safety content on the latest Wrangler too with the likes of blind spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, electronic stability control with electronic roll mitigation, a reversing camera and four standard airbags.
All in all, the new JEEP Wrangler is tremendous fun and certainly up for the challenge when faced with any off-road assault course, so will prove itself to be a very able workhorse. But it also ticks all the right boxes when it comes to design, style, on-road handling, on-board infotainment and appeal making it the perfect all-rounder for someone with £50k burning a hole in their pocket.
Jeep Wrangler 3.6 V6 Auto Anniversary
Jeep is celebrating its 75th birthday this year and such a milestone is being marked in style with some ultra-special Anniversary editions being added to the brand’s line-up.
The Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Renegade models all have Anniversary editions and so too does the iconic Wrangler which has always remained faithful to its classic roots and gained iconic status over the years.
The Wrangler is a direct descendant of the original Willys-Overland (1941) model and was introduced to challenge Land Rover’s vehicles. And the latest Anniversary edition is a true roughtie-toughtie 4×4 that is based on the Wrangler Sahara but with added appeal and plenty of extra kit.
Boasting a stunning Sarge Green colour that perfectly suited the Wrangler’s character, the vehicle proved an instant attention grabber with other motorists drawn to its unique and robust styling. Other eye-catching features include body-coloured wheels arches, 18-inch bronze wheels, tinted windows, tubular side steps, front and rear fog lights, a spare wheel attached to the back door plus automatic headlamps.
Climb (and you do) inside and interior features plenty of ‘75th Anniversary’ badging along with special grab handles. There is a generous supply of on-board technology such as full connectivity and sat nav via a colour touchscreen, heated front seats, leather-trimmed upholstery and circular air vents proudly displaying the ‘Jeep’ name. In fact, everywhere you look there are reminders that this is no ordinary Wrangler model – even the grab handle on the glovebox is decorated with a model Jeep and the words “1942 seventy five years”. It has a truly retro feel and that’s exactly what Jeep intended.
Despite being a proper back-to-basics car, the Wrangler has plenty of appeal and certainly puts the fun factor back into driving. Admittedly, it’s pretty loud and the ride is a tad uncomfortable at times as it bounces around on those massive wheels, but those are factors that can actually be viewed as positives rather than negatives on this vehicle.
Powered by a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox, the Wrangler can reach 62mph from a standstill in 8.9 seconds and tops out at 112mph. According to official figures it can achieve combined fuel economy of 24.1mpg with carbon emissions of 273g/km.
The Wrangler can easily accommodate four adults – five with a squeeze – and storage options are 698 litres capacity with the seats upright increased to 935 litres with the rear seats dropped flat.
In busy city centre traffic, the Wrangler ambled along with ease and was actually quite agile and easy to manoeuvre. That said; large parking bays are required as the vehicle is quite long (4,751mm). Then on quicker roads and country lanes it was great fun to drive and easily kept pace with fast-moving motorway traffic. The noise levels within the cabin became quite amplified when the vehicle was pushed particularly hard, but the great sound system was more than capable of drowning out the engine’s roar.
There is a little body roll if bends are attacked too enthusiastically, but once again that is a quite plus point in the Wrangler’s character and handling.
However, on the downside, the near-vertical windscreen attracts all sorts of bugs and insect life at speed and is almost impossible to clean as the tiny wipers only clear a fraction of the area. This does mean stopping every hundred miles or so and manually cleaning the screen.
But that was my only real criticism during a week-long loan and although I wasn’t able to venture off-road on this occasion it is most reassuring to know that the Wrangler Anniversary, which is priced at £36,435, has very accomplished 4×4 capabilities if put to the test.
Jeep Wrangler 4.0 Jamboree
Book yourself an appointment with your chiropractor – you are going to need it.
You see the Jeep wrangler is guaranteed to deliver a noisy, bone-rattler of a ride and even though there are somewhat daunting signs throughout the cabin warning about the dangers of rolling the vehicle, it still has that wow factor attraction to it.
The jamboree model was released to celebrate Jeep’s 65th anniversary and although a little sluggish at times, the 4.0-littre engine delivers enough power to eat up and spit out anything Mother Nature throws in its path.
Generations of motorists have been drawn to the no-nonsense Jeep name and the Wrangler is a clear indication why. Despite the lack of refinement, it delivers a truly back-to-basics performance packed with raw and rugged appeal.
Delivered in a variety of dazzling colours like flame red or banana skin yellow there is no escaping the traditional Jeep branding with its seven-slot grille and round headlamps.
Admittedly, today’s Jeep models come with a lot more creature comforts than those commissioned by the US Army back in 1941 and the Wrangler was kitted out with a great CD sound system complete with seven speakers, air con, cruise control and lots more.
And the list of safety specifications doesn’t disappoint either with anti-lock brakes, power steering, numerous airbags and an immobiliser to keep unwanted attention at bay.
The folding soft roof on the Jamboree takes a little getting used to with its zips and levers rather than the push button controls we have become accustomed to these days.
But the longer I spent behind the wheel, the more the ruggedness of the Jeep’s appeal grew.