Rugged, tough and right up my alley – that’s how I feel about the latest Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.
This remains a machine to capture the imagination and enhance your adventurous spirit. Even with a heap more on the road compared to the time when my adventurous spirit meant actual adventure, this Jeep model still screams: “I’m different and I’m up for action”.
And it won’t let you down when you do head out and about and off the beaten track. You’ve got to try hard or, to be frank, have very limited idea of what you’re doing, to get in too much trouble in a Wrangler when off road.
While I didn’t put the latest Wrangler – my test car in a brilliant blue just to be sure it stood out on the road – to the type of gruelling tests undertaken at my first introduction to the Wranglers more than a decade ago on the wild West Coast of Tasmania, the wicked weather Adelaide has experienced in recent times threw up some decent scenarios for the blue beast.
It blends interior refinement with practicality. The basics are done well… but not overdone so to lose the very thing that creates the appeal of the Wrangler.
The Wrangler couples a leather wrapped, multi-function steering wheel and voice command radio, CD and MP3 player with Alpine sound with removable metal doors like no other vehicle.
Ok, so no other vehicle attempts it.
There’s a few things which take a bit of getting used to with the Wrangler – those doors which swing to right angles among them.
With the suspension and clearance taking into consideration the likelihood of owners wanting to be adventurous in a vehicle equipped to go further and deeper off the beaten track, the Wrangler can feel a bit unsettling on the highway. You can get used to it and you’ll be happy to when you get off road.
The Wrangler is powered by the Pentastar 3.6L petrol V6 which boasts 209kW of power, 347 Nm of torque and is cast from lightweight aluminium. It has a claimed combined fuel consumption of 11.4L per 100km.
Also available is the 147kW, 460Nm 2.8L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder Common-Rail Diesel (CRD) engine with a fuel consumption rate of 8.0L per 100km
Safety and security in the Jeep Wrangler hasn’t been overlooked. Advanced multi-stage driver and front-passenger airbags and side seat-mounted airbags for front occupants, along with a high-strength steel sport bar improving side-impact performance are among those features.
But the key to the Wrangler’s claims of driving adventure lie with the tried and tested off-road capabilities of the Command-Trac 4×4 system and heavyduty off-road suspension.
The Jeep Wrangler drove adventure for me about 10 years ago, taking me to the extremes of the west coast of Tasmania and places which were hard to cover by foot. A decade on, it might be of good use taking me to places I may now struggle to cover by foot.