The Jeep Wrangler is the classic all-American heavy-duty off-roader. It is brilliant off road, but compromised on the tarmac
What is it?
Just when you thought Jeep might be going a bit soft – its two latest models are the road-focused Compass and Patriot – along comes a car to neatly reaffirm its pedigree as a purist off-road manufacturer.
Unashamedly styled to continue the resemblance with the 1941 original, this all-new Jeep Wrangler is the first significant update since 1997. Key Jeep features like the seven-bar grille, fold-flat windscreen and removable doors are retained, but now there’s the option of diesel power, plus with the Unlimited tag the convenience of four doors.
What's it like?
The 174bhp 2.8-litre diesel is the same engine found in other Jeep products. Although not the most refined or hardest hitting, its improved frugality over the petrol V6 should widen the Wrangler’s appeal.
So will the improved refinement. The Wrangler remains at its happiest off road, but it can now cruise at 80mph without deafening or shaking its occupants to distraction. There’s a hefty amount of body roll, and when left in two-wheel drive the standard-fit ESP is called into service regularly, but for a car with such credible qualities in the rough, its on-road manners are reasonable.
Off road, the Wrangler is stronger than ever, with increased ground clearance, larger wheels and an enhanced rear axle. For those needing the ultimate, the petrol Rubicon model adds electronic axle lockers and a disconnecting front stabiliser bar.
Should I buy one?
To drive a Wrangler as a road car still requires an accepting frame of mind, but for those aspiring to the original Jeep image, the compromises are now fewer than before.