The Jeep Wrangler's design DNA and rugged appeal have been largely unchanged since the original Willys jeep from the 1950s. It is offered in the traditional short wheelbase, two-door configuration, or as the longer, four-door, which is the first Wrangler to sport rear doors.
Unashamedly rugged in a world of soft-roaders, it’s easy to understand the emotional appeal. Only the Land Rover Defender can compete in this regard. But, like the Defender, it’s a fairly crude experience on the road, with shuddering ride quality and lots of noise, both from the asphalt and through the canvas top.
Off road, it feels almost unstoppable, and the running gear is reassuringly mechanical, rather than electronic. The compromise made for off-road ability manifests itself as vague steering and soft suspension, but grip levels are good.
Two engines are available, although neither makes much concession to the concept of downsizing. The 197bhp, 339lb ft 2.8-litre turbodiesel pulls well, and is mated exclusively to a five-speed automatic. Refinement is much improved over previous Wranglers, but buyers looking for a smooth, hushed experience should look elsewhere.
The 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine develops 280bhp and 256lb ft for a more refined and higher-performing drive. With the 2.8 engine, the Wrangler will cover 0-62mph in 10.6sec and on to a top speed of 107mph, emissions are rated at 213g/km and Jeep quotes an official 29mpg on the combined cycle. Five-door models are fractionally slower and thirstier.