The packaging of the Wrangler’s cabin feels slightly tighter than that of the average medium-sized SUV, and the front seats in particular a size more snug.
The car’s door apertures are smaller than you might expect and its sills higher and more obstructive; and once you’re in the car’s highly set driving seat, you’ll find a little bit less maximum leg room and footwell space than the class norm. None of the aforementioned limitations proved problematic even for the tallest of our testers, though; the trick is remembering that this is anything but the average medium-sized SUV – which, for various reasons, isn’t remotely hard to do.
To begin with, how many cars of this kind allow you to fold the windscreen down flat? In the Wrangler, it’s the job of five minutes with a multi-tool – and likewise is the removal of any one or all four of the passenger doors. The car comes with what Jeep calls a ‘freedom top’ in body colour, which is a three-piece modular hard-top that can be removed completely. It can also be ordered with a powered soft-top roof or a manually folding ‘sunrider’ soft-top roof – both of which make the car quicker and easier to convert for open-air motoring.
For outright habitability on less adventurous days, the car hits a decidedly better standard for comfort, perceived quality and convenience than any Wrangler has before – although nowhere is it likely to be honestly mistaken for one of the SUV class’s premium-branded options.
The cabin’s leathers are pleasant enough and its moulded plastics, though harder and more shiny than is typical of the class, feel robust and are inoffensive to the touch. The feel of the car’s FCA parts bin switchgear is predictably plain and a little bit cheap, but by and large controls are laid out sensibly and easy to use.
The Wrangler uses FCA’s fourth-generation UConnect infotainment system. It has an 8.4in centrally mounted touchscreen, which does offer smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android handsets but also comes with factory navigation and a user-configurable home menu screen that allows you to bundle together the functions you use most.
The car’s factory navigation system is fairly average, but its best feature is that it relays turn instructions on a 7in display within the instrument binnacle. European live traffic data is included.
Within the wider infotainment system, there’s an unresponsiveness about getting from one screen to the next that often means you can prod a fingertip twice or three times in the time it takes to get where you intended. At least Jeep’s line of menu short-cuts at the base of the screen minimises the pain a bit.