The American way. The new Wrangler takes you everywhere you want
Some may be confused by the fact that the Jeep Wrangler story begins in 1986 only when the first edition of the Jeep Wrangler was launched, while the off-road tradition in the USA started during the World War Two. Those days the Willys MB was the toughest, most practical, military offroad small vehicle available. The Willys became a legend, a collector car and surely an inspiration to the modern Wrangler. While the British cousins recently decided to stop the production of the current Land Rover Defender, Jeep is going stronger than ever with the most capable off-road vehicle in their portfolio.
The sales figures are quite staggering. Nearly 2,5 Million Jeeps have been sold since 1986 and today it’s the most recognizable American true offroader. The Rubicon is the model we tested, which is the range top as of now. We chose the long wheelbase version and we loved it.
Jeep makes a strong statement with this model, loading the car with the best technology available, especially when we talk about hardware equipment. From the data sheets it already appears to be a military vehicle rather than a friendly capable off roader.
It features the reliable Pentastar 3.6 Lt engine capable of 285 horsepower and 347 Nm of torque, combined with the new 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s capable of towing more than a Tonn and it runs smooth, both on the road and offroad, where the immediately available torque helps a lot.
The Rubicon is equipped with front and rear Dana 44 axles. The axles are beefed up with thicker tubes to provide more reliability and strength in rougher conditions. Furthermore, it’s equipped with steel front and rear tow hooks and with heavy-gauge steel skid plates to protect critical components underbody. With 252 millimeters ground clearance and approach (36.4° degrees), breakover (25,8° degrees) and departure (30,8° degrees) angles, Jeep is one of the most athletic vehicles offroad today.
Standard on the Rubicon is the Tru-Lok electronic system which allows the locking front and rear differentials and an electronic front sway bar which can be disconnected to allow even more twist angle and suspensions travel. We tried our skills on soft and hard sand and to be honest we felt like the car was far more skilled than us. This is a truly competent and mature vehicle, which, in the right hands, can be pretty much unstoppable. The internal commands for the rear diff lock are easy to engage, as well as the low ratio gears. The sensation is to be driving a car that has far more to give than requested by the majority of amateur off-road drivers… like us.
On the Road, it is pretty good too. Big and aggressive off-road tires are noisy, the aerodynamic is as good as a washing machine, noise insulation is very poor but the inside experience is surprisingly good. We did a 500 km daily trip around the UAE and in all honesty, the overall comfort left us with a big smile. Seats are very good and firm, the entertainment system is as good as you can get in modern days with all the USB/AUX cables slots and the Bluetooth connections you need. (The only flaw was that I had to disconnect and reconnect again my iPod cable every time I switched the engine on and off). Even the stereo system is capable. Maybe they thought that you should be able to listen to good rock music when offroading gets tougher. Also, we loved the fact that within a few minutes, you can dismantle pretty much all the external body panels, making in it from a fully closed machine into a completely convertible one. It is easy to unscrew the whole rear shell, as well as removing the hard top panels over the driver’s head.
It looks cool to us. The front end is tall and aggressive, it doesn’t leave you any doubt on its intentions. Its square angles, its simple and familiar look is home for a lot of us, like a true classic. We can tell that the Yankees have put a lot of effort in making this car desirable even from the outside and this is surely a winning message to the potential users. “Watch me, I am cool, take me with you everywhere you want”.
You know how little we like the SUVs and you know how little we like the compromises. Well, the Wrangler has very little compromises. And this is not a road car that can take you skiing once a year; instead, it’s a formidable
The only issue is the price: the slightly less capable Sahara starts from 43,000 USD, while the Rubicon, as tested, reaches 52,000 USD. We believe that the technical content largely justifies the expense and you’d expect to keep this lady loyal to you for many many years.