As American as apple pie, the Jeep Wrangler two-door is big, burly and in your face. Here’s what you need to know about Jeep’s tough off-road warrior.
COOL FACTOR IS OFF THE CHARTS
The Jeep Wrangler has some serious road presence. One of the Wrangler’s biggest selling points is its style, with elements going back to the original Willys Jeep of World War II fame. The Wrangler is beloved by bushies and hipsters from the Bourke to Bondi.
The tough guy looks are reinforced by big tyres in oversized wheel arches, a boxy silhouette and prominent snub-nosed grille.
Pop the top off, remove the doors, fold down the windscreen and you’ll feel like General Patton.
A retro interior and with cool Jeep graphics add to its charm.
There is nothing quite like it on the road, and you’ll feel like a member of an exclusive club getting waves from fellow Wrangler owners.
THERE IS A TOUCH OF LUXURY
Looking good doesn’t come cheap. The two-door Wrangler Overland we tested is aimed at those who will spend more time on the black stuff than the dirt and is priced from about $65,000 drive-away.
There’s a fair bit of gear thrown in, though.
The park brake, gear shifter and heated steering wheel are wrapped in leather, as are the heated leather front seats with Overland badging.
The 8.4-inch touchscreen is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and also includes satnav for when you’re venturing off the beaten track. A nine-speaker stereo takes care of the entertainment.
Big 18-inch alloys show its road-going bias, as does the hardcover on the rear-mounted full-size spare.
Safety includes auto emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. Adaptive cruise control adds convenience to highway driving.
AND PLENTY OF GRUNT
Power comes from a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine making 209kW and 347Nm. Its rivals prefer diesel power, which delivers less power but more torque for towing.
The V6 is matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which does a good job of getting the most out of the engine, although there can be the occasional surge on takeoff.
While acceleration is good, it doesn’t mind a drink. Claimed average fuel use of 9.6L/100km/h looks reasonable but you’ll struggle to get that around town. Luckily the Wrangler only requires cheaper regular unleaded.
IT’S THE REAL DEAL OFF-ROAD
On our previous tests the Wrangler has tackled some seriously tough terrain, rock-hopping and crossing streams with ease.
Steep, slippery slopes are no problem thanks to a full-time four-wheel drive set-up combined with the powerful engine and low and high range gears.
Locking front and rear diffs, a high wading depth and generous departure and approach angles mean the Wrangler will go where most rivals won’t.
BUT THERE’S A CATCH
The hardware that makes the Wrangler great off-road makes it a bit of a chore to drive on the bitumen.
It’s tall and short, with thick tyres and soft springs that make it floaty and twitchy through corners. On the freeway, constant steering inputs are needed and tyre noise is noticeable.
The Wrangler’s slow, heavy steering and its tendency to pitch and lean when changing direction means corners are better taken at below average speeds.
The elephant in the room is a three-star ANCAP crash score. This was only increased from an initial one-star score after some safety gear was made standard late last year.