MHH International Gets Rugged With The Wrangler
Not for the faint of heart, the Wrangler is the pioneer of variable four-wheel drive freedom and an iconic legend since 1941. Go anywhere and do anything should be the motto thanks to the vehicle’s purpose-built design. The exposed forged-aluminium hood latches, the removable doors, the fold-down windscreen and the removable roof options all combine to enable the car to be configured just how you like it whatever the weather.
Rugged Is The Operative Word
The car comes as a two-door, featured here, or as a perhaps more convenient four-door with an extended wheelbase. Off-road both versions are unstoppable. Everything is reassuringly old-school mechanical, rather than utilising trick electronics. Inevitably, the Jeep Wrangler is always going to be a compromise as to cater for off-road ability means the steering is vague on the road, not aided by the big wheels and fat tyres, whilst the suspension is soft to allow for rugged terrain.
In the UK, this means that this hardcore motor can’t compete with the best of the SUV crowd but then again it doesn’t try to. It knows its place and that place is on the exploration trail or in areas of the world where automotive toughness counts. Rugged is the best description.
The tested version is in Overland trim which means the roof panels unclip to let the sunshine in but there’s not enough boot space for on-the-road removal. It has to stay at home. Keyless entry (an acknowledgement of the 21st Century) accesses the Wrangler interior which is again functional rather than chintzy. There’s sufficient storage space in the two-door but four-doors make for a better family option. A modern multimedia system with Bluetooth, navigation and steering wheel controls caters for our digital age whilst the big, broad seats cater for our comfort. Given the primary purpose of the car, after three hours of motorway driving, this writer was not unduly tired or worn out.
The Jeep in the images had a 197bhp 2.8 turbo-diesel engine with a chunky 339lb/ft of mighty torque that will pull you up the side of a reservoir dam. Driven through a five-speed automatic, the gearbox did a good job of selecting ratios to suit the task in hand.
Those who prefer a bit more bang for their buck might like to choose instead the 3.6L V6 petrol engine with 280bhp but less torque. Not quick, the petrol-powered Wrangler nevertheless achieves the dash to 62mph in just over ten seconds. Both engines are more refined than on previous models.
This is where it matters. Its brilliant on track or trail and over rocky surfaces the Wrangler has few rivals. Ground clearance is good and when the going gets really tough axle articulation and low-range gears will get you out of trouble. Outstanding ability and outstanding fun. The car in our photographs didn’t look quite so pristine after our off-road exertions but it shrugged it off as if to say, ‘Is that all you’ve got”?
The Jeep Wrangler is very much a niche vehicle. If all you need to do is drop children off at the school gates then look elsewhere; but if you want to go on fishing exhibitions in the wild blue yonder or on holidays in out-of-the-way places it has few equals.