Jeep Wrangler Unlimited review, test drive

Jeep Wrangler Price in India

 

The Jeep models have world-wide recognition as the superior quality off-road vehicles with a perfect blend of luxury and off-road capability. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the latest version of Wrangler, and is available in hardtop and soft top options. The luxurious interiors with versatility, and the advanced technology features of Electronic Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control programs, multistage front airbags and side airbags are featured as a standard.

EXTERIORS

This yet to be launched vehicle is expected to come with a rugged body structure and it is expected to be available with both hard and soft top versions. This vehicle looks a bit intimidating owing to its masculine body structure and a lot of rugged styling aspects. The rear end of this vehicle has a distinctive design with tail light cluster, which is powered by LED based brake and reverse lights, turn indicators along with courtesy lamps. The company has embedded variant badging, thick chrome strip and a license plate console on the large tail gate. The body colored bumper is quite sleek and it is fitted with a black cladding for preventing it from damages and it also accompanied by a pair of chrome plated exhaust pipes. The bumper houses a couple of reflectors along with an additional brake light. Its side profile inherits the iconic classy design with precisely molded wheel arches and silver protective molding, which prevents it from any minor damages. Its A and B pillars have been garnished in high gloss black, whereas window sill is in chrome finish. The door handles along with ORVM (outside rear view mirrors) and fenders have been treated in body color, whereas the lower cladding gets a black finish. These external wing mirrors are electrically adjustable and are integrated with LED side turn indicators. The wheel arches are expected to be fitted with a classy set of stylish 16 and 17-inch alloy wheels, depending on the variants.

These rims are further covered with high performance tubeless radial tyres, which will offers superior grip on any road conditions. On the other hand, its frontage look quite aggressive with a perforated radiator grille, which is garnished in black color scheme. It is fitted with a lot of horizontal slats and embossed with a prominent company logo at the tip of the bonnet. Its bonnet is flat and complimented by a few character lines. This grille is flanked by round shaped headlight cluster that houses high intensity headlamps along with side turn indicator. Just below this, it has a dual tone bumper and it is accompanied by a silver finished protective cladding along with an under guard for preventing the vehicle from minor damages. This bumper houses a large air intake section for cooling the powerful engine quickly. This air dam is surrounded by a pair of elegantly designed fog lamps that adds to the visibility of driver, especially in bad weather conditions. It is accompanied by a black nudge guard, which protects the vehicle from damages. The windscreen is pretty large and gives a proper view ahead. It is made of toughened laminated glass, which is integrated with a set of intermittent wipers. When all these features will put together, the company is going to give one of the best looking vehicle in this segment.

INTERIORS

Push the button on the door knob and open the heavy doors of the Jeep Wrangler, climb in and you will be greeted by a cabin which has good quality and excellent fit and finish levels although some wiring is exposed at the rear. The doors are solid and are held open by old school wired rope (otherwise the door would open 180-degrees). The door unlock/lock buttons are placed on the front doors and they aren’t illuminated at night making it difficult to find them. The door pocket is a different kind, it has a net, a similar net is placed right ahead of the gear lever. Mirrors are big offering good visibility of what’s behind and internal one dims too. The front seat belts are height adjustable as well. No grab handles on the roof but there is a handle right above the glovebox which proudly states “since 1941”, the year when the Willys MB, aka the first Jeep made its debut.The seats and steering get manual adjust and the front seats are quite comfortable offering generous headroom and good under thigh support. The headrest is a bit stiff though and the plastics on the dashboard are very hard. The flat-ish dashboard is very functional. Getting in the rear is a challenge, it’s best for kids and there is little legroom and under thigh support although headroom is good. There is no arm rest at the rear but the massive wheel arch intrudes inside and is a good place to keep your arm. Large window area at the rear gives good visibly but the windows don’t open, not even in butterfly flap style. No front cabin light but there is one in the centre which can also be operated by using the left stalk (the one which operates the headlights) and you can also vary the intensity. The wipers themselves are very good and the washer fluid does a fantastic job of spraying across the front windshield which is likely to get very dirty off-road. The rear wiper works well but the fuel filler lid is complicated to open as it doesn’t open from inside the vehicle but you need to insert a key and turn it (not in a straight forward way).

The Jeep Wrangler is a hardtop convertible and you can remove the roof panels manually to enjoy an open top experience. Removing the roof panel takes some time as 4 switches need to be turned while one screw knob needs to be rotated quite a bit for opening one side of the panel. So once you are in open top mode, you can also open the covers on the bars and use that as a handle. The power window switches are placed on the centre console and there are plenty of storage spaces inside the cabin including a decent sized globe box and space below the centre arm rest. Bottle holders are placed right next to the gear lever and on top of the dashboard, there is a small storage bay. Right below the AC controls is a cigarette lighter, mirror adjustment (heated), hazard switch, headlamp leveller and traction control switches. No parking sensors offered which should come as standard at this price.The boot opens in two parts (door with spare wheel and rear windscreen separately) and the rear seats fold in one piece to yield lots of boot space. The steering wheel has an array of buttons, on the front right are cruise control buttons while on the left are menu buttons to operate the multi-information display on the instrument cluster which has four pods. The tachometer and speedometer (marked in both MPH and KPH) are in the centre and very easily visible on the move. The display shows distance to empty, tyre pressure, timer, compass, mileage, car settings, follow me home headlamps, hill assist (available on the automatic), door open warning, etc. Controls for the audio system are placed behind the steering wheel and the unit offers decent output. 6 speakers are placed on the dashboard and rear roof and the U-connect system doesn’t have Bluetooth audio steaming. The horn button is a bit hard and the sun visors have no light but they do have mirrors.

PERFORMANCE

Powering the Wrangler is the venerable 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 It’s been in the Wrangler since 2013 and produces 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Though it’s not a powerhouse, the V-6 is definitely adequate for pushing the Wrangler around town and up a mountain hillside. It comes mated to two transmission options: the standard six-speed manual and the optional five-speed automatic. While most urbanites will opt for the automatic, the enthusiast set will go with the manual.The Wrangler rides on two solid axels held in place by multi-link suspension systems. Coil springs and monotobe shock absorbers cushion the ride. Non Rubicon models use a Dana 30 front axle combined with a Dana 44 axle out back. Power is always sent rearward, but when the going gets tough, the Command-Trac part-time, two-speed, manually operated transfer case will send power forward to the front differential. A 2.72:1 low-range crawl ratio is plenty fine for most off-road situations. An optional Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential helps provide extra traction in slippery conditions.The off-road oriented Rubicon ups the ante by several degrees. It comes with the stronger Dana 44 axles in both front and rear positions, along with a lower crawl ratio in its Rock-Trac part-time transfer case of 4.0:1. This leverages the beefier BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KO2 tires to their fullest. When things get really sticky, the Rubicon has front and rear electronic locking differentials, making all four wheels turn at the same speed. This eliminates the potential for wheel slippage to send power for the wheel with the least amount of grip.

DRIVING DYNAMICS

Jeep have gone to great lengths in recent years with the Jeep Wrangler to make it much more refined on the road, but has it worked? The most resounding answer any tester can offer is “sort of”. It is still nowhere near as good to drive on the tarmac as modern 4×4s, but then again it isn’t a modern car.However, despite having to put up with some drawbacks, overall the Wrangler isn’t too bad to drive. Critics have mentioned the vague steering and excessive body roll in corners which can make the Wrangler feel a little daunting, but grip is decent. The ride is fairly composed considering how much of a utilitarian beast it is.The Wrangler will also take you just about anywhere off road you want to go, and even on seriously rough surfaces the ride still remains acceptable.There are both Manual and Automatic gearbox options available and both are said to perform well. Considering its very boxy shape, the Wrangler does not suffer from excessive wind noise at speed and road noise isn’t excessive.

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SAFETY AND SECURITY

The Wrangler Unlimited comes pretty well loaded too. It gets navigation, heated front seats, all-four power windows, ESP, ABS and two airbags as standard. But what would have made life easy are the parking sensors considering its girth. The retro-styled SUV features handful of safety equipment such as advanced multistage front airbags, electronic roll mitigation, electronic stability control, front passenger seat belt alert, hill start assist, remote keyless entry, sentry key theft deterrent system, sport bar with full padding and traction control.

VERDICT

So the Jeep Wrangler comes across as a car with average on-road dynamics but when you factor in the off-road expertise, you simply can’t fault the vehicle. While a petrol powered Jeep might not have many takers, we feel the Wrangler has everything in it to create a niche and vow off-road enthusiasts who don’t want to live with the compromise of poor reliability and quality in their off-road machines. The Wrangler offers the best of both worlds, it has timeless looks, modern interiors, potent engine and the ability to create its own route. Being a CBU is notgoing to make pricing competitive but there is nothing which can match the sheer capabilities and desire which the Jeep Wrangler has to offer and that’s enough to seal the deal for those who tread their own path.

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