Jeep Wrangler

Charming small 4x4 is great off-road

5.9
wowscore
This is the average score given by leading car publications from 17 reviews
  • Great off-road
  • Rugged styling
  • Lots of charm
  • Poor on-road manners
  • Cheap feeling interior
  • Thirsty engine
 

£31,840 - £36,435 Price range

 

4 - 5 Seats

 

23 - 26 MPG

Review

The Jeep Wrangler is one of those cars that realistically shouldn’t exist today, but thankfully it does. Make no mistake, despite being heavily revised recently, the wrangler is still a very tough, old school off roader that can tackle almost any terrain, and recent improvements have made it slightly more bearable to drive on tarmac.

Although those searching for comfort should probably look elsewhere, those who want something that is “tough as old boots” and full of character that isn’t a Land Rover, may well want to consider the Wrangler.

Cheapest to buy: 3.6-litre Sahara petrol

Cheapest to run: 3.6-litre Sahara petrol

Fastest model: 3.6-litre Overland petrol

Most popular: 3.6-litre Rubicon petrol

There are lots of typically American, dark, cheap looking plastics surrounding the cabin, however, everything has a sturdy feel to it and overall the impression is utilitarian but perfectly acceptable for the type of car. It’s not as sparse on the inside as a Land Rover Defender, but close.

Critics have noted that the dashboard is well laid out and actually fairly stylish in appearance. Space in the cabin varies on whether you choose the two-door or four-door models. Both wheelbase options offer a decent amount of room for both driver and passenger; however, in the short wheelbase model it can be tricky to gain access to the rear seats. The boot is also a pretty decent size and headroom is good.

Jeep have gone to great lengths in recent years with the 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.

There aren’t any choices when it comes to engines – just one petrol. It’s a 3.6-litre V6 developing 280hp and 256lb-ft of torque and the on road performance is more than adequate for a car of this type. One tester describes it as refined. Thanks to stop/start technology, it will even average a claimed 29mpg. We’re not convinced you’ll ever match that, though…

The Wrangler offers only the bare minimum of safety features, with two airbags and stability control as standard. Isofix child seat mountings are also provided, but that’s about it really. Most other SUVs offer far more safety kit when compared to the Wrangler, so it isn’t reccomended as a safe place to transport the family.

The Wrangler is bought primarily by your heart and not by your head, so debating whether it’s good value for money is pretty difficult. On paper the Wrangler undercuts all its major rivals on price, and in some cases is substantially better equipped as well. Resale values are strong as well. Range-topping models are expensive but well equipped.

Don’t expect the refinement of more modern 4×4’s, although the Wrangler is cheaper, better equipped, and almost as good off road as the Land Rover Defender, the Landie still remains by far the more popular 4×4.

Conclusion

The Jeep Wrangler is based on an iconic design and as a result, feels a bit outdated now. It’s not great on road but it really performs where it was designed to – in the mud. It may not be as good as rivals, but it certainly has plenty of character.

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