Jeep Wrangler - the

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Jeep Wrangler
Jeep Wrangler, front
Jeep Wrangler, side
Jeep Wrangler, rear
Jeep Wrangler, interior

THE iconic Jeep Wrangler - in the form of the Willys and Ford Jeeps made for the US forces in the Second World War - hardly seems to have changed in 75 years.

But of course today's Wrangler, introduced in 2007, is a very different animal to drive.

That chunky, garden shed shape appeals to many people who think they would like to own very nearly the original 4x4, but make sure you take a good test drive before you buy.

This is one serious off-road cookie, capable of amazing feats in the worst of tough conditions, with suspension designed to minimise underside damage and keep you going when others would falter.

So it can be hard to live with every day on the road, with an uncompromising and uncomfortable ride on anything but the most billiard table smooth surfaces.

There's also loads of roll in the corners, even though it does grip pretty well, but the roll, combined with rather numb steering and the lumpy ride, does not inspire confidence.

Economy used to be a real problem since there was no diesel engine offered until 2007, but then the 2.8 from the Grand Cherokee was introduced with reduced power, giving decent refinement and performance combined with 34mpg.

The other option was a thirsty 3.8 V6 petrol with 196bhp but these are as rare as hen's teeth, and to be avoided unless you just can't pass filling stations.

Both engines drive all four wheels through either a manual six-speed gearbox or an automatic five-speed, and the manual has a full set of low ratio gears for the worst mud-plugging.or hill climbing.

Off-road ability is second to none. I have taken these tough machines through terrain that would cause most drivers heart failure and they have never let me down.

They will take you just about anywhere you could think of going and bring you safely out the other side.

Since 2007 there have been three door, short wheelbase models looking much the same as the Wrangler has always looked, plus a much more practical five door.

The cabin is a very low rent place to travel, with dull hard plastics, so-so build quality, drab colours and little in the way of comfort.

There are also large amounts of road, wind and engine noise at anything over 20 miles an hour.

Creature comforts inside are few because it was always meant as a workhorse. There are rubber mats and wipe clean surfaces everywhere.

FAST FACTS

Price:Pay about £10,500 for a '10 10-reg Sport, or £16,600 for a '12 12-reg Sahara auto

Mechanical:174bhp, 2,777cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:107mph

0-62mph:11.2 seconds

Combined MPG:34

Insurance Group:18

C02 emissions:215g/km

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