New Wrangler keeps

Jeep on track

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019, front
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019, side
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019, rear
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019, front, off road
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019, rear, off road
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019, interior
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019, display screen
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019, gear levers
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019, roof open
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019, rear seats
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019, boot
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019, tailgate

ONE of the toughest SUVs on the planet is getting a new image with the arrival of the fourth generation Jeep Wrangler.

It's on a mission to be more ‘urban' and while that is probably a good thing you can't take the big outdoors out of the Wrangler's DNA.

The new model is also significantly more expensive than its predecessor starting from £44,865 - and that's a rise of some £10,000.

That reflects the extra kit and technology - not to mention new engines - which are fitted to the latest Wrangler and high specification Overland and Rubicon models are priced from £46,865.

For that you get a 4x4 that not only looks the part but can take the harshest of conditions in its stride.

The new Wrangler is up with the ultimate off-roaders of all time and the Rubicon comes with features such as an electronic release for the sway bar on the front suspension, a locking differential and full set of high and low ratio gears.

In a way that is to be expected from a brand with its roots in the original Willys Jeep of the Second World War and one which has matured over years of production.

On rock strewn pavements high on the Lake District fells the latest Wrangler showed its mettle in no uncertain terms.

Axle twisting boulder fields, plenty of mud and a only smattering of normally metalled roads were the conditions Jeep chose to launch its latest hardcore SUV in the UK.

With sway bar disengaged for greater traction, the differential locked and low gears engaged the Wrangler proved itself a champion off-roader.

With more than 10 inches of ground clearance, a wading depth of 2ft 6ins and approach and departure angles of 36 and almost 21 degrees it can conquer virtually any terrain imaginable.

In the wild it is supreme and on regular roads the ride is much improved but even on 17-inch wheels there is no doubt this is no soft-roader.

The new Wrangler is powered either by a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine boosted to 272 horsepower or a 2.2-litre diesel with 200hp on tap.

Both are mated to eight-speed automatic transmissions and are available in two or four-door body styles with three top options including one which can be removed for absolute open air freedom.

Performance figures are largely irrelevant for vehicles of such ilk but for the record the 2.0-litre can manage 0 to 60 in a lively 7.3 seconds with a top speed of 110mph and the diesel is rated at 10.3 seconds with a top end of 99mph.

Fuel economy is very impressive for an off-roader with the diesel attaining a claimed 36.2mpg with emissions of 206g/km and the petrol 31.4 to the gallon and 198g/km.

On our drive, which was mainly in four-wheel-drive and low gears, the Wrangler diesel returned an average of almost 28mpg which given the severity of the conditions was an eye opener for a full-blown 4x4.

The two-door Wrangler is 14ft 2ins long with an eight foot wheelbase while the four-door model measures 16ft in length with a wheelbase of 9ft 10ins, although handling differences between the two are minimal.

Boot space ranges from 548 litres for the bigger model to just 203 litres for the two door with maximum capacities of 1,059 litres and 598 respectively but room inside on both is more than adequate.

The interior is much improved and comes with an 8.4-inch display screen and a seven-inch TFT information cluster on the instrument panel.

The controls are sensibly laid out with a proper lever for the transfer box to select gear ratios while the sway bar activation, diff-lock and hill descent controls are electronic.

Sat nav, LED headlamps, a rear view camera and full smartphone connectivity are standard on all models while Overland and Rubicon specification brings in the likes of leather upholstery and heated front seats.

Safety features include blind spot monitors, rear cross traffic detection and electronic stability controls with roll mitigation.

Rubicon models also come fully wired up for off-road accessories such as winches and light bars while the entry level Sahara versions proved themselves equally capable on road tyres over the Lake District route.

No Jeep Wrangler would be complete without a seven slot grille, trapezoidal wheel arches, round headlamps and square tail lights, a fold-down windscreen and removable doors and the new model has the lot.

For the serious off-roader it has the lot and with the current absence of its only real heavy duty rival, the Land Rover Defender, the Wrangler has the true 4x4 market to itself at the moment.

It's an absolute all-rounder with rugged looks and fixtures and fittings that fit the bill whether that be for an overland expedition or a run around town.

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