Jeep Wrangler Sahara

2.2 MultiJet II 2dr

Jeep Wrangler Sahara, front
Jeep Wrangler Sahara, dynamic
Jeep Wrangler Sahara, rear
Jeep Wrangler Sahara, dynamic, off-road
Jeep Wrangler Sahara, interior
Jeep Wrangler Sahara, interior, rear
Jeep Wrangler Sahara, boot

THE current craze for generic SUVs sporting pumped-up suspensions and all kinds of protective cladding shows that there are plenty of drivers out there who like their motors to look rough and tough.

Most of these cars are unlikely to ever face anything more challenging than a suburban speed hump - indeed, many of them don't even come with the all-wheel drive traction that their looks would suggest.

The Jeep Wrangler is definitely not one of these vehicles.

Drawing on nearly 80 years' worth of off-road heritage, this is a serious piece of hard core machinery that genuinely lives up to the ‘go anywhere' hype and is bursting with unique character and features.

The upright, boxy design with its prominent, angular wheel arches and distinctive grille, can clearly be traced back to the original 1940s Willys Jeep while the removable doors and roof and foldable windscreen give the whole thing the feel of a life-size Meccano set.

Not one, but two hugely capable 4x4 systems are available, depending upon trim grade, and terrain that would leave many vehicles ready for the scrap yard is a mere walk in the park for both of them.

Our entry-level Sahara model comes with the Command-Trac hardware, as does Overland trim, while Rubicon versions are equipped with Rock-Trac which, as the name suggests, is geared up for the most challenging off-roading eventualities.

Both systems offer two-wheel drive modes for everyday motoring as well as an automatic all-wheel drive setting which constantly monitors conditions and switches power between rear and four-wheel drive accordingly.

Four-wheel drive lock ensures torque is split evenly between front and rear axles while, to tackle the most demanding off-roading, a low gear ratio 4x4 mode can be deployed.

In short, there shouldn't be many places you'd realistically want to get to in the UK that you couldn't in a Wrangler, including wading through water of up to 76 centimetres deep.

The off-road credentials of this car have never really been in doubt, though. What the current fourth-generation model has added since it hit showrooms in 2018 is an improved driving experience when staying on the blacktop.

Although it'll never be like driving a family saloon or hatch - or one of the army of pseudo 4x4s - this Wrangler is more comfortable and refined than previous generations.

It does wallow and roll around a little and the lively steering will take a bit of getting used to - but you don't buy a motor like this for sharp and nimble handling.

Tearing away from the lights isn't really an option either - although the 8.9 seconds 0-62mph time of our 2.2-litre diesel powered car is not slow and motorway cruising is effortless, aided by the impressively smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox that's standard across the range.

The steering is as light as it is lively too, making manoeuvring in town surprisingly straightforward and squeezing into shopping centre car parks was certainly no problem in the cut down two-door version we had which, despite its imposing height and presence isn't overly long.

The truncated dimensions do mean that practicality suffers though, with boot space here being little more than you get in a supermini. If you want to carry four people and any amount of luggage you'll need the longer four-door.

It's also worth noting that the three-door model is a dedicated four-seater, with no centre seat in the back. Nevertheless, head and leg room is good all round and the quality of materials and equipment mean that this Wrangler is a much more pleasant thing to travel in than its predecessors - boasting many creature comforts.

Sahara trim gets an 8.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring digital radio, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; cruise control; keyless entry and ignition; reversing camera and climate control.

FAST FACTS

Jeep Wrangler Sahara 2.2 MultiJet II 2dr

Price: £44,420

Mechanical: 200ps, 2,143cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 8.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 30.7

Insurance Group: 39

C02 emissions:195g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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