- Published On: 29 August 2018
- 5 min read
We drive the latest Wrangler in terrain it was made for.
At a time where car designers are working hard to make significant changes to the design, Jeep is the only brand that isn’t making drastic changes over the years.
This came to immediate attention when we exited the lobby of the hotel at Lake Tahoe. The hotel had a US Army jeep in the driveway parked right next to the Jeep Wrangler. While they were separated by 70 years, they still looked very similar. The Jeeps had the same squared noses, upright windscreens and round headlights. The seven slot grille too, was unchanged. The carmaker hasn’t changed much, because it didn’t need to. The traditional shape still stands and is liked by many even today.
This new model continues to take the heritage forward but has been updated to meet modern needs. The grille and windscreen on the car is a bit slanted, all in order to improve the aerodynamics. The car we were driving was also equipped with the round headlights, but this time around they were LED units.
The windshield now uses a four-bolt design so that it can be folded more easily. The car also has two bars that hold the rear-view mirrors in place. The panels are also now lighter and easier to attach and remove. In terms of the interior, the Wrangler continues to use a horizontal dash layout. The car also features a touchscreen, engine start button and loads of charging sockets.
A big difference is the additional room for individuals seated at the rear. The four-door hard-top car is the one that is India bound and features a lot more room on the inside. Along with the improved leg-room, the car also has more comfortable seats. After inspecting the car, we headed out for the trail and it was one of the most iconic off-road destinations.
We were driving to the trail on a smooth tarmac road, the new 2.0-litre turbo-petrol motor surprised us with the performance on tap. The eight-speed gearbox in the car was shifting in a smooth manner. Overall, the kerb weight on the SUV is down by 90kg, which helps the performance. That said, the biggest test will be off the road and we will tell you all about it. The first thing we noticed is that the car handles bumps impressively and the ride stays supple. The car also has less body roll and the steering feels a bit slack at dead-centre.
When we got on to rougher terrain, the Wrangler’s character suddenly changed and it came to life. The 19km trail we had ahead of us took us the entire day to negotiate, which should give you an idea of how challenging it is. Luckily, the guides worked as spotters and lead us perfectly through the trail.
There were a dozen times we thought it would be impossible to get through the upcoming area, but the SUV felt right at home. The ground clearance on offer and the impressive angles meant the new SUV could do even more than before. The wider track also helped with stability.
It was impressive to see how a SUV that felt so large on the inside squeezed through tight areas. The turning circle was impressive and it took on the trail without fuss. The turbocharged motor in the car is a little difficult getting used to, you have to be light on the throttle to figure out when the throttle will kick in. However, once you get a hang of it, it gets easy. The Wrangler took care of large boulders and craters without a fuss. The SUV also has a impressive amount of articulation and it climbs over the roughest terrain with ease. The wheel travel of 200mm is impressive and the car handles steep drops with ease.
The trail is difficult in some parts, the skid plates take a beating and the sound it makes us feel like broke something. However, the Rubicon is tough and nothing bothers it. There were areas where we were required to lock the diffs and this was a piece of cake.
The spot we were at was outstanding and we were blown away by the view. The new Wrangler is much better when it comes to its off-road capabilities. The on-road manners have also improved and are now easier to live with daily. This is a nice thing since most buyers in India will take on more tarmac traffic than off-road terrain. The only negative is that the Jeep will make the Wrangler only in the USA and this will make it expensive to purchase.