Home off the range
Jeep’s unlimited edition Wrangler is more for rockhopping than frock-shopping
THE pursuit of freedom is a unifying theme for Jeep Wrangler owners — even if many of them never achieve it.
People want a vehicle capable of going anywhere despite the fact many go no further than the local park.
Whether you want the image or the ability, the special edition Wrangler Freedom steps up.
Not much this side of a Land Rover Defender can touch the Wrangler when the going gets tough, making it a best buy for serious offroaders who want a rugged workhorse that doubles as a top‒off show pony.
Prices start at $35,000 for the two-door Freedom with a six‒speed gearbox and the 3.6‒litre V6, representing a rise of $2500 over the base Wrangler Sport.
The extra buys weathered five-point “Freedom Star” decals on the bonnet and flanks, rock rails to protect
the door sills from damage, body‒coloured wheel arches and a black fuel cap.
The treatment inside runs to silvered finishes on the air vents and door handles, silver stitching and an embroidered Freedom Star logo.
The four‒door Unlimited version costs $39,000. Opting for a five‒speed auto, as most will, adds $2000.
Nothing to see here, folks. The Wrangler is as hi‒tech as a hammer and works just as effectively at bashing its way over and through obstacles.
The V6 is the same job found in the Grand Cherokee, meaning it’s seriously good, though fuel use isn’t miserly at an official 11.7 L/100km. An 85‒litre tank (70L in the two‒door) ensures trips to the servo are less frequent, if still expensive.
The tried‒and‒tested principle applies here, so solid axles trade on‒road suppleness for rock‒hopping surety. Ditto with the ladder frame.
The basic design is unchanged, seemingly for decades. It is the ultimate Meccano set, capable of being stripped back and modified as the whim takes.
The hardtop roof can be removed and the doors come off to let owners get really close to the environment they’re running through. The interior makes begrudging concessions to modern life with cruise control and a basic stereo but the drainage plugs under the removable carpets indicate its intended function.
They also preclude the use of feel‒good squelchy plastic interior.
The Wrangler’s fascia is intended to be exposed to the elements, be that rain or dust, so owners need to harden up and grab a chamois.
Tough and safe aren’t analogous. ANCAP rates the two‒door Wrangler as a four‒star vehicle, noting marginal leg protection for the front occupants.
The overall score of 27.51/37 reflects this. The poor rating for pedestrian impacts comes as no surprise when looking at the blunt and solid face of the SUV.
It was built to knock down shrubs and a relatively fragile pair of legs don’t rate. At least it