War and peace ma­chine

A retro Jeep for cross­ing the Ru­bi­con — and the Rhine

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Bush & Beach - CRAIG DUFF

BREAK out the khakis and mount up in Jeep’s lat­est weapon.

The Wran­gler Free­dom is an off-road beast kit­ted out with bling ref­er­enc­ing its ori­gins as a World War II mil­i­tary ve­hi­cle.

Ex­te­rior styling runs from weath­ered “Free­dom Star” de­cals on the bon­net and flank that sym­bol­ises the look of ve­hi­cles as­signed to the US armed forces’ tac­ti­cal units, to a grey-painted grille and Mopar black fuel cap.

More prac­ti­cally, the Free­dom runs rock rails and body-coloured flared guards.

A Free­dom star logo is em­broi­dered on the front seats and the up­hol­stery is trimmed with sil­ver stitch­ing.

There’s also a set of Mopar black such floor mats and sil­ver fin­ishes to the air vent rings and door han­dles.

Power comes from the proven 3.6-litre V6 Pen­tas­tar petrol en­gine matched to a sixspeed man­ual. It pro­duces 209kW and 347Nm

The five-speed auto adds $2000 to both the two- and four-door vari­ants.

Be­yond the bling, the Wran­gler is one of the most com­pe­tent off-road­ers this side of a mil­i­tary ma­chine.

The Com­mand-Trac four­wheel-drive sys­tem can trans­fer power to any wheel with pur­chase and with 223mm of ground clear­ance, only hard- core spe­cial­ists will need to pump their Wran­gler up. The Free­dom is sus­pended on fivelink solid axles front and rear and has a 35-de­gree ap­proach and 28-de­gree de­par­ture an­gle.

Prices start at $35,000 for the two-door man­ual and top out at $41,000 for the four-door auto.

Stock should be in deal­er­ships early next month.

Wran­gler sales are solid with 2895 ve­hi­cles sold last year and Fiat-Chrysler CEO Veron­ica Johns ex­pects the Free­dom ver­sion to main­tain that mo­men­tum.

“Aus­tralian buy­ers proved last year they love Jeep Wran­gler and we are pleased to of­fer them a new spe­cial edi­tion model that pro­vides a strong vis­ual con­nec­tion with Jeep’s rich her­itage,” she says.

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