Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon £40,000 approx. WE SAY: IT’S A MECHANICAL OMELETTE. READ ON, AND ALL WILL BECOME CLEAR...
Much is celebrating of writing the about new. cars But sometimes, what’s best is more of the same.
The new Wrangler finds a way to fold newness into old, like a mechanical omelette. It’s new everywhere you look – from its ladder frame, aluminium panels and vastly improved interior, to its engines, axles and 8spd gearbox – but does so without stepping away from everything that Jeep fans loved about the old.
So it’s impossibly capable off-road, especially in Rubicon spec, with its front and rear locking diffs, detachable front sway bar, deep low-range gearbox (with a 4:1 ratio) and 33in mud tyres. The cheaper Sahara does without these off-road extras but retains proper 4WD, a low-range gearbox and the ground clearance of a giraffe.
A 2.2-litre diesel is shared across the range, replacing the old 2.8-litre. It’s no more powerful, at 197bhp and 332lb ft, but offers more mpg and less noise in the process. A 2.0-litre turbo petrol with 272bhp and 295lb ft will join the range later, and a 3.6-litre V6 is reserved for places where filling up with petrol doesn’t cost as much as a mortgage payment. The diesel does the usual diesel thing of being an inertia-gathering device, rather than accelerating with verve, but it’s perfectly happy to cruise at autoroute speeds.
Once onto back roads, the Wrangler feels as woolly as its two-tonne weight, solid axles and lofty suspension would suggest. That said, it’s better than ever, and the remedy is to back off a bit and revel in the comfort offered by tallsidewall tyres and long-throw suspension.
Actually, the whole experience is less compromised than any Wrangler before it – yes, it’s not a B-road blaster, but you can entertain the notion of having one as your only car, such is the comfort and sensible usability on offer. And then, when it’s time to bid sensibility farewell, you can pull the roof and all the doors off, and head away to find a new adventure. Or return to an old favourite. Your choice, really.