MO­TOR­ING

Why the all-new JEEP WRAN­GLER is the first name on the teamsheet

Esquire Middle East - - IN THIS ISSUE - BY MATTHEW BAX­TER-PRIEST

The all-new Jeep­wran­gler is now as com­fort­able on the road as it is off it

ALL EYES ARE ON CRIS­TIANO RON­ALDO . The world’s most ‘fol­lowed’ ath­lete’s name is screamed out by man, woman and child ev­ery­where he turns — on or off the foot­ball pitch. A fair few thou­sand peo­ple at the sold-out Ju­ven­tus Sta­dium have bought tick­ets just to watch him play, re­gard­less of the fi­nal score. It’s Ron­aldo.

As turns out, on a crisp De­cem­ber evening in Turin against arch ri­vals In­ter

Mi­lan, Ron­aldo has a largely for­get­table game. Flashes of bril­liance, yes, but the gamewin­ning con­tri­bu­tion comes from Ju­ven­tus’ other cen­tre­for­ward, Mario Mandžu­kic´.

Nick­named ‘the horse’, Mandžu­kic´ is big, strong and re­li­able. At his size and stature, he shouldn’t be as nim­ble as he is. Form­ing a fear­some part­ner­ship with Ron­aldo’s bril­liance and pace, it is often Mandžu­kic´’s dogged power and per­sis­tence that de­liv­ers time and time again. In mo­tor­ing terms, Ron­aldo is a Fer­rari, Mandžu­kic´ is a Jeep.

But not just any Jeep, he is the all-new Jeep Wran­gler Ru­bi­con. A fully-specced, top-of-the-line beast that re­mains the most com­pe­tent off-roader in the world, and in its new in­car­na­tion, it is as com­fort­able on tar­mac as any cruiser.

Re­designed for the first time in more than a decade, the new Wran­gler still re­tains the de­sign lan­guage of the mod­els that came be­fore it.

While the clever peo­ple at Jeep re­alise that the SUV’S styling and im­age are key to what sell it, they also are aware that in or­der to stand­out in an over-sat­u­rated mar­ket, they needed to make sure it is as com­fort­able on-road as it is off-road.

Sure the new Wran­gler re­tains its hose-me-out look and feel, but the in­te­rior’s ma­te­ri­als have been up­graded bring­ing an added level of re­fine­ment. The cen­tre-con­sole stor­age is gen­er­ous, the arm­rests are bet­ter-placed and all the sec­ondary con­trols are ideally lo­cated for use while driv­ing.

Sig­nif­i­cant up­grades have also been made to the Wran­gler’s in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with an easy-to-use 7-inch touch­screen that works swiftly and sim­ply, pack­ing sup­port for Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid

Auto. The full-colour trip com­puter also does a great job of pro­vid­ing plen­ti­ful in­for­ma­tion front-and-cen­tre for the driver.

Due to the soft-top roof (the op­tion that we are driv­ing) there’s some wind noise, how­ever, the Ru­bi­con’s all-ter­rain tires are sur­pris­ingly quiet and the whole ride’s smoother than you might ex­pect for a brick­shaped cloth-roofed truck.

Used to the rough and tum­ble, some of the new Wran­gler’s most wel­come up­grades are ac­tu­ally in­tended to help you avoid hit­ting other stuff. Vis­i­bil­ity is vastly im­proved, thanks to en­larged win­dow glass in ev­ery di­rec­tion, though the wind­shield and mir­rors are still quite short. The rear wiper now hides be­hind the spare tire rather than block­ing your view out the back win­dow, and you can even fold down the rear-seat head­rests when no one’s sit­ting there. A backup cam­era is stan­dard — the first time a Wran­gler has ever of­fered one, and mainly be­cause it’s now re­quired by law — and you can op­tion rear park­ing sen­sors and blind-spot mon­i­tor­ing.

Un­like a Fer­rari, the all-ac­tion Jeep Wran­gler con­tin­ues to do the dirty stuff bet­ter than any­one else but, just like Ju­ven­tus’ Mario Mandžu­kic´, ev­ery now and then, it will also steal the lime­light.

THE MOST COM­PE­TENT OFF-ROADER IN THE WORLD, AND IN ITS NEW IN­CAR­NA­TION, AS COM­FORT­ABLE ON TAR­MAC AS ANY CRUISER

Above: The Jeep Wran­gler Ru­bi­con Be­low: Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and Mario Mandzu­kic

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