Unlike modern SUVs, the Jeep Wrangler is a no-nonsense looking thing with its boxy shape, sturdy silhouette and wide panel gaps adding to its character. The front is dominated by the signature seven-slat grille and the round headlamps. The wide stance and that large bumper just makes the Wrangler look purposeful and ready to gulp anything in its path. On the side, the rugged look continues and the flat doors with exposed hinges and the massive wheel arches (or they are more like mudguards) makes it look really attractive. As the Unlimited is a four-door version, the wheelbase is extended by more than 500mm over the two door. As a result the Wrangler at 4583mm length is not something you call compact. From the rear the Wrangler with the black plastic roof and the boot mounted large wheel looks macho and the slim bumper complete the look.
EXTERIOR AND LOOK
The Germans aren’t uniquely capable of tastefully refining an iconic shape redesign after redesign, decade after decade. The current Wrangler isn’t a cartoonish “retro” reinterpretation of a classic vehicle from the distant past. Like a Porsche 911, it’s a special purpose iconic vehicle that has undergone an uninterrupted evolution over the years. Unchanged since the 2007 redesign, the exterior retains an unmistakable resemblance to the original Jeep. Form relentlessly follows function. The Sahara’s chunky five-spoke 17-inch alloys, look fantastic even though it’s a very simple design. Unlike with some supposed off-road vehicles, you’ll find no mere rim protectors here.
There’s no “DUB Edition.” Given the 2007’s increased width, the four-door actually has better proportions than the two-door. While on the whole it might not be as attractive as a Freelander or a Q3, it’s the details that set the Wrangler apart. There are the classically rugged hood latches, high impact fender flares and rugged bumpers that enhance the formidable look while the Wrangler’s round halogen headlamps still hold true to its original design, flanking its equally iconic seven-slot grille for that genuine Jeep brand expression. Now this might seem like a hardtop, but unscrew a few allen screws, yank out all four doors (will take a little effort though) and you have the perfect Dune buggy. Even the windshield can folded and rested on the bonnet like a typical jeep. Versatility at its best. All said and done, the Jeep might not be a beauty, but no one with any appreciation for design (as opposed to “styling”) can fail to find it attractive.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT
The internal cabin of this upcoming SUV series is expected to be extremely spacious and provides enough leg space along with head and shoulder room for all occupants. The cabin is done up in a dual tone scheme, which is further complimented by a lot of chrome and wood inserts. It has a black smooth dashboard, which is equipped with attractive central and floor console along with an AC unit, infotainment system and several control switches of this sports utility vehicle. The advanced instrument cluster is equipped with two round shaped meters and a multi-information display that provides proper information to the driver, while traveling. It is equipped with various features like digital tachometer, outside temperature display, fuel levels, trip-computer, a digital clock and several notification lamps for keeping the driver updated. Its driver oriented cockpit comes with a commanding driving position and ergonomically positioned control switches, which are easy to reach. Its steering wheel comes with four way manual adjustment function and it is wrapped with premium leather upholstery. This is mounted with illuminated control switches and decorated with the company’s emblem in the center. In addition to these, it is also incorporated with several utility based aspects provided inside the cabin. The list includes two individual front center armrests, inside rear view mirror, storage compartment, drink holders, bottle chiller and a couple of accessory power socket for charging mobile and other electronic devices. In terms of seating, the company has designed its seats ergonomically and comes with excellent support all the way from neck to thigh. All the seats will be covered with premium leather upholstery, which will further add to the elegance of its interiors. The front individual seats have eight way electrical adjustment facility along with memory setting that adds to the comfort level.
This upcoming off-roader is expected to be fitted with a lot of comfort features, which certainly provides a pleasurable driving experience to the occupants. Not only this, it is going to come with almost all features, which are available in the global markets. It has a proficient automatic air conditioning system with dual zone climate control. It also features air quality control and heater. The presence of rear AC vents keeps the ambiance pleasant by regulating the air temperature. The auto cruise control helps in maintaining a steady speed on the highways as set by the driver. The cabin is incorporated with a premium sound system, which also has Bluetooth connectivity for pairing the mobile phones. This music system is also compatible with USB interface, Aux-in port, i-Pod connectivity and speakers for enhancing the ambiance of its cabin. It supports CD player, radio with AM/FM tuner, iPod connectivity, remote control and so on. The cabin is blessed with surround camera system along with rear view camera, which helps in easier parking. It also has front and rear parking aid along with parallel and perpendicular park assist for additional safety. Apart from these, there are several other features provided inside like auto dimming inside rear view mirror, premium carpet mats, push button engine start, dual front sun visors featuring vanity mirror and power steering with electrically adjustable steering column. This vehicle is also furnished with electrically adjustable front seats with memory settings along with split folding rear seats that adds to the convenience. It also has lane departure warning, blind spot monitor with closing vehicle sensing and reverse traffic detection system. In addition to these, its top end trim is blessed with features like electric sunroof, keyless entry function, front central console cooled chubby box, heating function for front and rear seats.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited will come to India with a 2.8-litre turbo-charged diesel that produces 200PS and 460Nm, mated to a five speed automatic transmission. The engine itself is quite smooth although, it doesn’t like to be revved too much. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited gets from 0 to 100kmph in 10.2 seconds, which is actually pretty good for an SUV of this size. In fact, the lighter three-door Jeep Wrangler Sport we tested, managed 8.3 seconds to 100kmph with a 3.5-litre petrol V6 under the hood. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is most comfortable at around 100-120kmph, although it is easily capable of much more. The 5-speed automatic transmission meanwhile is quite smooth but isn’t the quickest to respond to throttle input because it’s not a very modern system. Although I am personally not a very big fan of automatics while going offroading, because it makes it a lot easier, it is great for an amateur. Considering that it’s a sport that not everyone is comfortable participating in, this Jeep Wrangler Unlimited would be quite the encouragement.
RIDE AND HANDLING
The Wrangler sits on a body-on-frame chassis with solid front axle and heavy duty rear axle. The underpinnings are chosen to enable crazy articulation levels but that does take a toll on the on-road experience. The Wrangler has far from impressive on-road dynamics but that’s little to complain since this vehicle isn’t your corner craving machine. Handling isn’t predictable and body roll is pronounced. In fact at triple digit speeds, you don’t feel confident enough and a lot of wind noise creeps into the cabin from the roof. Traction control system, electronic stability program and electronic roll mitigation help in keeping you safe around the bends.
The 3-spoke steering wheel is big and offers little feedback, it is extremely light which is a boon when going off-road and driving in congested city conditions but out on the highways, it feels dead and conveys little to the driver. The high side wall of the tyres (75 profile) doesn’t help handling and this makes the Jeep Wrangler a muscle car, terrific fun in the straights but not so in the corners. The ride quality is no great shakes either. The Wrangler is properly stiff which isn’t a big concern on good roads but when you hit a bad patch, the vehicle shakes completely and rattles you to the bones. The brakes offer strong stopping power but the tendency to leave the lane and sway forward under hard braking is quite evident.
The Wrangler offers only the bare minimum of safety features, with two airbags and stability control as standard. Isofix child seat mountings are also provided, but that’s about it really. Most other SUVs offer far more safety kit when compared to the Wrangler, so it isn’t reccomended as a safe place to transport the family.Safety features include front dual airbags, side airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, disc brakes on all four-wheels, height adjustable pre-tensioning front seatbelts, and high-tensile steel roll bars.
The 2017 Jeep Wrangler is one of the last hold-outs in the traditional SUV category. A body-on-frame design with twin solid axles, and a manually operated, two-speed transfer case is just about unheard of in modern times. FCA knows this and realizes it’s part of the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited success story. We’ve already been promised the next-generation Wrangler, the JL, will continue many of these traditions while moving further towards improved on-road feel, better fuel economy, and increased passenger safety. For that, we’re happy.