Jeep Wrangler 2016 Review - If you’re the type of person who wants a proper, rugged off-roader that looks like something the army would use, then allow me to introduce you to the Jeep Wrangler – a 4x4 inspired by the old Willys Jeep of World War II. Of course, from the outside it certainly fits the bill, with huge wheel arches that make it look like it’s flexing its muscles, a rear-mounted spare tyre and a black paint job that – maybe Batman would pick if he moved to the countryside – but what’s it like as a whole package. Well, its rugged character starts before you’ve even got in, because when you click the key, it sounds like someone un-bolting a large cellar door. Once you climb in – emphasis on climb – there are a few other features that give you that raw and rustic feel as well, like the old school, letterbox windscreen, removable roof panels and, as always, Jeep has dotted some of its little emblem Easter eggs about the place. Build-quality wise, everything seems solid, there are loads of scratchy plastics – but that can be said for a lot of down and out 4x4s – Land Rover Defender included. It’s not short of toys though, this mid-range Overland model gets a Uconnect touchscreen with USB compatibility and sat-nav, cruise control, climate control and you even get heated leather seats. You get a few useful storage compartments as well, including this huge centre console that can swallow a War and Peace-sized owner’s manual.
Once you squeeze in these submarine-like doors – mind you head – space isn’t too bad, well head room is okay, foot well room… not as good. We would definitely advise the 4 door Wrangler though – the 2 door is just a nuisance. Swing this tailgate open and pop the glass and you have almost 500 litres of storage space – and this rubber mat makes it a bit more hard-wearing too. You can fold these seats down and the headrests fold back, but you will have to remove the centre headrest yourself. Do this and you get 935 litres of space. You can either go for the V6 petrol or the torquier 197bhp 2.8-litre diesel, which is what we’ve got, and this sprints from zero to 62 in under 11 seconds. And you can probably tell just by me revving it out, that yes, it’s very loud, you can clearly hear it grumbling and whistling under the bonnet. Personally though, with a car like this, I think that’s all part of the rugged experience.
There are aspects of its road manners that will most likely rub all drivers up the wrong way though, like its vague steering, questionable body control when you take corners at speed and the way it can shake when you hit large bumps on the road. It’s manageable, as long as you are sensible, but there is no denying that day-to-day, the Wrangler feels like a bit of monster. If you want to channel its mammoth characteristics and four-wheel drive, then you will want to take it off-road. Here it’s a different story, because its utilitarian personality pays off as the Wrangler can pretty much climb, scale or mount anything. Ideal of course if you live on a farm. Its massive wheels and substantial ground clearance obviously help here. There’s also something called shift-on the-fly, which allows you to change between two-wheel and maximum-grip four-wheel drive when you are on the move by the shift of a lever – although this is quite obviously located for left-hand drive models.
Although some may prefer a manual for off-roading, the five-speed automatic we’ve got is probably your best bet all-round as the manual requires a lot of work and can really take it out of you. The Jeep Wrangler is definitely not cheap though, starting between £30,000 and £32,000. To put that in perspective – a Land Rover Defender cost from £23,000. Saying that, some of the Jeep’s equipment was never available in a Defender. The Wrangler is a real mean-machine off-road – and sure, there are certain elements of its interior and drive that could do with some work – but this car is almost ten years old, if you look past its numerous refreshes, plus those who need its off-roading prowess probably won’t care about any of the other stuff. Whether you would go for this or a nearly-new Defender will certainly come down to badge loyalties and of course price, because both are highly-capable off-road. Thanks for read Jeep Wrangler 2016 Review.