Whenever we test drive an SUV, we have to split this chapter in two, but the Wrangler takes this to a whole new level, as it offers the exact opposite on the scale of pleasure, depending on what you place under its wheels. Since it’s an off-roader, we’ll start with this part.
Once you leave the tarmac behind, it’s best to switch to four-wheel drive (select 4H from the lever next to the gear shifter) and disengage the stability control (if you’re an experienced driver). At the touch of the button the front anti-roll bar is also sent to sleep (this is an optional feature we didn’t have on our test car) and you’re free to enjoy off-roading.
The live axles mean that, even for a rough terrain machine, the ride is on the bumpy side, but the car feels solid and the power delivery of the engine, together with the gearing are excellent for this kind of play.
The car comes with an active safety called electronic roll mitigation, which keeps you from getting the rollbar in contact with the ground. Obviously, this won’t help when you’re talking extreme passes with scary steering angles as the laws of physics must have their way, but in most situations it does its job.
We tested the Wrangler on all sorts of terrains, from rocks to mountains, mud and sand, both with the top on and off and the car was a constant source of joy. For those of you who are curious, you can drive the car in two-wheel drive mode (which means rear-wheel drive) on unpaved roads and you will convince the back to step out if this is what you want, but the live axles and the no-feeling steering wheel don’t make powersliding too easy to control, so this kind of maneuver is not necessarily pleasant in a Wrangler.
As for the part where you share the roads with cars that have much imposing values for the ground clearance, the car can be used for long distance travel, but only if you stay within or close to the legal speed limits. If the speedometer needle climbs higher, the wind speed starts acting like a whip master that wants to dominate you and the handling during high speed bends is not safe, due to the use of live axles, which creates a bouncy ride.
The leather-covered seats are soft, but they can’t really compensate for the unsettled ride – another reason to keep the speed at a reasonable level. However, now that the engine has received a bit of extra muscle, it really offers decent pulling power, even at overtaking speeds and you’ll be able to match the pace of an average road car.Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
You see, you really can pay attention to a ladie’s needs. A few years ago, when we first tested the Wrangler, you brought me a black car and left the hard top on, but now it’s finally using a decent color and I see you’ve also gotten rid of that awful roof. Good, this is the respect a woman like me should be treated with.
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