Last time we drove the Wrangler
, a few years ago, it was burning oil via a 2.8-liter diesel that came from Fiat and delivered 177 hp and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque. The powerplant has been upgraded meanwhile, so now your right foot gets to enjoy 200 hp and a peak torque of 460 Nm (339 lb-ft). On paper, the difference might not seem that important, but in the real world you do feel it, especially in the lover area of the rev band. The engine now also gets a start-stop system, but not once did this send the powerplant to sleep during our test drive.
Further down the power line, we find a six-speed manual gearbox, just like did back then. The sifts are precise, but the travel between the gears is long. However, the overall shifting process is pleasant and you get the impression of controlling a solid piece of machinery.
As the hp and torque travel further, we find an all-wheel drive system that’s rock solid, using heavy-duty front and rear axles. See that smaller lever next to the gear shifter? That controls the system and has four modes which dramatically alter the vehicle’s response, as well as its reliability, if the system is used in an improper way.
It all starts with 2H, which is used when driving on dry tarmac and means that only the rear axle, is receiving power. If the road gets very, very wet or snowy, or if you step off the road, you can use 4H. Now you’ve got permanent all-wheel drive, but make sure not to use this mode when driving on dry asphalt, as the car doesn’t come with an open differential, which means that you’ll put a lot of stress on the tires, as well as on the gearing itself.
When things get really dirty, you can use the low gear assembly and you do so by selecting 4L. You also have an “N” position, which is destined to be used when greater torque is needed for towing (this also gives you permanent four-wheel drive).Continue reading