By Sala Masindane
There are only so many vehicles that can maintain the same look and be able to last through the ages. Of course, the Land Rover Defender comes into mind, but that has been redone from ground up, and does not have the same body shape. This leaves only the Mercedes G-Class Jeep Wrangler in this elite class of body shapes defying the ages. Recently we spent time with the latter and, after being locked down for over two months, it was highly appreciated go out in style.
In terms of design, the all-new Jeep Wrangler goes for evolution rather than revolution and thus keeps its iconic look. There are visible upgrades which include round LED headlights, daytime running lights mounted on the wheel arches, and redesigned back lights.
Inside, the traditional ruggedness is still seen and underscored by the presence of grab handles and robust-looking finishes. That said, the Wrangler has been modernized by the inclusion of modern items like a push-start button and a larger weatherproof touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, and a rear-view camera for practicality. The detachable roof has also been maintained and once off, it turns the Wrangler into the talk of the town. And if it rains while the roof is off, don’t worry the interior durable, washable and also fitted with drain plugs.
Engine and Performance
Under the hood of the Wrangler is a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine that has power outputs of 209 kW and 347Nm, and that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 3.6-litre V6 Pentastar petrol engine feels brisk and does not suffers from turbo-lag being naturally aspirated. Off-road capability is made easier with a new Command-Trac 4×4 System which is a new full-time mode that will automatically switch from 2WD to 4WD when conditions dictate. The Jeep Wrangler is off-road biased, but daily usage has not been too comprised. It is still a decent daily drive. This short-wheel base is much easier to maneuver.
Cabin space does feel cramped, especially with four occupants in there. That means the Wrangler two-door is more suitable for those who do not need to ferry more than one passenger. Four adults should be fine for short distances. The fuel consumption of 12.5 l/100km is high by modern vehicle standards but not too far from the claimed consumption of 11l/100km. This was probably due to more city driving where we had many stops and starts. It would have been probably lower if we did more open road driving.
The elephant in the room is the safety standards of the new Jeep Wrangler. It has a one-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. According to crash data from Euro NCAP, the new Wrangler’s low adult occupant and vulnerable road user protection led to the result. For a car that costs R864,000, this should be fixed. Although that could be a key factor in your next purchase, the Wrangler still ticks all the boxes for those who are in search of adventure filled experience off the beaten track.
All Jeep Wrangler models come with a 3-year/100,000 km maintenance plan and 3-year/100,000 km warranty.
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