Jeep Wrangler 2.0 Sahara 4Dr Review
Steaks And Ladders

clifford chow
10 Dec 2019
 

The family-friendly Wrangler sits on a longer wheelbase of 3,008mm, 548mm more than the 2-door version

If you are the sort who loves the sporty lifestyle pegged to the ever-so-popular SUV, do stick with them. The car you see here, is one of the very few purpose-built serious off-roaders, constructed in traditional body-on-frame fashion.

Unlike Land Rover, which had to do away with their original Defender, which began life just being called well… Land Rover, due to increasing laws about pedestrian and passenger safety… pfft. The Wrangler soldiers on (for now) in the same body style, mirroring the original Willys–Overland civilian vehicle, from where it developed its brand-defining signature grille with seven vertical slots. 

Looking for the various design elements carried over, is much akin to hunting for Easter eggs. You really have to know where to look. Trapezoidal wheel-arches, removable doors, and a foldable windshield (though, very annoyingly, you have to bolt off the wipers frist), are just some elements that have found continuity with each new model.

The family-friendly Wrangler sits on a longer wheelbase of 3,008mm, 548mm more than the 2-door version, though they both have the same front/rear short overhangs, which are important, providing minimal obstruction when in use in its natural habitat.

Inside

Climb in, and you will be greeted by an upright dashboard made with robust plastics. Rotary style air-conditioning vents are a thoughtful inclusion, since they are slightly less prone to breakage. You also get sensible covers for anything electrical that could short if exposed to the elements, and speaking about the elements; rubber floor mats with drainage are important additions, for the in and out, rough and tumble lifestyle you might just aspire to have.

A pair of thick toy-like gearshift and high/low range levers complements the chunky grab bars and the thick-rimmed steering wheel, touchpoints if you may, to feel the “Jeepyness” of the car you’re in. Switchgear like window adjusters have been moved to the centre stack of the dash, freeing up the doors of added componentry, reducing the chances of failure, since the doors, and even roof panels are removable.

Nestled within a protective surround of its own, is Jeep’s Uconnect 8.4” Touchscreen Monitor, which also provides SatNav. Connectivity through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available, keeping the Wrangler up to date for current-day usage.

Seats in the Wrangler are comfortable for longer journeys, however, the transmission and transfer case does eat into the footwell, making it a challenge to find the right place for your left foot.

The Drive

A new 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine sits under the hood, delivering 268hp and maximum torque of 400Nm at 3,000rpm. Drive to the four wheels is through a ZF 8HP automatic, and comes with the all-important manual shift high and low range transfer case.

In most cases, you will be driving the Wrangler in 2wd mode, making the least of the car’s off-roading prowess in order to keep fuel economy going at its best. At 11.6km/l in combined cycle, you know that you are after all lugging a lot of car around… a whole load of 2,123kg. While the Wrangler’s century sprint benchmark can be met in a decent 7.3 seconds, you would not want to speed in this car, since it does have tyres purposed more for off-roading. 

While it is built for going off the beaten path, it does seem not to like smooth tarmac. Vague steering is just one issue… but the larger complaint I have, is that the Wrangler loves to wander around, and you will find yourself correcting the car as you drive along. Not the best thing to experience if you are plying on the miles on a longer journey.

Drive it off the beaten path, and you can appreciate how easy it is to operate the transfer case shift lever, allowing the Wrangler to engage into 4wd mode. This is where the Wrangler’s long suspension travel, short overhangs, High/Low range, and heaps of torque all come together. 

But in most cases, you will have to live with its road manners, or its lacking-of.

Our Thoughts

The Wrangler has to be driven in a more truck-like manner than that of a car. If you are willing to give up car-like driver dynamics for something a little more purpose-built, the Wrangler might just suit you. But for the average SUV buyer, with some cash to spare, there are many similarly-priced (and more luxurious) options for you.

Also, if you are looking for a full-flavoured off-road capable car, and are hoping for something on the affordable side, there is the Suzuki Jimny; which originally drew influence from the American brand, and till now, still sticks to the same principles of a stiff body-on-frame build, and a good-ol transfer case. It does however, compared to the much more expensive Wrangler, drive more like a car than a truck.

In Summary

We Like

Timeless and recognisable, Unique in styling, Off-road capable, Some modern features makes the ownership experience a little more pleasant. 

We Don't

Vague steering, Car wants to wander even when you are going straight, Guzzles, Cheap plastics used, like most American cars would.

Verdict

Only if you are looking for a true offroader, and if you have the space to park it.

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SGD 229,999 (9 Jan 2020)

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1995cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 10:1
Bore x Stroke (84x90)mm
Power 268bhp
Torque 400Nm
Power to Weight 133.1 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 7.3s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 199 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 11.6 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed Auto
Drive Type F4
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type SUV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4882 x 1894 x 1838) mm
Wheelbase 3008 mm
Kerb Weight 2013 kg
Boot Capacity 897 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 81.4 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs