Well, not exactly, but I did get to test one. I just couldn’t help myself and had to incorporate one of Jeep’s catchy slogans. The Jeep marketing department has certainly been in overdrive, with a number of key tag lines such as ‘we are going to need a bigger boat’ regularly repeated around the traps, however I was keen to see how all this talk translated into performance, so a test run was definitely the best option.
The test vehicle on this occasion was a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport four door. My first impressions were positive as I glanced over the bright white paint job that was offset by graphics across the bonnet and a removable black roof. Nothing too outrageous, but it was enough to give it that raw and tough feel.
Turning the key, I was keen to hear the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine fire up but was a little surprised at how subtle the noise was as I slowly backed out of the Jeep complex.
It is worth noting that this model is also available with a 2.8-litre double-overhead camshaft common-rail diesel engine, though being a bit of a rev head at heart, I was pleased to be having a run in the more potent version. And potent is a good word to describe this Jeep’s power plant.
It was easy to smoothly roll along with the traffic, keeping the revs within the green ‘eco’ section on the tacho.
My first opportunity to sink the boot, so to speak, was the entrance to the Gateway Motorway, where I gave it a squirt to get up to highway speed. This is where I felt the full 209kW of power kick in as the tacho swept past the eco section and approached redline. Now I’m definitely not endorsing speeding, but the Pentastar V6 certainly has some poke when you need it, and it delivers a sizeable 347Nm of torque for towing.
I didn’t have the opportunity to do any towing during the test, but these numbers indicate it should have no trouble hauling its maximum legal towing weight of 2000kg. But, I can hear you asking, what is the fuel economy like? The Jeep Australia website quotes 11.7 litres/100km on the combined cycle for the six-speed automatic Wrangler I was driving.
And I would assume this is fairly close to the mark because my average with a mix of city and highway commuting, four-wheel-driving and some ‘testing’ saw an average of about 13.5 litres/100km. As mentioned, this model is offered with a diesel engine, which has more torque (460Nm) and returns 8.8 litres/100km on the combined cycle in automatic form.
I guess it’s horses for courses, but it is a good move by Jeep to provide the diesel option. This way you can choose the vehicle that will best suit your needs. Whether you are planning on cutting up a dirt or mud track or towing up and down the highway, there is a Wrangler for you.
So with the engine options getting a tick of approval, let’s look at the rest of the vehicle. The Wrangler definitely has a unique look that has some madly in love and others not so keen.
I like the look. It has that tough, rugged, agricultural feel that makes it seem at home climbing up mountains.
Conversely, with a wash and a polish, the neat and modern interior will have you feeling at home heading out for Sunday breakfast in a city café. I guess it’s this mix that makes the Wrangler appealing to a wide variety of people. Feature wise, you get a bit more than you would expect
On the dash you can easily flick (via controls on the steering wheel) between average fuel consumption, a digital speedo, compass and tyre pressure, just to name a few options. The tyre pressure indicator is a very handy feature for those planning on using the vehicle off-road.
I actually got to test this feature and had to let the tyres down when I found myself in some very soft sand without a tyre pressure gauge. The steering wheel is also home to buttons to adjust the radio and answer phone calls once you link your phone to the radio via Bluetooth.
Additional features include climate control air-conditioning, an Alpine sound system, a host of cup holders and handy side net pocket storage on the doors. And for the more beauty-conscious drivers, there is a mirror behind the sun visor.
These little touches lift the interior feel above the agricultural perception of the exterior.
However, these vehicles are designed to be driven off-road. With a very impressive approach angle of 35 degrees and a 28-degree departure angle out of the box, the Wrangler is a vehicle that will tackle a mix of off-road conditions.
Combine this with 220mm of ground clearance and front and rear Quadra-Coil five-link solid axles with heavy-duty monotube gas-charged shock absorbers and you will be sure to leave some more heavily modified vehicles in your dust when the going gets tough.
So if you are after a vehicle that can mix it with the big boys off-road and double as a city runabout, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is absolutely worth a look. As I’m sure you are aware, BNB Fishing is currently running a promotion in conjunction with Jeep Dealers of Queensland where you have the chance to win a two-door Jeep Wrangler.
So don’t forget to take your monthly entries into your local Jeep dealer. If you are after more information on the range of Jeep vehicles, jump onto www.jeep.com.au or see a dealership representative when you drop off your entry form.
Don’t hold back!