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The Top Gear car review: Jeep Wrangler

£29,085£32,905
3/10
Overall verdict

For: 

Great off-road and, now you can get it with four doors, more practical

Against: 

Manages to be less refined than even a Land Rover Defender. Not great on-road
Anyone who is even halfway sensible won't even get close to considering one of these. Which is as good a reason as any to look - if you're into that kind of thing...

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Our choice

Jeep

2.8 CRD Sahara 4dr Auto

£31,200
N/A
34mpg
10.70s
197bhp
217g/km

What we say: 

Latest generation of the ultimate American go-anywhere off-roader has a better ride, a diesel, and even four-doors. Pointless, but fun.

What is it?

Back to where it all started, and charmingly so. Enough fun and heritage here to make you wanna start a war, just so you can arrive outside a tent in a cloud of dust.

Driving

The Wrangler is still pretty spectacular off-road. That, unfortunately, makes it pretty rough on it. The new car is better than it ever was, but don’t expect to make effortless trans-continental trips in this car, whether you’re in the two or four-door version. You’ll die of boredom.

The Wrangler might have been improved beyond all recognition from the old car, but that’s like saying that this version is going to snap your spine more gently than the last. It bounces, it shimmies, it can go off-road. And stay there.

The more sensible of the very un-sensible people likely to buy a Wrangler will go for the 2.8-litre four-pot diesel, which produces 197bhp. It’s not the most refined, but the torque - 339lb ft of it - is ideal for off-roading. Unsurprisingly. There’s a 3.6-litre V6 too, but that’s best left well alone.

On the inside

The new Wrangler is longer and wider than it predecessors (and the four-door option opens up a whole new market for it), so there’s a decent amount of space. The soft top probably isn’t worth it, though you can now buy a clip-on roof system that disposes of the need for all those pop-studs of yore. You still need a big garage to put the roof in though; there’s nowhere to store it in-car.

The Wrangler is basic but tough. Probably more designed to be hosed down than swamp you in luxury, but you get the idea; chunky but cheap.

Owning

The diesel manages around 34mpg and emits 213g/km of CO2, so running it isn’t the cheapest.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
3.6 V6 Overland 2dr Auto
8.1s 263g/km 25.0 280 £31,235
The cheapest
3.6 V6 Sahara 2dr Auto
8.1s 263g/km 25.0 280 £29,085
The greenest
3.6 V6 Overland 2dr Auto
8.1s 263g/km 25.0 280 £31,235

Wildcard

How about something completely different?

Wildcard

6/10

Dacia Duster

£9,260£15,810
So, you're after a back-to-basics 4x4? They don't get much simpler than the rather excellent Dacia Duster