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The Top Gear car review: Jeep Wrangler
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
2.8 CRD Sahara 4dr Auto
A direct descendent of the 1945 original, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler is one of the oldest new cars you can buy. And, on first impressions, it looks...
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.
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.
The diesel manages around 34mpg and emits 213g/km of CO2, so running it isn’t the cheapest.