Week 12: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

It’s quite clear that our long-termer is a rather divisive car — you either love the rugged off-roader or you don’t...
By Amit Benjamin, Editor
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February 20, 2017
Photo: Fadi Takieddine

As Ian in This is Spinal Tap, the epic Eighties rockumentary, would have said, the Jeep Wrangler is a kind of vehicle whose appeal is ‘more selective’.
In fact, it is quite possibly the most polarising vehicle I have ever driven. You either get it or you really don’t.

A colleague in the office daily drives a two-door Wrangler and she absolutely adores it. The fact that it is incredible off-road and therefore some kerb stomping at Spinneys is all in a day’s work means she thinks it is near well unstoppable. So much so that she’s willing to ignore its inadequacies on the road.

She concedes that there is more than a hint of wind noise... at 60kph! And it is not the most planted around bends, but none of this matters to her. She loves her Jeep. Period.

The wheels Arabic editor, Fadi, is also a recent convert. Having taken our modified Wrangler into the rough stuff, he is deeply impressed by its abilities.

The raised ride height means that ground clearance and approach and departure angles are enhanced, while the chunkier BF Goodrich off-road tyres mean the Wrangler can hop and skip over the biggest dunes with the poise of a Sand Gazelle. Fadi also reckons that despite the raised suspension, body roll is minimal; and he find the seats very,
very comfortable.

I think, as charming and as capable as the Jeep is off-road, as a daily driver it constantly tests your patience. Everything that you take for granted in modern cars is the opposite in the Jeep. There’s loads of wind noise, tyre roar and it shudders and shakes every time you drive over a speed hump. Oh, and sorry Fadi you’re wrong, body roll is clear and present on tight exit loops.

Naturally, city driving is not the Wrangler’s primary remit and the compromises on the road translate into massive benefits in the desert. The problem is that it is the blacktop that inconveniently leads to the great outdoors.

While you’ll probably dislike every moment getting there, the minute you’re in the wilderness there are few cars that will impress and enthrall as much as the Wrangler. 

 

The progress:

Week 11
The Wrangler earns the dubious distinction of being one of the most thirsty vehicles ever to enter the wheels
long-term garage.
It is excellent off-road, however.

Highs: Genuinely capable in the great outdoors

Lows: Extremely thirsty in city traffic

Week 10
wheels Arabic editor Fadi sizes up the performance mods made to the Wrangler. He feels the increased ride height coupled with a relatively small footprint gives it a very cool stance.

Highs: The mods really enhance the cosmetic appeal of the Wrangler

Lows: The increased ride height makes getting in and out a bit of an chore

Inside info

Driven by:Amit

Start mileage:4,210km

Recent cost:Fuel

Average Fuel economy:18 litres per 100km

Highs:Immense off-road capability

Lows:Not easiest to live with every day