Jeep Wrangler is a descendant of the World War II Jeep, which has been referred to as, “the car that won a war”. That versatile little 1941 4WD played a major part in communications and the movement of the men and equipment on all fronts during that horrible period.
Jeep has introduced a 75th anniversary version of the Wrangler to celebrate that original military Jeep. Renegade, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee have also been built, but our road test vehicle this week is the Wrangler – the roughest, toughest Jeep of them all.
The 75th Anniversary Wrangler has a ‘military-green-and-mud’ look. The mud part of the look is by way of dark bronze wheels, roof rails, grilles, and the foglight and taillight surrounds. Bronze ’75 Years 1941’ badges mark the occasion.
Clever, almost hidden, touches include a tiny black Jeep in profile on the lower-right corner of the inside of the windscreen, and a similar frontal grille-and-headlight in black under the interior mirror. There are more of these neat touches, why not wander down to your local Jeep dealer and check for yourself
The seats have a debossed (the opposite of embossed) 75th Anniversary logo and are trimmed in a black and vinyl combo. Again there are bronze details.
Overall, the 75th theme works well and grabbed plenty of comments from people who saw it. Interestingly, not just from Jeep enthusiasts, but from people who just like something out of the ordinary.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Our test Wrangler was powered by a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine. Introduced in 2012, this modern twin-cam unit puts out 209 kW of power, with 347 Nm to torque. Torque comes on strong from just 1800 revs, so provides providing diesel-like grunt that’s perfect for off-road driving.
A five-speed automatic transmission is likely to be the biggest seller and though it seems to be cheating in some ways to drive a tough 4WD with a self-shifter there’s no doubt it’s simpler to drive in the tough on-road conditions that are likely to be the playground of the typical Wrangler.
As part of the 75th Anniversary celebrations Jeep took us to the Parachilna area of the Flinders Ranges a few months back. There we played on claypans and sand dunes, as well as traversing rugged off-road sections that may never have felt tyres before.
Great fun. But this week we came back to earth, testing the Wrangler on motorways, suburban roads, carparks and suchlike boring conditions.
Jeep Wrangler has become a little more sophisticated over the years, but it still has a rugged feel that gives the impression it really would like to get off-road to show its stuff.
Steering is on the vague side with a tendency to wander about when travelling in a straight line. So we put our brains back a few decades to a time when most cars felt like this and let the Jeep do its own thing. Instead of trying to correct every tiny movement you keep your hands light on the wheel and let the vehicle do its own thing – and overall it keeps a straight course.
The suspension is relatively rough and the cabin isn’t the quietest place in which you’ve ever travelled. We soon grew to love the Jeep’s character and revel in the old fashioned feel.
It’s a shame that too few Jeep Wrangler owners don’t get off-road in serious conditions. We highly recommend it, but make sure you get some driver training, and ideally travel in convoy with at least one other vehicle. With some recovery gear on board if you want to really test yourself and the Jeep.
AT A GLANCE
Wrangler 75th Anniversary 3.6-litre AWD five-door wagon: $51,000 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Jeep dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary 3.6-litre five-door wagon)
Capacity: 3.604 litres
Maximum Power: 209 kW @ 6350 rpm
Maximum Torque: 347 Nm @ 4300 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 11.3 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 263 g/km
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4223 mm
Wheelbase: 2424 mm
Width: 1873 mm
Height: 1865 mm
Turning Circle: 10.4metres
Kerb Mass: 1855 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Three years / 100,000 km