The 4th-generation Jeep Wrangler (JL) is a proper evolution of the model series. I have always respected the Wrangler’s ability, reliability, and simplicity. My best friend had one (YJ) powered by an old-school inline-6 cylinder with 177 bhp and 224 lb-ft matched with a 5-speed manual during our University years and it was endearing and fun despite being very sloppy on the open road. Another dear friend loves his (TJ with 190 bhp / 235 lb-ft mated to a 4-speed automatic) so much that he has no plans on changing it since he bought it new in 1997. After over 22 years of active drama-free use, I can see why. A 3rd generation Jeep Wrangler (JK powered by a 285 bhp 3.6-liter V6 mated to a 5-speed automatic) was driven successfully by actor and celebrated car enthusiast Albert Martinez and his son Alfonso during the 1,200-kilometer BOSS Ironman Challenge VI. It hasn’t evolved drastically over the years until now.
Off the bat, the all-new Jeep Wrangler looks considerably more refined and mature. It has a new air of sophistication that never existed before in the old models. The new materials and design updates evolved enough to be almost revolutionary. It has grown a heck of a lot too, with a 2.4-inch longer wheelbase, 3.5 inches longer body, 1.7-inch taller ceiling and 6-liter larger truck capacity with wider overhangs. It looks and is a lot more substantial while actually being more purposeful, even better performing, and fully equipped while carrying 200 pounds less weight compared to its predecessor because of its liberal use of aluminum and higher-grade steel. Its off-road ability has not just been enhanced for the better; it’s the new on-road performance that really surprised me.
Our Unlimited Sahara 4-door test model in Granite Crystal Metallic clear coat with black interior was motivated by the potent new 2.0-liter direct injection turbo engine that is found in other new Jeep models that include the Grand Commander and Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio and Giulia, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. As a bonus, Jeep has packaged a mild hybrid system called eTorque to support auto ignition stop/start, electric power assist, extended fuel shut-off, transmission shift management, intelligent battery charging, and regenerative braking. In short, it’s the most fuel efficient and most dynamic Wrangler ever! With a ground clearance of 10.9 inches, the Wrangler can power through water at 8 km/h up to 762 mm of depth without a snorkel!
I have complete confidence that with the better drivetrain, suspension, and electronic assists supported by the Command-Trac system that the Wrangler would tackle its rated trails with even more ease. The experience on the pavement however impressed me the most. Sure, I would have preferred a less rubbery steering response but I acknowledge that it’s a characteristic that fans expect in a Jeep Wrangler where it performs optimally off-road. The ride is very stable and planted now at highway speeds unlike before where you would struggle to keep a steady straight line. The aerodynamics was improved; the Wrangler isn’t the flying barn door that it used to be in the past. Wind noise is significantly suppressed even if our test unit had the new powered canvas soft top named the Sky One-Touch power top that can be retracted to the full-length of the roof at a simple push of a button up to 96 km/h. The Bridgestone Dueler A/T 255/70R18 113T tires on two-tone 18 x 7.5J alloys look the business and perform accordingly.
The interior details and Easter eggs are abundant in the new Wrangler, too, but not as plentiful and unorthodox as in the Renegade, so no Yeti’s but a whole lot of Jeep profile images. There are heaps of rubberized trim that are both for form and function. The interior stitched leather was also generous and tastefully included the dashboard. The 9-speaker Alpine® premium audio was great and complemented the 4th generation Uconnect 8.4-inch central infotainment system.
Lighting was always an issue for me in the past so I just loved the new LED headlamps, LED DRL, LED forward turn signals on the front of the trapezoidal wheel flares, and LED taillamps. The new ends of the signature 7-vertical front grille bars are nicely kinked for a touch of flair. The swing gate is made of lightweight magnesium, and when open, you can read the cool label located on the tailgate detailing water fording depth limits, approach and departure angles, and specifications regarding the wheelbase. It’s not just the best Jeep Wrangler ever, it can now be a genuine everyday vehicle too, it is spacious, comfortable, brimming with versatility as well as utility, and ultimately, it’s fun.
|Engine||Inline-4, 1995 cc, dohc 16V, Direct Injection Intercooled Turbo with eTorque, 8-speed AT|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||270 bhp @ 5250 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||295 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm|
|Top Speed||184 km/h (115 mph) Governed|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||6.8 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||22 mpg City / 24 mpg Highway|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||US$ 53,445.00|
|What's Great||Best Wrangler ever, versatile and outstanding packaging, updated to meet modern needs.|
|What's Not So||Still best enjoyed everywhere else but on-road, steering could have been tighter, pricey|
|C! Editors Rating||9.5/10|