It’s all very well, this army of new SUVs coming along with their four-wheel drive, hill descent control and rugged-looking bodywork in an attempt to be seen as hardy, capable, off-road machines. In reality, though, many so-called SUVs aren’t much more than hatchbacks on tiptoes.
Of course, such cars still do the job for those who spend 99% of their time on the road. But a small proportion of drivers still need something that can haul itself up a mountain without breaking into a sweat. If you’re one of those, the Jeep Wrangler might be right up your farm track.
Like the Toyota Land Cruiser, Mitsubishi Shogun and the far more expensive Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the Wrangler is designed to be at least as comfortable off the road as it is on it. That means you get an old-school ladder frame chassis with the body bolted on top, as well as ‘live’ axles front and rear.
The Jeep also has two selectable four-wheel drive ratios that are engaged with a big, forceful lever for added Indiana Jones effect, and there’s even the option to take the roof off – yes, off – for the wind-in-your-hair feel of an African safari.
But can the Wrangler live up to modern expectations of ride and handling combined with practical usability? We’ll investigate; along with what it’s like inside and what it’ll cost to run, over the next few pages.
And if you’re already sold on the Wrangler’s rugged looks, do visit our New Car Buying site to find some tempting savings.