2012 Jeep Wrangler: first drive review
by Bob Aldons - Northstar Jeep Brisbane
Thanks to Chris Riley from News Limited, you're seeing the embryo of a unbelievable looking vehicle currently under 'construction' for my Jeep General Manager, Cameron Semark.
Cameron has started build on a four door Wrangler in Crush - the orange colour featured in the story below. BUT - picture the total vehicle in this colour, with 25 inch Mopar wheels with Orange highlights, with leather interior (orange of course) with a 2" lift kit, lots of chrome and other coloured bits - even the springs will be colour coded.
Cameron and his team at Northstar Jeep have this insane ability to transform a standard vehicle into a thing of beauty - a bit like West Coast Custom - they're not cheap, but being an individual is what it's all about. I'll look forward to the Jeep Wrangler Crusher getting finished - bring it on. And oh, a free bottle of Orange Fanta with every Wrangler sold.
Chris' final comments: "Despite its flaws like everyone we've got a bit of soft spot for the Wrangler. It's great fun for a weekend, but less so as a daily driver where it lacks the cut and thrust for city driving (and those big chunky tyres will be expensive to replace). Your choice"
Chris my man. It's a bloody Jeep - you don't buy it for round town use, you buy it to go off road! or to be seen driving round town, to the school, to the local, to be seen in it - and then you go off road. Don't hold back Chris. We'll invite you to have a go with our Crusher - or whatever cool name that Cameron comes up with.
By Chris Riley - News Limited Community Newspapers
The Jeep Wrangler is an American icon. It's been produced in essentially the same form since 1941 when it was created for the US Army. The concept has been refined along the way of course, with the addition of a four-door model a few years ago but they all sit behind the same trademark, seven-bar radiator grille that identifies the brand.
Because it's an icon and has awesome off road ability, many people feel obliged to cut it some slack, when really the design could do with a major overhaul. More than anything else it needs to be much safer in the context of modern motor vehicles.
If you like the great outdoors and love getting away from it all, then this could be the one. The Wrangler is a purpose-built recreational 4x4 that offers the best `out of the box' off road experience available. You'll be able to get places the others dream about and not have to worry about breaking your car.
If you're not planning to take this car off road, perhaps you should think again. That's the Wrangler's prime role in life and apart from the machismo it bestows it could disappoint as a road car, especially if you're contemplating the wagon as the primary means of family transport. It's big, not very manoeuvrable and not particularly safe.
Land Rover's Defender springs to mind as does the Toyota FJ Cruiser (the funny looking one). The Defender however is more agricultural, designed with functionality in mind for the armed forces and government agencies. It doesn't offer a very pleasant on-road experience.
The FJ is worth a look. Based on the Prado it is a very capable off roader, but sadly does not offer a diesel like the Prado. We recommend diesels not just for their economy, but also the extra torque that makes driving more pleasant.
The big news is the Pentastar petrol V6, a replacement for the hoary old 3.8 which had a thirst that was not commensurate with its modest power output. The new DOHC 3.6-litre V6 is lighter, more compact and delivers much more respectable performance, with a power output of 209kW and 347Nm of torque.
The other big news is the new five-speed auto, replacing the previous four-speed. It's a much better thing and allows the driver to change gears manually. The 2.8 litre four cylinder turbo diesel carries over with 147kW and up to 460Nm of torque depending on transmission. There's also a six-speed manual. What we're really waiting to see however is the new V M Motori diesel from Grand Cherokee that would be nice.
Not as bad as you might think. The V6 promises faster acceleration and better economy. The suspension is stiff and bouncy at times, but still manages to do an acceptable job of soaking up the bumps. The steering is vague and really needs to be addressed, and it sitting high and heavy it tends to run wide in corners with too much speed.
Off road it's fantastic fun. It will bounce and grind its way up just about anything. Nothing seems to too great a challenge. Fuel economy for the V6 ranges from 11.4 to 12.0 litres/100k for the manual two-door and four-door auto. The diesel ranges from 7.1 to 8.8 litres/100km.
Jeep claims four stars for safety in US crash tests, but it has not been tested here yet. Two airbags are standard along with anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Brake Assist, All-Speed Traction Control (ASTC), Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM) and Brake Locking Differentials (BLD).
New colours. Revised axles ratios for more extreme off road. Option of body coloured roof panels and wheel arch flares. Tyre pressured monitoring and climate airconditioning standard across the range. Prices range from $32,000 through to $48,000 for the top of the range Rubicon.
Despite its flaws like everyone we've got a bit of soft spot for the Wrangler. It's great fun for a weekend, but less so as a daily driver where it lacks the cut and thrust for city driving (and those big chunky tyres will be expensive to replace). Your choice.
JEEP WRANGLER 2012
Price: from $32,000
Warranty: 3 years, 100,000km with Jeep roadside assistance
Service interval: 12,000km or 6-months
Thirst: 1.2 L/100km (manual) 11.3L/100km (auto), CO2 259g/km (manual) 263g/km (auto) - (OOPS Typo Chris)
Safety equipment: Airbags, ABS, ESC, HSA, ERM
Crash rating: N/A
Engine: Pentastar 3.6-litre V6, 209kW/347Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual standard, 6-speed auto optional, 4WD
Body: Four-door, 5 seats
Dimensions: 4751mm (L); 1877mm (W); 1840mm (H); 2947mm (WB)
Tyres: 245/75R17, 17-inch aluminium painted satin carbon wheels.