It was up to Windermere for the UK Press launch of the new Jeep Wrangler.
On first inspection the Wrangler didn’t seem to have changed much, it was still a rugged looking, go-anywhere JEEP, and every inch this iconic vehicle.
Jeep got its name when the US Government want a General Purpose vehicle, mainly for the Military, and became known as the General Purpose, or GP for short. The GP quickly turned into Jeep, and so the brand was born.
We set off in the Wranglers in convoy along the shore of the Lake, and as soon as we got in, you could see, feel and smell the improved quality, it is now almost premium in the cabin. After climbing up into the seats, like getting into a truck, it is surprising to find such a luxurious interior.
After a few miles on some twisty, narrow country lanes, where the Wrangler behaved perfectly, it was time to do a bit of off-roading.
We were warned it could get a bit severe in places – an understatement if ever there was one. The first bit of the off-road course was quite tame, just grass, mud and small stones to go over. Then we saw the hill we had to go up, and presumably, back down again. This section of the testing was gruelling, not only for the car, but for us too. Talk about being thrown around, up and down, left to right, right to left, and all virtually at the same time.
The Wrangler took us an a mountain climbing exercise, we were literally climbing a mountain. Well probably not exactly a mountain as they don’t have mountains in the Lake District, but pretty close to it.
Everything put in front of it, it managed to get over, up over it, or plough through it. After over an hour of being frightened to death going up, there was a JEEP at the top of the hill with tea, coffee and bikkies. Not sure how it made it up there without spilling everything out of the flasks. But a well earned short break – next problem… getting back down again, oh heck… another hour of being chucked about.
The Wrangler is powered by two all-new engines: a 2.2 MultiJet 2 turbo diesel that produces 200hp, the other is a 2.0-litre petrol that produces 272hp.
This new car has new styling all round, giving it a fresh appearance, but still on first looks, does look similar to the previous Wrangler, it does have a lowered beltline with larger windows for better visability, but there are enough changes to spot the difference. The interior is much improved with increased storage space, presumably to store more sick-bags..!!
The Wrangler is available as a short wheelbase two-door, or the longer wheelbase four-door. With either model you can take off the roof panels making it an open-top.
Back in the cars to make the descent, and back to civilisation. Checking we were in 4L (Full-time four-wheel drive – Low Range) took a deep breath, and headed back down the steep incline, littered with large rocks, boulders, slippery mud, streams of water, and just about everything nature could throw at us.
But all the systems worked perfectly, the four-wheel drive, the traction control, the hill-descent, all operated together, all in perfect harmony. To get us back on solid ground back down the hill, or as we preferred to call it, the mountain, just sounds better, and more realistic.
This Wrangler is almost unique in the car world, just a handful of similar competitors that are luxurious that look as good in the city, as they do in rural settings. Cars that are fairly comfortable in every day situations on normal roads, but turn into really capable go-anywhere, do-anything vehicles – really clever engineering, not sure how they do it, but they do, and JEEP have had plenty of years to practice, and get it right.
Prices for the new JEEP Wrangler start from £44,865 and
go up to £48,365.