Directly descended from the 1941 Willy’s Overland, the Jeep Wrangler remains the definitive Jeep model. Unlike most wannabe off-roaders, the Wrangler is every bit as capable and rugged as it looks and for 2011 it has been comprehensively revised to ensure it remains as relevant today it was almost three-quarters of a century ago.
Key to these revisions is the new 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine, the only engine available in Ireland. Fitted with a 16-valve, DOHC cylinder head; common-rail fuel injection and a variable geometry turbocharger, power has been boosted by 13 percent to 200hp while its maximum torque is now rated at either 410Nm (for six-speed manual models) or 460Nm (for five-speed automatic models). This translates into an identical 0-100km/h time of just 10.6 seconds and a top speed of 172km/h, regardless of transmission.
In addition to improved performance, the new Wrangler now meets Euro 5 emission standards and with Stop/Start technology as standard on manual models, fuel economy improves by up to 13 percent and CO2 emissions are reduced by up to 14 percent (7.1L/100km and 187g/km – Sport model). As a consequence, the Jeep Wrangler Sport now slips into VRT Band E (€630) reducing its running costs significantly.
Chassis-wise, the Jeep Wrangler remains based on a rugged, fully-boxed frame, with five-link front and rear suspensions and next-generation Dana axles, all of which combine to offer improved on-road refinement and incredible off-road versatility. Three-mode stability control (ESC) is standard while the Wrangler’s re-circulating ball steering has been tuned to provide more feel and feedback.
Jeep has also enhanced the Wrangler’s legendary off-road prowess using the second-generation Command-Trac part-time 4x4 system with its two-speed transfer case. Specially-tuned Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist systems help maximise traction in all conditions while the approach, breakover and departure angles are an impressive 38.1, 25.9 and 31.3 degrees respectively.
The 2011 Jeep Wrangler also benefits from exterior and interior design revisions. The signature Wrangler styling cues all remain (i.e. the round headlamps, a seven-slot grille, trapezoid wheel flares, exposed hinges, fold-down windshield, removable doors and removable hardtops) but there are new wheels, new heated door mirrors, larger rear windows and a body-coloured hardtop on Sahara models.
The new interior features include upgraded materials and revised ergonomics including a new multi-function steering wheel and new dials. Heated seats, dual-zone climate control and a USB interface are amongst the many new luxury features.
Two models will be offered in Ireland; the four-seat, two-door “Sport” and the five-seat, four-door, long-wheelbase “Unlimited” version is Sahara specification. Prices haven’t been finalised yet but are expected to start around the mid-€30k mark.