Home Car Reviews Jeep Wrangler, Wrangler India price, performance, off-roading, first drive review – Introduction

Jeep Wrangler, Wrangler India price, performance, off-roading, first drive review – Introduction

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Jeep Wrangler, Wrangler India price, performance, off-roading, first drive review – Introduction

The Jeep Wrangler is to off-roaders what the Porsche 911 is to sportscars. An icon evolved over time but centred on its iconic design and stellar capabilities. So, for the 2024 update, Jeep hasn’t changed the formula, it’s merely spiced it up a bit; specifically its off-road capabilities, which is why the drive was held at a forest resort with over 1,800 acres of natural habitat. Rocks, cliffs, rivers and trails, it doesn’t get more ‘Jeep’ than this.

Jeep Wrangler facelift exterior, design

Even a long look at the new 2024 Wrangler isn’t enough to know if it's the facelift as the styling updates are very mild. Up front, the iconic seven-slat grille is now blacked out and slightly larger for more cooling, says Jeep.

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The new grille is the most distinct giveaway of this being the facelift.

Look closer and you’ll also notice a front camera with a washer to aid you while off-roading, and this also plays a role in the ADAS functions. The windshield is now Gorilla glass; yes, just like your smartphone it can resist scratches and stone chips better. It also has an embedded antenna too, since owners complained that the mast antenna would get snagged through off-road trails.

Over to the side, there are new 17-inch alloy wheels and mud-terrain tyres as standard for the Rubicon version. The Unlimited will get bigger 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tyres. Ground clearance now stands at 237mm and it gets larger approach, breakover and departure angles at 43.9 degrees, 22.6 degrees and 37 degrees, respectively.

The Wrangler looks like nothing else in its stripped-down guise. 

At the rear, the design is unchanged and features the split tailgate with a spare wheel mounted to it, and like before, the doors, roof and windshield can be removed completely. Jeep is offering extreme off-road enthusiasts a host of accessories like tube doors, bumpers, lift kits and more that will be available for the Indian cars as well.

Jeep Wrangler facelift interiors

Given the floor height you have to haul yourself up into the Wrangler cabin and once there, you’ll notice it's familiar territory with a new top half of the dashboard. There’s now a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen neatly integrated into the horizontally oriented dash recess. Compared to the squarish screen on the previous version, it looks far better and is a lot more modern, the resolution is crisp, it’s responsive to touch and it's also brighter for better viewing in harsh light.

Interior is familiar and the new touchscreen is the most notable update.

Inside, you get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the usual plethora of settings and off-road pages that display vitals like pitch and roll angles, and transmission temperature among a host of other information. The dashboard has a new polyurethane wrap, which is waterproof and there’s action camera screw mounts under two small removable trays; it’s a great way to record your off-road escapades. What is a huge help off-road is the front camera which not only has a good resolution but also doubles up as your spotter in the wild.

Newly added front camera with washer doubles up as your spotter.

The other big update is the addition of powered seats, and since this is a Wrangler, the switches and motors are all are waterproof and can even be submerged without worry. There is also the option of heated seats and steering, which, though not useful in most regions of our country, can be a boon should you decide to traverse cool forests or the snow-clad regions of the north.

The motors and switches for the powered driver's seat are waterproof.

Jeep also says it has reduced cabin noise by 5 decibels with laminated windows, a foam-sealed windshield, better sound deadening, thicker carpets, and a 7-mic setup and noise cancellation for clear phone calls. However, being a Wrangler, road and wind noise are still very audible. The Wrangler now gets an updated 552W 8-speaker Alpine audio system with a subwoofer.

There have been improvements when it comes to safety as well: six airbags and ADAS with emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, among other features. ADAS features can be switched off so that they aren’t intrusive while off-roading.

The rear seats still aren't the most comfortable space to be in.

The rear seat remains identical with enough room for three abreast, but the back rest cannot be reclined, and on the whole, it’s not an area you can relax in.

Jeep Wrangler facelift off-road performance

Naturally, the Wrangler feels at home off the beaten path. Show it a dead end, and it will see a start of a fantastic journey. Our drive was through forests and hills, with a few curated difficult obstacles, and a lot of natural terrain and trails. Its immense suspension travel allows it to ease through ‘Axle Breakers’, and its ability to electronically disconnect the front sway bar allows for a massive amount of axle articulation. This helps keep the wheel in contact with the surface giving you very good traction and grip, and a less rocky ride. The obstacles were intimidating, but the ease with which the Wrangler tackles it leaves you baffled and impressed.

Massive suspension travel makes easy work of axle breakers.

Next up is a steep incline that would only excite mountain climbers, but here too, the low 4:1 crawl ratio of the Rubicon, the Rock Trac 4×4 system and massive footprint of the MT tyres meant the 2.1-tonne Rubicon scampered up with ease leaving behind a cloud of dust. A rocky patch followed, and here too, all it needed was 4-low and a controlled right foot. What’s impressive is Jeep has slightly different throttle mapping for the Rubicon compared to the more docile Unlimited variant, and that does help when you need to be wary and cautious with your accelerator inputs. The updated Rubicon also gets 864mm water-wading capacity, which meant a river crossing was dealt with relatively easily.

The Wrangler has a water wading-capacity of up to 864mm.

A word of caution here, always walk the course when off-road, including water crossings or make sure you know the depth and surface. We had a guide with us who knew the river crossing, so we only needed to keep a steady pace to build a bow wave in the front of the car. At some points we did drop speed due to the rocky river bed, but if you do that, remember to keep an even pace and do not stop. The water current is also something to be cautious off; at a few points the Wrangler did get pushed off course and that’s exactly why the instructor reminded us to unbuckle our seat belts. Thankfully, we didn’t have to scamper out and the Wrangler made it across leaving us quite dry too, thanks to our version getting proper doors.

New Dana HD44 heavy duty rear axle adds strength and allows for higher towing capacity.

The final course was a tough trail around a mountain leading back to the base. Here, every highlight of the Wrangler came into play: the low-range transmission, the front- and rear-locking differentials and the Off-road+ mode, which basically takes control of the amount of traction and power being sent to the wheels to make you look like the star. It is almost laughable how effortlessly the Wrangler ambled through these tough courses. The biggest challenge isn’t driving through tough obstacles, but in fact finding obstacles that are tough enough. Speaking of tough, there’s now a new Dana HD44 heavy duty rear axle, which is usually seen on HCVs. It adds strength and allows for a higher towing capacity. Serious off-roaders also tend to upsize the wheels and tyres adding more weight, and this is where the heavy duty axle further helps reduce load.

Jeep Wrangler facelift on-road performance

As for on road performance, there’s nothing to complain about from the 272hp, 2.0-litre, turbo-petrol engine; a 0-100kph time of just 8.1secs is a good indicator of the performance. There’s enough poke for everyday city and highway driving with more than enough overtaking grunt and the 8-speed automatic is very smooth, although it’s not lightning quick with downshifts. However, the big off-road tyres do make their presence felt on tarmac. There is a constant thrum as you cruise and despite Jeep’s efforts of improving the cabin insulation, it’s still a sore point, as also is other mechanical sounds from the powertrain and wind noise. So if a quiet highway car is what you want, this isn’t it.

2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine is punchy; ride over bad sections of highway is phenomenonal

Where it makes up points on the highway is ride quality, which, over a bad section of road, is simply phenomenal. Expansion joints, stripped-away tarmac and even the odd pothole that will surprise you will not upset the Wrangler. It soaks up everything easily and what’s really nice is that over city roads it refrains from feeling jumpy and jarring. The steering too is light and requires low effort, but you do have to be mindful of the SUV’s size, and three-point turns will have to be planned taking into account its length.

Jeep Wrangler facelift price and verdict

While the visual updates are very minute, the Wrangler is a smart looking SUV and what’s really impressive is that Jeep has enhanced its already stellar off-road prowess. There’s better off-road tech and enhanced capability now, which is simply mind-numbing. And then the new features and equipment make it easier to live with in the urban jungle as well.

If you want an off-roader, it doesn't get more hardcore than a Wrangler.

At Rs 71.65 lakh (ex-showroom, India) for the Rubicon, the premium over the outgoing model is very minimal too. Jeep says having invested in locally assembling the previous Wrangler, it wants to further the model's sales potential. There are other luxury off-roaders but they are pricier and perhaps less capable off-road. So if you want a hardcore luxury off-roader, it doesn’t get more hardcore than this.

Also see:

2024 Jeep Warngler Rubicon facelift video review 

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