Test Drives

2019 Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4dr Review: Jungle Boy



Jeep’s iconic Wrangler gets updated for modern times, but still remains as old-school as ever

Photos: Derryn Wong, Kester Kiew, Ben Chia

SINGAPORE

The Jeep Wrangler is one of those iconic cars in automotive folklore, like the Porsche 911, that stands for a certain philosophy, and refuses to bend its formula in order to fit in with the rest. Buy one of these, and you know for sure what you’re getting.

What you’re getting then, is a big chunky off-roader that makes no apologies. The Wrangler can trace its origins to a World War II military vehicle, but today it is a rugged, no-nonsense sport utility vehicle (SUV) for those who actually go off the beaten track. It strikes an imposing, and intimidating, presence, thanks to its huge high-profile tyres and raised suspension.

It is a massive vehicle (4882mm long, 1894mm wide, 1838mm tall), and you have to clamber unglamorously into the car using the side steps. It also makes for a tricky proposition when manoeuvring this monster around town. Even parking this behemoth requires some planning, as there is a good chance that many of those notoriously tight carparks that litter our city would be unable to accommodate a car like this.


Tiny intern Kester gets dwarfed by the gargantuan Wrangler

 

Thankfully, this new-for-2019 Wrangler comes with a host of modern gizmos that makes the driving experience a little less stressful. There is a reverse camera, implanted in the middle of the spare wheel mounted out back, and there are all sorts of sensors around the vehicle, ready to beep and chime if you ever get close to hitting something (which is all the time).

There’s also stuff like a blind spot monitor, and lane keeping assist, which in this particular case proves to be extremely useful given the car’s dimensions. The interior too has been brought up to date, with the centre console featuring a new 8.4-inch touchscreen that incorporates Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system, and offers Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. There are also many USB ports littered throughout the cabin, for those times who you need to charge your phone in the jungle.

Having said that, the Wrangler is still decidedly old-school in many ways. The doors are removable (necessitating the placement of the window controls on the centre console), and so is the roof, although you’ll need a lot of time and strength to pull it off. The windscreen can be folded down too, if you really enjoy having insects in your face as you drive along.

There’s some new age stuff under the bonnet too, with this iteration of the Wrangler featuring a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that produces 268hp and 400Nm of torque. It does fairly well performance-wise, with enough grunt to help it move along at a decent pace despite the car’s size, and the unit doesn’t feel at all strained or stretch when you get going. 

Regardless, putting your foot down is not something you want to do very often with the Wrangler, as driving it is pretty much like being at the helm of a massive truck. There’s a lot of vagueness in the steering, and you end up having to constantly correct yourself just to stay on the straight and narrow, which is not an easy task considering the size of this thing. On regular roads, the Wrangler simply feels clumsy, cumbersome and completely out of its depth in urban confines.

It’s fairly obvious that the Wrangler is very much designed for extreme off-road use, what with the loose steering, massive ground clearance, and suspension which can take on any sort of road imperfections. But now, it gets more modern features to make those jungle-bashing adventures just that little bit more liveable and tolerable. If that sounds like good news to you, then welcome to the Wrangler.

Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4dr 2.0T

Engine 1,995cc, inline 4, turbocharged
Power 268hp at 5250rpm
Torque 400Nm at 3000rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic 
0-100km/h 199km/h 
Top Speed 7.3 seconds
Fuel Efficiency 8.6L/100km
VES Band / CO2 C2 / 213g/km
Agent Chrysler Jeep Automotive of Singapore
Price S$239,888 with COE
Availability Now

 

Verdict: Updated Wrangler gets new, modern amenities, but still feels old school to drive

about the author

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Ben Chia
He once belonged here, and then he went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world.