Wilderness Wrangler

by Petrol Mum
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon roof open

There’s a lot of history here in the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and it stems all the way back to World War II when approximately 650,000 Willys Jeeps were produced for use by the United States and the Allies during the war. Although the Wrangler is not a direct decedent from the Willys, there are many similarities between the two. Wrangler owners are reminded of this heritage by numerous depictions of the Willys Jeep located inside and out of the Wrangler.

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon remains authentic to the traditional Wrangler formula: iconic styling, round headlamps, seven-slot grille and flat fender flares. Under the boxy skin there are further parallels to the Willys Jeep including a body-on-frame chassis design, albeit with an updated and safer design. The Wrangler chassis is riding on rigid live Dana heavy duty front and rear axles with a modern part-time Rock-Trac Active On-Demand 4×4 System, with the choice of 2H, 4H Auto, 4H part time, or 4L for Low Range crawling.

Jeep claim that the Wranglers Approach Angle is 41.7ᵒ and the Departure Angle is 31.9ᵒ with 252mm of ground clearance and a maximum wading depth of 760mm. You can also disconnect the Electronic Front Sway-Bar and select to lock the front and rear diffs or rear diff only thanks to the Tru-Lok Differentials that come as standard. On-road ride comfort is surprisingly good even though the Wrangler has 32-Inch BF Goodrich off-road tyres fitted, with road noise in the cabin unoffensive to passengers. Apart from a bit of sand driving I did not take the Wrangler too far off the beaten track, but if the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon I drove the week before is anything to go by, it should be very capable. A difference between driving the Gladiator and the Wrangler that I did notice was I received more Jeep waves from fellow Jeep drivers in the Wrangler and this really made me feel part of the Jeep family.  

The Wrangler Rubicon is powered by a 3.6 litre, V6 petrol engine with 209kW at 6,400rpm and 347Nm of torque at 4,100rpm. The official combined fuel economy is 10.3L/100km and for my week I used 14.5L/100km. The engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and the Wrangler has a maximum braked towing capacity of 2,495kg.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon side

To get the full open air Willys Jeep experience in the Wrangler you can lower the windshield, and remove the doors, roof and rear tailgate section. The tools to do so are located in the glove box and in the boot, there are points located in the boot floor covering for all of the bolts you have removed to be stored and they are labelled roof, doors, etc so you don’t get them mixed up or lost. I didn’t go to this extreme though and was happy just to fold back the optional soft top roof on the Rubicon I was driving to enjoy the Autumn sunshine and smell of wood fires.

The Sky-One-Touch Premium Package costs $7,735 and in addition to the Sky-One-Touch Power Top, it also includes Body Colour Fender Flares. The other options on my Wrangler included the Trail-Ready Package ($3,835) that replaces the standard 17” wheels with 17” Black Alloy Wheels, plus a Steel Front Bumper and a Forward Facing TrailCam that can be displayed on the infotainment screen to show you what is directly in front of the vehicle. The Firecracker Red paint is a Premium Paint colour that costs $1,175.

Don’t be fooled though by the old-fashioned look of the Wrangler, there are plenty of features that make it perfectly suited to our modern lives. Including proximity sensing keyless entry and push button start, a 7.0-inch central digital display, and an 8.4 inch infotainment with touchscreen. Voice control can be used to access some of the infotainment options by pressing the button on the steering wheel with the masculine looking silhouette on it. This operation worked well for me to make a phone call and change the radio station.

The infotainment system has integrated satellite navigation and wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is no cubby for your phone near the USB-A, USB-C, AUX ports, so the cord needed to charge your phone, which can be secured in the slot between two grippy cup holders in the centre console, may get in the way or alternatively there is another USB-A port under the arm rest. Another issue I detected was that the climate control temperature setting was a bit erratic blowing either hot or cold air and nothing really in between.

The seats and steering wheel are covered in leather for easy cleaning and the Wrangler comes standard with rubber floor mats, which are must for a vehicle that is designed to get down and dirty. Both front seats are heated and have manual adjustment for recline and forward/back with the driver’s seat also getting manual seat height and lumbar adjustment. In the cooler weather you will be glad to have the heated steering, but I missed not having a foot rest for my left foot in the driver’s side footwell.

There is ample head and leg room for two adult sized rear seat passengers and for younger passengers there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points. If the centre seat is not in use, then it can be folded down as an arm rest with two grippy drink holders at the front of it. To keep you warm or cool there are two central air vents and below these are two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports and one 230V 150W AC plug. But my favourite feature is the rubber mat that completely covered the rear floor to make it super easy to clean out at the end of your weekend adventures.

At the back of the Wrangler is a two-part tailgate with the bottom half swinging out first and the glass section then lifting up. The boot space is adequate for the weekly shop or a pram and a small shop and if you need more space the rear seats have a 60:40 split fold mechanism. To secure items there are tracks on either side of the boot for moveable tie down points with one 12V outlet. There is some storage also below the boot floor and the full-size spare tyre is strapped to the back of the Wrangler.

All models in the Jeep Wrangler models built after November 2019 have a 3-star ANCAP (2019) safety rating with an Adult Occupant Protection score of 60% (23.0 out of 38) and a Child Occupant Protection score of 80% (39.4 out of 49). Passive safety includes four airbags and for convenience you get a standard reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors and automatic headlamps with levelling.

Standard active driver safety includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Full Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross Path Detection. ANCAP tests of the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system in highway speed scenarios showed some GOOD performance with collisions avoided or mitigated in most scenarios.  Overall, effectiveness of the AEB system performance in highway speed scenarios was rated ADEQUATE. The overall ANCAP Safety Assist score is 51%.

The Jeep Wrangler has a 5 Year/100,000km warranty and Lifetime Roadside Assist (when your vehicle is serviced through Jeep). Scheduled servicing for the petrol-powered Wrangler is due every 12 months or 12,000 km, whichever comes first. Capped price servicing for the first five services is priced at $399 each.

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon starts at $83,950 plus on-road costs and my Wrangler with the options listed above was $96,695 excluding on-road costs. Check out the special offer currently available until 30 June 2023 on the entire Jeep Wrangler range or visit your preferred Jeep dealer to grab Life by the Jeep.

Rubber mats come as standardNo resting point for the driver’s left foot
The warm welcome I received from fellow Jeep driversClimate control temperature setting is erratic
The weekend adventures you will have with your familyOnly has a 3-star ANCAP safety rating

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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