In the automotive world, there are only a handful of cars as memorable and as iconic as the Jeep Wrangler.
Revamping an icon is never easy, especially when that icon’s history is as illustrative as the Jeep Wrangler’s. Ever since the first Jeep rolled off the assembly line on the 1st of August, 1941, off-road mobility has never been the same. If there was ever a John Rambo of the automotive world, this is it, the Jeep Wrangler.
Code-named JL, this all-new Wrangler replaces the decade-old but beloved JK-series Wrangler. Even though the Wrangler looks pretty much the same, almost all of it is redesigned. Jeep’s goal for the new 2019 Wrangler is to balance the dueling demands of those who buy Wranglers to adventure off-road and those who buy them to drive around town because they look cool.
Of the three versions of the new Wrangler on sale across various markets, the Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon variants, none sums this duality up better than the luxury- and street-oriented Sahara.
The Wrangler Sahara is aimed mostly at buyers who prefer streets to slick rock. Its standard features and options list reflect that.
You get the Sahara trim in two as well as four doors and it comes body-colour fender flares. It also gets a long list of standard and optional features, but notable is a Sahara-exclusive Selec-Trac full-time four-wheel-drive system.
Under the hood is a retuned version of the previous Wrangler’s 3.6-liter V-6 making 285 hp and 352 Nm of torque. Even though you get it with a manual transmission, our test vehicle was equipped with an eight-speed automatic which is excellent on the road and off it.
Even though a Jeep’s performance isn’t ever measured by what it can do on the road, it still feels way quicker than the outgoing JK Wrangler. The new Jeep stops and turns way better than the old one too and it is also less thirsty than the previous generation.
Arguably Jeep’s biggest challenge with the new 2019 Wrangler was ensuring it hadn’t gone soft on off-road performance. I’m happy to report it hasn’t.
We’ve come out here in the desert and in the hills on this hot summer morning and the Wrangler seems to love all of this. Existing Jeep owners have something really remarkable to upgrade to and for all those who are planning to buy a Jeep for the first time, the new JL is a lovely blend of off-road and on road performance.
Heck, even I’m planning to go off the hinge and buy one. After all—this Jeep is the first Wrangler to actually be as nice to drive on the road as it is off it. The 2019 Jeep Wrangler has some pretty big shoes to fill and some competing goals to accomplish, but Jeep has absolutely nailed it.
Welcome to the 21st century, Wrangler.