The story of an American classic: the Wrangler


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Classic, like a Lego block, this timeless design is somewhat as adaptable as the plastic toy it resembles to customise your creation. The Jeep Wrangler is a piece of American pie. Although not officially a successor to the Willy’s Jeep from the second world war, it’s easy to see that its design borrows some of its aesthetic appeal from this functional utility vehicle from the war.

Now in its third generation, the current JK model was launched in 2007. With a 12-year lifespan, this third generation Wrangler has had its time in the sun, making way for the fourth generation, which has been launched but will only hit our shores closer to the end of the year.

Since its original launch in 1986, the range of Wrangler vehicles has been designed for practical fun – go anywhere while making a statement. A Wrangler says you are cool – friendly, happy, naughty and that you have a taste for adventure.

The current generation is on its way out but still delivers on all the cool factors. You get either a robust but thirsty 3.6-L V6 or a 2.8-L 4-cylinder turbo diesel. Both engines will get you over the 100km/h in 8 to 9 seconds. The Wrangler drives on a separate body and frame system making the 4 x 4 feel more like a bakkie/pick-up than an SUV. Its engineering flourishes off road while coping adequately on the road. City driving offers a firm ride while giving its driver and passengers a bird’s eye view of the road thanks to a tall ride height.

Its playful character carries through into the interior where you’ll be able to convert your Wrangler from a hardtop to a semi-soft top. Unfortunately, removing the roof is not an origami symphony like a snazzy sports car or grand coupe. It’s more of a decision to take the roof off and making it happen.

Adequately equipped, the interior has the basics: fabric seats that are comfy, power steering that is both rack and reach adjustable, electric windows, climate control and a banging sound system that originates its sound from waterproof speakers!  There is a touchscreen Uconnect infotainment system that operates the car’s audio system. But don’t expect too much; you’ll only find the necessities. Park Distance Control, front and rear cameras and Collision Prevention are not available on the Wrangler. Let’s hope the upcoming fourth generation brings this macho 4 x 4 up-to-date in the technology department.

If you’re in the market for a fun vehicle that’s less than perfect but full of character, consider the Wrangler. Look for a used model and save some cash. But if you’ve always wanted one, hang on and wait a little while longer for the new model that arrives in a few months. 

*(New 2018 Jeep Wrangler pictured below)


Plus +

  • Bold look
  • Macho appeal
  • Off-road ability


Minus –

  • Thirsty petrol engine
  • Basic interior


The competition

Toyota FJ Cruiser


The pricing

Wrangler 3.6-L Sahara R645 900

Wrangler 3.6-L Rubicon R675 900

Wrangler Unlimited 3.6-L Sahara R696 900

Wrangler Unlimited 3.6-L Rubicon R730 900

Wrangler Unlimited 2.8 CRD Sahara R775 900


The service and warranty

The Jeep Wrangler comes standard with a 3 year/100 000km service plan.


My choice

Wrangler Unlimited 2.8 CRD Sahara R775 900





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