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Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition
As a tribute to the diamond jubilee of its brand in 2016, Jeep rolled out 75th Anniversary special editions of its Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Renegade and Wrangler models.
The Wrangler (as tested) and Wrangler Unlimited variants are based on the Overland trim level and are available in Sarge Green, Black, Rhino, Mojave Sand, Bright White, Billet Silver and Granite Crystal.
Telling them apart from the pack are bronze-coloured 17-inch alloy wheels, off-road rock rails, Power Dome bonnet with functional air vents, and Jeep Command-Trac 4x4 transfer case with 3.73 ratio.
The $1500 premium over the regular Wrangler Overland also buys you Dana 30 front and heavy-duty 44 rear axles, reversing camera, 6.5-inch touchscreen radio with satellite navigation, McKinley black leather and vinyl seats, as well as various 75th Anniversary badging and colour highlighting.
Above and beyond the anniversary packaging, the modern-day Wrangler’s homage to that gallant, old warhorse, the original Willys Jeep, is immediately obvious. Under the skin is a separate, box-section steel chassis with the body bolted on top, front/rear live axles, serious steel-plate underbody protection, and a dual-range gearbox. As such, it has the wherewithal to go just about anywhere off road.
Unfortunately, as an urban warrior, that ruggedness works against the Wrangler. The chunky 17-inch rubber is not as suited to the blacktop as it is rough trails, and understeer (where the vehicle shows a reluctance to turn in) is prevalent in spades. You also find yourself holding onto the steering wheel nearly as much for support as pointing where you want to go. The ride is, in a word, ‘agricultural’, but that’s to be expected given the unsprung weight of the earlier-mentioned live axles.
And then there are several ergonomic gremlins, the most annoying and unforgiving being the on-board diagnostic plug located just above the pedals where it can foul your foot when going from the accelerator to the brake.
The Fiat Chrysler group’s 3.6-litre Pentastar V6, with its 209kW and 347Nm power/torque outputs, is not wanting for ‘oomph’ but, coupled with a five-speed auto, fuel economy is not great and chances are you won’t get anywhere near the claimed 11.7 litres/100km. We averaged 17.2 litres on test.
It might be flawed, but the Wrangler attracts more than its share of attention, including waves and thumbs-up from other drivers. As the old advertising slogan goes, (maybe) “It’s a Jeep thing”.
Rugged looks, off-road ability.
Dysfunctional ergonomics, poor on-road handling and ride.
|| Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition
|Current price range
$55000 - $
|ANCAP crash rating
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||3.6-litre, petrol V6
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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.