MANILA, Philippines – We love freedom.
Even if there is no absolute freedom. Freedom from work, freedom from illness, freedom from taxes, freedom from debt. Everything is part of growing up.
Which makes the opportunity to enjoy freedom – when and where we want it – essential.
No wonder so many people see vehicles as their enabler of freedom. It is that irresistible adventure inspired by the original Jeep that made many car manufacturers create SUVs in all shapes and sizes.
But few SUVs can really match the legendary Jeep WranglerThe iconic vehicle that has conquered every terrain, from war-torn battlefields during World War II to the unforgiving deserts of the Sahara to the winding landscapes of the Rubicon Trail. It’s more than ready to let Filipinos play on lahar beds, cross rivers, head out into the woods, drive to the beach or simply conquer the concrete jungle (including the occasional flooded street).
Still, we need to be a little more careful when we go into this pandemic. Thankfully, I managed to find two safe activities that allow me to enjoy the Jeep Wrangler’s performance and features while sunbathing in the invigorating outdoors.
While living in the northern part of Metro Manila, my first activity was a surprisingly short drive to the very accessible La Mesa Eco Park near Fairview, Quezon City.
This public park covers an area of 33 acres and is located along the natural boundary of the La Mesa Watershed Reservation. Activities that can be done include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, rappelling, ziplining, bird watching and fishing. You can also go on a paddle boat trip in the lagoon or visit the orchidarium.
Although external bike racks would have been more ideal, it turned out that it was easy to mount a mountain bike inside the Wrangler, thanks to the versatile folding rear seats and the large cargo space at the rear. You will still have plenty of room for other outdoor items and more snacks than you can devour for an afternoon of nature.
I wish the park had a track for vehicles where I can use the track-rated Wrangler with its strong steel frame and chassis, high-free fenders and large 33-inch off-road tires for good use. I would definitely be closer to nature with the removable doors and roof (Freedom Top hardtop, for the win!).
Jumping into the spacious and functional interior even if you are sweaty and muddy is no problem because the interior is washable! But despite this fantastic feature, you will still enjoy refined materials and first-class build quality. Wrangler seats are designed to offer comfort and support when you are out looking for adventure.
Backing out of La Mesa Eco Park’s parking lot and entering busy traffic on Commonwealth Avenue was a breeze thanks to advanced features such as Blind Spot Monitoring systems and ParkSense Rear Park Assist. The ParkView rear-facing camera works with the Jeeps Uconnect 7-inch touch screen to help guide you when reversing. The ParkView Rear Back Up system has a high-resolution camera with dynamic grids that shows the direction so you can maneuver into tight spaces with full confidence.
Rear Cross Path Detection, on the other hand, monitors cars and objects that cross behind as you reverse and warns you via beeps and visual icons. Your everyday coffee and weekend trips will be much more fun and stress-free.
The short drive to La Mesa Eco Park made me want to spend even more time behind the wheel of the Wrangler. The next day I planned a golf trip with my friends to Ayala Greenfield Golf & Leisure Club in Barangay Puting Lupa, Calamba, Laguna, about 80 km from Quezon City.
Built in 2005 by world-renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones, this 18-hole championship golf course is a popular golf destination for Metro Manilans because of its picturesque surroundings highlighted by breathtaking views of Tagaytay Ridge, Laguna de Bay, and of course, the majestic Makiling Mountain.
The two and a half hour drive was made more relaxing thanks to Wrangler’s voice command, Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility. The large touch screen is very responsive and the interface is wonderfully intuitive and user-friendly. Available Bluetooth lets you make calls or stream music or podcasts wirelessly from your smartphone.
Driving a Wrangler on the C5 and SLEX was a breeze. Despite its significant size, its handling and control are almost as light and responsive as a sedan. Riding comfort is another wonderful surprise. Unlike many large SUVs, there are no painful shocks when the Wrangler hits a bump or a hole.
The Wrangler is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that pumps out a hefty 270 hp and a huge torque of 400 Nm, which gives it enough grunt for challenging trails or transporting a jet ski or motorboat. It has an available class towing capacity of £ 3,500. Balancing all these muscles is Engine Stop-Start technology to maximize fuel economy in traffic.
You can even customize your Wrangler with a P170,000 accessory package that includes a 2-inch lift kit, 7-inch round LED headlights and 4-inch warning light with warning light (DRL).
The Jeep Wrangler easily lives up to its legendary 80-year-old Jeep legacy. After all these years and despite so many new SUVs on the market, it is still in a class of its own – on or off the road. It is the true spirit of freedom and adventure. No other vehicle on earth can truly let you be you, anytime, anywhere.
Experience true freedom and adventure by checking out – or better yet, test drive – the Wrangler at your nearest Jeep dealer.