India review — Looks, performance, price

New Delhi: The best selling Jeep in India is of course the Compass but the one you see here is globally one of their best sellers along with being an icon. I am of course talking about the Jeep Wrangler. When I travel abroad, especially Dubai, I see Jeep Wranglers every few minutes – probably with customizations.

That explains the Wrangler much more. Owners customize the car and use it the way they are meant to. But with the current generation Wrangler getting bigger and more luxurious, does it also double as a luxury SUV?

At Rs 60 lakh for the top-of-the-line Wrangler, it can be pitted against other SUVs at this price, so we decided to live with the Wrangler and see for ourselves. It helps (or doesn’t?) that we got the state-of-the-art and more hardcore Rubicon variant. There is a standard Wrangler which is quite capable off-road in its own right but the Rubicon variant is just insane. Let us explain.

The Wrangler Rubicon is the most off-road focused version with off-road special tires, more off-road capabilities and a different look. It’s even more hardcore and for going out into nature. However, my first drive involves dodging buses, cars and other things in crazy traffic. Here, the Wrangler Rubicon is surprisingly comfortable.

I have an 8-speed automatic transmission, surprisingly light steering and smooth power delivery. It doesn’t feel like I’m driving a tank even though it’s built like one. The effect on traffic is crazy though.

Other people stare, cars stop and people take out their camera phones when you feel like a king who is so high up. Yes, the bouncy ride quality isn’t particularly comfortable and there’s some tire noise – but the Wrangle even in Rubicon spec is comfortable enough for everyday use. It also helps that the ground clearance it provides makes it easy to ride over roads or no roads. While other cars struggle, the Wrangler Rubicon just keeps going.

We get a single petrol option with a 2.0l turbo unit with 268hp/400Nm. Yes, it’s a massive car but the Wrangler Rubicon doesn’t feel slow and can move when you want it to. Yes, at low speeds there is some lag but the shifts are smooth along with most of the torque. You can drive long distances all day without any problems at all.

Around town, I quickly got used to the Wrangler’s size, while its cabin was once again a surprise in terms of everything it offered. Another thing I had to get used to is its narrow footwell with no dead pedal as it takes some effort to get in.

That said, the leather-wrapped dash and comfortable seats are all very welcome while the central touchscreen is large enough along with being responsive too. You get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone climate control and pretty much every basic but important feature. Then you see nice details like the original Jeep on the windshield tucked away and lots of Jeep logos. It’s just a cool car.

You can also remove the doors, the roof – hence the power window switches located in the middle. While we used the big Wrangler Rubicon in the concrete jungle, we needed to explore its off-road side as well.

The Wrangler Rubicon gets a more hardcore Rock-Trac 4×4 system including Dana 44 front and rear axles along with a 4:1 “4LO” ratio. A front to rear axle ratio of 4.10 is standard. What does all this mean? That means the Wrangler Rubicon gets a crazier off-road-focused 4×4 system.

The standard Wrangler is more than adequate but the Rubicon gets more axle articulation, ability to climb over rocks and generally everything. It also gets electrically locking front/rear differentials. As previously mentioned, the Rubicon gets smaller rims with larger tires, which means 17-inch wheels and special BF Goodrich all-terrain tires.

That’s why the Wrangler Rubicon proved to be so much fun to drive it over ditches, dirt trails and even take it for a bit of rock climbing. To get to our place we had to climb stairs to get in and also go through mud/big ditches – the kind of stuff that would crush the axles of many SUVs.

Off-road it’s brilliant, on-road it’s pretty decent and you drive this every day while taking a shortcut through a forest if need be! The Wrangler Rubicon is not your typical luxury SUV and something of an off-roader’s dream, but it has just enough to entice adventurous luxury SUV buyers. The fact that it is now assembled in India, is also another USP which has reduced its price compared to the CBU version. Overall, easily one of the coolest SUVs you can buy.

What we like- Looks, off-road performance, interior features, petrol engine, more available now

What we don’t do- Efficiency, ride quality

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