Should I Buy a Jeep Wrangler?
Hi John ,
I am interested in buying a 4WD Jeep Wrangler petrol manual four door. Can you shed some light on the brand, and who would be the best dealer to contact or the best price range, warranty etc.
PS, I love you radio show on 2UE and follow it up to the minute.
Thanks for listening to the show mate.
The Jeep Wrangler is a 'good news/bad news' story. It is the Jeep 'halo' product - essential to their brand identity. This is why they never change it very much.
I just had one on test for a week. It's not a mistake to buy one - but you do need to acknowledge exactly what they are like, and embrace that.
THE GOOD POINTS
Wrangler has unbeatable style. It looks the business; that's for sure.
It is also monumentally capable off-road. Wrangler goes where others - literally - fear to tread.
THE BAD POINTS
THE BAD POINTS (IN GREATER DETAIL)
The ergonomics are awful. The seating position wasn't designed with a human being in mind. There's no 'reach' adjustment on the steering.
The round headlights almost manage to throw light on the road - almost.
The el cheapo window switch location (in the centre of the dash) makes left/right drive version engineering easy, but is hideous on either side.
The whole interior just feels clunky and apalling, like a bad acid flashback to the Seventies.
Converting the hardtop to a soft top is like solving a Rubik's cube, only without the sense of satisfaction when you get it done, and although the vehicle itself is both big and boxy, the space efficiency is just not there.
And then there's driving it.
On all kinds of roads, the Wrangler just sucks - it is so monumentally bad to drive on dirt roads, highways, freeways and around town - the exact opposite of its off-road ability.
The steering is loose and vague, grip levels are low, and refinement is, well, absent.
This vehicle does not - absolutely not - drive like a modern-day SUV. If you want that modernity, there is nothing for you to see here.
The vehicle is as aerodynamic as a housebrick, only bigger, and the fuel economy is hideous. The diesel returns better economy, but is insanely expensive.
To end on a positive note, the four-door rides a lot better than the three-door, especially in terms of its pitching motion (for example, over speed humps).
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Jeep does not enjoy a stellar reputation for reliability. It is a Chrysler brand (Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge). Chrysler, one of the US 'big three' automakers, went insolvent in the GFC and was consequentially acquired by Fiat (Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari).
Combined, both teams are stronger than they were individually, and I get the feeling they have lifted their game substantially.
However, nobody beats the Japanese when it comes to ergonomics, repeatability and build quality, and Chrysler/Fiat are not going to beba real threat there any time soon.
You can have a successful - even uplifting - relationship with a Jeep Wrangler. All you need to do is jump in with your eyes open, embrace the positives and come to terms with the negatives.
The positives are the Wrangler's unbeatable style and its 'take no prisoners' ability off-road - out of the box, the damn thing goes anywhere. And you can park in spaces that are already occupied...
The negatives are ... everything else. You have been warned.
As for the best price range and dealer - I'll pass your details on to David and Ben from the brokerage, who can advise you on pricing.
[I have a full video review of the Wrangler four-door petrol in production now. Stand by for that I'll link to that as soon as it's up.]