A few weeks ago I was invited to test out the new Jeep Wranglers up in Cumbria. Well you don’t have to ask me twice – drive a new Jeep around all day? Yep. I’m there.
Anthony came with me as well which was great because ultimately he’s a bike guy, so his perspective is always going to be different from mine. He looks at things from alternative angles to me and I like discussing cars in that way. Plus he’s silly and funny – all essential for a day of car testing.
We were treated to a talk from the peeps at Jeep and a lovely dinner with everyone before our test driving would commence the next day. One of the initial things I noticed as an “outsider” or non-journo was the crowd testing the vehicles. Jeep UK are very keen to spread the word, they don’t sell huge numbers of Wranglers in the UK and obviously they want to – so looking around it might not hurt to vary that crowd. Yes, lots of die-hard petrol heads want to know about bhp, fuel consumption, specs to the minute detail etc. But there are also people who might like a different view of the vehicle, maybe not just from a journalist? Maybe they want more of a lifestyle driven perspective, opinions which are inspiring yet relatable? I guess that’s why I’m there. This is by no means a criticism, simply an observation from someone who hasn’t been on a vehicle test day before, which actually makes me very grateful to be a female, non-journo and still be invited – because I was the only one.
So down to the whole reason I was there, Jeep Wranglers. Brand new Rubicons, Saharas and Overlands. We had a 2-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon in bright orange with leather interior and 2.2 litre Multijet II turbo diesel engine along with tweaked but still immediately recognisable traditional Jeep aesthetics. We did have the opportunity to switch to a different model halfway through the day but honestly I didn’t want to, the Rubicon was the one for me.
We spent the day driving on all terrain to really test these vehicles out. As well as tarmac we hit the rocky slopes surrounding Lake Windermere and definitely put these 4x4s through their paces.
The Rubicon tackled everything effortlessly and comfortably, with helpful instruction from the Ardent Off-Road team we got to grips with the easy to use driving modes and had so much fun crawling over rocks, splashing through water and taking in the views in this epic car.
I was blown away by how every model (even the Cherokee support vehicles with big ass rims) took on whatever we threw at them with no issues. I honestly don’t believe there is another range or manufacturer who can say their SUV can do what these Jeep’s can do.
I’d like to elaborate on why the Rubicon was my favourite and why I would honestly love to drive one everyday. I’ve previously driven Land Rover Defenders, which look super cool but to drive aren’t great – put it this way, you’ve got to really want to drive a Defender to put up with driving a Defender. I also like to drive classics, so when I occasionally drive a new car it takes a lot to convince me that’s the way forward. I like to feel connected to the vehicle, to feel the road, to actively drive the car rather than the whole thing being a passive experience. So this is where, for me, the Rubicon shines. It has the luxuries of a new car, the technology and capabilities of a go anywhere do anything 4×4 AND it’s damn good fun to drive. I feel connected to the vehicle, the driving experience isn’t dulled down or disconnected like most new cars, especially SUVs. It’s the best of both worlds and that’s why I would, if I could, buy one of these as a daily. For sure. Plus, it looks soooo cool – an iconic stunner.
Specifically I’d go for the 2 door, because I don’t like 4 doors, I’d choose one of their new bright colours – probably Mojito – I’d choose the petrol engine, then I’d probably add a few custom touches, but not much because it’s damn near perfect. In conclusion, as someone who has never been that bothered about the Jeep Wrangler, I am now a huge fan. That Rubicon made me smile, I couldn’t stop looking at it and I was very sad and reluctant to give it back at the end of the day. I can definitely see myself driving round in one of these, the only difference being – I’d be in California. I think the prices are incredibly competitive, my spec would be approximately £46,865 in fact I challenge you to drive one of the new Wranglers, drive another SUV and see what you think. Because if you’ve got any sense of adventure and style and want to inject both those things into your everyday drive then get a Jeep Wrangler. That is all.
Photos taken by Anthony Partridge, myself and courtesy of Jeep UK.