The new JL-series Wrangler Overland Unlimited still has the stance and the presence of its predecessor, but Robert Barry discovers a far more refined vehicle for a daily driver.
No longer will Kiwi buyers suffer from “Wrangler remorse”, because in the new JL-series the ride quality is hugely improved over all surfaces, the tight steering lock is exceptional for such a vehicle, and thanks to the reversing camera and front and rear bumper sensors, you can actually park it (more easily) in the urban jungle.
The Overland offers comfortable leather upholstery, leather clad gear-shifter and steering wheel, seat and steering wheel heating, navigation, active cruise control, nine-speaker Alpine audio system, and a body-coloured removable hardtop with freedom panels for summer motoring.
While it’s still very capable off-road, the Wrangler Overland has a softer and more road-focused specification than the bush-bashing Wrangler Rubicon, so we took a road trip from Auckland to Taupo to test its on-highway cruising capability.
Due to that classic squared-off Wrangler design there is a bit of wind noise around the windscreen at open-road speed, but the vehicle sits comfortably on the road, and the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine and 8-speed automatic provide ample power for overtaking when required. We saw an average fuel consumption on the return journey of 10.5L/100km.
Jeep have also equipped the Wrangler with a lot more active and passive safety technology, which makes driving much more pleasurable, and all the external lamps are powered by LED providing better vision and greater road safety.
To the untrained eye the JL-series doesn’t look that much different to its predecessor, but hopping into the driver’s seat proves otherwise!