The arrival of the all-new JL Wrangler ends a long wait for Aussie Jeep fanatics, who have waited patiently for this all-new version of the Yank brand’s rugged off-road-skewed model.
FIRST LOCAL DRIVE: 2019 JL Wrangler
And the wait has been worth it, with the JL boasting a raft of improvements over the previous-gen JK Wrangler including a new 147kW/450Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine (only available in the Wrangler Rubicon) that accompanies the carried-over 209kW/347Nm Pentastar 3.6-litre V6 petrol donk – both backed by a ZF eight-speed auto and stop/start tech (there’s no manual gearbox option available).
Jeep also claims more than 70 standard and optional safety features including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and loads more.
Jeep is claiming a 13 per cent improvement in combined fuel economy on the Pentastar V6, while it is also claiming hefty increases in towing capacity: the two-door by 49 per cent (now 1497kg) and the four-door by 24 per cent (now 2495kg). Plus, the brand now offers a five-year warranty and five-year capped price servicing.
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Jeep thinks all these improvements mean the new Wrangler is worth a whole lot more, too. The starting price to get into any Wrangler is $48,950 – a not insignificant increase of $10K over the outgoing JK Wrangler.
This sticker shock continues through the three-model range (Sport S, Overland and Rubicon; all available in two- or four-door configuration) with the top-tier Wrangler Rubicon four-door 2.2TD Wrangler Rubicon setting you back a lofty $68,950, an incredible $15K over the previous top model, the 3.6-litre petrol-only JK Rubicon.
So, yeah, it sure ain’t cheap, and asks the question of just how much on- and off-road bang you get for your considerably higher bucks.
The Jeep Wrangler is one of the few live-axle equipped 4x4s left on the market and Jeep has gone to great pains to retain that ‘traditional 4x4’ DNA in the JL – and all that means in terms of off-road capability – while upping, engine, tech and safety levels, in what Jeep considers an ‘evolution’ of the model.
TESTED: JL Rubicon on the Rubicon Trail
“The all-new Wrangler may have evolved, but its core DNA remains unchanged, making this the most capable production SUV on the planet,” says Guillaume Drelon, Head of Jeep Brand at FCA Australia.
“The Jeep Wrangler sets a precedent by offering renewed levels of style, advanced technology and safety features while remaining true to its rich heritage.”