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2020 4X4 Of The Year contender: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

By Fraser Stronach | Photos: Nathan Jacobs, 28 Jan 2020 4x4OTY

2020 4X4 Of The Year Jeep Wrangler Rubicon feature

Can a true off-road 4x4 clinch the 4X4OTY gong?

THE Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the latest and ultimate embodiment of the go-anywhere spirit and core mechanical design of the original and iconic World War II Jeep, created not by Ford or Willys alone, but by a large number of military and civilian engineers, the most influential of whom worked for the Bantam car company.

It was truly a design by committee, but one that worked brilliantly. And so much so it changed history. The Toyota LandCruiser, the Nissan Patrol and Land Rover all owe their existence in one way or another to the original WW2 Jeep.

The latest iteration of the Rubicon – the JL – brings a new 2.2-litre diesel, the first diesel to ever power the ‘hero’ model Wrangler. Ironically, the Rubicon is also now the only model in the wider Wrangler JL range to have a diesel engine! There’s also a new ZF eight-speed automatic, the only gearbox offered locally.

The Rubicon is only available as a four-door – no short wheelbase Rubicon unfortunately – and is distinguished from ‘lesser’ Wrangler models by its impressive off-road arsenal that runs to front and rear lockers, a bespoke transfer case with deep low-range gearing, lower axle ratios, a front swaybar disconnect, and mud-terrain tyres.

The 4X4 Of The Year will be announced on January 30, 2020.

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