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Jeep Wrangler SUV (2007-2018) - Engines, drive & performance

Impressive off-road but hard to live with as an everyday car

Carbuyer Rating

2.2 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Engines, drive & performance Rating

1.5 out of 5

Get caught on tricky terrain off-road and you’ll be glad you bought a Wrangler. Selectable four-wheel drive and a low-ratio gearbox helps to get the car moving at very low speeds, while differential locks on both axles for more grip. It’s agile, too – particularly the two-door model – with short overhangs at the front and rear. The diesel has lots of pulling power to haul the car out of deep ruts.

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On almost any normal road, though, you may wish you chose something else. The Wrangler’s soft suspension may mean it can go over rockier surfaces than many other cars, but that translates into disconcerting body lean when cornering. The overall driving experience is well described as utilitarian and at worst agricultural.

Jeep Wrangler diesel engine

The Wrangler is reasonably fast for a car that weighs over two tonnes: the 197bhp 2.8-litre diesel goes from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds. Deploying that performance isn’t much fun, though; the big engine has only four cylinders and is rather loud, and the standard-fit five-speed automatic gearbox has to make frequent gear changes. A manual gearbox can only be chosen with the special-order 3.6-litre petrol-engined model.

With very soft suspension, you quickly realise that taking corners slowly in the Wrangler is really the only option, as it’s just not set up to make quick cornering an enjoyable experience.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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