First manufactured during the war, the Jeep was an instant success. The go-anywhere vehicle featured a short wheel-base, high ground clearance and four-wheel drive. Willys-Overland Motors demonstrated the Jeep to the world in 1941 when it climbed up the steps of the Capitol building in Washington D.C.
It later proved a huge success with the US Military and in 1945, Willys-Overland would manufacture the first production civilian model called the CJ-2A. It’s been 72 years since, but the DNA and a lot of the same shapes and principles live on in the latest Wrangler.
Introduced in 1986 — a year before Chrysler took ownership of the Jeep brand — the Wrangler is the model everyone thinks of when they think of Jeep. It’s rough, tough and many still feature a removable roof like the original. Today the mighty Wrangler has grown from its basic military beginnings.
2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Available in a four-door guise with a large 3.6L V6 engine producing 284hp and 347Nm of torque, the Wrangler Unlimited Sahara’s Command-Trac four-wheel drive system can split torque 50/50 between the front and rear axles — perfect for climbing up a mountain or getting down and dirty in some mud. The Rubicon spec Wrangler Unlimited also features Rock-Trac four-wheel drive, a 4:1 low gear ratio and crawl speed. Like its name suggests, this system makes manoeuvring over large obstacles a breeze and will make even the most amateur driver look like an off-roading legend.
The four-door Unlimited series comes in Sahara, Sahara Petrol and Rubicon 4×4 trims. The Sport model is the most capable out of the bunch, and has the heaviest towing capacity at 1,587 kg.
The Wrangler might look cool cruising around town — memories of Alicia Silverstone driving one through Beverly Hills in Clueless give it a hip and young Californian vibe — but make no mistake about it, the Wrangler is first and foremost built with off-roading capabilities. The best example of this is its interior, where the state-of-the-art entertainment Uconnect 431 System lives in perfect harmony with the standard fully-washable interior with drain plugs.
2017 Jeep Renegade
If you’re looking for something with a more contemporary urban look, but still an off-road pedigree, the Jeep Renegade would be right up your alley. Being the first in its class to offer safety features like Forward Collision Warning-Plus and LaneSense, the car is well-prepared should an accident potentially occur, making city-driving a breeze. When you do want to explore beyond the city, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control will navigate you through even the steepest of inclines.
Inside, creature comforts include a seven-inch TFT display of the instrument cluster, a multi-functional steering wheel, and a double sunroof system. There’s even a handle to hold onto when the road gets a little more than you bargained for.
The Renegade is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine in the Limited trim, producing 138hp and 230Nm, which is tied to a six-speed automatic transmission to power the front wheels. Built in Italy alongside the Fiat 500X, you can expect a great city car, although the Renegade would perform much better off the tarmac too.
(All images: Jeep)