At the unveiling Jeep stunned the crowd when a Wrangler, with LaSorda in the passenger seat, drove offstage, through the display area, and then crashed through a front window of the Cobo exhibition centre, racing across the street and drove up a staircase onto a rocklike platform.
The motoring media followed the Wrangler's entertaining joyride on TV screens as Jeep tried to prove that the new Wrangler is "still king of the hill".
This stunt showed that the new Wrangler is young at heart but still true to its nature as a no-nonsense and rugged Jeep product.
Unfortunately South Africans will have to wait until early 2007 for the new Wrangler. David Elmore, head of Chrysler-Jeep in South Africa, told Wheels24 in Detroit that the right-hand-drive version will only become available in about 13 months.
Despite being an all-new model the latest Wrangler is instantly recognisable as a Jeep.
This iconic 4x4 still features several Jeep-signature design cues such as the hallmark seven-slot grille, round headlamps and an upright rectangular windshield. However, the vehicle now appears fresh and features a more modern interior too.
According to Jeep the new Wrangler also features increased ground clearance and larger wheels and tyres for better off-road capability. Furthermore the new Wrangler offers more open-air options with various door, top and windshield configurations.
Under the Wrangler's bonnet is a new 3.8-litre V6 engine, which develops 153 kW
at 5 200 r/min while torque is 325 Nm at 4 000 r/min.
DaimlerChrysler media manager Richard Sloman told Wheels24 that when the new Wrangler goes on sale in South Africa next year it will also be available with the Cherokee's 2.8-litre diesel engine.