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Reader's test: Jeep Wrangler

2012-06-13 10:29

THE ADVENTURER: Katlego's Wrangler in, what its owner says is, "it's natural habitat".

Katlego Maribe

It’s amazing how quickly one gets over childhood aspirations once they've been realised.

Since I was a young boy I can’t remember a day that passed without daydreaming about being in the driving seat of a Mercedes-Benz. Fortunately enough, four years ago I had the means to buy into the brand and I have to say - while it lasted - the relationship was a great one.

Sadly, in 2011 I realised my goals had changed. My aspirations could no longer stop where the tarred roads ended and my dreams extended beyond the concrete jungle.

ADJUSTMENTS REQUIRED

Enter the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. A totally different beast all together compared to the low-slung, AMG-kitted C-Class.

The ground clearance is definitely much more prominent, which means taking corners at 120km/h is no longer a viable option. While my tailored suit was more in sync with the Mercedes I am now constantly fighting the urge to show up in business meetings wearing cargo pants, which feel more natural when one is piloting the Rubicon.  

Fortunately all else is on par with (if not better) than the Mercedes. Take, for instance, the ride quality: because the Mercedes was adjusted for agility I actually find the Wrangler much more forgiving when it comes to comfort. And while most think I had to forgo the creature comforts, that’s not the case; my Wrangler has cruise control, aircon and tyre pressure monitoring - to mention a few.

For media enjoyment the car is kitted with steering-mounted audio controls, hard-drive storage, Bluetooth, USB/ iPod connectivity and navigation.

Driving is a pleasure with the new Pentastar engine; it's powerful without the fuel-bill penalty. On the highway, performance is brisk without the constant temptation to speed that was a problem with the Mercedes and an even a bigger problem for my bank balance as I lived to pay speeding fines.

RUGGED ROOTS


Off-road is where this monster comes alive. I took this car on an off-road adventure course that came free with my purchase. The car is really true to its roots, you’d think with the luxuries the beast has gone soft, but this is not the case! There was no obstacle the car couldn’t climb, muddy streams seemed like puddles and it made molehills out of mountains!

There are some shortcomings, however. Disassembling the panels is quite tricky and it would have been nice for Jeep to include practical training on this. I also don’t understand why in this day and age Jeep would insist on a five-speed automatic! Fortunately that’s where the negatives end.

For the daily drive the car is comfortable and in unlimited guise it also means my mates can sit comfortably en route to our next camping destination with all the gear accommodated. While previously my trips ended with the tar, this is now where my adventures start.

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