Words: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: October 18, 2016
A lot has happened over the last 75 years, both good and bad. We’ve been able to see the surface of Mars, we’ve eradicated some of the deadliest diseases, and we’ve advanced the use of technology so greatly that now even 5-year olds are tweeting on their iPhones while eating their milk and cookies.
Despite living in a society that is all about what’s coming up next, we still have a soft spot for things that remind us of the past, like the soothing aroma of diaper cream or a freshly cut piece of construction paper. No wonder then. Seeing the 2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition for the first time attacks your nostalgic senses – there is an immediate familiarity to the Jeeps.
Being recognized and instantly identifiable is a double-edged sword. Ask any celebrity nowadays and part of them probably wishes they could just go back to being “normal.” Since its introduction in 1941, the Jeep Wrangler has been the poster child for mass-produced automotive simplicity, which can’t be said for other long-serving off-roaders like the Toyota Land Cruiser, and the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, both of which cost way too much since their evolution into comfort and luxury vehicles.
The Wrangler has evolved too, but in a simpler way. It has also been slated for an entirely new refresh for the 2018 model year. Though we may not know exactly what the new model will entail in terms of luxuries and amenities, it is perhaps the best time to take one of the last looks at the four-door Wrangler as we know it.
In 1941, a Jeep would roll off the line with bare necessities. In this day and age, a Jeep comes to the consumer with disc brakes at all four corners, traction control, heated seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls to name a few. Not too bad for a dinosaur. Its on-road performance statistics however are quite antiquated.
Averaging 15.9 L/100km during my test week and taking an eternity to get up to 100 km/h became frustrating when you needed to be somewhere in a timely fashion. On the highway, the Wrangler delivers a bumpy ride, an uncanny amount of tire and wind noise, and it delivers the steering precision of a cruise ship stuck in the middle of a typhoon. Going around corners at speed, you feel the entire weight of the Wrangler sag to one side, threatening to capsize if you push it too hard.
But don’t assume the Wrangler has become soft, let us remind you that despite the appurtenances, the basic formulation behind the Wrangler remains the same: solid front and rear axles, a utilitarian part-time four-wheel-drive system, and a ladder frame bundling it all together.
Torque from the 285-hp 3.6-litre Pentastar V-6 is routed through a 6-speed manual or an optional 5-speed automatic. Power can be sent to the two rear wheels, or all four at your choosing. Underneath, you’ll find rugged skid plates that protect the transfer case and fuel tank from any sharp obstacles.
The standard six-speed manual was featured on this specific tester, and for my first time driving a Wrangler with the standard transmission, I absolutely loved it. It takes a fair bit getting used to if you’ve been driving manual hatchbacks all your life, it feels a bit truck-like at first. But after a few days I began to adore the long and exaggerated throws. You feel like you’re driving an Army surplus Jeep, just looking for a beach or mudpit to storm.
Climb behind the wheel and you’re smacked with sensory overload. The doors close shut like they were ripped straight from a Humvee, the seating position is upright like you’re prepped for driving into a combat zone, and the thrum of an engine is ready to take on any terrain that lays ahead. Suddenly, 75 years of progress to this point seems reduced to an annotation. This is what it is all about: being able to just get in and be surrounded with an aura, a vibe, and a new state of mind. The removable top, the grippy tires, the foldable windshield all accentuate the feeling.
With the purpose driven aspects of the Jeep’s hardware restoring our faith in its mission, we scanned down to find just what was featured on this 75th Anniversary Special Edition. It includes a few items like a Trac-Lok locking rear differential, beefy 17-inch wheels painted in bronze, and optional rock rails side steps. The 75th Anniversary edition also comes with Ombre mesh leather-and cloth seating (heated up front), a 75th Anniversary passenger handle, an updated instrument panel and bezel, a body coloured grille, a unique power-dome hood, painted front and rear bumpers, and bronze-coloured badging and bumpers.
One added expense that couldn’t be overlooked was the Tru-Lok air-activated locking rear diff in place of the standard limited-slip one. At $1,500 it is a bargain for anyone remotely interested in doing some actual off-roading. Even through the deepest of ruts and mudholes, the Jeep was able to crawl its way out and look like a total badass while doing it.
Our tester came fitted with the black soft top, which is part of the $1,420 Dual Top Group. On hot and humid days, it became second nature to undo the top and peel it back leaving the whole roof exposed. The process is quite intimidating at first but with practice, it can be done in a jiffy. Looking back, we should have taken the doors off too to complete the experience. No matter, rest assured there’s always an online tutorial to take you through it.
All in, this Wranger rings the register at $51,545. Considering you can leave the dealership with a Willys Wheeler with a just as capable 3.73 axle for a sticker price just under $35,000, consumers will have to think long and hard about their use for a $50,000+ Wrangler before dropping the pen to the paper.
Unfortunately, a lot of adults can’t justify spending their days carelessly four-wheeling across endless terrain in search of cold beers and warm nachos. But thanks to the modern iteration of the Wrangler, they can at least justify having one to daily drive during the winter months, all in preparation for the one binge week of off-roading that promises to cleanse the soul and restore all that is right in the world. Okay, maybe it’s not that biblical, but we can only hope that the next-generation of Wrangler doesn’t lose touch of its roots.
型号 Model: 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 75th Anniversary 4x4 Manual
顏色 Paint Type: Sarge Green ($195)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $39,695
試車售價 Price as Tested: $51,545
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,423
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,173 / 1,872 / 1,801
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,717
引擎 Engine: 3.6L Pentastar VVT V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 285 hp @ 6,400 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed manual
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 15.0 / 11.4 / 13.4
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 15.9
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P245/75R17