2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon review, test drive

Hormazd Sorabjee

You might miss the “Made in India” logo, which is harmlessly engraved on the inside of the tailgate. In fact, this is exactly why we are driving the Jeep Wrangler again. But is the “Made in India” Wrangler so big? Yes and no.

Yes, because this is the first time in the Wrangler’s 34-year history that it has been produced anywhere outside of the United States, but more importantly, this locally assembled version has the benefit of much lower taxes than the imported version. It was the huge tariff savings that reduced the Wrangler’s Unlimited price from 6.39 million rupees to 5.39 million rupees, and the Rubicon (ex-showroom) price from 6.93 million rupees to 5.79 million rupees, which prompted FCA to do incredible things. Let the Wrangler go out of the country, symbolizing the spirit of Jeep. In the final analysis, the cost advantage of money negotiation and local assembly (up to 10-1.1 million rupees) should not be underestimated.

Wranglers made in India are the same as imported Wranglers, but much cheaper.

However, apart from being made from a complete disassembly (CKD) kit, the Wrangler’s specifications have not changed. It is the same as the imported specifications, which explains why it is not a big problem. In fact, almost all parts are imported, but assembled locally at FCA’s Ranjangaon plant as a way to beat the much higher tax structure of fully assembled (CBU) imports. This is how this industry works!

Seems familiar?

So, if the locally assembled Wrangler is the same as the imported car we reviewed in 2019, why should we drive it again? Well, because we just need any excuse to re-drive this ubiquitous 4×4, and because our test car happens to be an extreme Rubicon variant, it takes the off-road game one step further. In order to climb over anything, it has a deeper “crawl” ratio of 4:1 (the regular Unlimited variant is a higher 2.72:1), and the front and rear differentials are electronically locked. Another unique feature of the Rubicon variant is the ability to electronically disconnect the anti-roll bar (or swing bar, in Jeep parlance) by pressing a button to allow more axle articulation on larger obstacles. The other difference between the Unlimited and Rubicon variants are the wheels and tires. Unlimited has a set of 18-inch alloys, but Rubicon gets a smaller 17-inch to accommodate 255/75 tires with stronger sidewalls, which gives Rubicon a higher ground clearance and better proximity compared to Unlimited , Slope and breakthrough angle. In addition to the “Rock-Trac” full-time 4WD system, the front and rear solid shafts are bolted to a solid trapezoidal frame. The 268hp, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo gasoline engine is used in conjunction with the 8-speed engine. The body is universal. However, there is no manual transfer option.

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Locking the difference and disconnecting the joystick takes the 4×4 function even further.

natural selection

Purchasing extreme Rubicon specifications for long-distance road trips makes as much sense as bringing Lamborghini to Ladakh. By the way, we used to drive Huracán all the way to Khardung La, just to prove that it can be done. No, it doesn’t make any sense, but it is a great story! Obviously, the Wrangler will not struggle on any surface, at any height, or under any weather, but it is most comfortable in dirt, mud or mud. Therefore, it would be unfriendly if the Wrangler is not brought into its natural habitat and denied the opportunity to play with 4×4 toys.

The training ground of Learn Off-Road Academy is located near Bali in Maharashtra. It has a variety of tracks and is the perfect playground for the Wrangler, making the Wrangler feel as happy as a wild boar rolling in the mud. The continuous rain has turned the muddy paths into sticky chocolates and the grass into a lush green but soaked low-friction carpet. The tranquil environment is deceptive, and if you misplace the wheels in the smaller 4×4, it can be dangerous. But in the Wrangler, you have to do some very stupid things to get into trouble.

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You really have to do something stupid to get into the Wrangler’s predicament.

The way the Wrangler simply walks through everything is surprising. Deep and water-filled ditches and even deeper furrows can test the articulation of the wheels to the greatest extent, which is very easy for Rubicon. While climbing the steep muddy hill, I did have a panic. I could feel the huge BF Goodrich all-terrain tires in trouble, but luckily, I had some ammunition left in the Wrangler’s huge arsenal. Locking the differential and choosing a low gear is all about freeing the Wrangler from the mud deep in the axles, and this is also true when going uphill. Astonishing!

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Geeks will love all the 4×4 information displayed.

Short chat

What also surprised me was the small 2.0 turbo gasoline, which was able to drag this nearly two-ton beast over obstacles.

You would expect the Wrangler to have a low-speed, large-displacement, and large-torque V8 engine to pull you out of the muddy fields, but this four-cylinder engine with 400Nm of torque matches an 8-speed car, and you have never felt it. depth. Of course, the low speed ratio and torque converter are calibrated to provide most of the available torque, which certainly helps, but it’s nice to see that the reduced engine size has not affected the Wrangler’s off-road capabilities.

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The stubby transfer case transmission part of Jeep DNA.

How does it feel to be on the road? After all, to walk from one dirt road to another, you cannot stay on the tarmac for a long time. The Wrangler is as proficient as jogging in rubber boots on the highway. There is no doubt that this is not a car you bought for highway cruising. The bumpy driving on those sturdy axles, the roar of all-terrain tires and the practical interior did not make it as comfortable as the Land Rover Defender. Yes, you can maintain a stable cruise all day, but the unimproved power makes you work harder than you want on longer distances. At the same time, it succumbs to bad roads, gives you a feeling of invincibility like other SUVs, and the way you choose to ride in a world of natural disasters is very good for us. Going through floods, crossing collapsed roads, and avoiding a mile of congestion just through the fields, will give you a unique sense of peace of mind.

Own it, show it off

But would you buy a Wrangler because of the 0.001% probability of falling into a disaster? Do not. Would you buy it only for its design purpose, that is, to climb Mount Everest? Do not. Would you want it because it can achieve these feats? Yes, it is this invincible image, which is an intrinsic part of the popular Wrangler, you show off like a lifestyle accessory.

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The functional interior reflects the rock-solid character of the Wrangler.

Jeep knows very well that most of its customers are yacht lovers, which is why it has a fully equipped cabin, which includes a mandatory touch screen that provides a lot of 4×4 information for off-road geeks, as well as detailed cars such as Apple CarPlay and Android. Quite comfortable seats and enough luggage space can transport a family to the edge of the earth. The good news is that it does not cost the earth, so if you want something that embodies the spirit of the outdoors like other SUVs, and “Jeep” like it (the design is a faithful expression of its World War II pedigree) Wrangler has a very special attraction force.

Jeep Wrangler
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