Behold the new Jeep Wrangler, the 2019 MotorTrend SUV of the Year, has been highly-anticipated in St. Maarten/St. Martin and makes a debut that does not disappoint. Look past the iconic grille, and you will see the latest evolution of a seven-decades-old design, a soul-stirring affirmation of freedom, a surprisingly groundbreaking vehicle that exemplifies 21st century innovation. Rarely do past and future coexist so beautifully.
The thoroughly redesigned and re-engineered Wrangler finds its own path to modernization, resisting the temptation to dilute its climb-that-mountain capabilities for crossover softness. Even so, beach-bound cruisers and daily commuters will appreciate the upgraded pavement game, and off-roaders will admire how much more confidently they can traverse their favorite trails. This Jeep delivers, no matter what.
The Wrangler’s diverse range furnishes a model for every need. For the Jeep lover reminiscing about the Wrangler’s past, there is the durable two-door model with a V-6 and manual/automatic transmission, or the four-door Unlimited model makes it easier to bring friends along for the journey. Perhaps the best part is the available mild-hybrid turbo-four, which improves EPA-rated city fuel economy by an astounding 38 percent compared to the outgoing model.
“The Wrangler is a thoughtful, thorough rework of an American original,” international bureau chief Angus MacKenzie said. “It’s laser-focused on improving the performance of its intended function, right down to the last nut and bolt.”
Tariq Amjad, Motorworld’s Managing Director expressed excitement about the new and improved design: “It’s no easy task to update the look of an icon. It’s a challenging proposition. Do too much (or too little), and the critics will howl. But Jeep nailed it with a unique balance of innovative features that still hold true to Jeep Wrangler’s founding qualities.”
Advancement in Design
Jeep approached the Wrangler’s styling with a light but deliberate touch. Relocating the Jeep badge from the Wrangler’s face to the front fenders facilitates a less cluttered look, with round headlights touching the edge of the seven-bar grille. Other than LED turn signals mounted on the ends of the wheel flares and updated square taillights, not much else gives away the Wrangler as the new JL model. And that’s exactly how it should be. The Wrangler isn’t a crossover requiring twice-a-decade face-lifts to retain buyers’ interest. It embraces a classic style that continues to attract dreamers who want to remember what SUVs used to be.
The standard canvas top and plastic side windows remain available, and like the fold-down front windshield, they’re easier and quicker to disassemble and reinstall than before, using simple tools. For further customization, black or body-colored hard tops are available, and the soft top comes in black or tan. A vibrant color palette, seven wheel styles, and a regular series of special editions present every opportunity to make a Wrangler reflect your tastes—and that’s before you venture to customize with accessories and upgrades.
In so many ways, the Wrangler advances design to make Jeeping more rewarding—whatever that means to you. Open the power-retractable Sky One-Touch soft top, and a starry night will provide all the mood lighting front and rear passengers desire. The new option isn’t cheap, but it’s worth the money. It combines the safety of the hard top with the ease and open-air experience of the soft top, which is revolutionary for the brand.
Despite its unapologetically industrial interior, the Wrangler masters some details better than many sensible crossovers. Soft-touch and high-quality materials equal those of luxury competitors. As with many Fiat Chrysler Automobiles products, audio volume and channel-change controls are located conveniently on the back side of the steering wheel. Once you drive a car with this intuitive setup, you’ll wonder why more automakers don’t adopt it. The same is true of the rear-seat headrests, which conveniently fold down when not in use for better rearward visibility.
The Uconnect infotainment system, which can be optioned with a 7.0- or 8.4-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, is intuitive to use. Its controls can be learned in seconds, and it responds quickly to your inputs.
Delightful design features, such as the on-screen air recirculation control that looks like a Jeep in silhouette, add character. Remove the doors, and the exposed hinges will remind you how much more special your Jeep is than your neighbor’s anonymous lozenge every time you climb inside. And once you’re there, the high seating position offers great visibility that’s perfect for seeing obstacles ahead on a trail or peering over the roofs of idling cars on a traffic-choked freeway.
Another win for Wrangler fans and first-timers alike: how well the interior is screwed together, as the build quality seems so much better than before.
The Jeep grille is iconic, but, it can also be a distraction from the substance underneath. This Wrangler is so much more than those seven vertical air intakes. The “sport” in “sport utility vehicle” doesn’t mean tearing up a racetrack or winding road. In the body-on-frame Wrangler’s case, “sport” means heading beyond the paved road’s end. Off-roading capability is its core DNA, bred for military use from the Ardennes to An Loc. And the 2019 edition got all the good genes.
Jeep added to the Wrangler’s already impressive go-anywhere abilities, improving articulation and total suspension travel on the Rubicon trim. The boulevard-ready Sahara trim nonetheless offers full-time four-wheel drive that’s sufficient for most trails, especially when it would be overkill to enlist the Rubicon’s Dana 44 front and rear axles with electronically locking differentials and disconnecting anti-roll bars.
As for the impressive Rubicon, technicians aptly described the off-road-focused trim as “designed and engineered to retain the faithful.” The Unlimited Rubicon naturally behaved like the mother of all Jeeps off-road. In four-low with front and rear differentials locked, there’s no stopping it in the sand. That confidence-instilling performance is standard on every Wrangler.
“The beauty of this Jeep is that it can be configured to suit the ambitions of the off-roading neophyte and expert alike and, deliver an experience that will reward them both,” Amjad said.
That’s also true with the new 2.0-liter eTorque turbo-four mild-hybrid powertrain, which is worth consideration regardless of how you enjoy your Jeep. The 2.0-liter powerplant provides 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, making it an intriguing option. More responsive than you’d expect, the engine is mated exclusively to an eight-speed automatic and employs a system that facilitates engine stop/start and regenerative braking. The new engine isn’t impressive for a Wrangler—it’s just plain impressive. The Wrangler 2.0’s engine stop/start system is amazingly quick to restart, lauding it as “one of the best.”
Performance of Intended Function
For a vehicle more capable off-road than any other new SUV offered today, the Wrangler’s revised suspension tuning makes both the Sahara and Rubicon trim levels more comfortable than their predecessors. New electrohydraulic steering brings more precision, but the Wrangler never pretends to be a sports car. Instead, the Jeep provides a deliberate pace, encouraging you to appreciate your surroundings.
The Wrangler doesn’t wallow or flop around. It moves with a purpose. The ride quality is so, so much better than it was before.
Stronger performance off-road is part of the package, and a stretched wheelbase provides more room in the rear seats. For those more interested in image-building than trail-running, Jeep offers nearly endless customization possibilities and ways to enjoy the sunshine.
The 2.0-liter eTorque engine is a huge upgrade, but even the 3.6-liter V-6 sees fuel economy improvements, and both engines feature stop/start tech. No matter the powertrain, Wranglers benefit from lighter aluminum used for the doors, hood, and windshield frame. With the V-6, fuel economy improves by 1-2 mpg in the city and 2-3 mpg on the highway.
Go for the eTorque engine, and mileage jumps to 22-23/24-25 mpg. Put another way, the Wrangler’s 2.0-liter engine’s efficiency means more miles of Jeeping before you have to stop to refuel. Jeep is also planning a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6, and about the time a Wrangler-based pickup truck arrives, a plug-in hybrid should, too.
The best way to stay safe is to avoid accidents altogether, and the Wrangler’s superior maneuverability compared to its predecessors provides a good foundation. The Jeep’s frame is strengthened with high-strength steel, and every new Wrangler comes with seat-mounted front side airbags. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and LED headlights are available, and the Wrangler can apply maximum braking force in a panic-braking situation even if the driver hasn’t pushed the pedal all the way down.
For optimal on-road safety, the 2019 model offers forward collision warning—it’s a feature you’ll value once it saves you from damaging the Jeep’s iconic face. The Jeep’s active safety also impresses off-road; its ABS system has a rough-road detection feature, which adapts its settings to improve performance over off-pavement surfaces.
The body-on-frame Wrangler, which hasn’t yet been crash-tested, won’t handle a panic maneuver as well as a unibody crossover, obviously. Even so, the Jeep’s all-around visibility rises above that of most new CUVs, and the Wrangler is a sure bet if you’re seeking a vehicle that will feel secure off-road.
Not everyone will fully appreciate the Jeep’s appeal. But what price do you place on the smile a car puts on your face? The Wrangler is as far from a four-wheeled appliance as you can get. And when the going gets rocky, sandy, or snowy, the Wrangler outperforms vehicles costing more than twice as much.
For the Gold
The Wrangler isn’t for everyone. But when you’ve gotta have an off-roader—or want to look like you spend weekends stomping terra firma—the Jeep is impossible to beat. Tracing its lineage to the original Willys MB, the Wrangler navigates nostalgia without getting stuck in it. The Jeep Wrangler is remarkably well-rounded for its core purpose, and it’s a most deserving SUV of the Year.
To showcase these features, with first-hand experiences, Jeep St. Maarten is collaborating with Rainforest Adventure Park to host an adventure-filled Jeep Showcase on March 22nd, to include a Treasure Hunt and Test Drives. Invitations and more detailed information will be forthcoming.
For further information, please contact:
#20 Welfare Rd. Cole Bay
T: +1 (721) 544-5294