Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary road test and review

31st January 2017 3:00 PM
Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition launched as part of celebrations for Jeep's 75th anniversary. Photo: Thomas Wielecki SAND STORM: The Wrangler is as pure a Jeep as you can get, and can track its lineage back 75 years to the very first Willys Jeep. We test the anniversary special

BRIMMING with energy and nostalgic touches, Jeep has blended old and new with its 75th anniversary range.  

Among them is the Wrangler, the most off-road capable from the celebration line-up which also includes the Renegade, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee derivatives.   

It's all in aid of the American icon, harking back to the original Jeep produced by Willys for wartime activity. While the first Jeep was created for army use, post war the first civilian vehicle called the CJ-2A was produced in 1945 and the legacy began.  

Based on the Overland trim, this two-door Wrangler starts at $51,000 before on-roads.  

The 2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary model.
The 2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary model.

That sounds like a hefty investment. 

There is ample kit included for that coin, and you also get exclusivity. Only 88 units have been brought to Australia, with 20 two-door and 68 four-door models.  

It certainly stands out from the crowd with its bronze 17-inch alloys, power domes on the bonnet, body-coloured grille and Rubicon rock rails.  

Inside there are an array of cool heritage reminders, like the logo debossed into the seats, 1941 Willys motif on the grab bar and above the glovebox. There are also other goodies like the 6.5-inch touch-screen with sat nav, full bluetooth connectivity, dual zone air con, cruise control, combination leather and vinyl seats with tangerine and pearl stitching and Mopar slush mats.   

Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition launched as part of celebrations for Jeep's 75th anniversary. Photo: Thomas Wielecki
Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition launched as part of celebrations for Jeep's 75th anniversary. Photo: Thomas Wielecki

But it's not an all new model?

Well, no. Expect a new and more modernised Wrangler to arrive in the near future.  

Under the bonnet here is the tried and tested 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 petrol engine. Combine that with a short wheelbase and it makes for one zesty package.  

You can really get it moving, and it only takes a short time to become accustomed to the rock and roll within the cabin.  

Despite being adept on the bitumen it really shines when on the tough stuff.  

Refreshingly there's nothing too technical here. Use the separate shifter to select low range and away you go. It's adept in the toughest of conditions, with the Command-Trac transfer case along with heavy duty suspension and shocks able to cope with just about anything you throw its direction.   

The only drawback with the petrol is fuel consumption. Our journey achieved about 12 litres for every 100km, which is pretty thirsty by modern standards.  

Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition launched as part of celebrations for Jeep's 75th anniversary, pictured beside the origin of the species: a 1942 Willys MB. Photo: Thomas Wielecki
Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition launched as part of celebrations for Jeep's 75th anniversary, pictured beside the origin of the species: a 1942 Willys MB. Photo: Thomas Wielecki

How's the driving experience?

The thick steering wheel feels great in your hands, and we really enjoyed our time in the pilot's seat.   

While the speedometer can be difficult to read, you do have a digital option which makes things clear and concise, and there are also a range of other trip information you can skim through via buttons on the steering wheel.  

What colour options are there?

Among the hues are black, grey, sand, white, silver and granite crystal but we reckon there is only really one you want - "Sarge green".   

Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition launched as part of celebrations for Jeep's 75th anniversary. Photo: Thomas Wielecki
Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition launched as part of celebrations for Jeep's 75th anniversary. Photo: Thomas Wielecki

So what's the verdict?

The Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary is a capable and fun package.   

Boasting tough off-roader looks it can certainly walk the walk when it's time for the beaten track, although the short wheelbase version does have a small boot (only 142 litres) which would make the four-door version a better option for those with kids or if you want to haul a decent amount of camping equipment.  

Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition launched as part of celebrations for Jeep's 75th anniversary. Photo: Thomas Wielecki
Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition launched as part of celebrations for Jeep's 75th anniversary. Photo: Thomas Wielecki

Vital statistics

Model: Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary.  

Details: Two-door four-seat short wheelbase four-wheel drive sports utility vehicle.   

Engine: 3.6-litre V6 generating maximum power of 209kW @ 6350rpm and peak torque of 347Nm @ 4300rpm.  

Transmission: Five-speed automatic.  

Consumption: 11.7 litres/100km (combined average).  

Bottom line plus on-roads: $51,000.

The 2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary model.
The 2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary model.