- It’s a special year for JEEP as the company that’s renowned for its rugged, go-anywhere vehicles celebrates its 80th anniversary. And a new Wrangler marks the occasion perfectly.
- Well-equipped and upmarket interior packed with tech
- Well-equipped and upmarket interior packed with tech
- The price has climbed quite steeply and no diesel models
- Not particularly refined on the road
- Poor Euro NCAP safety rating
JEEP has introduced a special 80th anniversary edition to its latest Wrangler range joining the Sahara, Overland and off-road focused Rubicon models.
All MY21 Wranglers are now powered by a 2.0-litre 272hp Euro6D petrol engine combined with an eight-speed transmission. But customers do have plenty of choice when it comes to styling with two or four-door variants and all manner of personalisation options to put an individual stamp on the vehicle.
The high-end 80th Anniversary model has been launched to coincide with a year of exclusive events and it is Trail Rated, which is JEEP’s way of saying it boats superior go-anywhere capability.
On The Road
The new 4WD Wrangler 80th Anniversary Edition is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine delivering 200hp and 400Nm of torque. It is matched to an eight-speed automatic gearbox with low range for off-road adventures.
The imposing vehicle, which weighs in at just shy of two tonnes can complete the 0-62mph dash in a very respectable 7.6 seconds and has a top speed of 112mph.
And those figures are all the more impressive when you consider the Wrangler is virtually unstoppable when it comes to more rugged terrain, drawing on all those decades of 4x4 know-how that have made the JEEP name so respected throughout the industry.
The acceleration through the automatic gearbox is smooth enough and, although there are no paddles for manually changing gear, I didn’t really miss them to be honest. The gear lever can be shifted across to manual and used if you fancy a change from the automatic box.
The road holding is confident provided tighter curves are given a degree of respect and you will feel quite invincible behind the wheel of this imposing giant of a vehicle. That said; you will also notice yourself taking a sharp intake of breath on particularly narrow lanes because this JEEP is fairly wide measuring almost 1.9 metres across.
If it’s on-road refinement that tops your wish list, then one glance in the direction of the JEEP Wrangler will be enough to make you walk away.
That’s because this vehicle has been developed to put in a proper working shift if needed and is the perfect companion for any off-road enthusiast who likes to take challenges a step further with all the low range 4WD settings.
That said though; the latest 80th Anniversary model was nicely composed on the road too. The elevated driving position results in great-all-round visibility and the rear head rests fold forward when not needed to improve the view through the rear screen.
The car boasts a great suspension set-up that does a worthy job of smoothing out any bumps and dips along the way and the 18-inch wheels were a good match. Go any bigger and the ride may get too wallowy.
Taking bends too enthusiastically can be daunting purely because of the high-sided design of the car and the cabin gets quite noisy at higher speeds despite a fairly refined engine. You will hear a lot of road surface and wind noise so cranking up the high-end sound system will become the norm.
One look at the performance stats conforms that the Wrangler is quick out the starting blocks which impresses for its size and the power keeps on coming so hill climbs or overtaking are easily accomplished.
JEEP models are one of the most easily-recognised vehicles on our roads today with the distinctive upright slot grille finished in neutral grey metallic on the 80th Anniversary vehicle. It boasts headlight and fog light bezels in the same shade along with two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels with Granite Crystal accents.
There are full LED headlights with auto high beam, a body-coloured hardtop plus the 18th Anniversary badge on the front wheel arches, along with a commemorative plaque on the rear swing door.
The body-coloured three-part hard top can be opened at the push of a button and with black bumpers, and a huge spare wheel on the rear door, the car has a rugged, muscular and rough-tough stance when viewed from any approach.
Move inside and there are hand rails to make entering and exiting the vehicle a little simpler. And the cabin has a real quality about it with black bucket leather seats with tungsten stitching and an 80th Anniversary tag.
The steering wheel and gear lever are leather-wrapped and Berber floor mats also raise the standards within the cabin. There is ambient lighting, illuminated front cupholders, a hardtop headliner and plenty more besides.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
It won’t take long to get a comfortable driving position with power-adjustable front seats and lots of adjustment available to the steering wheel. Then it’s just a case of sitting back and taking stock of all the tech at your disposal.
There is an 8.4-inch touchscreen with sat nav, full smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a nine-speaker sound system with speakers in the roof, and a neat seven-inch tft display behind the steering wheel with all the vital data clearly highlighted.
All the main controls are integrated into a central stack for ease of use and although the touchscreen is fairly compact in size, it’s very easy to operate on the fly.
There is also Keyless Enter ‘N Go allowing you to lock, unlock, start or shut down the engine without touching the key fob, plus heated seats and a heated steering wheel to fend off the winter blues.
The rear doors open nice and wide for easy access, but it is quite a step up for anyone suffering from mobility issues.
Space & Practicality
With a choice of two- or five-doors, customers have plenty of options when choosing a Wrangler 80th Anniversary model. Our four-door test model featured Serge Green bodywork which perfectly suited its go get ‘em ability on and off the road.
Back seat passengers benefit from bags of leg room and the boot is accessed by a split, side hinged door.
Storage options are good with a boot that can swallow 548 litres of luggage – a limit that increases to 1,059 litres with the rear seats dropped flat.
In addition, there are bundles of storage places throughout the Wrangler, including a lockable glovebox, front cup holders with a pair in the rear armrest too, nets in all door instead of door bins, seat back pockets and a deep central cubby box.
As well as possessing awesome off-road capabilities, the Wrangler is ideal for towing a caravan or trailer weighing just under 2.5 tonnes.
The two-door Wrangler 80th Anniversary model costs £52,450, but our four-door version carried a £54,450 price-tag. This increased to £54,450 with options fitted such as the one-touch powered roof and an anti-spin differential rear axle.
According to official figures, under stricter WLTP testing, the JEEP Wrangler 80th Anniversary edition can deliver a combined 25.2mpg with carbon emissions of 252g/km.
These running costs and the overall pricing of the vehicle brings with it additional expense. That’s because the high CO2 emissions figure would result in a first year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £1,910 dropping to the standard rate of £155 after 12 months.
But there is further bad news because the vehicle is priced above £40k. That means it will be subjected to an additional £335 Premium Rate surcharge for five years after the first year.
For business drivers the news is not much better as the vehicle has a Benefit in Kind rating of 37 per cent and it sits in insurance group 34.
Quality & Reliability
The Wrangler has certainly fallen victim to some reliability issues over the years with leaks, poor infotainment systems and lack of steering feel being major complaints by owners.
However, the manufacturer has worked tirelessly to address issues and the latest model certainly feels more solid in its build. The touchscreen worked well and responded quickly and the car feels sturdy with high quality fixtures and fittings throughout.
For added peace of mind, the JEEP Wrangler 80th Anniversary comes with the company’s recently improved three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty that also includes three years of servicing, plus three years of roadside assistance in the package.
Safety & Security
The JEEP wrangler scored very poorly when tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating in 2018 when it was awarded just one out of five stars. And although it’s not known if the latest vehicle will be tested, the 80th Anniversary edition does feature additional safety kit.
Safety systems as standard include blind spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection, advanced brake assist, a rear camera, plus front and rear parking sensors.
It also had a safety pack that added forward collision warning plus mitigation and adaptive cruise control with stop function.
Like all Wranglers in the line-up, the 80th Anniversary model is Trail Rated which is JEEP’s guarantee of a model’s superior go-anywhere capability. It features the JEEP Command-Trac four-wheel drive system that constantly monitors the torque sent to the front and rear wheels to ensure the Wrangler can master the most challenging off-road terrain.
A selectable Tyre Fill alert set-up is ideal for more extreme terrains when it is beneficial to deflate the tyre pressures for extra grip with the system giving an audible warning when the perfect pressure has been reached.
The car is fitted with an alarm and immobiliser for added security.
The JEEP Wrangler is a fine-looking vehicle that boasts an upgraded interior with extra safety kit. It offers excellent all-terrain driving and is good enough on the road too. On the downside, the running costs and initial outlay are high.