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Jeep improves Wrangler breed

Jeepers: Jeep's 2011 Wrangler scores a new interior and upgraded diesel engine.

Upgraded interior, idle-stop for diesel among changes for Jeep’s iconic Wrangler

14 Feb 2011

EVOLUTION of Jeep’s Wrangler has taken another forward step, with an upgraded interior and the availability of idle-stop on a more powerful and efficient diesel engine headlining 2011’s updates to the popular off-roader range, which is now on sale in Australia priced from $32,000 (up $410) for the two-door and $36,000 (up $10) for the longer, four-door Unlimited.

Jeep has taken the Wrangler’s cockpit upmarket, replacing the utilitarian set-square styling with a chunky, curvaceous but still rugged-looking design featuring silver-coloured highlights, chrome-ringed instruments and fewer areas of exposed metalwork while allen-key bolt-heads remain deliberately visible around the cabin.

The improved cabin ergonomics include a redesigned, leather-bound steering wheel that now hosts a set of buttons for the audio, cruise control and optional Bluetooth functions. Larger rear windows improve visibility for customers choosing the ‘Freedom’ three-piece hardtop roof option.

Jeep says touch surfaces such as armrests are improved, with the centre armrest now featuring a lockable storage compartment. It also claims the interior is quieter than before, thanks to improved acoustic deadening.

While the top-selling 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine choice remains unchanged, the 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel increases in power from 130kW to 147kW at 3600rpm, receives a 10Nm torque boost to 410Nm from 2200 to 2600rpm and now complies with EU5 emissions regulations.

The just-released new Grand Cherokee’s five-speed automatic transmission is also available with the diesel (the V6 retains the old four-speed auto) and, when fitted, the diesel’s torque output is raised again to a muscular peak of 460Nm, delivered between 1600 and 2600rpm.

The diesel Wrangler now offers “fuel economy that would raise the eyebrows of many hatchback owners,” said Chrysler Australia senior manager for marketing and corporate communications, Dean Bonthorne.

The diesel’s combined fuel consumption figure of 7.1L/100km is achieved with the help of idle-stop technology but this feature is only available when paired with the six-speed manual transmission exclusive to the four-door Wrangler Unlimited Sport.

9 center imageOther than the aforementioned larger windows on the hard-top, subtle exterior changes are limited to the black windscreen border which now includes Jeep’s five-bar grille motif at the top-centre and a small silhouette of a Wrangler climbing over rocks at the bottom corner. There are also several new paint colours to choose from, including Mango Tango, Deep Cherry Red, Cosmos Blue and Bright White.

Standard equipment includes multi-stage driver and front passenger airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control with brake assist, traction control, electronic roll mitigation and brake locking differentials, immobiliser, air-conditioning, six-speaker CD/radio with DVD, MP3 and external audio jack.

The standard 17-inch alloy wheels are fitted with tyre pressure monitoring and the underside is ruggedised with heavy-duty Dana axles and skid plates for the transfer case and fuel tank.

Serious off-roaders are catered for by the $10,000 more expensive Rubicon variants, which continue to offer standard locking diffs, tougher Dana 44 solid front and rear axles, electronically-controlled swaybar disconnect, tougher transfer case and heavy-duty rock rails, in addition to a higher specification that includes the hard-top and an audio system upgrade.

Prices for the Rubicon increase by $1410 to $42,000 for the two-door Rubicon Sport and $1010 for the $46,000 four-door Rubicon Unlimited.

The entry-level diesel price increases $3410 to $39,000 for the now auto-only two-door Sport and $43,000 (up $2010) for the manual four-door Sport Unlimited.

The options list includes a ‘Renegade’ pack comprising the hard-top, soft-top, privacy glass, tubular side steps and an upgraded sound system with Infinity speakers and subwoofer for $2500.

Further options comprise an automatic transmission ($2000 for V6, $1000 for diesel), premium paint ($450), front seat-mounted side airbags ($450), Bluetooth connectivity ($490) and satellite-navigation with media system upgrade for $2650 ($1750 when ordered with the Renegade pack).

The Wrangler remains Jeep’s top-seller in Australia, although sales were down 48.1 per cent last month compared with the same time a year ago. January VFACTS figures show that despite strong growth in sales for the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, sales for the iconic American brand declined 21.1 per cent.

A total of 2687 Wranglers found homes in Australia last year, a rise of 41.5 per cent over 2009 and accounting for almost half of all Jeep sales.

2011 Jeep Wranglerpricing:
Sport 3.8 petrol$32,000
Sport 3.8 petrol (a)$34,000
Sport 2.8 CRD (a)$39,000
Rubicon 3.8 petrol$42,000
Rubicon 3.8 petrol (a)$44,000
Unlimited Sport 3.8 petrol$36,000
Unlimited Sport 3.8 petrol (a)$38,000
Unlimited Sport 2.8 CRD$42,000
Unlimited Sport 2.8 CRD (a)$43,000
Unlimited Rubicon 3.8 petrol$46,000
Unlimited Rubicon 3.8 petrol (a)$48,000

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