RE: Jeep Wrangler: PH Trade-Off!

RE: Jeep Wrangler: PH Trade-Off!

Sunday 3rd March

Jeep Wrangler: PH Trade-Off!

The new Jeep Wrangler has arrived on these shores - but by 'eck it's expensive. Can we do better for half the price?



It might come as something of a surprise to find that the Jeep Wrangler is still sold on these shores. Think about it: when's the last time you saw one on the road? We'll wager, unless you work at a Jeep dealership, it was some time ago.

That's a bit of a shame. After all, there's always been lots to like about the Wrangler. Its achingly cool image, for one thing; as pumped full of greasy Americana as a glistening double cheeseburger with extra pickles and loaded fries. Not to mention the way this latest generation's bulging arches, tapering nose and boxy roofline all hark back to the original YJ Wrangler and the CJ models that preceded it.

But the Wrangler faces two problems: firstly, its rather wayward on-road manners, for which you can blame its body-on-frame construction. Of course, this also gives it that rare thing among SUVs today: true off-road ability, the like of which few other cars can muster.


The second problem with the Wrangler is its price. Even the basic Sahara, with a three-door body and a diesel engine, will set you back a whopping £44,685 - not far off what you'll pay for an entry-level Land Rover Discovery. And that, let's face it, is bonkers.

So it seems like the Wrangler is a prime contender for the Trade-Off treatment. Trouble is, even with an extended rootle through the classifieds, finding something with the same combination of larger-than-life character and off-road ability isn't easy.

It isn't impossible, mind you. Take a look, for example, at this Mercedes G-Wagen. A 1989 example with just 57,000 miles on the clock, it is utterly wonderful if you appreciate time-warp-ish survivors that have managed to pass through the ages remarkably unmolested. As you'd expect from a G with this sort of mileage, it isn't just the outside that looks to be immaculate; the interior is, too. This petrol-powered 230 auto is a genuine UK-from-new right-hand drive car with a stack of history and just four owners behind it. Sorely tempting, then. Were you only after a car for occasional use, it'd be ideal.


Trouble is, asking a potential new Wrangler owner to live without any mod cons - the G-Wagen doesn't even have electric front windows, let alone nav, air-con or Bluetooth - might be stretching things somewhat. So let's move things bang up-to-date with something that'll rival the Wrangler for general knobbliness, but also match it on tech: this Ford Ranger Wildtrak.

It's fitted with a Raptor bodykit, which gives it plenty of visual aggression with a strong Stateside whiff - not to mention chunky tyres that should enable it to go anywhere the Jeep can too. Inside, you get climate control, cruise control, heated this and that, and Bluetooth too. Sure, the interior's plasticky, but the Jeep's is hardly a paragon of quality; the Ranger even gives you two extra doors and a whopping load bay. All this for £19,999? Bargain.

Except... well, even in this hepped-up form, the Ranger is still rather more builders' merchant than backcountry trail. On paper, it ticks all the right boxes, yet in the flesh... well, the image side of the equation just isn't quite there.


All of which leads us, rather predictably, to the door of the Land Rover Defender. This 2008 90, to be precise, which seems to offer a happy medium between the charm and character of the G-Wagen, and the modernity of the Ranger.

For a start, it's been modified. Now, that can be a good or a bad thing with a Defender, depending on your tastes, but in this instance the tweaks don't appear to be too heinous. In fact, the Keswick Green paint, bonnet bulge, LED lights, roof rack and panoramic windows all do a pretty good job of making the Landie look like a modern rival to the Wrangler. Which is jolly convenient for our purposes.

Inside, that feeling continues with part-leather seats - heated up front - electric windows, a 'How do you do, fellow kids' sound system which includes Apple this and Android that, and a reversing camera.


This, then, is the perfect foil to the Wrangler, and an ideal intermediary between our G-Wagen and our Ranger from earlier. There we are then. Case closed.

What's that? The mileage? No, you don't need to know a silly thing like that. It's fine. Oh, alright then, it's done 79,000 miles. And yes, that's rather a big pill to swallow if your alternative is a delivery-mile Jeep. However, in mitigation is the fact that this Landie is a 2008 car, making that mileage about average. (Indeed, the folks who've been doing 10k a year in a Defender for 11 years deserve a slice of our admiration).

'What about a Land Cruiser?' we hear you cry. Oh sure, the Land Cruiser will get you back again, and all that, but modern examples simply aren't as cool as any of the cars gathered here, while older ones suffer the same drawbacks as the G-Wagon. Which leaves the Defender out on top. It ain't perfect, but if you're looking for a similar experience to the Wrangler - for better and for worse - at half the cost, this is the way to go about it.


SPECIFICATION - JEEP WRANGLER SAHARA DIESEL THREE-DOOR
Engine:
2,143cc four-cylinder diesel turbo
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Power (hp): 200@3,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 332@2,000rpm
0-62mph: 9.6sec
Top speed: 99mph
Weight: 1,920kg
MPG: 37.7
CO2: 195g/km
Price: £44,865

SPECIFICATION - LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90 STATION WAGON
Engine:
2,198cc four-cylinder diesel turbo
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Power (hp): 122@3,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 265@2,000rpm
0-62mph: 14.7sec
Top speed: 90mph
Weight: 1,889kg
MPG: 28.3
CO2: 266g/km
Price: £21,995

Author
Discussion

Zed Ed

Original Poster:

866 posts

122 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
Or you could have a Wrangler JL with very few miles for 36/37 pounds before a haggle.

AlmostUseful

2,556 posts

139 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
£22,500 gets you a 2009 5 door Sahara in green with wide arches and mental looking off road tyres and wheels.
It’s strange looking at suck alternatives if the rrp of the new car is too much, I wanted a new E class but couldn’t afford one so instead of looking at a 1989 bmw estate I went with a 4 year old E class, it was the sensible option. I appreciate this is an article rather than a buying guide, just seems kinda pointless.

Fire99

9,515 posts

168 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
Yes the Jeep is expensive but I'm not sure showing an 11 year old Land Rover Defender for £22k puts much weight to your argument..

Perhaps the Wrangler is more exclusive but on just about any other Jeep, I've found very big discounts on new cars.

Rudolph Hart

20 posts

1 month

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
I’ve just got an ex demonstrator JL unlimited Rubicon, my alternative choice would have been a late (2016) low mileage Defender. For similar money the Rubicon is better in every way, no contest.

Andy83n

16 posts

1 month

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
Bought a brand new JK 4door overland after owning a couple of second hand 2 door Saharas.

Sold it three year later for 85% of what I paid for it.

It had spent 11months of those three years in the dealers workshop trying to cure leaks.

Wouldn't go anywhere near one again.
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samoht

874 posts

85 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all

The cheap alternative is the Suzuki Jimny, £15,499 brand new, surely ?

Rudolph Hart

20 posts

1 month

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
You’re right, the Jimny’s a cheaper alternative but it’s not a competitor.

Rudolph Hart

20 posts

1 month

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
You’re right, the Jimny’s a cheaper alternative but it’s not a competitor.

dunnoreally

260 posts

47 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
There are a few Japanese options. Mitsu Shogun Pinin or Daihatsu Fourtrak should be just as capable and still reasonably well equipped. Not as iconic as a Jeep or Landy, but seriously cheap.

Also in terms of Landies, I'd look at a Disco 1 or 2. This money should get you one of the very best, unlike with Defenders.

CDP

5,605 posts

193 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
Rudolph Hart said:
You’re right, the Jimny’s a cheaper alternative but it’s not a competitor.
Looks as cool and is probably as good off road - if the gaps are narrow enough infinitely better!

CDP

5,605 posts

193 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
Andy83n said:
Bought a brand new JK 4door overland after owning a couple of second hand 2 door Saharas.

Sold it three year later for 85% of what I paid for it.

It had spent 11months of those three years in the dealers workshop trying to cure leaks.

Wouldn't go anywhere near one again.
On my 7 I just drilled holes in the floor but I suppose stateside you should use a gun...

rallycross

9,691 posts

176 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
All of the cars quoted in this article are utterly rubbish to drive on a normal road so unless you live on a farm or have a desire to drive around in knee deep mud they are not worth bothering with ( and yes I have driven one of the new Wranglers when they first came out in Australia it was laughably bad as a road car.


Dollyman1850

6,014 posts

189 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
So then.. Gay and Expensive!! hehe

loskie

1,206 posts

59 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
Try getting a non rotten 4track!

jagfan2

153 posts

116 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
rallycross said:
All of the cars quoted in this article are utterly rubbish to drive on a normal road so unless you live on a farm or have a desire to drive around in knee deep mud they are not worth bothering with ( and yes I have driven one of the new Wranglers when they first came out in Australia it was laughably bad as a road car.
That and the interior makes a dacia feel like an Audi

Zed Ed

Original Poster:

866 posts

122 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
rallycross said:
All of the cars quoted in this article are utterly rubbish to drive on a normal road so unless you live on a farm or have a desire to drive around in knee deep mud they are not worth bothering with ( and yes I have driven one of the new Wranglers when they first came out in Australia it was laughably bad as a road car.
Jk and jl wranglers fine on road; not sure where this view comes from


rallycross

9,691 posts

176 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
Zed Ed said:
Jk and jl wranglers fine on road; not sure where this view comes from
From having driven them on the road they are terrible things to drive. Try one.

Rudolph Hart

20 posts

1 month

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
Nothing wrong with the JL on the road, don’t know what you’ve been driving.

Many have larger tyres/lifted suspension fitted which can sacrifice some of the ride quality.

beljames

269 posts

206 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
I've got a 2015 JK Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited with the 3.6 v6 engine. For me, its one of the best cars I've ever owned. The whole roof comes off for those rare summer days and the family and dogs pile in. Its relatively comfortable in a utilitarian kind of way, goes literally anywhere and is happy chuntering along at 70 all day long. It's easily the most versatile car I've got. Off-road, which you really should do if you buy one, it's easily the equal, if not better than the Defender, and you can hose it out if you fill it with mud (yes, we have, and yes, you can). On road, it absolutely spanks the Defender. It's no Discovery in terms of road-holding and drive quality, but it's not pretending to be.

On the downside, the diesel is a bit meh (so get the petrol). It's short on toys and connected what-not (which I like, but accept others don't - although it does come with an extraordinarily good stereo). Like most American cars, I don't know how they make something so big on the outside so small on the inside (think mid-size saloon) and fannying around with the roof does take longer than it should if it was better designed. Finally, for reasons I don't understand, its towing weight is too low, although not in the US, which I suspect is down to our odd rules on emissions.

My brother bought a Defender at the same time as I bought the Wrangler. It has spent so long at the dealer its untrue and has already started to rust anywhere that is not aluminium. Mine has been utterly reliable. We absolutely love it. It's a much under-rated car and I suspect I've lost very little money on it as well, judging by what they go for second hand (although you may have missed the boat on that game).

Zed Ed

Original Poster:

866 posts

122 months

Sunday 3rd March
quotequote all
rallycross said:
From having driven them on the road they are terrible things to drive. Try one.
Have spent much time in the JK.

The only issues to recognise are braking related nose dive and lateral sway with sharp direction changes, both at speed.

Both apple pie for a vehicle of this type.