Jeep Wrangler Sahara: First Drive
A lot of purists were waiting for this one. In fact a very dear friend of mine had been pestering me on a weekly basis about the arrival of the iconic Jeep products. So when I told him that I had managed to get my hands on a Wrangler, it was pretty much like a wet dream coming true for the guy. Now Jeep has a barrage of models which it has brought to India. While the 2-door Wrangler Sport boasts a massive 3.6 litre Pentastar V6, the one we have here is the more apt for our market, Wrangler Unlimited Sahara. While a big V6 engine and small insides are a big no-no, a long wheelbase, lots of legroom and diesel mated to an automatic transmission sounds just right. So how does the big Jeep go about its business here in Indian conditions? Let’s find out…
The Germans aren’t uniquely capable of tastefully refining an iconic shape redesign after redesign, decade after decade. The current Wrangler isn’t a cartoonish “retro” reinterpretation of a classic vehicle from the distant past. Like a Porsche 911, it’s a special purpose iconic vehicle that has undergone an uninterrupted evolution over the years. Unchanged since the 2007 redesign, the exterior retains an unmistakable resemblance to the original Jeep. Form relentlessly follows function. The Sahara’s chunky five-spoke 17-inch alloys, look fantastic even though it’s a very simple design. Unlike with some supposed off-road vehicles, you’ll find no mere rim protectors here.
There’s no “DUB Edition.” Given the 2007’s increased width, the four-door actually has better proportions than the two-door. While on the whole it might not be as attractive as a Freelander or a Q3, it’s the details that set the Wrangler apart. There are the classically rugged hood latches, high impact fender flares and rugged bumpers that enhance the formidable look while the Wrangler's round halogen headlamps still hold true to its original design, flanking its equally iconic seven-slot grille for that genuine Jeep brand expression. Now this might seem like a hardtop, but unscrew a few allen screws, yank out all four doors (will take a little effort though) and you have the perfect Dune buggy. Even the windshield can folded and rested on the bonnet like a typical jeep. Versatility at its best. All said and done, the Jeep might not be a beauty, but no one with any appreciation for design (as opposed to “styling”) can fail to find it attractive.