The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is humongous. It towers over everyone else on the road. Bus drivers gave me curious looks when I pulled up beside them, surprised to see someone on the same level as them. Heavy vehicles gave me a wide berth when they would normally trundle menacingly beside me for even failing to give way to them. When I spotted another Jeep driver, which happened only twice while I was driving around Singapore, we would give each other knowing nods.
There is a certain old-school charm to driving the Wrangler Unlimited. There are no rear-view cameras, proximity sensors or any of the technological advancements that you usually find in the cars of today. I half-expected manual window winders and an old picture of James Lye tucked in the windshield but there were electronic power windows installed. And no James Lye.
It’s not because Jeep refuses to install these new features. Apparently Jeep fans are quite vocal; many have expressed their wishes to see the Jeep Wrangler models to retain as much of the character of the original as possible.
Underneath the hood of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the beastly 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine, which can also be found in Dodge and Chrysler vehicles. It grunts, roars and pushes the car to a top speed of 180kph and can complete the century sprint in 8.9 seconds – very impressive numbers considering the car’s heft. And surprisingly, it has considerable initial acceleration. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve left other vehicles in the dust when the traffic light turned green. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited can move fast if you want it to.
Old narrow roads can be challenging and requires your utmost concentration when navigating them. Believe it or not, driving the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited made me a better driver. Tight corners are usually an afterthought; today’s cars tend to pamper their drivers with its wide turning radius and sheer array of driving aids that truthfully, takes out the pleasure of driving. In the Wrangler, I learned to attack corners like a race car driver, mentally tracing the racing line so that I could enter and exit corners with the least amount of fuss and without scraping the sides of the Jeep.
The incredibly accurate steering helped in this endeavour. It responds to the slightest twitch – good for precise drivers, bad for those who can’t keep still. It made it easy enough for me to direct the Wrangler where I wanted it to go and I can imagine how important the steering is when you’re in actual jungles, avoiding giant spiders and the occasional T-Rex, and not the concrete one I was in.
Ironically, because the Wrangler is a bit on the pricey side in Singapore (thanks to that behemoth of an engine), you might be afraid to manhandle a car that’s designed for the rough and tumble. That would be a shame. Just like how Ferraris and Lamborghinis are meant for long straight roads without any traffic lights, the Wrangler is meant for the wild, nature underneath its tyres and mud splattering on its windshield. I settled for driving up a small kerb in my neighbourhood. The Jeep barely noticed.
Go for a test drive, we recommend it. jeep.com.sg