Parkers overall rating: 3.2 out of 5 3.2

The Parkers VerdictThe Parkers Verdict

In an era of retro cars and attempts to build heritage into a design, Jeep’s range could be seen to be one of the worst offenders. Except for one model; the Wrangler.

Rather than a cynical attempt to dress a modern SUV as a purposeful off-roader, this Jeep IS the original purposeful off-roader, constantly developed and modified to meet regulations without losing the almost octogenarian design integrity.

This is not, in any way, a 1941 car with some modern gadgets; it’s a thoroughly new vehicle that retains the purity of function before form.

The JL Wrangler is a vast improvement over its predecessor. It’s certainly a much more refined place to spend time – the interior is a big step up in terms of ergonomics, refinement and quality, while the diesel engine is particularly impressive.

Bear in mind, though, that the Wrangler is really two very different models. The four-door Unlimited is a practical family off-roader, the two-door is very specialised by comparison, and does limit your lifestyle options as well as passenger space.

Which Jeep Wrangler is best for me?

If you're considering a Wrangler as a family car, then there's absolutely no contest, the Wrangler Unlimited with Sky One-Touch roof should be your first choice, and the Freedom Top a close second. The large fabric sunroof delivers the very best of open-top Jeep motoring with the only compromise being the inability to fold the windscreen or remove the rear section - not a drawback when there's a bulky roll cage in there anyway, and you can remove the rear side windows when using cut-down doors.

The petrol engine is more refined and quick, but the diesel has lower running costs and it's arguably a little nicer to drive. Anything above Sahara spec will do, but the Rubicon is less pleasant on motorways.

If it's just for you, then the two-door model is easier to park, nimble and looks great with the Freedom Top fully unbolted; which is also easier thanks to the smaller area of hardtop you have to lift off. Consider it a two-seater with some seats you can fit in the boot when you need them, and it makes perfect sense. A Sport, with the 272hp petrol, has all the character you need - but if you're serious about off-roading take the Rubicon as the upgrades are better value than third-party mods.

No matter which Wrangler you're considering the JL retains - improves upon in many regards - the Jeep's imperious off-road ability and is easier to drive than ever, but the compromised on-road drive means it’s still a car that you really have to want for it to make sense as your only car.

Despite the vast improvements in user-friendliness and tech it's still better suited to a role as a second car/plaything, where it can be great fun - albeit, expensive fun.

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