QUICK DRIVE: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Overland

The Jeep Wrangler is no stranger here at OVERSTEER, in fact we would go as far as to say it is one of our all-time favourites, despite (or, indeed, perhaps even because of) its glaring – and, quite frankly, blatant – shortcomings as a road-going vehicle.

Off-road, however, it is utterly unbeatable, and this, along with its sheer charm and belligerent presence, make it downright loveable.

The Overland is basically an up-spec, “luxury” model of the Wrangler Unlimited, adding 18-inch alloy wheels, a reversing camera, heated and electrically adjustable mirrors, body-coloured guards, side steps, a body-coloured hard top, fog lamps, satellite navigation and a pumped up stereo to the big Wrangler’s rugged off-roadiness.

Now, we completely understand the appeal of having a few luxury features in our car. Hell, ventilated seats are one of our favourite things ever. Except that the Wrangler is not really the sort of car that you would buy for that. Not that the Overland has ventilated seats, but you get the point…

Blingy new stuff aside, the Wrangler is still the big, loveable brute that we fell in love with on the legendary Rubicon Trail. The further off the sealed roads you go, the better it gets. That’s not to say it is bad on the road. Well… actually, yeah, it pretty much is…

The thing about the Wrangler on the road, however, is that its very shortcomings – the unpolished, jiggly ride, the massive truck-like turning circle, the sheer lumbering bulk of the thing – just serve to remind you just how damn good it is off the road. That means that every time you bounce up over a curb because of the massive turning circle or smack your head on the side window because the ride simply gets overwhelmed by the road, you can’t help but grin and enjoy the sheer rugged purposefulness of it all.

Mechanically, the Overland gets the same 209kW/347Nm 3.6-litre petrol V6 as the Sport or Rubicon models (no diesel available here) and it is hooked up to a five-speed auto transmission, meaning that for such a big vehicle, it gets along remarkably well indeed.

The thing about the Overland though is that it costs $64,990 in four-door Unlimited form, where for $62,990 you can get the seriously purposeful Rubicon model that adds all the good off-road bits like locking diffs, an electronic front sway bar disconnect system and a heavy duty Dana 44 front axle, among other things.

This would be the Wrangler we would buy. It takes the Wrangler from being incredible off-road to utterly staggering in what it can do and the ease with which it does it.

The single most worrying thing about the Overland model is that if someone wants luxury in their Wrangler, that suggests that it would go no further off-road than a drive-through window. And that would be a massive insult to the Wrangler – not to mention an utter waste – because the Wrangler is still one of the absolute best when the seal finishes.

Price: $64,990

Engine: 3.6-litreV6 petrol

Power/torque: 209kW/347Nm

Transmission: Five-speed automatic

0-100km/h: n/a

Fuel consumption: n/a

CO2 emissions: n/a

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