Down country roads

Jeep Wrangler Sahara-1
A bright green Jeep Wrangler is what you really need to munch those miles in any part of North America 

Words Aninda Sardar
Photography Roshni Manghani
 

This wasn’t Denver’s West Virginia and I was not within miles of the Shenandoah River or anywhere near the Blue Ridge Mountains, yet if I had to choose a vehicle for my road trip from Montreal to Quebec City and back, I doubt I would have chosen anything other than this bright green Wrangler Sahara Edition that Jeep had been kind enough to loan us. This is the new Wrangler that was launched back home just recently and most of the burgeoning Indian automotive publications (and websites) are yet to drive it. Lucky for us, we weren’t back home at the end of a long queue but in distant Canada where the queue was essentially just us, no small thanks to our friends at Jeep India.

Jeep Wrangler Sahara-2

There is a difference of course, and a big one, between the one I’m piloting and the ones you can find at a Jeep showroom near you. The engine. While according to Jeep India’s website the only Wrangler you can buy gets you a 2-litre turbo, the one that’s helping me cruise along at a comfy 75mph (120kmph) is a more muscular 3.6-litre V6 with variable valve timing. Transmission is an 8-speed automatic, so you really don’t have to bother with it much.

Jeep Wrangler Sahara-3

Not much to say about the shape really because, well, it’s a Jeep Wrangler. Barring some subtle differences the overall silhouette of the vehicle hasn’t changed since Jeep made it and that’s the best thing to have happened to it. No matter which model you’re looking at, there’s no mistaking a Wrangler. Even visually, it remains the purest in form, devoid of unnecessary flourishes and flamboyance, instead choosing to remain the closest to a DNA that was forged in the fires of WW II and has never been diluted since. That does come with a price though. Primarily, in terms of space. The Wrangler is far boxier and more compact on the inside than you’d expect from a vehicle as big as this is. To their credit however, Jeep engineers have ensured that you don’t get cramped or claustrophobic, even when you put in five full grown adults in the Wrangler. If you’re choosing to put your money down on one and making a lifestyle choice (why else would you buy this Jeep?) then it’s a small price to pay really. Besides, if you feel the need to feel a little bit more spacious, you can of course fold away the soft top almost to its entirety at the touch of a button. And you’re under the glorious azure dotted with fluffy spots of cottony clouds that is the Canadian sky. We do just that and suddenly the excitement of the road trip goes up a couple of notches. Probably something about a bright autumn Sun filtering into the Wrangler’s dark interiors.

Jeep Wrangler Sahara-4

There isn’t much of a chance to get this bright green baby off the beaten path but the few times we manage to get those all terrain tyres off the black top, it starts throwing hints that real excitement lies at the end of the road and the start of the trail. Back on the charcoal carpet that is a Canadian highway or the black ribbon that is the back road cutting through some gorgeous Canadian region, the Wrangler doesn’t feel remotely out of place.

Jeep Wrangler Sahara-5

Somewhere the feel of driving this on tarmac reminds me of SUVs from back in the day when there were more of the body on ladder chassis construction that underpins this Wrangler. A far purer SUV driving experience if you’re into that sort of thing. While today’s monocoque SUVs will offer a better on-road driving experience with their car like dynamics and drive comfort, there’s no arguing that the Jeep has far more character and will do on- and off-road equally well. You’re never unsure of the Wrangler’s ability to take on the unknown. Just see a trail and turn off. It takes care of itself. And you.

Jeep Wrangler Sahara-6

When you’re somewhat bored of all that purity, which will make you one of a kind because no one I know who has a Jeep Wrangler has ever been bored of its purity, you will still have that excellent 8-speaker infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and that fab Alpine subwoofer will make sure that there’s never a dull moment. In India the Wrangler was launched with a price tag that read Rs 63.94 lakh, ex-showroom. Some would say that’s way too much money. Perhaps they are right, or are they? Think again. What you get for that money isn’t just a car you also get limitless possibilities when it comes to making your own path, the 78-year-old war winning Jeep legacy that no other brand can give you, the 33-year-old Wrangler legacy and finally, the limitless swag that only a Jeep Wrangler can bring to your garage. Now you tell me what all this is worth.

Jeep Wrangler Sahara-7
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