The new Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel might be more modern than ever, but off-road enthusiasts fear not; this is still a rugged, tough cookie that’s designed for harsher terrain.
It’s just that Jeep have done what they had to in order to bring it into 2018. They’ve revised the interior, added a brand new diesel engine and a hardtop roof. It’s still a Wrangler at heart, which is great news for all.
Specifically manufactured for use by the Americans in World War II, Jeep have an illustrious and interesting history.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel review.
Overview of the Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel
On the Road
The Wrangler has lived through the Second World War, so it was hardly likely to shirk when SUV’s started to dominate the market. True, it can’t compete with modern SUV’s for price, looks, refinement or running costs, but when it comes to good old off-road mettle, the Wrangler simply can’t be beaten.
As a bonus, it’s better to drive on the road than ever, too.
How good it handles on tarmac largely depends on which trim you go for. The Sahara trim is the standout choice, but it’s also worth mentioning that all models suffer from a bouncy ride and vague steering. Insulation is also a bit of an issue and it makes zero sense to buy this car if the main thing you’ll be doing is popping to Tesco.
It’s the stuff that’s out of sight which is key here. The axles are nice and tough and remind us of the kind ordinarily found in a pickup truck, while the ladder-frame chassis is a big reason why the car is such a warrior off-road.
If you splash out on the most expensive Rubicon model you’ll also benefit from a low-range gearbox that bolsters the car’s potential to deal with literally any kind of terrain, as well as locking differentials.
In terms of its engines, there’s just one available. It’s a brand new diesel that makes less noise than its predecessor. Like last time, it’s automatic-only and comes paired up with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The engine develops 197bhp and can get you from a standstill to 62mph in 9.7 seconds before maxing out at 99mph.
Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel Interior, Design and Build
Jeep have made a lot of effort to modernise the Wrangler’s cabin – and they’ve pulled it off for the most part. There are lots of top quality materials now present and their brand new infotainment system is top notch.
Traditionalists need not fear too much because the dashboard is still a straightforward, conventional affair with its chunky buttons and straight lines. Meanwhile, the driving position is as upright as ever.
The steering wheel is more adjustable than last time and can now be adjusted for both rake and reach, and while the materials are of a higher quality than ever, they’re still just as rugged as you’d expect them to be.
The new infotainment screen varies in size according to the trim you choose. It measures as little as 5” or as much as 8.4”, and the bigger screens are compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Meanwhile, you can choose between three different types of roofs. These are the Freedom roof, the Zipperless Premium Sunrider roof and the Sky One-Touch roof.
Is the Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel practical? Buyers can choose between a two and a four-door variant, with the latter measuring some 55cm more in length. As such, the two-door variant is actually a bit on the small side. Those up front will have plenty of room but things are a bit more cramped in the rear.
That said, if your priority is to use the Wrangler for some off-road shenanigans, you might prefer the two-door model. It works very well as a two-seater off-roader, but the compromise is a 197-litre boot. Flip the rear seats and you can extend it to 587-litres.
The four-door Wrangler, on the other hand, boasts a 533-litre boot that can grow to be as big as 1,044-litres when you fold the rear seats.
Is Jeep reliable? Read our unbiased assessment of the American classic.
Equipment and Safety of the Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel
Standard kit across the range is good. The entry-level model comes with reclining front seats, driver’s seat height adjustment, a trip computer, air conditioning, 17” alloys, a removable hardtop, automatic headlights, front fog lights and heated door mirrors.
The Overland model is next up and it adds heated front seats, leather upholstery, 18” alloys, a body coloured hard top and a tinted windscreen.
The Rubicon variant, meanwhile, nets you cloth upholstery for the seats (instead of leather) and satin black-finished alloys. It also comes with a lower rear differential ratio and the Jeep Dana front axle to enhance its credentials.
In terms of how safe the car is, the latest Wrangler is yet to be crash tested by Euro NCAP but it now offers more safety tech than previous versions. Its standard safety kit includes warnings for traffic as you reverse, blind spot monitoring, traction control, brake assist, electronic stability control – but just 4 airbags.
Costs of the Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel
Prices for the new car start out from £44,000 and rise to £55,000. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, there’s just one engine available – and it’s far from cheap to run. It’s a four-pot 2.2-litre diesel that’s also seen in a number of Fiat’s and Alfa Romeo’s, where it actually does well economically. Here, it returns 35mpg at the very best and emits as much as 200g/km of CO2. Meanwhile, it has a high BiK rating of 35%.
Pros and Cons of the Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel
Finally, Jeep have modernised the Wrangler’s cabin, which should give it broader appeal.
There are 3 to choose from.
It’s one of the best off-roaders around that’s lost none of its appetite for mud and snow.
It’s expensive to buy and run.
Question marks over safety
Just 4 airbags are available and the car is yet to be crash tested by Euro NCAP.
Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel vs Renault Captur vs MINI Countryman Diesel
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel review.
Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel vs Renault Captur
The new Renault Captur looks good, offers a comfortable ride, but doesn’t come with the option of four-wheel drive.
The lack of four-wheel drive means it’s ultimately not going to feel as formidable off-road as the Wrangler, and it’s also not too much fun to drive on it. It’s highly capable in the towns and cities but it isn’t going to entertain you.
In fact, its driving experience is a lot like its smaller sibling, the Renault Clio. Its steering is light but it lacks communication, while excess body lean in bends is an issue.
In terms of its engines, there’s just the one diesel available. This is a 1.5-litre dCi unit that develops a modest 89bhp. It performs reasonably well on the motorway and satisfies over longer distances. It’s not as comfortable as a petrol option, however, with diesel rattle being one of the things that count against it.
Running costs? The diesel is expected to be the most frugal engine in the Captur range, but official economy figures are yet to be released. What we do know is that it emits 138g/km of CO2 and has a BiK rating of 32%.
Inside, the Captur offers a pleasant and comfortable experience. There are more soft-touch materials than last time, while a height-adjustable steering wheel and driver’s seat makes it easy for you to find the perfect driving position.
Renault let you customise a few things in the cabin, and we think buyers will appreciate the opportunity for a bit of personalisation.
The dashboard, meanwhile, now comes with a two-tone covering that’s lifted its sense of occasion.
Is the Renault Captur practical? It’s based on the Clio, so it was never going to be the biggest inside. However, its longer than its sibling and rear legroom is actually decent. Moreover, those rear seats slide back and forth.
And because the car is so compact, it’s really easy to park.
Storage spaces are mostly good, but models sold here miss out on a vast 11-litre glovebox that’s available in the rest of Europe. The boot is big, though, and measures 376-litres. Fold the rear seats and you can increase it to 455-litres.
Jeep – £44,000 – £55,000
Renault – £15,615 – £24,025
Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel vs MINI Countryman Diesel
The new MINI Countryman Diesel is stylish and distinct, fun and practical.
There’s really no other car on the road like the Countryman, a quirky and perky family car that gets the business done. It’s not quite as nimble on its toes as the standard MINI Hatch, but it’s still incredibly agile for a car of its type.
The steering is precise and well weighted, the positioning of the driver is very sports-car-like, but it’s worth mentioning that this is a heavy car – something which you’ll be aware of at all times.
Dynamic Damper Control is available as an optional extra, and it lets you alter the softness of the suspension.
In terms of its engines, a pair of 2.0-litre diesels are on offer. The smaller of the two develops 150bhp and has a 0-62 time of 8.9 seconds, which should be more than enough for most buyers. Four-wheel drive can be specified.
The SD model, meanwhile, boasts a bigger variant of the same engine. It develops 190bhp, has a 0-62 time of 7.7 seconds and can also be specified with four-wheel drive. It is, however, automatic only.
Running costs? The 148bhp diesel is good for returns of 64.2mpg at best and emits 113g/km of CO2. It has a BiK rating of 24%. The bigger Cooper SD model returns as much as 61.4mpg on a good day with two-wheel drive and 57.6mpg if you specify four-wheel drive.
Inside, the MINI is typically MINI. That means all the usual design clues are here, but the brand has upgraded the materials so that quality is a lot better. Soft touch materials abound while the optional extras list includes the likes of multi-coloured LED light sources.
A 6.5” colour screen occupies the dashboard, but a minor gripe is that some of the minor controls will take a while to get used to.
Is the MINI Countryman Diesel practical? Its 450-litre boot grabs all the headlines here. It’s 100-litres bigger than last time and extends to 1,390-litres when you fold the rear seats.
Other than that, interior space is excellent. Rear seated passengers get a lot more room than last time, and the rear seats can slide back and forth. The doors are bigger and open wider for easy access, and storage solutions are good.
MINI – £23,340 – £30,540
Verdict of our 2018 Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel Review
Iconic, rugged as ever and as formidable off-road as ever, the new Wrangler is also a lot more modern than ever. The cabin has been brought into the 21st century at last, and this has made it easier to live with.
It’s still a warrior though, and the biggest thing you’ll be wrestling with is its price. The Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Diesel is one of the best cars of its type but it’s expensive to buy, run and insure.