Saturday 29 April 2017 News Updated at 07:04 PM IST
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This lean, mean machine can allure you! - Deccan Herald
This lean, mean machine can allure you!
Sandesh M S and Umesh M Avvannavar, DH News Service
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picture courtesy: Jeep India
For the off-road driving enthusiasts, Jeep needs no introduction. For the old timers, the word Jeep reminds them of The Willys MB (commonly known as a Jeep or jeep, formally as the US Army Truck, 1/4 tonne, 4x4) and the Ford GPW a four-wheel drive utility vehicles that were manufactured during World War II. But in India the word jeep means, a vehicle from the house of Mahindras. But the real ones actually roll out of Fiat-Chrysler stable.

Known as a tailor-made vehicle in India, Jeep is no exception when it comes to embracing technology. Fiat-Chrysler, the manufacturers have loaded the Jeep with power brakes, steering and some controls. This mean, lean mechanical beast has the same traits of a rough and tough machine to take on the India roads on or off-roads.

Since the Jeep name is diluted with all the Mahindras in India since decades, the brand "Jeep” as a company is still an alien name for Indians. But it has been successful in establishing its own charm in the world of off-road driving in other parts of the world. Now Fiat-Chrysler has brought the iconic American brand Jeep back to India. In its launch, the first two models that have arrived in Jeep’s showrooms will be the Grand Cherokee SUV and the Wrangler off-roader.

We were fortunate to be on the drivers seat to test the real power of the Jeep wrangler Unlimited. We drove it on off-road track and it was an affair to remember.

First look

The first look that any off-roading enthusiast likes with the vehicle is the design, which has influenced so many SUVs today. Seven-slat grill, big fenders, clamps to hold the bonnet down, exposed door hinges and a tailgate-mounted spare are some of the features that makes the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to retain Jeep’s iconic look.

The moment one steps inside this jeep, it is simply mesmerise you and it’s love at first sight. The automatic transmission gear lever, with another lever that helps us to switch the drive mode is totally a never seen and exclusive feature of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. With multiple features, sitting on a different height will give a feel of driving an aircraft. Beside great features like a nice set of seats and an excellent all-weather Alpine sound system, and straightforward centre console, the plastics used in the interior aren’t the most impressive.

As and when the vehicle moves over the tough rocks and pits, the noise on the joints of the cover will be annoying and distracting the driver and co-passengers through the drive.

Off-road driving


As we fastened our seat belts to take the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited for off-road driving on the naturally designed track, the high ground clearance with 1,829 mm height and 2,947 mm wheel-base made the machine move smoothly across the track. The steering radius, which seems to be purposefully designed for off-road driving, and the beefy set of five-spoke 17-inch Goodyear Wrangler tyres will make driving the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited a cake walk. But the heavy steering wheel might be quite tiresome to drive in the city.

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited was driven on extremely challenging terrain that one may not get an opportunity to drive on in everyday life. Big ditches, ups and downs, hill climbs & descents, slush, water wading among others were the hurdles on the track simulating challenging off-road driving.

Though it was looking like a rally track, off-road driving on Jeep Wrangler Unlimited was a lifetime experience. Amateur acceleration and speed should be completely avoided while off-road driving as it will leave us in the lurch without understanding the capability of the car.
Off-road driving was unstoppable, getting through most climbs and slush with little effort or wheel spin. As it moved on the track, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited was quite lumpy at low speeds, shudders over expansion joints and didn’t quite settle down even when sufficient power was not given through acceleration.

The fair amount of body roll, the quick change in direction or a wrong move done on off-road driving was efficiently controlled by a four-wheel disc hydraulic power assisted breaking system. However, this feature was surprising and comforting that makes the driver feel extra comfort and safety on the tough terrains.

Golden rule

The off-road spin showed the capability of Jeep SUVs through the lens of luxury. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is complete opposite of a sports car, and it delivers fun in it’s own way.

However, a golden rule for any off-road drive is the vehicle should be driven slowly. The bouncy ride was experienced as whimsical. It would have been more fun if the roof panels were removed. It would have been even more fun if we had taken off the doors. Though the folding of the windshield was not a great idea on the city road, but it will give an amazing experience all together off-road.

Verdict

It’s a favourite vehicle for the Jeep lovers and loyalists. You don’t need extra muscle or a track to drive it. However, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is one of the best off-road vehicle of its kind.


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