CHRYSLER AUSTRALIA has given the Jeep Wrangler range a few mild updates for the 2010 model year, with a few changes made to both aesthetics and mechanical fit-out.
Exterior styling remains largely unchanged. The Wrangler’s retro-style body panels carry over and the black plastic front fenders, rear arch flares and bumpers give the sheetmetal some protection from off-road scrapes.
The classic 7-slot Jeep grille flanked by two round headlights is a nice homage to the Wrangler’s military ancestors, while a pair of foglights are recessed into the front bumper.
Manual bonnet latches, exposed hinges for the doors and windscreen and a spare wheel mounted on the side-hinged tailgate are other retro touches, and all of them serve a functional purpose.
The doors are easily removable, the windscreen can be folded down against the bonnet and the spare wheel is far more easy to access than if it were mounted beneath the Jeep.
Side steps are part of the optional Renegade pack, while 17-inch alloy wheels are standard on all models.
The Wrangler is available in two bodystyles – the three-door Wrangler and the five-door Wrangler Unlimited. Both feature a removable plastic hardtop, which incorporates two individually removable panels above the driver and front passenger.
Buyers can also opt for a manually-folding soft top to replace the hard top panels.
The three-door Wrangler can accommodate four adults, while the five door has space for five people.
Trim choices for both models are identical, with lots of black and grey plastic complemented by grey fabric seats. The integrated roll cage is covered by soft foam padding, with zip-off black fabric sleeves covering them.
Both front seats adjust manually, while the steering wheel only adjusts for tilt and not reach.
There’s numerous storage options offered by the door bins, centre console bin, glovebox and an underfloor compartment in the boot, while a storage net has been added to the base of the centre stack on 2010 models.
With the Wrangler targeted at active types, the Wrangler also features removable footwell carpet and drain plugs in the floorpan that allow any mud and dirt to be simply hosed out.
The rear seat in the three-door Wrangler folds flat to create a full 425 litres of storage room, while the Wrangler unlimited boasts a full 935 litres of space when its 60/40 split rear seats are folded.
The three-door’s rear seats can also be removed entirely, allowing up to 714 litres of stuff to be carried.
The Wrangler is, admittedly, a fairly bare-bones device.
Power windows, cruise control, a trip computer, car alarm and air conditioning are standard, while a six-speaker single CD tuner is the default audio system.
The optional Renegade package adds a seven-speaker stereo with 6-disc in-dash CD stacker and boot-mounted subwoofer, while an in-dash sat-nav display is available as an optional extra.
Stability control, traction control and ABS are standard fit, while all seats are equipped with three-point seatbelts. Dual front airbags are standard, however side airbags for the front seat are cost options.
Two engines are offered for both bodystyles, one a turbodiesel inline four, and the other a naturally-aspirated petrol V6.
The 3.8 litre V6 produces 146kW at 5000rpm and 315Nm at 4000rpm. It comes hooked up to your choice of a six speed manual or a four-speed automatic, and consumes a claimed 10.8 l/100km on the combined cycle in manual form.
The 2.8 litre turbodiesel develops 130kW at 3800rpm, with torque output for the six-speed manual topping 410Nm. For 2010, diesels mated to the four-speed auto produce a grand total of 460Nm of torque.
A manually-selected transfer case can take drive to either the rear wheels only, all four wheels, or all four wheels in low-range.
The optional Off Road package adds an electronically-locking rear differential, electronically-controlled disconnecting front sway bar and a lower differential ratio for better control off road.
The hard-core Wrangler Rubicon (which is only available with the 3.8 litre V6) gets the decoupling front swaybar, front and rear locking diffs, a heavy-duty Dana 44 front axle and a super-short 4.10:1 differential ratio – all as standard.
Suspension for all models consists of five-link live axles front and rear, all supporting the chassis on coil springs. Brakes are ventilated discs all around.
The Wrangler three-door can tow a total of 1600kg, while the Wrangler Unlimited can haul up to 2300kg.
The 2010 Jeep Wrangler range is available nationwide, with pricing as follows.
Jeep Wrangler Sport 3.8L V6 Petrol 6M $31,590
Jeep Wrangler Sport 3.8L V6 Petrol 4A $33,590
Jeep Wrangler Sport 2.8L I4 Diesel 6M $35,590
Jeep Wrangler Sport 2.8L I4 Diesel 5A $37,590
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 3.8L V6 Petrol 6M $40,590
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 3.8L V6 Petrol 4A $42,590
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 3.8L V6 Petrol 6M $35,990
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 3.8L V6 Petrol 4A $37,990
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 2.8L I4 Diesel 6M $39,990
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 2.8L I4 Diesel 5A $41,990
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 3.8L V6 Petrol 6M $44,990
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 3.8L V6 Petrol 4A $46,990
The Renegade package costs an additional $2500 for the Wrangler and $3000 for the Wrangler Unlimited, while the Off Road package is a $1500 option for either model.
Satellite navigation costs $2650, while premium paint and side airbags cost $450 and $600 respectively.