The much anticipated Jeep Wrangler 2016 is all set to debut in India on August 30 along with the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The car is expected to feed the rising demand for premium SUVs in the country. It will be up against the Range Rover Sport which has already found favour among high-end SUV enthusiasts.
Will the Wrangler Unlimited be able to match up to competition against the Range Rover? Let’s find out.
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Jeep found a niche design suitable for both on-road and off-road use and the company have stuck to the design for years. The Jeep Wrangler 2016 Rubicon has upgraded the car to heavy duty front axles, and a shorter gear ratio for the rear axle. Both these factors lend improved performance to the car.
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The 2016 Range Rover Sport too has had some design upgrades. It has lost some weight. The car is now an all-aluminium structure and offers increased fuel efficiency. The Rover Sport sits on 19-inch split-spoke type wheels that lend better traction.
While the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited can get down and dirty, the Range Rover is more suitable for lighter off-roading.
The long and short of it
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The Jeep Wrangler 2016 Rubicon is over 4,100mm in length, 1,871.98mm in width and more than 1,800mm in height. The kerb weight of the car is around 1,900kg.
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The Rover, on the other hand, is 4,856.48mm in length, 2,219.96mm in width, and 1,780mm in height. It’s a bigger car than the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and may be a bit clunky in a rough terrain.
A smaller frame offers better off-road handling, though it may ride smoothly on the road. The Jeep Wrangler 2016 is at an advantage here to negotiate tighter spaces.
Under the hood
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All 2016 Wranglers have the same type of engine, a V6 3.6 litre 24-valve VVT engine that outputs 28.5bhp power. The four-wheel drive is standard on all Rubicons. It reaches 0-60mph in about 8.8 seconds.
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The Range Rover sport comes in two engine options; a turbocharged diesel with 254hp power or a supercharged LR-V6 3.0 litre engine that produces 340hp. Both engines reach 0-60mph in about seven seconds.
It appears that the diesel variant can haul the oversized Range Rover better through an undulating terrain, courtesy a better torque. That doesn’t mean the Jeep Wrangler 2016 scores lower. It may still climb better and quicker than Rover because of a lower gear ratio and upgraded transfer case.
As far as they can go
The 2016 Jeep Wrangler engine offers 7.22kmph mileage in the city and 8.92kmph on the highway. The Rover Sport is able to notch up similar numbers for the city whereas the highway mileage is higher at 9.78kmph. But remember, the only reason why the Range Rover Sport has an identical fuel economy is because of the aluminium put on it to help balance the massive size of the vehicle.
Transfer of power
The Jeep Wrangler 2016 Rubicon is fitted with a 6-speed MT gearbox, while the Range Rover Sports gets an 8-speed AT with the CommandShift system. CommandShift is a Range Rover technology that downshifts only to the second gear on normal road conditions. While off-roading the CommandShift can be disabled to change to the first gear. It controls the amount of fuel you burn and the power your engine produces depending on your driving conditions.
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The more conventional six-speed manual transmission powers the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. There’s a reason behind it. The MT gearbox lends much better control while up or downshifting. There’s no worry of enabling or disabling a system. The CommandShift, after a while, could become pointless because the Rover is likely to manoeuvre all conditions even with the system disabled.
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In the end, while you may enjoy the automatic transmission of the car, it may still lack the control required to climb a rough terrain.
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The Jeep Wrangler far outnumbers the Range Rovers in the US, mainly because of the price. The Wrangler Ultimate is a topline premium SUV from Jeep. The car is expected to be priced between ₹25-32 lakhs, whereas the Range Rover Sport is ridiculously priced at ₹2.03 crore (both prices ex-showroom New Delhi).
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But when you buy a Rover, you are paying both for performance and comfort. The car is far more luxurious than any of its peers. The Jeep Wrangler 2016 on it’s part is catered more for the casual driver. The CommandShift gear system, for instance, is the Range Rover’s way of trying to forge a balance between the convenience of an automatic transmission and the control of the manual. It attempts to attract bigger crowds. While the 2016 Wrangler of course comes with a six-speed standard transmission, it does have the automatic option as well. But Jeep patrons prefer the manual one.
The Jeep Wrangler 2016, like all its predecessors that lent drivers a continued promise of dependability and familiarity both on and off the roads, is expected to remain close to its roots. The pricing too is also on its side and the hegemony of the Range Rover Sports as the champion of premium SUVs could be lost once the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon hits the road.