Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport: Freedom To Be Wherever You Want To Be | Motourismo

The Jeep Wrangler will set you free.


Text and Photos by Monch Henares


Vehicle Of My Dreams

A vehicle kept popping up in my dream about an impromptu 4X4 get-away camping adventure to scenic and trail-rich Tanay, in Rizal province. My steed was tough and capable of trudging through Tanay's muddied steep trails and trenches, crawling over rocks, splashing through streams, and many other crazy tricks. It did get us home safe, maybe all dirty, but in one piece.

The vehicle that came flashing continuously in my dream was a Yellow-colored Trail Rated Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4X4 SUV.  This ride did impossible flips and jumps and even went underwater like a submarine. But, of course, I woke up only to find out it was a dream. 

A few weeks later, lo and behold, I got the chance to review the new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 2.0L. Was that all a coincidence? I think it was fate, and it is my pleasure to share with you my first-hand experience literally jumping out of my dream.


At First Glance

It stood handsomely tall and tough, but it was not wearing the exciting Jeep "HellaYella" yellow that I dreamt of, but instead, it wore a hypnotic deep Blue Ocean Metallic color. I quickly noticed the 7-slotted grille centered between two round halogen headlights, which was a huge giveaway flashing at me, telling me it was a Jeep.


7-slotted grille centered between two round halogen headlights, that is definitely a JEEP.


Some say they can tell the occupation and lifestyle of a person by just looking at their shoes. It is the same for vehicles. Keeping it glued to the road and on the trail are four legendary 4WD  245/75R17 Bridgestone Desert Dueler All-terrain tires mounted on 17-inch black steel-styled wheels. Tires and rims play a huge role in the overall look of a vehicle. This had "Off-Road 4X4" written from head to toe.


The Jeep Wrangler, the adventure seeker in its element


Jutting outward and making me feel safer by the inch are its huge Injection Molded Black Front and Rear Bumpers that flow symmetrically with every curve and body line. Completing its off-roader look are its front and rear sporty fog lights, toe-hooks, and toe-eye brackets.


Molded In-color Fender Flares and Black Door Handles


I am loving the Molded In-color Fender Flares and Black Door Handles. For me, its contrast with the rest of the vehicle adds that rugged vibe that will fit any outdoor scene.


High ground clearance of about 25-cm


Having a high ground clearance of about 25-cm is an advantage in getting over rocks, deep trenches, and wading through flooded streets. It was a plus for me when I did an inspection of the inner workings of the under-chassis. I found that it came standard with much-needed Skid Plates protecting the transfer case and transmission from off-road abuse. 


Trail Rated 4X4 Badge


The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 2.0L proudly wears its "Trail Rated 4X4 Badge" which guarantees its 4WD worthiness straight out from the showroom. It also has hidden Jeep brand markings and logos placed in obscure places all over the vehicle. I treated it like a treasure hunt of sorts. Check out the headlights, windshield, dashboard, and rear door inner panel sightings to name a few.


JEEP logo on the headlights

Nostalgic JEEP marking on the windshield


Interiors

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 2.0L has a well-thought-of design for its interior and it is built to withstand anything you can throw at it. The entire cabin including the switches and highly-sensitive instrument panel is water-resistant, so you can just hose it down and wipe everything after a roofless, doorless, wet, and muddy adventure. The limitation of such a solid construction is that the materials don't have the upscale feel like some luxurious SUVs. 


Well-thought-of design for its interior


At the rear, we have a 60/40 seat that folds flat which helps maximize the compartment space. Because a step board did not exist, I really appreciated the complete set of Grab Handles at each door pillar that assisted in alighting passengers from the cabin.

Upon sitting on the driver's seat, It was heavenly being positioned way above the ground.  I felt in command. I had a sense of control with the ease of reaching all the controls, switches, and levers. 


Interior and it is built to withstand anything you can throw at it.


I am liking the way Jeep laid out the old-school analog gauges around a 3.5" TFT Black and White Vehicle Information Display. It didn't matter whether it was day or night, the vehicle data was easy to read and access.


Old-school analog gauges around a 3.5" TFT Black and White Vehicle Information Display


The infotainment system installed is a standard Jeep Uconnect 3 with an 5-inch display and 8 speakers was user-friendly. I was able to connect my beat-up iPod, USB stick, and phone altogether via its Media Hub (Aux, USB), Remote USB Port, and Bluetooth connection. I simply plugged, paired, and stored my devices inside a lockable center console. At a gentle touch, I could easily adjust them all through the steering wheel mounted audio controls. 


Jeep Uconnect 3 with an 5-inch display


Power Windows, Remote Keyless Entry, Sentry Key Theft Deterrent System, Speed Sensitive Power Locks, Pushbutton Start, Sliding Sun Visors with Mirrors fill the list of convenience features. 

It is good to note that the Wrangler Unlimited has better cargo capacities than most other SUVs, with 31.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and a very welcoming 72.4 cubic feet with them folded down. Say goodbye to loose cargo sliding around the cabin when driving on rough terrain, there are Cargo Tie-Down Loops laid out on each side of the rear cargo floor you can strap them down to. 


72.4 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seats folded down


Customizable and Versatile

All it takes is 20 minutes for 2 people to transform this 2-ton SUV into a 130-kilo lighter open-air buggy. That is the beauty and versatility of the Wrangler Unlimited. All 4 doors and the 3-piece roof are detachable and its look and function can be transformed into any outdoor configuration you fancy. A Locking Center Glove Box comes in handy when traveling with everything detached. Set yourself free with the most versatile SUV in the market. The possibilities are endless. 



With Freedom Panel split-roofs removed


I was surprised to notice that we did not experience any irritating and ear-blasting wind noise while traveling 60-kph with the front roofs removed as you would always experience with some sunroof-equipped cars. Instead, we were treated to my collection of beat-bobbing cruising music playing from two large weatherproof speakers strategically placed on the sleek-looking Sport Bar right above our heads. No guys, not that testosterone-filled bar with huge flat screens and an endless supply of beer, but one that is made of Hot Stamped Advanced High-Strength Steel that will provide a strong safety cage structure in case of a roll-over.


Center Sports Bar with weather-proof speakers


With the unthreading of 4 bolts, you could also fold down the windshield and make it rest on heavy-duty rubber-stops built-in into the hood. Maybe some of you remember the 60s TV series "The Rat Patrol. This Jeep Wrangler would look exactly like the one in the show, that's if you have an antique M2 Browning .50 Cal machine gun lying around which you would mount at the back to scare the neighborhood. 


Sport Bar Assembly made of Hot Stamped Advanced High-Strength Steel


Safety

Since the Jeep Wrangler is off-road rated and has a high center of gravity, it is more prone to roll-overs. This model is now equipped with ERM, Electronic Roll Mitigation. Its main objective is to keep all tires on the ground at all times. The system tracks your steering wheel inputs and wheel speed. If it detects that you've suddenly given it a large steering wheel input, and you are moving too fast for that turn, it will instantly cut power from the engine and also apply the brakes to the appropriate wheel to make that maneuver a safe one.


4WD  245/75R17 Bridgestone Desert Dueler All-terrain tires mounted on 17-inch black steel-styled wheels


Its ParkSense Rear Park Assist system always assured me that it had my back. It had the keen ability of sensing irregular shaped objects that were protruding at an angle, like a bamboo pole sticking out of bush. If you would prefer a visual kind of assistance on a screen while backing up, the Rubicon variant would be perfect for you. 

For me, it’s always safety first. It’s welcoming to know that Electronic Stability Control, Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist, Tire Pressure Monitoring Display, Trailer Sway Damping, Front Air Bags, and supplemental Front Seat Side Airbags are included with this safety package.


The Journey

Being the spontaneous adventurers who find a thrill in boundary-breaking experiences, we set our sights for a day trip to Tanay, Rizal. Yes, like in my dream,  I wanted to witness firsthand the capabilities of doing the impossible with the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 2.0L.

I chose the Mt. Daraitan area in Rizal Province to play in because midway from ParaƱaque is Pililla (the windmill town of Rizal). I had contacted some off-roading buddies who lived there. They were familiar with some trails in the area and were totally excited to join us on the test drive.


Map and route care of Waze


It was just my partner Arabelle Jimenez and I that started the one-and-a-half-hour (50 km) trip from Merville ParaƱaque to Pililla, Rizal mostly on well-paved roads. Our route would take us through a short part of SLEX, down to lower Bicutan to get on the C6, pass through Taytay, and take the Manila East Road to Pililla town proper.

This 268 HP Wrangler is exceptionally powerful and boy can it accelerate. It did 0-100 kph in 7-seconds on an actual test, thanks to its 2.0L I4 DOHC DI Turbo Engine. It is agile and extremely responsive with very little turbo lag. It was as much fun to drive in the city, or on the highway, but even more where no road exists. 

The Wrangler's on-road driving dynamics on paved roads are worthy. The Wrangler tends to sway and lean on turns, but it stayed composed. Utilizing a body-on-frame design, solid axles, and its five-link suspension system yields a firm and choppy ride on uneven pavement, and I presume its boxy shape leaves it vulnerable to crosswinds on the highway. But, it is a formidable beast when the pavement ends.

When we got to Pililla, a sumptuous smoked chicken meal was prepared for us by Ariel, Lemon, and Cecile Dalisay, our hosts for the day. After devouring the very tasty and delicious savory chicken down to the bone, we hurriedly proceeded to Daraitan because it was still an hour away and we didn't know what to expect. Lemon came along as our tour and trail guide. 

Reaching Daraitan, we went toward the river where we would attempt a river crossing, but upon getting there we found a river that wasn't flowing with water.  It looked more like a drought-stricken stream with about 6-inches of water on some parts. Attempting a river crossing would not be as exciting as traveling along the shallow riverbed full of rocks, soft sand, and unknown terrain, so we decided on the latter.  


At the Daraitan River bed


Lemon and I removed the front Freedom Panel split-roofs so we could really experience nature's freshness up close. It took us less than 2-minutes to remove and store them in their specially-made Freedom Panel Storage Bars back in the rear compartment. 

Off we went along the dry riverbed. This is where the Jeep Wrangler excelled and proved to us what it was really designed to do. The 4WD system was flawless. It crawled over moss-covered rocks and soft sand without slipping or digging in. The ride over loose rocks felt solid and to our amazement, our bodies were not being thrown from side to side. It was gentle without a single body creak heard.

Steering the beast through rocky crevices was light and precise.  

The power released by the powerful 2.0L I4 DOHC DI Turbo Engine while engaged in lo-4WD mode was controlled and calculated. It didn't feel as aggressive, responsive, and as pedal sensitive as when it was driven on the highway. 


Intelligent 4WD system


Everything else like the large off-road tires, high ground clearance, firm suspension, intelligent 4WD system, Anti-lock 4-wheel FNC Disc HD Brakes, and its American-made toughness completed our river adventure-on-wheels with a 100% satisfaction rating. 

Several high-fives and our big smiles were not enough to express the thrill and feeling of accomplishment. We had conquered a daring task and turned it into an unforgettable adventure.  All this is in the comforts and safety of our 4WD partner, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport.


Jeep Wrangler gives you the choice to be whoever you want to be, wherever you want to be.


After all this traveling on and off the road, our fuel economy on average was calculated at 10 Kilometers/Litter. A combination of city, highway, and off-road driving was all done in one day.


Accessories

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 2.0 is definitely an eye-turner right out of the showroom. I am the type of guy who would like to personalize its looks and make it stand out amongst the rest. Remember, it’s all in the details. For starters, larger Tires would be desirable, and I’d replace the headlamps with the LED Type. A perfect first upgrade purchase for me would be the Wrangler Accessory Set (available only at the Jeep dealership), which consists of the following: a 2-inch Lift Kit, a pair of 7-inch LED Round Headlamps, and a pair of 4-inch Fog Lamps with (DRL) Daylight Running Lights. Just like the ruggedly handsome Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 2.0, let your personality stand out. Be free to style it your way.


Designed For Your Lifestyle

This 4WD icon first made its debut during World War 2, when the American forces used them as General Purpose vehicles, "GP" for short. Some say that GP slurred into Jeep.  It was designed and mass-produced with the purpose of being an off-road capable 4WD light military vehicle. That basic idea still holds eight decades later, but automotive and electronic technology advancements of the last thirty years have really changed what the Jeep is capable of today.


Finding freedom and adventure no matter the challenge or situation


The iconic Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 2.0L lives up to its proven reliability and Off-roading capability. This American-made brute is the perfect partner that will give you confidence in finding freedom and adventure no matter the challenge or situation. 

Set yourself free. This Jeep Wrangler gives you the choice to be whoever you want to be, wherever you want to be.

To learn more about Jeep vehicles and accessories, log on to the official website at www.jeep.com.ph/en.


To find out more on the Wrangler, scan the QR codes below.


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Monch "Monchster" Henares is an award-winning automotive journalist.  He is the founder of MonchsterChronicles.com, which ranks No. 6 in the TOP TEN Car Blogs of the Philippines

He is also a tech specialist, inventor, and automotive engineer. He managed the motor pool for the largest limousine company in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. He is now based in the Philippines, and together with his partner, Arabelle Jimenez, they co-founded motourismo.ph. Monch is currently the President of BuildMeUp Corp, a digital media company.

You may e-mail him at monchnrs@gmail.com
Follow on Facebook
Instagram @themonchster 
Youtube Channel Monchster Chronicles

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