Just about the only way we can describe the ride of pre-2007-era Wrangler models to the uninitiated is to imagine being stricken with a rather severe case of haemorrhoids and then being superglued to a spacehopper. Perhaps that's a tad harsh but after the novelty of an old Wrangler's bouncy ride had worn off, you were left with a vehicle that could crawl through deep mud but which wasn't much good at anything else. With the current 'JK' eries car, things certainly improved - if not dramatically then, at least, unequivocally. This design is much quieter than its predecessors too, thanks to beefed up insulation from engine and road noise.
The most recent change beneath the bonnet was the installation of a 3.6-litre V6 Pentastar petrol unit that proved to be a much sweeter thing than the old and rather crude 3.8-litre lump it replaced. All-aluminium and some 40 kilos lighter than the iron-blocked V6, this engine delivers respectable power and torque from its quite compact dimensions - some 285bhp and 260 lb ft, which in two-door form, with Jeep's latest five-speed auto gearbox fitted, means a 0-60mph time of just 8.1s. Most British buyers though, choose the 2.8-litre CRD turbodiesel engine that this 'JK' series model has had since its launch in 2007. It's a unit which delivers 200bhp, though torque output depends on the transmission it's teamed with: 302 lb ft for the six-speed manual and 339 lb ft for the five-speed auto.
Whichever engine and transmission combination you go for, the Wrangler is still brilliant off road, with its super aggressive approach and departure angles. Opt for the entry-level Sport or Shara trims and the car comes with clever brake lock differentials. In the two-door short wheelbase line-up, the range-topping Rubicon model gets even more specialist front and rear locking differentials. On road manners feel safe and predictable, if a little slow-witted, but there are decent levels of grip and, on broken or rutted surfaces, the handling is no longer stymied by a bouncy ride.