Tuesday, June 22, 2021 | Dhu al-Qaadah 11, 1442 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

The right car for off-road and city driving

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Muscat, dec 22 - Jeep has always been a classic for me. The fondest memory I have of being in one was driving with my father off-road on slippery slopes of rugged mountains while the storm poured in heavily back in the 90s. It was so reliable that for a time, it was my father’s prized position and it got us out of countless heavy storms and floods and challenging dirt roads.


While my father thrived in mountain living, I chose a different life and being stuck in traffic (Manila traffic is said to be one of the worst in the world), I haven’t really imagined a Jeep as convenient for city living.


Invited to test a Jeep Wrangler Sahara recently, I was a little bit hesitant but excited. I was hesitant because I’ve seen the latest releases of Jeep and having considered it a champ of off-road driving, I was afraid that I get disappointed. I was excited because I was looking forward to the upgrades made and having been told the Jeep Wrangler Sahara is good for both off-road and city living, I was dedicated to put it to the test and push it as hard as we could.


For this particular drive, I asked our video producer, himself a lover of good cars, to accompany me. Truth be told, while driving can be fun, I enjoy being the ‘constant passenger’ as it makes me even more observant about different details I would otherwise not pay attention if my mind and eyes are busy on the road. The car handed to us was painted a bright white clearcoat on the outside with black with cloth low-back bucket seats in the inside. Other than Bright White, it also comes in exterior colours of Black, Firecracker Red, Billet Silver Metallic, Granite Crystal Metallic, Hellayella, Ocean Blue, Punk’n Metallic, Mojito and Sting Gray.


At first glance, I liked what was handed to us. Beauty can be subjective, but with a posh hotel in the background, the car looked slick and stood out so well it belonged in the line up of luxury cars ebb and flowing the hotel’s driveway. I’ve always been very particular about convenience and with the Jeep Wrangler Sahara coming in with four doors, it already has my nod on the outset.


We were given the specs: the engine is 3.6-litre V6 upgraded Pentastar engine, 285 horsepower with a torque of 347 Nm. The transmission is 8 speed automatic, and at 1973 kg, this mid-size SUV is perfect both for bachelors and families who love going outdoors but has to live in the city for work or studies.


Inside, what got my attention first was the premium leather seat. The leather was stylishly incorporated as well on the dashboard with contrast stitching. It’s also hard to not miss the new customisable 7-inch Driver Information Digital Cluster Display and the Uconnect® system 4C NAV with an 8.4-inch touchscreen which made me appreciate it more as it paid attention to what modern drivers and passengers need for convenience.

Over 65 available safety and security feature


To get it out of the way, the key delivery features of the Jeep Wrangler Sahara include the Selec-Trac Full-Time 4WD System, the ParkSense Rear Park Assist System, the ParkView Rear Back-Up Camera, the Blind Spot Monitoring & Rear Cross-Path Detection, the Dual-Zone Automatic Temperature Control, the Electronic Speed Control, the Engine Stop/Start (ESS) System, the Alpine premium Audio 8 speakers with all-weather subwoofer, the personalised 7-inch Multiview information digital cluster, the Sky One-Touch Power Top and what I liked the best, the Premium LED headlamp with DRLs for a truly distinctive look.


The Selec-trac 4x4 system features a full-time mode that will automatically switch from 2WD to 4WD when conditions dictate relying on internal wheel speed and traction control sensors, Selec Trac makes driving in uneven terrains and inclement weather safer and smoother while delivering superior efficiency when four-wheel drive isn’t needed.


The Jeep Wrangler Sahara also promises to help protect you and your companions with active and passive safety and security features including Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, Parkview rear back up camera with dynamic gridlines, front and rear parking sensors, Electronic Stability Control, Antilock Brake System (ABS), Brake Assist, four standard airbags, body-on-frame construction and more.


It is also Trail rated which means it is superior on Traction, Articulation, Ground Clearance, Manoeuvrability and Water Froding.


The test drive


The Jeep Wrangler Sahara has been created with body-on-frame design and superbly engineered five-link suspension system delivering a benchmark 4x4 capability. The use of lightweight, high-strength aluminium closures - including doors, door hinges, fender flares, windshield frame and magnesium swing gate - contribute to reducing the overall vehicle weight, improving its fuel efficiency.


In Oman, fuel efficiency has been a hot-button topic in recent years and based on this particular experience; the makers know what they are doing and actually delivered. We got more mileage being on this car driving around the city compared to older models, and personally, I think a lot of other Jeep lovers would find this a welcome and comforting news.


Calling in a friend who has owned a Jeep for years, we also tested several other things — the car performance on highways, the car performance off-road (we took it to the desert just to see how it will fare and boy, the experience was just as pleasant as some of my friends’ customised cars), the safety features and overall, we assessed whether it will, in fact, be perfect for both city living and off-road driving.


While the three of us have our points of contention (like the SUV size’s appropriateness when dune bashing or how the sensors can be affected by dust) we all agreed that, overall, the Jeep Wrangler Sahara is definitely something worth considering if one is looking for a car that would help the ease of living.


I highly think that it is perfect for Oman living. It is a fantastic choice for those who want an excellent off-road car but is also fuel efficient for day to day city use. The cherry on the cake, the Sahara also comes with the all-new available Sky One-Touch™ Power Top which provides an Authentic open-air experience with a flick of a switch. And we all know how an amazing of an experience it is to have an open roof during winter while driving in the mountains like Al Jabal Al Akhdhar, Jabal Shams or the Khareef season in Salalah.


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