Here are some new, fun alternatives to the perennial 4x4 favourite Jeep Wrangler

A lowdown on the hottest rides in town

By George Kuruvilla

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

 

Published: Thu 15 Jun 2023, 9:39 PM

SUVs, SUVs, SUVs! They are all the rage. And for decades, the Jeep Wrangler has been the go-to vehicle for someone who wants a proper off-roader at an affordable rate. The vehicle that has been modelled on the WWII’s Willy’s Jeep has been ruling the roost, even after essentially being a copy of itself, generation after generation, for the past 40 years. And now with the FJ cruiser dead and gone, i.e. out of production, you may think the segment lacks variety. But the truth is far from it. There is a fresh crop of vehicles that are giving the Jeep a run for its money and here’s a roundup of some of those rides.

Ford Bronco

The first-ever SUV by Ford was resurrected for one reason and one reason only — to take down the Wrangler. The truck-like boxy silhouette, wide fenders, and groovy tyres, bring back the monster truck vibes of generations past and give it great road presence. But it’s a whole lot more expensive than anticipated, which is a bit of a question mark. Guess, that’s the price you pay for wanting that shiny new thing. Unlike the Jeep and its adequate powertrains, the Bronco comes with a choice of two potent options, one a 275 PS 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine and the other a 330 PS 2.7-litre EcoBoost engine. Both are tied to a 10-speed auto and ready to rip through the dirt like nobody’s business. The best part is, like its rival, you can take the doors and roof off to experience the elements better.


.

With more than 200 factory-backed accessories available at launch, this 2021 Bronco two-door prototype shows how owners can personalize their SUV to get more out of their outdoor experiences. (Aftermarket accessories shown not available for sale. Prototype not representative of production vehicle.)
With more than 200 factory-backed accessories available at launch, this 2021 Bronco two-door prototype shows how owners can personalize their SUV to get more out of their outdoor experiences. (Aftermarket accessories shown not available for sale. Prototype not representative of production vehicle.)

BAIC BJ40

They say, ‘imitation is the best form of flattery’ and the Chinese company BAIC has taken that to the next level with the BJ40 (and every other variation of it). Its rugged and rectangular exterior is a copy of the Wrangler, one that you’d appreciate when you compare prices. And its design is such, it could easily look like an army vehicle deployed in some corner of the world. The interiors are a mash between the Wrangler and a Mercedes and is a nice place to sit too. There isn’t a powerhouse of a motor nestled under the hood, but expect sufficient motivation from the turbocharged 2.0-litre that makes 225 PS and 380Nm of torque.


Land Rover Defender

Only a few automobiles are steeped in tradition like the Wrangler, and one such example is the Defender. The vehicle, which began conquering lands over 70 years with the Series 1, got a total revamp in 2020. The older generations have been a favourite with wildlife film crews and safari campers, and you may have seen one in the Al Ulla tourism ads too. The new design is a complete and ingenious reinvention of the ‘box’ outlook, for which they deserve a pat on their backs. Match that design with one of their elegant paint schemes and you have a proper offroader that doubles as a luxury vehicle, which doesn’t feel cheap in the company of the rich. Power outputs are generous, with the Defender delivering 300 PS, 400 PS, or the 525 PS, depending on the powertrain you choose. And you can get it equipped with a 3rd row with the 130 variant, a shortfall for the Jeep. But it isn’t cheap. In fact, all options considered, it may just be the most expensive model here!

Toyota Hilux GR Sport

The Toyota Hilux pickup is the workman’s dependable companion. And the GR Sport is the superhero avatar of that no-nonsense utilitarian truck. The elevated ride height and the unique black paint scheme and graphics make it eye-catching and even desirable. And it’s not just a looker, it’s got gutsy internals to make it run wild in the desert. Under the hood is a tried-and-tested 4.0-litre V6, which is matched to a 6-speed auto that puts out some 235 PS of fun. It may not be the first option that comes to mind when shopping for Jeep alternatives but trust me it can do all that the Jeep can in the sands…and more thanks to the truck bed, come furniture shopping.

Tank 300

From the automaker Great Wall Motors, also known as GWM, comes the new sub-brand Tank. In fact, it’s so fresh, I’ll guarantee you that most of you haven’t heard about it. This means you can enjoy the perks of exclusivity if you get one of their vehicles.

The Wrangler, on the other hand, is as common as sand. The Tank 300 is a near-visual twin of the Bronco Sport and, arguably, better styled. And like the BJ40, this too comes with a turbo 2.0-litre 4-pot that makes near identical figures… a good thing given that it’s considerably cheaper than the Jeep.


More news from Lifestyle