2014 Jeep Wrangler Dragon Review and Road Test

by under Review on 13 Jun 2014 01:32:22 AM13 Jun 2014
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2014 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED
Price Range
$37,000 - $55,000
Fuel Consumption
8.3L - 11.9L/100km
4RATING
PROS

Standout looks; interior practicality/ergonomics; punchy V6; surprisingly refined on-road

CONS

Five-speed automatic transmission is getting dated

For those who reckon Jeep’s ‘Tough-As’ Wrangler doesn’t deliver a sufficiently bold on-road presence, your problems are solved – the Wrangler Dragon limited edition model is here. Well the go-anywhere American is never a ‘shrinking violet’ so why not be a bit ‘individual’?

2014 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED 4D SOFTTOP DRAGON 4X4

 
Adorned with Dragon logos, Dragon bronze highlights, Dragon bronze leather seat trim and lots more, the Jeep Wrangler Dragon is only available in black and is very…erm?...Las Vegas?...Gold Coast? But seriously, priced at $51,000 this limited edition Jeep Wrangler really ramps-up the value equation – a Jeep hallmark in Australia – with lots of luxo to take off-road or on.
 
You have to love the Jeep Wrangler - like the Land Rover Defender, this is what SUVs are all about. As you’d expect from an American vehicle, the Wrangler is probably a bit easier to live with in the every-day commute…but we’re not expecting anything like the Dragon limited edition any time soon from Land Rover. 
 

Jeep Wrangler Dragon Overview

 
The Dragon limited edition model is now the range-topper of the current Jeep Wrangler lineup. Based on the Overland grade (four-door, petrol), the Dragon is reasonably specified to begin with and of course adds the ‘Dragon’ interior and exterior enhancements.
2014 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED 4D SOFTTOP DRAGON 4X4
 
So that means there’s the black three-piece hard-top roof and ‘sunrider’ soft top, carpet for the interior and boot, leather-wrapped steering wheel, satellite navigation and reversing camera amongst the inclusions.
 

Jeep Wrangler Dragon Engine

 
Power comes from the familiar 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 petrol engine which delivers 209kW/347Nm and combined cycle fuel consumption of 11.9l/100kms.
 
Drive is via five-speed automatic transmission and of course Jeep’s legendary off-road prowess. That includes 223mm of ground clearance, an approach angle of 35-dgrees, departure angle of 28-degrees and a 22-degree breakover angle.

2014 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED 4D SOFTTOP DRAGON 4X4

 
Type in “Jeep Jamboree” or “Rubicon Trail” and you’ll see Jeep Wranglers towing that boat, climbing that mountain, descending that crevice, crawling over that boulder, dragging that caravan and doing the most strenuous things an SUV can do. Some may prefer the 2.8-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, but for the expected Wrangler Dragon buyer the petrol V6 is a smart call.
 

Jeep Wrangler Dragon The Interior

 
First impressions confirm the Wrangler isn’t a European or Asian SUV – the hallmark upright steering wheel, the relationship between the wheel and the pedals and the usual Jeep dashboard layout all combine to highlight its origins are ‘Stateside’. We still like the look of the dashboard – it’s ‘clunkiness’ and simplicity make for easy use and easy cleaning after a day off-road.
 

2014 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED 4D SOFTTOP DRAGON 4X4

Same for the instruments which are typical Jeep – nothing flashy but ergonomic triumphs which are easy to read. Included in the Dragon limited edition extras are some piano black highlights around the air vents and Dragon appliqué for the instrument cluster and front passenger grab handle.
 

2014 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED 4D SOFTTOP DRAGON 4X4

Seats get some black Nappa leather, Dragon bronze contrast stitching and an embossed pattern and the door grab handles are Dragon bronze.
 
Doors open wide in the Jeep Wrangler, providing easy access to both front and rear seats despite its height.
 

2014 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED 4D SOFTTOP DRAGON 4X4

The four-door model as tested provides reasonable luggage space and the cargo area mat scores the now familiar Dragon embroidered pattern in accent stitching.  
 

Jeep Wrangler Dragon Exterior & Styling

 
This is about as iconic as it gets – the styling of the Jeep Wrangler with its upright, seven-bar grille, round headlights, upright windscreen and bold, flat wheel-arch extensions is the stuff of automotive industry folklore. As an aside, given the styling direction we know Land Rover is going with the next Defender model, it will be interesting what interpretation (if any) Jeep puts on the next Wrangler.

2014 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED 4D SOFTTOP DRAGON 4X4

 
Of course the black-on-black Dragon limited edition accentuates the Jeep Wrangler’s strong on-road presence. Not the least of which are the dark charcoal metallic Dragon logos for the bonnet, front fenders, doors, B-pillar and hard spare wheel cover.
 
Up-front the Dragon model scores Dragon bronze satin gloss highlights for the grille and headlights accents. 
 
That Dragon bronze satin gloss continues for the 18-inch alloy wheels and even the bolts on the Mopar fuel filler door. 
 

Jeep Wrangler Dragon On The Road

 
It’s that knowing-nod, the subtle raising of a finger from the steering wheel or, at the traffic lights, the hint of a ‘thumbs-up’ – these are the greetings you get from fellow Jeep Wrangler drivers when behind the wheel of your own Wrangler. No doubt some of them recognised we were driving the latest Dragon limited edition model.
 

2014 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED 4D SOFTTOP DRAGON 4X4

And indeed we did drive the Dragon model the week that black Jeep Wrangler graced our garage – primarily in the week-day commute which some would say isn’t the best environment for this bad boy from the US of A. But they would be incorrect because the Wrangler - with handy acceleration from that 3.6-litre V6 and the aide of the reversing camera - is surprisingly practical in that environment.
 
CBD and shopping mall car-parking isn’t as easy as in a Suzuki Swift – but let’s see a Swift tackle some sand dune driving at the weekend. Or let’s see a Holden Barina drag those wave-runners up that moss-covered boat ramp.
 

2014 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED 4D SOFTTOP DRAGON 4X4

Out on the open road our Jeep Wrangler Dragon cruised nicely. Naturally there was more wind noise than say the upscale Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland which would also be more at home in the twisty stuff – but that’s not the point of the Wrangler is it? 
 
All of that shouldn’t really surprise when you consider the Jeep Wrangler’s home market of North America throws-up road conditions which are virtually identical to Australia. 
 

Jeep Wrangler Dragon Issues

 
We were interested to read some motoring mags criticise the steering of the Jeep Wrangler – obviously folk unfamiliar with the needs for heavy-duty off-road action where steering lock is crucial. The only points you can deduct from the Jeep Wrangler are for the five-speed automatic transmission – a few extra ratios would enhance on-road performance and fuel economy.
 

Jeep Wrangler Dragon Verdict

 
Dragon, Sport, Overland or Rubicon – there are different models but the staple is the Jeep Wrangler which remains one of the world’s most-acclaimed SUVs. It’s a CarShowroom.com.au Favourite because of its purity to its intended purpose.
 
This isn’t a Range Rover.

2014 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED 4D SOFTTOP DRAGON 4X4

 
No, this is an American icon which is tailor-made to handle the toughest off-road conditions while simultaneously providing surprising levels of interior luxury and refinement.
 
If you think that sounds like an ideal vehicle to handle family demands both during the week and at weekends you’d be right. 
 

Jeep Wrangler Dragon The Competition

 
Toyota FJ Cruiser is a CarShowroom.com.au Favourite for the same reasons as the Jeep Wrangler. We like the mucho, retro looks, 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine and – like the Wrangler – we’ve taken the FJ on tracks which test the toughest and emerged smiling. A bit less coin for the FJ too – stickered at $47,990.
2014 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED 4D SOFTTOP DRAGON 4X4
 
Of the rest, both Nissan Patrol Y61 and Land Rover Defender are only sold with diesel engines.

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