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91 MOTORING ROAD TESTS BY NICK FLETCHER


OUR MOTORING COLUMN, BY THE EXPERIENCED AND AWARD WINNING LOCAL MOTORING JOURNALIST NICK FLETCHER, HELPS OUR READERS CHOOSE THE BEST OF THE LATEST CARS.


JEEPWrangler


JEEP IS A LEGENDARY BRAND AND ITS WRANGLER MODEL HAS WON A REPUTATION FOR TOUGHNESS AND GO- ANYWHERE CAPABILITY WHICH STRETCHES BACK TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR. Originally founded in America and now part of the giant


Fiat-Chrysler Group , Jeep is still creating rugged yet stylish vehicles and the new Wrangler is a prime example. With UK prices starting at £41,455, the Wrangler comes


in two and four-door form, with petrol and diesel engines, and a choice of two different four-wheel-drive systems. New styling gives the Wrangler a more formidable appearance and the cabin has also been refreshed and upgraded and offers a more premium look and increased storage capacity. While the emphasis is usually on Wrangler’s amazing


ITS NEW STYLING IS LESS QUIRKY THAN PREVIOUS VERSIONS


off-road capability, the model is also happy on city streets, providing a comfortable ride and agile handling. The featured model in flagship Rubicon trim starts from £49,455 and is very well-equipped. Features include LED headlamps and rear lights, a Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a raft of improved safety content including blind- spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, reversing camera, and electronic stability control with roll mitigation. The new engines – a 2.2-litre 200 hp turbo diesel and


2.0-litre 272 hp turbo petrol - both use eight-speed automatic transmission. Depending on trim level, there is a choice of two different on-demand four wheel drive


systems – Command-Trac and Rock-Trac. Both systems feature the new Selec-Trac full- time two-speed transfer case for continuous monitoring and management of the torque sent to front and rear wheels. The Wrangler has always been praised


more for off-road ability than its on-road performance, but it is also very responsive on the tarmac - the petrol version can get up to 60 mph in just seven seconds and the diesel model in ten seconds. Petrol versions return around 31 mpg, diesels around 37 mpg. Another Wrangler plus-point is that it is the only full open- air 4x4 SUV available on the market. It offers various top combinations including the Sky One-Touch powertop, new Zipperless Premium Sunrider soft top and Freedom Top, a removable three-panel hard top. With its new styling, latest engines and backed by a five-


year warranty, the Jeep Wrangler can blend extreme off-road performance with practical comfortable everyday urban cruising, a rare combination which is very hard to match.


SUBARU Outback Premium


SUBARU’S OUTBACK MODEL IS A ROBUST CROSSOVER ESTATE WHICH OFFERS THE REFINEMENT OF A ROAD CAR WITH THE EXTRA ASSURANCE AND GRIP OF ALL WHEEL DRIVE AND THE LATEST VERSION HAS A MORE PURPOSE- FUL FRONTAL DESIGN AND SIGNIFICANT EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY UPGRADES.


There are two models in the line-up, both using a proven


2.5 litre petrol engine which is installed lower down and further back than a conventional engine. This results in a lower centre of gravity and moves beneath the passenger compartment in the event of a collision, providing added safety for occupants. Prices start at £29,995 for the well- kitted SE, with the higher-spec SE Premium Lineartronic from £33,010. It was the latter model I tested, with its 173 hp engine


mated to CVT automatic transmission with paddle-shifters if you want to make the gear changes yourself. With a top speed of 123 mph and 0-60 mph time of 10.2 seconds, this version offers average fuel economy of 38.7 mpg and emissions of 166 g/km. For a large car, the Outback is surprising nimble with


nicely-weighted steering for easier parking and poised cornering. The engine is smooth, quiet and responsive and overall, the driving dynamics really impress.


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