Jeep Wrangler Sahara 2 door 2.2 Multijet-2 Nowt Queer About This.
Bit of History.
It has been 20 years since Queer As Folk, the groundbreaking Channel 4 show, hit our screens with a bang bigger than that from the pounding headache you’d get the next morning from sniffing all those poppers on the dance floor of The White Swan in the East End.
It was the first mainstream show that depicted gay life, cruising, pick-ups, recreational drug taking (with a tragic ending for one) and rimming. The first series opened up more than your eyes. The second series was a bit or a let down, so let’s remember the start and the stars that were made.
What Have We Got?
Apart from projecting Aidan Gillen, Craig Kelly and Charlie Hunnam into the hights of recognisable TV stars, there was also stared another star. A star that really did get bashed in the rear doors. I’m talking about the 1995 Jeep Wrangler.
Overnight, the short wheelbase Wrangler was thrown under the gay spot light and garnered a reputation as being a bit of a gays car. Wrong or right, who can tell. I couldn’t back then. I was 20 and didn’t really have much of a car history underneath me.
So we at The Gay UK take on Jeeps smallest offering for a cruise around the streets of Surrey to find out if it’s any good as a daily city cruiser.
You must remember, as a tarmac driver, the Wrangler isn’t built for handling. Push it too fast into a corner and it will complain with tyre noise and understeer. On-road performance isn’t what you’d buy this kind of Jeep for.
Ride is a pleasant mix of body shake and exaggerated articulation. It takes a bit of getting used to before you become accustomed to its ways. It’s not unpleasant and surprisingly supple on most surfaces.
This suppleness and body isolation is thankfully there when on the motorway. At high legal speeds it’s very comfortable. Surprisingly more so than you’d thing and at speed, the wobble and float from the way the suspension works, doesn’t make it feel unwieldy or tiresome.
Fitted with a 2.2 turbo diesel mated to an 8 speed automatic, it makes easy work of most situations with 450Nm of torque available at 2000rpm. On and off the road that figure means it has all its power almost ready whenever the throttle is pressed.
Off-road usability is second to none. That is what has made Jeep an off road force to be reckoned with. This Jeep will wade water up to 760mm and with a 37.4 degree approach angle, it is usefully greater than that of the rears, meaning you won’t find yourself bottoming as you come out of your sticky situation.
For a utility vehicle, built to be exposed to the elements, both inside and out, you find the cabin appointed in luxurious feeling soft touch materials where it matters. You get electric front windows, air conditioning, heated leather seats and reversing camera to name the name luxuries. All great.
You also get tiny footwells up front and even less space in the rear for feet. The rear seat is a bit excessive because it’s not really that useful.
Living With It
For me, with little use for a 4WD but loving the look, I’m willing to overlook its problems. You soon learn to ignore the wind noise when driving with the roofs off at motorway speeds.
The boot is all but hopeless with just over 200 litres of space. Take the front roof panels off and you can kiss that space good-bye. And even with the rear seats folded, it is still no where near as useful as say a small hatchback like a Fiesta.
What is a boon in this short wheel base, is parking. It’s short wheelbase makes it one of the easiest big car to park. And because it’s clad with a bench for a front bumper and the usual appendages you expect to find on a Jeep, parking dings won’t spoil your Jeeps good rugged looks.
You shouldn’t like it. It’s heavily flawed in many areas and yet it’s excellent to cruise around in. Which is surprising because the way it lurches around with a body that doesn’t feel connected to the chassis, it does make it remarkably comfortable.
The Wrangler is anything but queer. Give me a metallic brown one with a gold eagle on the bonnet and I’m sold. So that pretty much answers would I recommend one!
Rugged good looks
Ride quality better than you’d think
Zero boot space
Zero rear leg room
Zero front foot well space
Car – Jeep Wrangler Sahara 2 door 2.2 Multijet-2
Price – £46,940 (as tested)
MPG – 37.7 mpg (combined)
Power – 200bhp
0-62mph – 8.9 seconds
Top Speed – 112 mph
Co2 – 198 (g/km)
PHOTOS: Ⓒ Stuart M Bird
Motoring nurse or medical motorist? It’s a difficult one. By day l nurse and by night l drive.
Fingers have always been grease deep in attending the motoring of an ageing fleet. And now l write about new and old.
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Member of the Southern Group of Motoring Writers. (SGMW)