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All-New Jeep Wrangler tests in Australia ahead of right-hand drive production

Practical Motoring logo Practical Motoring 12/02/2018 Isaac Bober

a truck driving down a dirt road: all-new Jeep Wrangler

all-new Jeep Wrangler
© Provided by Practical Motoring

Car makers are beginning to take more notice of Australia. Whether that’s the likes of Subaru, Hyundai or Kia offering Australia-specific steering and suspension tunes on its vehicles, or Ford Australia leading the development of the Ranger and Everest. Now, Jeep has officially tested in Australia to gather data ahead of right-hand drive production of the all-new JL Wrangler.

While it’s common for Jeep to test its vehicles in OS markets, this is the first-time testing has taken place in Australia. Two left-hand drive JL Wranglers, one running a 2.0-litre four-cylinder making 201kW and 400Nm of torque and the other with a 3.6-litre V6 making 213kW and 353Nm of torque.

In a statement, Jeep said: “The key objective of the technical evaluation program was to collect a range of specific vehicle performance data prior to the commencement of right-hand drive production of the new Wrangler, which begins later this year”.

The aim of the test was to explore hot weather performance and suspension calibration, and to run the testing, Jeep sent the Wrangler engineering program manager, John Adams, and the off-road development engineer, Bernie Trautmann - both are pictured below.

“Australia presents some incredibly unique driving environments so it was in our best interest to visit and understand if there were some new learnings that we could apply to the development of the new Wrangler – specifically for this market,” John Adams said.

“Explicitly, we were looking at the effect of Australia’s corrugated roads on long-range and high-speed drives which are common for much of the country’s population outside of the cities – and how our suspension tuning processes these inputs, combined with the extreme heat effects on our engine, transmission and cooling system management temperatures.

“We understand there’s an expectation from the Australian market that their vehicles are appropriately tuned to the country’s unique driving conditions and it’s for that reason we initiated the program to investigate if there’s anything we could be doing differently when it comes to delivering the Wrangler for Australia,” Adams added.

Jeep’s off road development lead engineer, Bernie Trautmann, said: “From the outset, our mission here was to collect as much data as possible, from as many different driving conditions as possible and the Australian outback certainly delivered this opportunity.

“We were really happy with the way the vehicles performed and were able to gain some valuable accelerometer and engine data to take back to our US headquarters for analysis, before determining our next steps,” Trautmann added.

Whether this testing means that the Wrangler sold in Oz will have a specific steering and suspension tune for Australia remains to be seen. The JW Wrangler goes into right-hand drive production later this year.

Pictures: America's favourite classic Jeeps

Slideshow provided by Motoring Research

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