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Jeep Wrangler 2024 review: Overland - off-road test

The Jeep Wrangler is a very capable 4WD with real bush cred, but the all-out glory is usually reserved for the hard-core Wrangler variant, the Rubicon.

The Overland is often disparagingly referred to as the city Wrangler. But is that really the case? After all, it’s 'Trail Rated', as well.

We tested the four-door Overland over a seven-day period to see how it’d perform on-road, but most of our focus was on its comfort and capability in an off-road environment.

Read on.

Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

If you’re keen on one of these Jeeps you’ll have to be ready to sell one of your organs – and I don’t mean your church keyboard.

This five-seat vehicle as tested has a manufacturer suggested retail price of $86,950, excluding on-road costs. 

The list of standard features is extensive, as it should be at this price. Including, premium touches like heating for the steering wheel and front seats, black leather trimmed seats (with ‘Overland’ logo). The list of standard features is extensive, as it should be at this price. Including, premium touches like heating for the steering wheel and front seats, black leather trimmed seats (with ‘Overland’ logo).

The list of standard features is extensive, as it should be at this price, and includes an 8.4-inch multimedia touchscreen unit, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a nine-speaker Alpine premium audio system (with subwoofer), as well as premium touches like heating for the steering wheel and front seats, black leather trimmed seats (with ‘Overland’ logo), leather-wrapped gear-shifter knob and parking brake handle, 18-inch alloy wheels and more.

8.4-inch multimedia touchscreen unit. 8.4-inch multimedia touchscreen unit.

Exterior paint includes 'Bright White' (on our test vehicle) and black (both standard), and optional colours such as 'Silver Zynith', 'Sting Grey', 'Firecracker Red', 'Punk’n' (orange), 'Earl' (blue-ish grey), 'Hydro Blue' and 'High Velocity' (yellow).

If you opt for the 'Sky-One-Touch Premium Package' (which includes the 'Sky-One-Touch Power Top', and body colour fender flares) that’s an extra $6450.

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design?

The Wrangler's appearance has been tweaked throughout the years without ever sacrificing any of the ol’ Wrangler spirit.

It has stuck to its traditional roots and, as such, retains its old-school chunkiness, which is good, but the Overland is less of a hardcore-looking 4WD and more of a lifestyle-suited off-roader than its Rubicon stablemate. 

The Wrangler's appearance has been tweaked throughout the years without ever sacrificing any of the ol’ Wrangler spirit. The Wrangler's appearance has been tweaked throughout the years without ever sacrificing any of the ol’ Wrangler spirit.

Though the Overland version has a certain blocky appeal, I reckon the Rubicon is better for having fully embraced the all-out off-road look and feel, tyres and all. 

Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside?

What can you say about a vehicle that has a “wash-out interior with drain plugs” listed in its specs?

This is a purpose-built off-roader and the Overland’s five-seat cabin is a basic but functional space, in which it’s easy to immediately feel comfortable. 

All dials, knobs and switches are easy to locate and chunky enough to operate while skipping over corrugations or climbing up steep rock steps.

There's leather everywhere – seats, steering wheel, shifter knob – but durable outdoors-tough surfaces also abound.

This is a purpose-built off-roader and the Overland’s five-seat cabin is a basic but functional space, in which it’s easy to immediately feel comfortable.  This is a purpose-built off-roader and the Overland’s five-seat cabin is a basic but functional space, in which it’s easy to immediately feel comfortable. 

What always strikes me about the Wrangler interior is the fact that it’s abundantly clear Jeep designers regularly experience – or at least are familiar with – the type of life that Wranglers are aimed at: fun, dirty, rough-and-tumble adventures in the great outdoors.

There isn’t a lot of storage space inside but there are a few small, deep, and textured receptacles – ideal for keeping your bits and pieces in the same spot while you bounce around off-road – as well as grab handles, including a big sturdy one in front of the front-seat passenger. 

  • 2023 Jeep Wrangler Overload I Boot 2023 Jeep Wrangler Overload I Boot
  • 2023 Jeep Wrangler Overload I Boot 2023 Jeep Wrangler Overload I Boot

There are also tensioned net pockets on the doors so you can throw stuff in there, but beyond those there aren't a lot of storage options.

There are air vents, two USB-C ports, and a 230V inverter in the centre console.

Rear cargo space is listed at 898 litres; with the rear seat stowed away, there is a claimed 2050 litres of room.

Under the bonnet – What are the key stats for its engine and transmission?

This Jeep has a 3.6-litre 'Pentastar' V6 engine – producing 209kW at 6400rpm and 347Nm at 4100rpm – and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

This Jeep has a 3.6-litre 'Pentastar' V6 engine. This Jeep has a 3.6-litre 'Pentastar' V6 engine.

It's an effective engine-and-auto pairing for driving on sealed surfaces and well suited to high- and low-range 4WDing.

Driving – What's it like to drive?

The Wrangler Overland is a fun, go-kart style drive and yields a real driver-direct experience you get from few other contemporary vehicles on the blacktop and the dirt.

But while it’s nowhere near as atrocious as you might expect on sealed surfaces its planted, squared-off stance gives it a definite composure on bitumen. It’s certainly no sports car in terms of ride and handling.

It’s quite soft on-road, soaking up most imperfections with ease, but it also takes quite a lot of effort and concentration to keep this Jeep in line on the open road because it tends to float around on the blacktop if not constantly reined in. 

Also, its steering has a lightness about it that can sometimes be a bit disconcerting. 

The V6 is a gutsy unit, capable of punching the Overland along at a fair clip, all while the eight-speed auto handles clever and nicely controlled shifts.

Because it’s so blocky, straight up and down, with big wing mirrors and the like, the Overland is rather noisy on sealed surfaces.

But it remains one of the few modern vehicles that deserves to be driven with the windows down, because it offers that kind of visceral driving experience – as the LC70 Series, or Suzuki Jimny do.

So, how does the Overland perform off-road? Bloody glad you asked.

The Overland is still an extremely capable off-roader. The Overland is still an extremely capable off-roader.

Spoiler alert: The Overland is not as good an off-roader as the Rubicon because it does not have that variant’s BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain tyres, 'Rock-Trac' active on-demand 4x4 system (with 4:1 transfer case*, and 77.2:1 crawl ratio), front and rear locking differentials, or the Rubicon’s very handy electronic front sway bar disconnect. (* The Overland has 2.72:1.)

But, having said that, the Overland is still an extremely capable off-roader.

To be honest, I wasn't expecting any strife because it retains all the traditional goodness of the Wrangler with very few compromises. It’s a genuine 4WD with a dual-range transfer case, a ladder chassis, solid axles and well-proven 4WD heritage.

In terms of size, the Overland is 4882mm long (with a 3008mm wheelbase), 1894mm wide, 1838mm high. It has a listed kerb weight of 1900kg.

Steering has a nice weight to it at lower speeds, giving the driver a great sense of sustained control through even the most severe obstacles, but the Overland’s turning circle is a listed 12.44m, so this off-roader can sometimes feel like a mini-bus to steer through tight turns.

This is a purpose-built off-roader with a wide wheel track and low centre of gravity, so it feels planted no matter how rough and bumpy the terrain gets. This is a purpose-built off-roader with a wide wheel track and low centre of gravity, so it feels planted no matter how rough and bumpy the terrain gets.

However, this is a purpose-built off-roader with a wide wheel track and low centre of gravity, so it feels planted no matter how rough and bumpy the terrain gets.

On the gravel track to our off-road testing site, there are numerous steering-wheel-jolting corrugations but overall the Overland – with a coil spring at each corner – soaked them up.

Our 4WD loop included the aforementioned gravel tracks, light to medium corrugations, undulating mud tracks and mud holes, and some very challenging low-range 4WD sections (in particular, a steep rocky hill), and a few other set-pieces to see if the Overland was able to do everything safely and comfortably. 

As a true 4WD worth its weight in gold, the Wrangler is immediately more at home taking on low-speed 4WDing than it is negotiating suburban traffic.

Again, the V6 engine comes into its own, delivering smooth, even torque when needed, but not ever over-working to achieve that.

Considered driving is necessary as is slow and steady throttle, but that's easily achieved in the Wrangler as its go pedal is none too sensitive to a bouncing boot.

It’s refreshing to note that switching to 4WD High or 4WD Low range is still done via a stubby stick to the left of the auto shifter, rather than the push of a button, or the turn of a dial. 

Low-range gearing is very good and the Overland has a well-calibrated off-road traction control that seamlessly launches into action when required, and wasted wheelspin is kept to an absolute minimum.

This Wrangler has 242mm ground clearance and a standard wading depth of 760mm, and was never troubled on climbing steep rock steps, traversing deep ruts or punching through mudholes.

It’s supremely sure-footed during low-range work but visibility can be an issue: over-bonnet visibility has improved slightly over previous generations but the driver’s view to the front and side is still a bit squeezed, making it at times difficult to visually pick correct wheel-placement, especially when driving steep terrain at sharp angles.

It can go hardcore, no worries, but it simply requires a bit more thought and you know what? That’s fine with me because it makes the off-roading experience an even more engaging one. 

The Overland has approach, departure and breakover angles of 35.8, 31.2 and 20.4 degrees, respectively.

With live axles front and rear, the Overland has plenty of wheel travel to keep moving and under control through truly off-grid country.

The only real compromises in the Overland’s 4x4 set-up are its standard Bridgestone Dueler (255/70R18) highway tyres and, even on those, the Overland walked up and over our toughest off-road challenges.

Though the Overland is not historically regarded as a towing platform, it’s handy for you to know that it has listed towing capacities of 750kg (unbraked trailer) and 2495kg (braked).

Efficiency – What is its fuel consumption? What is its driving range?

Official fuel consumption is listed as 9.7L/100km on a combined cycle. 

Actual fuel consumption on this test, from pump to pump, was 13.6L/100km, largely attributable to the fact I did a lot of low-range four-wheel driving on this test, as always. 

The Wrangler Overland Unlimited has an 81-litre tank so, going by that fuel figure above, you could reasonably expect a driving range of about 595km from a full tank.

Note: Drop 30km to 50km from your total calculated fuel-range figure for a better idea of your vehicle’s safe touring range – so that figure above would be 565km.

Also, remember that numerous other factors affect your fuel consumption and so impact your touring range, including how much extra weight you have onboard (passengers, camping gear etc), whether your vehicle is fitted with any aftermarket equipment (bullbar, spare-wheel carrier, etc), whether you are towing (a camper-trailer, caravan, or boat etc), your vehicle's tyre pressures and the conditions.

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating?

Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs?

The Overland Unlimited is covered by a five-year/unlimited km warranty.

Servicing is set at 12 month or 12,000km intervals at a total cost of $1995 over five years, with servicing capped at a maximum $399 per appointment.

Lifetime roadside assist is available to Overland owners when they service through Jeep.

The Overland is (surprisingly) not atrocious on-road and (not surprisingly) very capable off-road. It costs a lot but, geez, it's a barrel of laughs.

If your heart is set on a four-door mid-size 4WD that's a whole lot of fun to drive, but rather impractical for daily life, then it’s difficult to over-look the Overland.

If you’re really gung-ho about hard-core off-roading – rock-crawling etc – then perhaps you should focus on the Rubicon, but for everything else the Overland, even on standard tyres, is more than capable.

$86,950

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3.5/5

Adventure score

3.5/5

adventureguide rank

  • Light

    Dry weather gravel roads and formed trails with no obstacles, very shallow water crossings.

  • Medium

    Hard-packed sand, slight to medium hills with minor obstacles in all weather.

  • Heavy

    Larger obstacles, steeper climbs and deeper water crossings; plus tracks marked as '4WD only'

Price Guide

$86,950

Based on new car retail price

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