4x4

Steve Cassano’s Jeep Wrangler JKU

In 2012, I switched from a Jeep Grand Cherokee to a Wrangler, follow my story of why and what I’ve done to my Wrangler, I’ll be updating it regularly.

IT WAS MIDWAY THROUGH 2012, when I began to contemplate changing to a newer 4×4. My 4×4 at the time was a 4.7L V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. For more than 10 years it had taken us to various places in comfort and ease, though it did like a drink.

While it had performed faultlessly over the years, it was beginning to show its age and lack of technical advances. I sold it privately. Easily. Over the years I grew more confident in my off-roading abilities and having been a member of the Sydney Jeep Club led me to pushing the limits of the GC exploring more difficult tracks and challenging terrain. I was really enjoying the off-road life style.

I had looked at 4x4s like Patrol, LandCruiser and even Prado (I’d previously owned a 2001 Mitsubishi Pajero for a while) but with Jeep’s legendary history, off-road capabilities, unlimited source of accessories and a sort of unexplainable quirkiness, it was inevitable that I would choose another Jeep to fulfil my passion. The Jeep bug had bitten me.

I was focused on the Jeep Wrangler because it looked different. After all, it’s the most recognised and most insanely accessorised 4×4 in the world.  It’s extremely capable off the show room floor but can be set up to perform for long distance touring or the ability to tackle the meanest terrain or both as I’ve successfully done. Unlike most other vehicles, every Wrangler can be personalised differently from the next.  It was for all these reasons that I wanted one.

In 2007, when the newly revised Wrangler came onto the market, it had broken away from tradition accustomed to the replaced TJ and introduced a 4 door wagon, which offered more room, versatility and a better ride. The Wrangler had various configurations available. There was a two-door known as JK and a four-door known as JKU, 2.8L diesel or 3.6L petrol and five-speed automatic or six-speed manual. The JK and JKU also had a special Rubicon version, that notably comes with diff locks, lower ratios and a few other extras, but with petrol-only and a hefty premium that was beyond my budget.

It was now 2012 and the second-generation of the JK(U) series Wrangler had introduced a more contemporary style (well contemporary by Wrangler standards anyway) a new engine, interior and a few other tweaks. This was very appealing to me, so the hunt began to source a brand new 2012 Jeep Wrangler as there simply were not any second hand ones available due to it being a newly revised model.  After much research, questioning and badgering other Wrangler owners, I decided on sourcing one with the new Pentastar 3.6L petrol engine with its upgraded refinement, improved fuel economy over the previous 4.0-litre straight six-cylinder, increased power output, lower running costs and nicer interior.


In early Spring of 2012, there was about a six month wait to order a Wrangler of your choice but, fortunately for me, there was a white four-door auto with the new Pentastar motor that had become available due to a sale falling through. Apparently white was not as in-demand as some of the newly released “rainbow” colours on offer. So, fortunately I had the opportunity to secure one that happened to be available for me to drive home within a week and was my preferred colour.

Working quickly and knowing that various dealers were all vying to sell the same vehicle and I was cashed up, gave me the edge. My approach to getting the best deal was quite simple,  I visited several Sydney Jeep dealers, advised them I was cashed up ready to sign and asked them to give me only one offer and it had to be their best. Then I left with no haggling. It worked and after having visited about 5 dealers that day and taking several phone calls, I got an acceptable price well below the top offer.  With some further wrangling (pun intended) they included Nappa leather seats for a pleasing additional cost.

A week later I took delivery of a shiny brand new white Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited 4 door, fitted with the newly released 3.6L Pentastar petrol engine and 5 speed sequential automatic that develops power of 209kW and 347Nm of torque.  Plus my leather seats of course, both hard and soft tops and Bluetooth connectivity.

Next time, I’ll talk about the beginning of the transition to the Wrangler I want.


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Steve Cassano

Steve Cassano