May The 4 Be With You

10 min read
Nothing hugs the road quite like a car with four-wheel drive. Here are three very different models that will keep you safe regardless of weather conditions.

1. JEEP WRANGLER 2.0

Mention the name Jeep and you’ll be forgiven for conjuring images of a go-anywhere, rough-and-tumble open-top vehicle synonymous with the Yanks in WWII. But today’s Jeep is a totally different beast, one that holds all the bells and whistles of modern technology while still giving you the thrill of its legendary status.

Although Jeep has a wide range of four-wheel drives in their stable, the Wrangler is arguably the most sensible ride for Singapore roads. Now that it comes with a two-litre turbocharged version, the case for it is further strengthened as a viable SUV for fun-loving families or couples.

Jeep’s design DNA hasn’t been completely tampered with — thank goodness! — but there are updates, such as the iconic grille blending into the LED headlamps. As with previous incarnations of the Wrangler, the windscreen can be folded down for that ultimate wind-in-your-hair sensation when driving.

For the first time in Jeep Wrangler’s engine line-up is a 2.0-litre turbocharged powertrain on both the Sahara and Rubicon, as well as the all-new Sky One-Touch power-top, which allows occupants to retract the canvas roof with just a push of a button. The 2.0-litre turbocharged is mated with a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox with 400Nm of torque available for both smooth city overtaking and muddy off-road terrain.

Front and centre of the Jeep Wrangler’s capabilities is the Selec-Trac 4×4 system with part-time and shift-on-the-fly capabilities. Slip the car into 2H (rear-wheel drive only) and you’re ready for city driving, but move it into 4H Auto at speeds up to 80km/h and the system will automatically switch from 2WD to 4WD.For the more adventurous, there’s also Rock-Trac 4×4 system available on the Rubicon, which is also equipped with electronic front- and rear-locking differentials, and an electronically controlled sway bar disconnect function, which gives the driver a greater confidence for not just off-roading, but comfort for overland trips where the terrain may change in an instant.

Under the hood, the two-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine churns out a best-in-class 280hp. Jeep’s eTorque system offers hybrid functions that include auto stop-start, electric power assist, extended fuel shut-off, transmission shift management, intelligent battery charging, and regenerative braking for greater fuel economy. In addition, both engine and fuel flow may be disengaged during stops, coasting, or when the engine is decelerating as well.

Inside the cockpit, the Wrangler offers all the comfort and infotainment aspects required of today’s road warriors. The instrument cluster has a seven-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) LED display, which allows the driver to configure all manner of information, including music, tyre pressure, and digital speed readout. There is also an 8.4-inch touchscreen that is home to the Uconnect system that delivers communication, entertainment and navigation properties that drivers and passengers desire, including a full-colour LED instrument cluster. This new system includes easy-to-use access, enhanced processing power, faster start-up times, and a touchscreen that displays high-resolution graphics. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available.

Safety is not neglected. This Wrangler boasts Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection, ParkView rear back-up camera with dynamic grid lines, electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation, and four standard airbags — just a few of the 75 safety and security features listed. Coincidentally, that number matches the 75 years that Jeep has been building solid, all-terrain vehicles that have been icons of this genre of cars.

PRICE  $239,999 (SAHARA); $259,999 (RUBICON) WITH COE
ENGINE  2-LITRE TURBO PETROL
TRANSMISSION  8-SPEED AUTOMATIC
POWER  268HP
TORQUE  400NM
0–100KM/H  7.3 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  CHRYSLER JEEP AUTOMOTIVE OF SINGAPORE PTE LTD (Tel: 6479 3333)

2. JAGUAR F-PACE SVR

The 2017 World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year gets a performance boost with the F-PACE SVR version, available in Singapore now. Needless to say, this is the most advanced and fastest F-PACE yet.

The five-litre V8 supercharged engine gives the SUV a 44% ramp-up boost in power to a whopping 550PS and 680NM in torque. This is unequivocally a beast on the road, with unbridled acceleration that can pull some Gs off the mark: try 4.3 seconds from 0–100km/h! And in a car that you can drive every day to work, or to and from the supermarket or golf course.

Understated class has always been Jaguar’s hallmark, and the F-PACE continues this trend with the design elements of the SVR. But good looks don’t come without technical rationale with Jaguar. The unique exterior design of the F-PACE SVR maximises cooling and enhances aerodynamic performance. A new exclusive SVR bonnet comes with vents to help extract hot air from the engine bay; meanwhile, the unique front fender features functional side vents that push the air around the side of the car, reducing air pressure in the wheel arch and minimising front-end lift. Lightweight wheels have been widened to 22 inches and are designed to deliver greater airflow to the uprated larger 395mm front and 396mm rear brake discs.

In the cockpit and passenger area, the F-Pace boasts all the luxury synonymous with Jaguar. The F-PACE SVR features slimline performance front seats that provide enhanced lateral support, with a lozenge quilting in premium perforated leather coupled with the embossed SVR logo. The 14-way slimline front seats with memory and 4-zone climate control further envelope the driver and passengers in luxury.
The Touch Pro system, part of Jaguar InControl® technologies, features a 10-inch Touchscreen, which responds just like a smartphone or tablet, providing multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom and swipe. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also enabled, while the car also comes fitted with the MeridianTMSurround 825W 17-Speaker Sound System as standard.

This being an SUV with all its functionalities, the load space is a hefty 650 litres with the rear seats up. The space is made even more versatile by the rear seats’ 40:20:40 configuration. They can be folded completely or individually in a variety of combinations to accommodate both passengers and awkward items such as skis, bicycles and instruments. With the rear seats folded flat, F-PACE SVR’s total load space is an impressive 1,740 litres.
But, ultimately, the Jaguar F-PACE SVR is mostly about performance. Designed by Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations, the eight-speed QuickShift Automatic Transmission gets the car going smoothly through its paces with eight closely spaced ratios providing strong acceleration, with each shift completed in just 200 milliseconds. The Active Sports Exhaust System is also another factor behind the SVR’s increased performance capability as the active system allows increased gas flow. The SVR exhaust is 6.6kg lighter than the standard F-PACE system.

Of course, power is nothing without control or safety. The F-PACE SVR All-Wheel Drive system uses a torque-biased differential that helps improve traction. In normal driving conditions, virtually all torque is distributed to the rear wheels, providing the signature Jaguar Rear Wheel Drive performance. When road conditions are changeable, more than 90% of torque can be intelligently distributed from the rear wheels to the front to optimise traction in various conditions. On slippery surfaces, such as grass and mud, torque can be balanced 50:50 between the front and rear wheels to enhance traction. All-Wheel Drive with Intelligent Driveline Dynamics ensures that the SUV can handle conditions regardless of weather.

Other features include:

  • All Surface Progress Control (ASPC): a low-speed cruise control that helps you to maintain optimum handling in low-traction situations
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist: operates from 0–180km/h; uses the existing Adaptive Cruise Control functionality with Lane Centring to steer the vehicle within its lane as it maintains a set distance from the vehicle in front
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go: allows you to follow a vehicle to a smooth stop and resume from stationary when the driver prompts the system by tapping the accelerator pedal

All of which makes the Jaguar F-PACE not only a thrill to drive, but an incredibly safe and pleasurable one at that!

PRICE  $393,999  (WITH COE)
ENGINE  5,000CC V8 SUPERCHARGED PETROL
TRANSMISSION  8-SPEED AUTOMATIC WITH JAGUAR SEQUENTIAL SHIFT AND PADDLE SHIFTERS
POWER  550PS @ 6,000–6,500RPM
TORQUE  680NM @ 2,500–5,500RPM
0–100KM/H  4.3 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  WEARNES AUTOMOTIVE PTE LTD (Tel: 6738 2626)

3. LAND ROVER DEFENDER 110

The favourite four-wheel-drive of adventurers is back — and it looks better than ever! The Land Rover Defender 110 is like no other that came before in its near seven decade of existence. While the silhouette may seem familiar, the workhorse that has been the vehicle of choice for those traversing continents on land has been upgraded inside and out to bring it into the 21st century.

Exterior design is reimagined with the upright stance and Alpine light windows in the roof, while retaining the side-hinged rear tailgate and externally mounted spare wheel that made the original so identifiable. Inside, the stripped-down essence of the original still remains in the DNA, and the emphasis on simplicity and practicality is discernible.

The dash-mounted gear shift now accommodates three-abreast seating. As a result, the Defender 110 offers five or six seat configurations, with a load space behind the second-row seats of up to 857 litres, and as much as 1,946-litres when the second row is folded.The 3.0P First Edition MHEV, the five-seater Defender, comes with a Front Centre Console Refrigerator Compartment, while the 2.0P SE (six-seater) has the jump seat in the middle for an extra passenger.

Given the nature of the Defender’s utility, it goes without saying that this is one of the toughest vehicles ever built to take on the roads of the world. The new model boasts the new purpose-engineered D7x (x for ‘extreme’!) architecture that is based on a lightweight aluminium monocoque construction to create the stiffest body structure Land Rover has ever produced. It is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame designs, providing perfect foundations for the fully independent air suspension, and supports the latest electrified powertrains.

Central to the new Defender’s performance is the 4×4 ability. Permanent all-wheel drive and a twin-speed automatic gearbox, centre differential, and optional Active Locking Rear Differential ensure that you have all the hardware to handle the toughest of terrains.

Configurable Terrain Response* debuts on the new Defender, allowing experienced off-roaders to fine-tune individual vehicle settings to perfectly suit the conditions, while inexperienced drivers can let the system detect the most appropriate vehicle settings for the terrain via the intelligent Auto function. When driving in the city, the Clear Sight Ground View technology helps drivers negotiate tight spaces by showing the area usually hidden by the bonnet — directly ahead of the front wheels — on the central touchscreen.

Needless to say, the new Defender features a significant upgrade under the hood. There are two options available: a turbocharged, petrol, four-cylinder P300 engine and an efficient six-cylinder P400 MHEV powertrain. The 300PS unit uses an advanced twin-scroll turbo for smooth performance and efficiency, accelerating from 0–100km/h in 8.1 seconds, with CO2 emissions as low as 235g/km (NEDC equivalent). The car also comes with Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) technology and the advanced and efficient Ingenium petrol engines, all fitted with intelligent Stop/Start technology to minimise emissions.

Understandably, with a vehicle of this stature, security and safety while driving is a concern. The new Defender offers state-of-the-art features that enhance visibility all around. Land Rover’s new Electrical Vehicle Architecture, state-of-the-art forward-facing digital camera, advanced ultrasonic sensors, and powerful 3Gbit/s onboard network support a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance technologies, with the cameras and sensors governed by a single integrated processor, or domain controller, for optimised security. There is a 3D Surround Camera that provides 360-degree plan and new 3D views. At the touch of a finger, the rear mirror switches to a digital screen showing a feed provided by a high-definition rear-facing camera mounted high at the back of the vehicle.

The new Defender is arguably one of the toughest, most luxurious bona fide off-roaders around. And with the comprehensive list of driver-assistance features that includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Rear Pre-collision Monitoring, Blind Spot Assist, Rear Traffic Monitoring, Clear Exit Monitor, Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, and Driver Condition Monitor, it is also one of the safest to take you around the world and back in one piece.

PRICE  FROM $288,999 (WITH COE, CURRENTLY TWO VARIANTS AVAILABLE)
ENGINE  2.0P: 1,997CC IN-LINE 4-CYLINDER 16-VALVES TURBOCHARGED
3.0P: 2,996CC IN-LINE 6-CYLINDER 24-VALVES TWIN-CHARGED
TRANSMISSION  8-SPEED AUTOMATIC ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
POWER  2.0P: 300PS @ 5,500RPM
3.0P: 400PS @ 5,500RPM
TORQUE  2.0P: 400NM @ 1,500–4,000RPM
3.0P: 550NM @ 2,000-5,000RPM
0–100KM/H  2.0P: 8.1 SECONDS
3.0P: 6.1 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  WEARNES AUTOMOTIVE PTE LTD (Tel: 6378 2626)