News & ReviewsLast 7 days
2014 Jeep Wrangler Blackhawk Speed Date
James Ward
Quick Specs
3.6L V6 Petrol
$49,000 (before on road costs)
Read the full review

So, where did you go on your date?

To make the American Jeep Wrangler Blackhawk feel at home, we took in the good 'ol American pass-time of a drive-in movie.

This required an hour-long run down the freeway, before settling in outside with some popcorn for a classic Halloween feature. The Jeep was cozy even with the back doors open, the Alpine stereo providing basic but adequate sound.

Ideal first date?

Getting to know the Wrangler is best done off the beaten track, so I would suggest a romantic weekend away in the hills. The all-terrain Jeep likes it dirty.

Hot or not?

I love the outdoorsy type, so definitely hot for me.

Iconic and unmistakeable for any other car, the Wrangler is fun loving and adventurous, but I can't help feeling that it is a bit out of its comfort zone in this Overland Blackhawk spec. For me a Wrangler is better with off-road tyres, bare plastic flares and the all important soft-top fitted.

It's what's inside that counts, what do you think of the interior?

The Wrangler interior isn't the highest quality nor the most ergonomic - but you can hose it out when things get particularly messy. And well... that's pretty cool.

The Blackhawk scores some very comfy leather seats and piano black trim, as well as touch screen navigation, Bluetooth audio and reverse camera. Vision isn't too bad considering the rectangular shape, and there is enough room to feel airy and comfortable.

Standout features?

The best part of the Wrangler is it's Jeep-ness... which almost feels constrained in this more urban variant.

A Jeep Wrangler will go pretty much anywhere, but the gloss black hardtop and flares of the Blackhawk wouldn't look nearly as smart with scratches from some wayward exploring. It's dressed for the city and almost needs to stay there.

Annoying habits?

You can't blame the Wrangler for being a Wrangler - so slightly agricultural on-road manners are what you sign up for, and what you get.

But some of the basic ergonomics can't be excused and the split tailgate that swings the door and tyre out of the way while requiring the glass to be lifted, is a marvel of function over form.

Ready for a family?

With the standard sidesteps on the Blackhawk, the Jeep is easy for little people to climb up into. It's not a limo in the back but there is room enough for children to bounce around - and hey, it's a Wrangler so it's always pretty good fun.

High maintenance?

The petrol V6 is pretty thirsty (aerodynamics aren't a strong point) and Jeep don't offer a capped price program.

Any deal-breakers?

The Wrangler isn't a car you consider lightly, so its shortcomings are basically noted on the brochure.

There's no hidden agenda or surprises that will surface after you've been seeing each other for a while - it is what it is. For me though, to know the Wrangler is to love the Wrangler... but as I've said before, less is more with the rugged Jeep.

Keep things simple and you'll have a wonderful relationship.

So, is it serious or just a one night stand?

While our drive-in date did go well, the Wrangler wasn't really in its element and didn't get a chance to show all its talents.

We have agreed to meet again - when the weather is nicer. This time we'll leave the hard-top at home and run topless to the beach... now that sounds like fun!

Keeping your options open?

If you like the simple and fun out-door type, then a Land Rover Defender or Toyota FJ Cruiser are other cars to consider. But there is only one Jeep...

If it's not for you, who would you recommend it to?

An urban Wrangler is a specific statement, so if your desire is to look the look without having to walk the walk, then this more restrained Jeep is for you.

But if like me, you prefer your Jeep to get back to nature, then stick with a Sport or Rubicon and enjoy the fresh air and freedom that comes with it.