Rock climbing without ropes, talcum powder or funny little shoes, but with Daryl Braithwaite blasting on Spotify and the climate control maintaining a chilled cabin despite half the roof being removed.

This is the new JL Wrangler Rubicon in a nutshell, doing what it does best along its namesake, the legendary Rubicon Trail, in California.

It's a full nine months since the covers were whipped off the first new Wrangler in more than a decade in LA, and it could be another seven before it hits local showrooms. US deliveries started in early 2018, but this is the first time media outside its mother country have had the opportunity to put it through its paces.

The Australian line-up is expected to continue with a choice of three trim levels in two- or four-door versions, but note that all the launch cars tested on launch were the most off-road focused Rubicon trim level, with the petrol V6.

We'll therefore have to wait until the Australian launch to test the lesser Sport and Overland trim levels and the new 2.2-litre turbo-diesel also expected for down under.