There is a certain winter smugness that comes with having a Jeep Wrangler on the drive.

Stormy forecasts of ice, sleet and snow hold no fear as you know this off-road champion will cope with whatever you throw at it.

At first you wonder if the rugged Wrangler might be going a little soft in its old age. Leap into the latest incarnation and you land in a cossetting cabin of heated leather seats, air-con, push-button starter, high-tech displays and even a heated steering wheel.

Not just that, but we are now treated to an array of safety and security systems, including blind-spot monitoring with rear cross path detection, rear-view camera with dynamic grid lines and electronic stability control.

It’s a far cry from the utilitarian Jeep that bounced into action back in 1941 but the good news is that that it’s the most capable yet, both on and off road.

The on-road manners of this fourth generation car are surprisingly civilised, sailing happily along at motorway speeds with passengers nodding off around you, while being light and easy to manage around city streets.

But it is the open country where the Wrangler excels, with shift-on-the-fly technology allowing you to shift between two- and four-wheel-drive at speeds up to 40mph.

In normal driving conditions, the car operates in two-wheel-drive with all torque transferred to the rear axle. By shifting a dedicated lever to the 4WD high position, you can switch to four-wheel-drive mode which is ideal when driving on slippery surfaces, such as sand, mud, snow or ice.

It can also operate either in a new auto mode, which manages everything itself, or in the 4H part time mode that splits the torque evenly between front and rear axles. If things get really tough, 4WD low mode is designed to cope with the toughest off-road conditions.

The Rubicon model driven here, the most capable off-road version, goes a step further with the Rock-Trac 4x4 system, featuring a two-speed transfer case with low-range gear ratio and front and rear heavy-duty axles and electric front- and rear-axle lockers to tackle the most extreme off-road trails.

The Rubicon model also offers added articulation by allowing you to disconnect the front sway bar at the touch of a button to deliver additional wheel travel for traversing the toughest trails.

Power on the four-door test car came from a grunty 2.2-litre, 200 horsepower turbodiesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with stop-start technology.

More visible technology comes courtesy of a collection of buttons on the steering wheel to control audio, voice and speed and allow you to keep your hands on the wheel at all times.

Neat touches which younger occupants appreciate include a large central colour touchscreen with smartphone link and two USB ports up front and two in reach of occupants in the back seat. Twelve-volt accessory outlets are also placed around the car and a 230-volt AC outlet is also available.

As state of the art as the new Wrangler is inside, it continues with Jeep’s traditional design cues from the classic round headlights to the seven-slot grille, trapezoidal wheel arches and visible hinges to a folding windscreen.

If the sun shines, the Wrangler can quickly transform into a full open-air 4x4 SUV, with a choice of a powered full-length open canvas roof, a zipperless soft top, or a removable, three-panel hard top.

It’s a reassuring combination that continues to deliver just what it says on the tin – whatever the weather.

Auto facts

Model: Jeep Wrangler 4-dr Rubicon 2.2 Multijet-II

Price: £48,420

Insurance group: 37

Fuel consumption (combined): 36.2mpg

Top speed: 99mph

Length: 482.2cm/189.3in

Width: 189.6cm/74.4in

Luggage capacity: 533 litres/18.8 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 17.8 gallons/81 litres

CO2 emissions: 206g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles