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2012 Jeep Wrangler
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The 2012 Jeep Wrangler is one of the most capable off-roading vehicles on the planet, and Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road has taken notice. The Wrangler Rubicon has been named 4X4 of the Year by the magazine, beating the Dodge Ram Power Wagon for the honor.

The award is the third for the Wrangler, and the 12th award in 30 years for the Jeep brand. The Rubicon took the trophy after acing a 1,000-mile trial that evaluates vehicles' performance in dirt, mud, sand, rocks, gravel and highway driving.

For 2012, the Wrangler lineup ditched its old, unloved 3.7-liter V6 in favor of the 285-horsepower Pentastar V6, as well as the various interior refinements that have been in place since the 2011 model year. The changes, coupled with the Wrangler's established off-road pedigree, were enough for it to take top honors from Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road.

Rick Péwé, the mag's editor-in-chief, called the Rubicon "the most competent 4x4 ever produced," adding that the Jeep "allows you to take the trail less traveled without worrying about the journey." Hit the jump to read Petersen's press release.
Show full PR text
EL SEGUNDO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine has named the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon the winner of its coveted 4x4 of the Year award. This is the 30th year of the enthusiast magazine's in-depth competition of new 4x4 vehicles, and the third time the Jeep Wrangler has taken home the award. In fact, Jeep products have won the award more than any other mark, a total of 12 times for different Jeep vehicles.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon was pitted against the worthy Ram Power Wagon, both solid-axle titans of the off-road world. The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon ranked high in every category of this year's in-depth test. The grueling 1,000-mile trial evaluates each vehicle's suspension, engine, transmission, and transfer case along with the style and creature comforts the vehicle provides. Most importantly, the 4x4s are judged heavily on how well they perform off-road in dirt, mud, rocks, sand, and gravel, as well as on the highway.

"The 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the most competent 4x4 ever produced," said Rick Péwé, editor-in-chief of Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road. "The Rubicon gives you complete confidence in its terrain tackling abilities. It allows you to take the trail less traveled without worrying about the journey. And it does so while leaving a smile on your face. This is one fun ride."

"No one puts a vehicle to the test more thoroughly than the editors of Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road, so Jeep is especially proud to win this prestigious award," said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "Jeep Wrangler Rubicon has long been the most capable vehicle on the planet. With a completely new powertrain for 2012, it has reset the capability benchmark, while simultaneously offering consumers more fuel efficiency, horsepower, and on-road performance in every-day driving."

To be eligible to compete, a vehicle must be all-new or have substantial improvements that make it perform significantly different from the previous model year. Vehicles must also be available for sale before January 15 of the model year, have a production run of at least 2,500 units, and be equipped with a two-speed transfer case. The complete test results and vehicle evaluations for the 2012 4x4 of the Year competition will appear in the February 2012 issue, available December 6, 2011.

Information on the test will also be available on the Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road website, www.4wheeloffroad.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 67 Comments
      Stuka87
      • 3 Years Ago
      [i]For 2012, the Wrangler lineup ditched its old, unloved 3.7-liter V6 in favor of the 285-horsepower Pentastar V6, as well as the various interior refinements that have been in place since the 2011 model year.[/i] The Wrangler has NEVER had the 3.7L, it had the minivan 3.8L.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Stuka87
        [blocked]
      Mike K
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hey, Shunk - The Wrangler never used the 3.7L, it used a 3.8L that put out less HP then the 3.7. Also, it's no surprise with the addition of the 3.6L, and the 5spd automatic that it won. It was capable before, but now it's even better.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Stuka87
        • 3 Years Ago
        The interior on the 2011+ cannot be compared to the interior of 07-10. Its a night and day difference. I would not consider an FJ Cruiser to be easy to live with. Horrible visibility (and I mean HORRIBLE), a laughable attempt at being a 4dr, and not really all that more reliable. The Xterra is a good vehicle, and is certainly more street friendly, and doesn't have any inherent design flaws really. It wont go places a stock Rubicon will, but can still take you on some mild trail rides.
          KDAWG
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Stuka87
          @ToucanSam You don't know much about offroading do you? With an open differential, if a wheel comes off the ground it will spin and the tire with traction will not get power, and assuming the t case is locked if you have one front and one rear tire with little/no traction you are stuck. Or as in the case of a rav4 if you have 1 tire with no traction (due to no real transfer case) you are stuck. Why is it that the Jeep Rubi has both a locking transfer case and selectable electronic locking differentials. Sure a locked diff places more stress on everything, but it gives way more traction off road.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Stuka87
          [blocked]
          ToucanSam
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Stuka87
          The Xterra doesn't qualify as an off-roader. Nissan relabeled the Xterra Off-Road to Pro4X as Nissan puts in the manual and visor warnings to not engage 4WD unless all four tires are on mud, snow, or ice. Why is this? Because the Xterra's front differential and transfer case operate as locked and don't slip like a differential should. What that means is instant drivetrain binding when one wheel has traction and another doesn't. Or what about turning when the outside wheels needs to spin faster than the inside wheels? Grenading front diff. And the Xterra's rear suspension travel gets reduced to almost zero with 4 adults and a couple bags of gear. Since 2005 the Xterra has suffered more recalls than fingers on two hands, and a huge amount of TSBs. A RAV4 is more capable of general off-roaming than an Xterra, since a RAV4 has AWD engaged on all terrain, not just mud, snow, or ice. An Xterra PRO4X starts at almost the same price as a Rubicon, but the Xterra is far less of an off-road capable rig. On a trail I'd be more confident with a Rubicon over an Xterra any day. Fuel economy? I don't care, at least with a Rubicon I can safely engage 4WD to get through a trail. And for someone who's shopping for an off-reading rec vehicle, who looks at fuel economy and plans to commute with it? The BFG Mud Terrains aren't made for highway miles. I'd hate to have to replace them because I put on 10,000 hwy miles and 10 trail miles. Capability is what the Rubicon is for, not economy.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Stuka87
          @Kdawg A Jeep? That Rolled? How ordinary.
          Mike D
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Stuka87
          ToucanSam, I like the Wrangler and all but you're way off on the off roading capability of the XTerra. It's pretty damn capable. And the Wrangler is exactly the same when engaging the transfer case, it's not available with an AWD type setup like the RAV4 is. If you drive the Wrangler on pavement in 4wd you will cause damage. Also, the Wrangler Rubicon comes with electronically locking differentials to provide MORE traction when off roading and will not allow one wheel to sleep at all.
          KDAWG
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Stuka87
          @EZEE Yeah, unfortunately rollovers are pretty common... When you're ROCKCRAWLING Luckily he was in the greatest 4x4 in production, and the roll bar allowed the driver and 3 passengers to escape without major injury
        Mike D
        • 3 Years Ago
        The interior quality was vastly improved in 2011 and is pretty nice. The mileage with the new engine is better than both the FJ and the XTerra 4wd models. Competitive? Look at the sales numbers... The Wrangler sold 6x more than the FJ did in 2010 and that was with the old 3.8l minivan engine. (couldn't find sales figures for the XTerra, I'm guessing if you combined the sales of the FJ and Xterra it would still be lower than the Wrangler). You mention the ride quality, it's a Wrangler, people don't buy them for ride quality, bringing that up is a joke. It's like criticizing a Corvette for it's storage space. Even so, they've improved that this year or last as well.
        noahbalboa
        • 3 Years Ago
        Stuka and miked made excellent points. 2011 interior puts it in the modern age, but even the old interiors were servicable. The straight six of yore was not a powerhouse but it had torque and was easy to fix. The 3.8 was not any better. The wrangler is sturdy and easy to fix with not many problems. Holds value very well. It deserves the award. Honda's Pilot deserves he Motor Trend SUV of the year, bc they focus on car-like handling and storage. That seems to be up your alley.
        Mike D
        • 3 Years Ago
        Also, you say it doesn't deserve 4x4 of the year from an Off Road magazine and also say it's a beast off road... You're an idiot, a troll, or both.
        BDolman
        • 3 Years Ago
        LOL fj cruisers are jokes, and xterras, really? your coming off pretty stupid. maybe dont believe every 'consumer report' and get out there and open your eyes for yourself bud
        sirjaysmith
        • 3 Years Ago
        global sales would say otherwise to nearly all your criticisms. Generalizing your OPINION won't change the fact you are in a minority. The Jeep has always, ALWAYS been designed as an OFF ROAD vehicle first and foremost, and it will always be #1 (notice how it says best ""4x4"", not yuppie urban tank).
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @sirjaysmith
          Laughing at both sets of comments... :D
          • 3 Years Ago
          @sirjaysmith
          [blocked]
          sirjaysmith
          • 3 Years Ago
          @sirjaysmith
          I don't know, why don't you ask your boyfriend about it.
      MAX
      • 3 Years Ago
      The best off road capaiblity, highest resale value vehicle of any type, outsells the failed TuRDyota FJ (fake jeep) over 10 to 1, outstanding durability and it's imported from Toledo, Ohio.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MAX
        [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          Only YOU would be going by Consumer Reports tests.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Xedicon A 200,000 mile club with 'over 50 members?'. Just shot yourself, and the jeep, in the foot. They sell over 100,000 jeeps a year. That is an awfully low number. I work in insurance on the fleet side, a,d I personally know more than 50 people that have over 200,000 on their f150's. Love the wrangler all you want. Buy as many as you want. The simple fact is, they are not as reliable as the competition. Insurance company data, consumer reports, JD Powers...all agree. Maybe they will finally get better. I hope so! I really do - but compared to other vehicles, they are not there. This is not to say there have not been some that have run a long time. I am sure some people found ways to make their yugo's run a long time. But you can't put lipstick on that pig and....well....
          ToucanSam
          • 3 Years Ago
          Using Consumer Reports to defend an argument on Autoblog is like saying Lindsey Lohan is the perfect example of how effective rehab is.
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          How are you troll? Well let's see... Just that WHOLE comment alone makes you look like a troll. You are the pot calling the kettle black when you explain that I am the one who trashes Asian manufacturers while praising American manufacturers. 1. Prove to me and everybody that I have trashed Asian manufacturers. Because I cannot remember EVER doing it. In fact, I even have Toyota's back in the LMP1 article talking about their teaming up with Oreca. We can also talk about the Scion SEMA thread where I expressed my desire for some of the cars they're showing off. I can keep going if you want me to... 2. YOU bash American AND non-Asian manufacturers EVERY DAMN chance you get. Not once have you EVER presented ANY real facts to back up your retarded claims. You are just like True voice and Acid. You have even been put in the same category as them by other members. You sir, ARE a troll.
          Xedicon
          • 3 Years Ago
          I apologize for this response in advance. CR can suck a lemon on this one. Wranglers of nearly every generation are well known to last for at least, well, no one knows yet because unless they've been wrecked they still run. It's not hard to find a Wrangler from the 70s or even earlier still serving daily driver duties, often on original engine and transmission parts. So tell me how a brand that has countless examples of exemplary service spanning 40 years or more all over America is such a weak vehicle. Oh yeah it's gone to war a few times too. Must be a real dud for that. Allpar.com has a 200,000+ mile club, over fifty Wranglers in that list alone, most of which have had minor repairs at best, some even none and I'm sure other lists are out there. And the I-6 that was used in the Wrangler for such a long time? It can easily see 400,000 + miles. Jeep Wrangler durability comes from it's relative simplicity. There's not a whole lot to go wrong in the first place. *Proud owner of a 185,000+ mile 1994 Jeep 4.0L XJ, all original that's still kicking ass.
          billfrombuckhead
          • 3 Years Ago
          CHECK OUT AUTOTRADER AND SEE HOW MANY WRANGLERS ARE SELLING WITH OVER 150K MILES AND BRINGING GOOD MONEY. I KNOW SEVERAL OVER 400K MILES ON ORIGINAL ENGINES.
          Mr Clickerson
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ EZEE That's one website that is mainly used as a resource for information and specification on all vehicles Mopar. There are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Jeeps from the past 20+ years on the road today with hundreds of thousands of miles- I know, I've owned 2, purchased at more than 200k miles, and sold in excess of 300k, still running strong with nothing more than regular maintenance. People who talk smack on Jeep reliability are those who have NEVER EVEN OWNED ONE. Jeeps are NOTORIOUSLY reliable vehicles.
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MAX
        I don't think this has ever been seen before... 2 opposing trolls going at it. This is one of those times where you want them to respond to each other, but never will because they offset each other's argument.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          [blocked]
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MAX
        [blocked]
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          You're an idiot. So lemme guess, you also think Jaguars and Land Rovers are built in India? You probably think Aston Martins are built in Kuwait, huh? Volvos built in China? Just because a manufacturer from a different country owns a subsidiary from another country, doesn't mean that subsidiary is built in that manufacturer's country. Fiat doesn't build any of Chrysler's vehicle. They are still built by Chrysler, with Chrysler parts, with Chrysler people. Fiat has their own manufacturing plants in Italy, along with building ones here to build the Fiat 500 and other future Fiats/Alfa Romeos.
      sinistro79
      • 3 Years Ago
      A fitting reward for a deserving vehicle.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @sinistro79
        Why, is it no longer rated as 'much worse than average' on reliability?
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Science be d*mned! Statistics be d*mned! Records on reliability be d*mned! I will follow my heart! My emotions! In other news, we learn that 'Wishing will make it happen' really does make things happen.
          sirjaysmith
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          wishing eh? Can't really say so in my case, I actually own 3, whose track records prove CR is, indeed, full of crap.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      From Consumer Reports: These changes are certain to add appeal for this off-roading icon, but they do not address all the critical shortcomings that led to the last Wrangler we tested scoring far too low to be recommended. Low points include: Ride, handling, braking, noise, fuel economy, visibility, front-seat comfort, access, and reliability. As with a rocky trail, approach the Wrangler with caution. You people are letting emotion get ahead of rational thought. Maybe the new Wrangler WILL not have such poor reliability. But do you want to bet $25,000 on that? Obviously the sales figures suggest that many DO, but more than image, more that the cool factor, I want my car to start, stop, shift gears, and have the AC work when I want it to.
        Swifty
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        As someone who is planning to buy a '12 Wrangler within the next couple of months, the only shortcoming Consumer Reports cited that gives me even the slightest pause is the reliability. I have driven one of the new Wranglers and find Consumer Reports' other concerns no concern of mine.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Swifty
          Your clutch exploded? Actually, I think you made my point. I mean, I might worry that the Wrangler might have problems, but even I would not suggest parts explode. (scene of a mushroom cloud over Orlando) "Terrorist attack?" "No, that was swifty - his clutch..." "My God No!" :D
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Swifty
          @Mike D A brand new drive train. I will certainly agree that the rest of the Wrangler is built very rugged. But, that is not usually where problems occur over the long haul.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Swifty
          Whoa - a first model year Chrysler? ALL statistics show that first model year cars have more issues than ones that have been out (initial bugs in the system). Toyota's and Honda's have that issue as does everyone else. Ford created a QC program where the dealer's service centers are tied into the factories systems so they can catch problems early, but that still means they have to 'catch the problems.' Dude - get a 2013...let Chrysler have 1 year on this...
      D57H
      • 3 Years Ago
      What a typo the Wrangler ditches the old 3.8 for the new 3.6! Really the Power Wagon was the Rubicons only competition? A win win for Chrysler I would say! Good job Chrysler!
      Jeni Mattson
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sure, built to withstand the rigors of any hill... Except the hill that is my driveway, where it will leak like the dickens in the mildest of rainstorms. Despite 2 trips back to the dealer for various repairs, the situation is still not improved. On my last trip I was told "they may just leak at that angle". For shame! Be aware future purchasers, this may be a car you'll need swim trunks to drive.
        sirjaysmith
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jeni Mattson
        So you're blaming the car for an incompetent dealer?
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @sirjaysmith
          Maybe had the car been built right in the first place...
          sirjaysmith
          • 3 Years Ago
          @sirjaysmith
          heh, not much room to talk, you can't produce a company that hasn't had small issues proliferate their lineups.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jeni Mattson
        [blocked]
        Robb Lincoln
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jeni Mattson
        believe it or not EVERY make and model has lemons--yes even the vaunted Toyotas and Hondas
      Yu Yung Shin
      • 3 Years Ago
      Congrats to jeep Rubicon! I used to drive the hell out of my 91jeep and my favorite part was driving without any door and watching roads passing under beneath you! Again, long live Jeep!
      Theodore Stone
      • 3 Years Ago
      Clearly never heard of the Defender...
        sirjaysmith
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Theodore Stone
        Defender won't touch a Rubicon with its stiff coil springs and lack of anything resembling traction control.
        Robb Lincoln
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Theodore Stone
        clearly you haven't driven them both in a side by side comparison
          sirjaysmith
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Robb Lincoln
          and you have? Would you like to see my Moab pictures where I not only spent time with a defender, but with it offroad.
        Mike D
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Theodore Stone
        Has the Defender gotten any significant changes this year to qualify for this competition? Also, how much does a Defender cost again?
      TAF4Mopar
      • 3 Years Ago
      Some of these responses are laughable. Seriously. CR compared the Wrangler in their last report to a minivan?! I'm sorry but you just can't do that with any Off Road oriented vehicle much less a BoF SUV. I fully believe CR needs to reevaluate how they do their studies. Go to AutoTrader and do a search for Wranglers. What you find are high mileage Jeep selling at premiums to this day. Go to any Off Road club and ask them directly what works on the trail. Ask them what makes it through the toughest parts. The Wrangler does NOT shine on the road, at least the short wheel base two door versions. The Unlimiteds with the longer wheelbase have a much nicer feel and road manners due to the size. This is just BoF 101 people. Think for a second before commenting biased crap all the time. The 4.0 was rock solid. The 3.8 was prone to heat issues on the trail but never any recalls. Just lacked decent F/E for highway use. The 3.6 and 5 speed auto addresses all those issues. It has so far at least. And as for the FJ. It's a nice suburban cruiser but it isn't what the previous older gens where. The 4WD system is prone to failure up front on any trail, hence the numerous front end upgrades most trail guys perform, (Again go and ask an off road club) and the visibility is the primary reason most run away from it for any sort of trail work. On the street it works great. But that isn't what this competition is about though.
      Mike D
      • 3 Years Ago
      To everyone complaining about the quality scoring in CR. The drive train and main parts that are vital to vehicle operation tend to be pretty darn durable in these vehicles. This isn't an excuse for other parts to fail, they should work when spending that much money on a vehicle. What I will say is that the people buying a Wrangler don't tend to care about these parts. What they're buying is it's off road ability and fun factor, something it does and always has done very very well. If that's not for you then don't buy one, fortunately for Jeep there are plenty of other people out there that don't share your opinions. CR also mentions fuel economy. This is a boxy, BOF, SUV, what do you expect. With this new drive train it gets as good or better fuel economy to it's 2 main competitors in the US, the 4wd Xterra and FJ Cruiser, neither of which can compete with it in off road capabilities. Right now there really aren't any direct competitors to the Wrangler. There are still a lot of people out there that want what the Wrangler has to offer in a vehicle. Jeep seeing this and continuing to offer and improve a type of vehicle a lot of automakers are starting to shy away from is awesome. Hopefully these new changes will vastly improve reliability and they will continue to improve it in later years but for now it's still a great vehicle with a great following.
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