Vital Stats

Engine:
3.6L V6
Power:
285 HP / 260 LB-FT
Transmission:
5-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
7.6 Seconds (est.)
Top Speed:
99 MPH (limited)
Drivetrain:
Four-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,508 LBS
Seating:
2+3
MPG:
16 City / 20 HWY
Ice skates are spectacular on frozen water, yet they are dreadful everyday footwear. I consider the Jeep Wrangler equally as specialized.

I recently spent a week with a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4X4. Introduced for the 2007 model year, the Wrangler Unlimited is a standard JK two-door with 20.6 inches added to its wheelbase and two additional doors bolted to its passenger compartment. While Jeep offers the Unlimited in seven different trim levels, the desirable Rubicon is the most capable when the pavement ends, as it boasts a slew of hardcore off-road tools including front and rear electronic locking differentials and a front sway bar that can be disengaged at the touch of a button for improved articulation. My I-Look-Like-A-Traffic-Cone test model started with a base price of $34,095 (plus $995 destination). Options including a five-speed automatic transmission, Uconnect, tow package and a premium soft top, drove the bottom line up to $38,630.

Driving Notes
  • On one hand, it would be difficult to find a new vehicle less competent on pavement. Despite its many improvements over the years, handling is still very sloppy, with initial turn-in delayed and mushy. The brakes felt strong, but stopping distances seemed long. Most of the blame is aimed at the aggressive BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A tires. The rubber is excellent for post-apocalyptic travel, but the tire's large tread blocks squirmed uncomfortably when tasked with changing direction on pavement. (To allay any concerns, stability control bundled with electronic roll mitigation is standard, so it would take real effort to actually get a wheel off the ground.)
  • On the other hand, few vehicles on the market are as competent off-road – and none are at this price point. Exploring Hungry Valley SRVA, an off-road park north of Los Angeles, the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon was all but unstoppable. I drove effortlessly through deep, soft sand, climbed steep hills like a mountain goat and danced through sticky mud. Generous approach and departure angles allowed the Jeep to go where other rigs only dream, and the electronic sway bar disconnect system allowed the live axles to articulate at obscene angles.
  • Thanks to its strong Pentastar V6 (new for 2012), the Rubicon had plenty of power. The off-road park is up near 5,000 feet in elevation, but the 3.6-liter pulled strongly and never felt out of breath. Fuel economy isn't impressive, but that is what Jerry Cans are for.
  • The ride quality of the long-wheelbase four-door is predictably better than on the two-door. My passengers found the second row fairly comfortable compared to the rear accommodations in a compact SUV or CUV. Some occupants, especially younger ones, complained about the lack of running boards as the step-in is high (in Jeep's defense, the low-hanging protrusions just get in the way off-road), and everyone complained about drafts from the soft top. Of course, it was nothing but smiles when the truck was flinging muddy water all over itself – kids love Jeeps.
  • I really enjoyed the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon when used as its engineers intended, and this recent engagement put me in the camp of true believers. Even so, it's important to mention that hardcore off-roaders should consider the standard two-door model for its greater agility on trails. The extended wheelbase on the Unlimited becomes an Achilles' heel, as it increases the turning radius (by about three feet) while reducing the truck's break-over angle.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      netrix2002
      • 1 Year Ago
      When comparing Jeep Wranglers to other small SUV/CUV/ and light trucks there are a few things to consider. Most light trucks and SUV's these days have independent front suspension and rack and pinion steering. Jeep Wranglers have solid front axle and steering gear box. Makes for a less comfortable ride and not as responsive steering. More durable for offroad though. That being said, driving a Jeep as a daily driver is a life style choice. I love driving my Jeep TJ Wrangler. It is what it is and it's not what it's not. Can't wait for going topless day this year in my Jeep!
        Xedicon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @netrix2002
        Well said. The Wrangler is great because it's fun, not because of refinement. :)
      Army Casualty
      • 1 Year Ago
      Short, simple, and honest. I liked this review; it directly affected my auto buying considerations.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great off-roader.
      Mazdaspeed6
      • 1 Year Ago
      The European wrangler doesn't have the gap between the fender and has amber rear turn signals. Those changes on the hardtop would make it an affordable G class.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mazdaspeed6
        [blocked]
        joshish
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mazdaspeed6
        Never noticed that before... wonder how much they help highway fuel economy?
          Kevin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @joshish
          Probably not at all - that's for "pedestrian safety".
      dubiouscubanx
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wish I had my 2012. Too bad it caught on fire 3 hours after I bought it.
        MAX
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dubiouscubanx
        Dubious all right! Put up the vin so we can pull a Carfax
          dubiouscubanx
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MAX
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTEd_M8ANvw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v2hnCRzpf0 How about video proof? BTW, here's the old VIN for the Jeep: 1C4GJWAG7CL169722
        Bradford
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dubiouscubanx
        they wouldn't let you get a new one?
      Stoked99
      • 1 Year Ago
      The "mushy" steering feel that nearly every automotive outlet criticizes the Wrangler for was actually designed that way for good reason. If your rock crawling on a mountain trail and your steering was as tight as a Honda Civic, you would be changing direction every 5 seconds. It's just the way the tires want to climb and descend certain obstacles. Thanks to the loose steering setup in the Wrangler and the steering wheel's liberal range of movement, it allows you to keep moving straight forward even with the wheel bouncing left and right. Especially helpful if there's no guardrail!
        fuzzyfish6
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Stoked99
        You also get to keep your thumbs and not have them snap on you when the steering wheel inevitably yank from side to side.
      Rob K
      • 1 Year Ago
      Only the front sway bar unlocks with the elec-disco. The rear always remains attached, but it\'s so flimsy that it does not inhibit full articuation. Also, the two-door version isn\'t always advatageous off road. During steep inclines/declines the longer Unlimited version holds the advatage. With the proper aftermarket set-up, the four-doors have conquered the most challenging trails in the country with the same competance as the two-doors. I own a 2008 JKU Rubicon sitting on 37\" tires and 3\" lift and even though it rides like a school bus on the pavement, I wouldn\'t trade it for anything else.
        Rob K
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rob K
        Before the grammar nazies reply, excuse my spelling mistakes for articulation, advantageous, advantage, and competence. I was on a roll - need more caffeine.
          marv.shocker
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rob K
          It's Nazis, not nazies...
          Rob K
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rob K
          @marv: I realized that a nanosecond after I posted. By that time, I was like, \"screw it.\" I really wish this forum had an edit feature.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rob K
          [blocked]
      Andrew
      • 1 Year Ago
      Extra charge for a \"premium soft top\"... Come on, none of these are cheap, just have the \"premium\" top as standard and the hard top as optional.
      protovici
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder how many Diesel comments we can get in here? Good choice Chrysler picked for the power plant. Figures are fairly respectable. Cool ride.
      gfviperman
      • 1 Year Ago
      Recently drove a friend's 2013 Rubicon. Was very impressed with its road manners.
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