Moses Ludel’s 4WD Mechanix Magazine – Best 4WD SUV of the Year: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
—Moses Ludel, Publisher
In this close-up review and assessment of the 2012 Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4×4, Moses Ludel shares technical details and features. 4WD Mechanix© Magazine picked this Jeep 4WD/SUV as ‘Best 4WD Sport Utility Vehicle of the Year’.
See the two HD videos below plus the magazine’s extensive coverage of the 2012 JK Wrangler introduction at Portland, Oregon, in August 2011. Additional insight into the test model can be found in the Camp Wamp HD video coverage!
See the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4×4 close-up (above)…This is the test vehicle and equipment that earned the ‘4WD Mechanix© Magazine Best 4WD Sport Utility Vehicle of the Year’ rating! For on- and off-pavement driving results, see the HD video below.
We selected an optimal, all-around test environment for the new 2012 Jeep JK Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited model…The round trip route began east of Reno, Nevada, and led to ‘Camp Wamp’ at CCYC/Camp Nejedly. Two hundred miles of combined interstate and higher-altitude, mountain secondary highways contrasted the off-pavement trails winding to Hawley Lake. Our destination: a summer wilderness camp for children with disabilities. We would film HD video at Camp Wamp, then assist with the kids’ transportation from the camp to a waiting charter bus at Graeagle.
The designated dirt roads and trails into the camp require a 4WD vehicle with higher ground clearance and, preferably, a low-range transfer case for speed control…The Wrangler Rubicon edition offers locking Dana 44 axles front and rear plus 32″ diameter mud-terrain traction tires. With its Rock-Trac® 4:1 low range ratio transfer case, the stock Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4×4 readily matches the magazine’s specially trail-prepped XJ Cherokee. The Cherokee participated with the Camp Wamp transportation volunteers in 2010.
The Jeep JK Wrangler’s 4WD traction is so efficient that the weight and balance of our Rubicon Unlimited did not require locking up the axles on these trails. In 4WD low range mode, with unlocked axles, this Jeep provided solid traction without any wheelspin or slippage. Of course, more severe trails like the Rubicon, Fordyce or Sierra Trek can require use of lockers—always a sensible option for hardcore four-wheeling. Lockers can minimize impact on the environment.
A Jeep Wrangler Unlimited’s longer wheelbase of 116″ does require a different driving technique off-pavement. While tight access is better with the 95.4″ wheelbase two-door model, the Unlimited’s benefits include greater on-highway stability, desirable cargo space and added passenger comfort. Add to that the stellar sound system, highly efficient heating and air conditioning, plus the Garmin navigation tools, and our spacious Unlimited hardtop test vehicle made the entire trip more comfortable—and uniquely dust-free with the windows rolled up!
In this HD video, the new Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4×4 has a unique assignment: helping 4WD volunteers transport kids with disabilities from a ‘Camp Wamp’ summer camp session. See the Wrangler perform on Sierra dirt trails and twisty mountain highways!
On- and off-highway, the JK Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited’s wide track width is a dramatic handling improvement. The effect is distinct center-of-gravity gains and improved control—especially with this vehicle’s Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system. Ride quality meets the concerns and expectations of modern Jeep owners. The cab is quiet and rattle-free.
Click here for the download PDF of the Monroney window sticker for this 2012 Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4×4 test vehicle! Zoom-in for details and features, including the lengthy list of standard and optional equipment, the itemized retail pricing, the warranty coverage and the U.S. EPA estimated fuel mileage ratings for the vehicle!
Hours of riding on a 4WD trail proved the integrity of the seats and their bolsters. Once oriented to the unique controls, we found the ergonomics outstanding. Note: For maximum driving satisfaction, always read your owner’s manual for details on a Jeep® vehicle’s features.
Overall, the 2012 JK Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited offers exceptional on- and off-highway performance. The manual locking differentials and dashboard-operated front sway bar disconnect system deliver traction and axle articulation for challenging off-pavement use. As with the original TJ Wrangler Rubicon edition (2003-2006), this JK Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon is rugged and tough trail ready off the showroom floor. For all but the most extreme use (like large rock crawling), this package should not require aftermarket chassis, tire, axle or powertrain upgrades.
Given the cost and time delays associated with 4×4 modifications, the stock Rubicon package is the quickest way to “trail-ready”. Unless you plan to rock crawl over large boulders or vertical walls, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon’s platform returns more bang for the buck than any other option package in the off-pavement 4WD vehicle market.
The 2012 Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4×4 provides a dramatically improved performance platform with the 3.6L Pentastar engine and the new A580 transmission option. The vehicle’s on- and off-highway handling feels planted and predictable while occupant safety and comfort make this the best Jeep utility model to date!
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4×4 test vehicle has standard features and options that rank as ‘World Class’ level for an SUV model. The overall package and this kind of content is extraordinary for a multipurpose on- and off-highway vehicle in this price range…See your local Jeep® dealership and experience a test drive in the Wrangler Rubicon!