Long overdue for an overhaul, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon reviewed here is still an awesome off-road beast.
The all-new 2018 Wrangler is sure to be better in most aspects and we will bring you a review of that as soon as we get our hands on one.
Externally the Rubicon can trace its heritage way back to the Willys jeep of WW11. Despite many upgrades over the years it retains the box on wheels basic design that has as many advantages as disadvantages.
A key feature of the Jeep is the ability to have the open-air experience with the removable three-piece modular hardtop.
It will take you forever to remove all these but it’s an awesome feeling when you do.
Freedom not experienced with any other vehicle.
The front seats could do with more travel but are soft and very comfortable which is surprising. Storage is still at a premium but improved with a lockable centre console, glove box and a cool storage area above the media centre.
Rear seat passengers are also comfortable with adequate leg, shoulder and headroom.
The door straps are a pain.
Don’t be deceived by its bulky appearance outside, the Jeep is definitely mid-sized inside.
The standard Media Centre with Audio Jack can blast out the required noise for teenagers and with speakers on the centre roll-bar and all around they had some fun with the top off.
- Heated front leather seats
- Removable hard top
- Freedom panels
- Black hard top
- Body colour fender flares
- Body colour grille with silver accents
- 5″ touchscreen radio
- Satellite navigation
- Reverse parking camera
- 9-Speaker Alpine premium audio system including subwoofer
- Deep tint sunscreen glass
- Rock rails
- Rubicon hood decal
Drive and Engine
The 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine provides 209kW/347Nm. It drives through a 5-speed automatic transmission.
While the on road dynamics have improved it is off road where the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon shines. It is built for the adventurous driver and features include
- Heavy-duty Dana 44 axles
- Rock-Trac four-wheel drive system with shift on the fly capability
- Quadra-Coil suspension with front and rear axle 5-link solid axle with heavy-duty monotube gas charged shock absorbers
- Transfer case
- Fuel tank skid plates
Wrangler’s Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system helps prevent the “pedal bobble” that often occurs when in 4WD-low mode.
Its ride on the road can be a little unsettled, especially in strong crosswinds and the four door has a turning circle like the Queen Mary as well as a number of other unique ‘characteristics’.
However turn off the bitumen and head to the bush and all those idiosyncrasies are quickly forgiven and forgotten.
Safety features include:
- Advanced multistage driver and front-passenger airbags
- Supplemental side seat-mounted airbags for front occupants
- Electronic Stability Control
- Four-wheel anti-lock, with on- and off-road calibrations
- Four-channel, active-wheel-speed, vehicle-speed, steering-wheel-angle, yaw-rate and lateral acceleration sensors
- Vehicle stability management with three-stage activation switch
- All-Speed Traction Control (ASTC)
- Brake Assist, Electronic
- Roll Mitigation (ERM)
- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)ABS
- EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)
- VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control)
- HDC (Hill Descent Control)
- 4WD capability
- Improved internal comfort
- Street cool
Not so Good Bits:
- Thirsty petrol engine
- Drives like you’re drunk
- Wrangler idiosyncrasies
The Jeep Wrangler is as good as anything off road and often it’s not until you swap cars and go over the same track that you realise just how easily and comfortable the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon handled it.
It doesn’t even raise a sweat over terrain that other highly rated 4WD’s sometimes can’t cover.
It’s also fair to say that the Wrangler Rubicon is ‘cool’ and appeals on many levels. Don’t buy one and expect saloon car ride around town, but take it bush and you will have so much fun you won’t want to come back.
Facts and Figures: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
- Engine: 3.6L Penstar V6 Petrol 209kW/347Nm
- Transmission: Five-speed Automatic
- Warranty: 5 Yrs/100,000km
- Safety: Not tested
- Origin: USA
- Price: from $59,162