Disclaimer: I’m a Jeep guy. My current daily driver is a 2011 2-door Jeep Wrangler Sport.
Many people thought I was crazy for buying such an impractical vehicle, but to that I just respond with ‘It’s a Jeep thing’. That being said, I realize the Wrangler is a polarizing vehicle with a niche that it seems to cater into oh so well. When I found out that I would be given the opportunity to test the new 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon with some 10th Anniversary bits, my initial thoughts were mixed. The Rubicon and all the ruggedness around it is undeniable, but a 4-door Jeep? I was unsure. Now after driving it around for a week, I can safely say this vehicle takes the unmistakable Wrangler feeling, and adds a level of practicality that allows you to fit in more than two people without having to be an acrobat or rock climber in order to get into the back seat.
This particular Jeep came in Anvil Blue, a sleek and unassuming colour that fit really well with the steel bumpers and rock rails, red tow and winch hooks, red leather seats, jacked-up ride height, and beefier mud terrain tires. Chrysler’s signature Pentastar 3.6L V6 is matted to a personal favourite of mine, a 6-peed manual, producing 285 hp and 265 lbs-ft of torque. This combination gives this Jeep a tremendous boost as compared to my 2011’s 202-hp/235 lb/ft combination. Optional is a 5 speed automatic for an additional $1495, but the $46,985 as-tested price seems already steep enough.
Switching to the interior, I fell in love. The added comfort of the leather seats as compared to my cloth was unbelievable. That being said, be careful of burning your skin when your roof is off; I had a passenger that had a nice red mark on her legs from the scorching hot leather. As mentioned before, the seats were bright red leather as an added special touch for this 10th Anniversary Edition Rubicon. Although not my first choice of colour for an interior, the seats and trim bits complimented the Anvil paint and matching accessories beautifully.
The Rubicon was replete with all the bells and whistles I’ve ever seen jammed into a Wrangler, including a UConnect infotainment system which worked surprisingly well. Handsfree Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, all the while being much more responsive than some of the units I’ve seen in older Chrysler products. For those of you looking to off-road, the GPS can add trail routes in your local area, and also saves any off-roading adventures on the map with a press of a button. And for those extreme off-roaders, the system is even capable of giving out altitude, latitude, and longitude readouts.
The overall feel of the Rubicon is much more refined than my 2011; the engine is much smoother especially at highway speeds. The added length due to the 4-door Unlimited configuration allows for a much smoother ride, and the premium Sunrider softtop not only kept out noise better, but looked sharper with a black velvety feel. Capability off-road is even more surprising, with dedicated buttons for axle lock, sway bar disconnect (so you don’t have to climb underneath manually), the aforementioned BF Goodrich mud/terrain tires, and the 4:1 Rock-Trac transfer case turns this vehicle into an unstoppable force in the wilderness, which of course where it really belongs. Because of where I live, we sorely lack mudding trails, but a few friends and I were able to take it the pavement for some minor off-roading through some mud and a couple of oversized puddles. Naturally, the Wrangler Rubicon had no issue blasting through a soggy marsh, and traversing steep inclines in and out of the trail thanks to its class-leading 10.5 inches of ground clearance (more due to the larger wheels), not to mention entry and departure angles exceeding 40 degrees.
During the course of my week with the Rubicon, I managed 16L/100km in combined driving. This is far from the 13.4 city/9.6 highway that is estimated. That being said, I was mainly on city roads for my commute to and from work, and our minor off-road foray definitely impacted the overall consumption. Overall, Jeep has done an excellent job in taming the beast that is the Wrangler, refining the ride to be bearable on road, and refining the interior to the point where it feels like any other modern SUV on the market today. But once the pavement ends, this Rubicon really shows its true colours as a vehicle that has no competition off-road (at least in North America) save for the more expensive, not-as-capable Toyota FJ Cruiser. And did I mention, the doors and roof come off?
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Gallery