2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4x4

The Jeep Wrangler gains quite a few creature comforts and high-tech gizmos, but doesn't loose its off-road edge in the process.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

71 years of tradition

Jeep proudly proclaims "Since 1941" on a plate in the Jeep Wrangler's cabin. After 71 years, the iconic grille hasn't changed much.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

3.6-liter V-6

Under the Wrangler's hood breathes a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine. Output is rated at 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Two shifters

The Wrangler's center tunnel is home to two shifters: one for the transmission (either a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual gearbox) and another for the 4WD system.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

4x4 system

A 2WD mode optimizes efficiency for on-road performance, but users can also select between two 4WD modes (with low and high gear ratios) for maximizing off-road grip.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Electronic off-road aids

At the push of a button, users can lock the front, rear, or both differentials. There's also an electronic anti-sway bar that can be disengaged to increase individual wheel articulation over extremely uneven surfaces.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Aerodynamics

The 2012 Wrangler is more aerodynamic than previous generations, but it's still a bit of a flying brick.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Ground clearance

The short overhangs and high ground clearance help the Wrangler Rubicon to traverse almost any terrain.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Spare tire

The full-sized, rear-mounted spare tire is a bit of a Jeep Wrangler hallmark.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Cargo area

The rear door swings aside and the rear glass swings up to reveal the cargo area.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Folding rear bench

There's not a ton of space behind the rear seat. Fortunately, the whole assembly folds and flips forward.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Freedom Top

The hard plastic, three-piece Freedom Top is a $735 option.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Removable roof

The driver can easily remove one or both of the front roof panels in seconds. The entire roof can be popped off by two adults after removing a few bolts.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Open air

With the front roof panels removed, the Jeep becomes much more airy.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET / Caption by:

Optional leather seats

Leather seats with heated front buckets are a $900 option that seem a bit out of place in a rugged ride with drain plugs in its floor.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Interior

For what it's worth, the Wrangler Rubicon's interior does look nice. Many of the dashboard bits have been upgraded with soft-touch materials, but overall it's still pretty plasticky.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Instrumentation

Instrumentation is simple, but a small monochromatic LCD below the speedometer can be used to display a digital compass and thermometer. The tachometer features green color coding to indicate the "green" driving zone and a small ECO light.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Infinity audio

In the rear hatch storage area is a powered subwoofer--the star of the seven-speaker Infinity premium audio system.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Sound quality

Dashboard mounted tweeters, and four mid-range speakers on the lower dash and roll cage perform valiantly, but are ultimately overwhelmed by bass and road noise without a bit of EQ tweaking.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Steering wheel

The steering wheel is comfortable, which is good because you'll be gripping it in fear when a crosswind gets the Wrangler rocking and swaying at highway speeds.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Uconnect Bluetooth

The optional Uconnect system really should be standard and adds hands-free calling with voice dialing, Bluetooth Audio streaming, and USB connectivity for MP3 playback.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Cruise control

Cruise control is standard on the Wrangler Rubicon, but we're sure that most of you are more interesting in hill decent and traction control.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Media Center 130 basic receiver

The basic Media Center 130 receiver gets the job done with CD/MP3 playback. Two navigation options are available.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

110-volt power

A powered 110-volt outlet keeps your equipment and gadgets powered in the great outdoors.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Metadata over Bluetooth

When streaming audio via Bluetooth or reading from an MP3 CD or USB device, metadata is displayed on the Media Center 130's very basic display.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Satellite radio

One year of SiriusXM satellite radio is included.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Voice command

After syncing your address book, the Uconnect system can be used to dial by voice.

Back to the review.
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Check out the full, rated review.

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
Hot Galleries

CNET's Holiday Gift Guide

Tablets that put your TV to shame

Binge-watch your favorite episodes on these portable screens.

Hot Products