2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon – Instrumented Test

At 7.6 seconds, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon is 3.9 seconds quicker to 60 mph than the SUV it replaces, thanks to its new 285-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 and five-speed automatic. To put that in perspective: You could run a BMW M3 sedan to 60 mph and then, very immediately thereafter, run the new ute to 60 mph in the same time it would take the old one, with its four-speed auto and 3.8-liter noisemaker, to huff its way to that speed.

Okay, so Rubicon owners aren’t drag racers, but they sure as hell would like to keep up with modern traffic, something not exactly possible with the lethargic old truck. And while our example came optioned up to a stunning $38,790 with heated front seats, a nav system, both soft- and hardtops, and the new automatic, its base price of $34,370 is only $250 higher than last year’s. The 2012 Rubicon’s dramatically improved acceleration and increased fuel efficiency (up 1 mpg in both EPA tests for automatic models) are worth well more than $250.

And neither the more civilized, new-for-2011 interior nor the powertrain upgrades came at any sacrifice to the Rubicon’s mud-plugging capabilities. It still rides on Dana 44 axles with electronic locking differentials front and rear, capped off with gnarly 32-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires. It still comes with a 4.00:1 low-range transfer case.  And the front anti-roll bar still disengages at the push of a button.

 

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