Monday, February 20, 2012

Autoblog reviews the 2009 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited

Autoblog.com is one of my favorite websites for automotive news and reviews.  They aren't hardcore off-roaders, but they know enough to be impressed with the off-road abilities of the 2009 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited they lived with for a week-long road test.


As expected, the non-offroader who reviewed it found it to be slow, noisy, and uncomfortable in a daily driving context, especially when compared to the latest and greatest commuter cars and luxury cars they're accustomed to driving.  However, he had a change of heart after taking some advice:
After a couple less than comfortable days with the Wrangler Unlimited, this blogger felt compelled to complain to the Autoblog staff. Fellow scribe Jeremy Korzeniewski implored me to take the Rubicon off-road and said the experience would change my mind. Unfortunately, I had pictures to take and posts to write, so the fun would have to wait until the weekend. Then it happened. On the fourth day with the Wrangler Unlimited, the skies opened up and it began to snow. Two inches in about an hour, and right in time for the morning commute. In most vehicles, the ride would have been hell. In the Rubicon, snow is nothing but an appetizer.
That night we headed straight for some open land with a "take all the dirt you want" sign posted at the entrance. Hills, dips, mud, ice and snow were all there to enjoy, and enjoy we did. For 45 minutes, the Jeep took everything thrown at it. Not only was the Rubicon free of complaint, but it actually seemed happy, and the driver's seat somehow felt more comfortable. This is what Jeep owners are on about.
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon was never intended to be a daily driver, but the fact that it performs this task as competently as it does is amazing, considering its off-road bias.  The 2012 Wrangler's new engine, transmission, and interior go a long way towards correcting the biggest complaints of the 2007-2011 models, making it an even better all-arounder without sacrificing its off-road abilities.

Now that Jeep has introduced the highly-desirable revised Wrangler, 2007-2010 models are flooding the used-car market.  If you're like me and don't need your Jeep to have the new hot-rod motor, can row your own gears to extract the most from the old motor with the 6-speed manual, and can do without the luxury-car interior, you can pick up a low-mileage early JK at an incredible discount.  The $14,000 I was able to save versus buying new will go a long way towards upfitting my 2010 JKUR with all the off-road equipment it will ever need.

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