This thread has been created so that owners of the 2012 Rubicon can share their On/Off-road experiences and provide real life review for the Rubicon’s performance, capabilities, fuel economy, concerns and repairs.
I became a happy owner of the 2012 Rubicon (Unlimited) two weeks ago! This is my very first Wrangler and my overall experience has been pleasant. I have always wanted a Wrangler but the ancient transmission and weak minivan engine (capable off-road but insufficient for daily pavement driving) have prevented me from owning one for many years. The following is my two-week review of the 2012 Rubicon:
1) Appearance/body components: I love the old-school and rugged appearance of the Wrangler which has been maintained for over 70 years! The body/frame feels very solid and abuse-proof (doors/gate door are light but don’t mind to be slammed hard when shutting – unlike other vehicles which makes you feel that trim is falling apart when shutting hard!). Fender flares are light and can be easily broken but are meant to be designed this way (not expensive to replace).
2) Performance: the 2012 Rubicon is more than sufficient for daily driving (engine has plenty of power to pull the Wrangler up-to speed whether driving within the city or on highways). The automatic transmission is smooth and feels solid. The 4.10 gears allow my Rubicon to pass easily on highways/city without requiring the automatic transmission to down shift.
So far, I have managed to clock 900 miles on the odometer; 60mph @ 2,100 rpm, 70mph @ 2,500 rpm
NOTE: I noticed that while driving down hill, the Wrangler speeds up faster than any vehicle I driven even when I let my foot off the gas pedal (it requires some braking).
3) Fuel economy: I did not expect 18mpg from my 2012 Rubicon but I was hoping for at least 16mpg from combined driving. So far, I have been very pleased with the 17.2mpg that my Rubi has been accomplishing with combined driving, 3 passengers on board (40% of time), AC running (60% of time) and some off-roading as well!
4) Off-roading: I took my Rubicon to ‘Hidden Falls’ trails and I’m really amazed with how capable my stock Rubicon is! I had a chance to use 4H, 4L, Lockers (front and rear), Swaybar disconnect, hill descent (does an excellent braking job when going down a steep path). I was able to negotiate a great deal of obstacles including extremely steep grades and a great deal of rock climbing which are a dead-end for many 4x4 vehicles (I even had my family on board with AC running most of the time!!!!!!). I was very impressed with the fact that my Rubi can hold extremely still while going up on a very steep grade (transmission in D; transfer case in 4L; and foot off-gas!!!!!!). I now understand what a crawling monster the Rubicon is!
NOTE: I really was worried that after negotiating the tough trails that my Wrangler’s steering will be out-of-balance, wheels needing balance, and cabin component vibrating but it has not been the case at all. In fact, my Rubi still drives as it did before (trust me I was driving over a great deal of rocks for hours!)
5) Water leak: I have not experience any kind of water leak (thanks god) and I have been through heavy rain and manual car washing (please note that I have not removed any part of the hard tops yet). I believe that a major contributor to water leak is removing the tops and not putting them back the exact way they were – I will try moving them once weather cools a little more and I will provide feedback accordingly.
6) Interior: very beautiful dashboard and well-thought of and solid components (no complaints at all, I love it). AC is very powerful even when in minimum speed, sound system is extremely pure and powerful, ride is very comfy, wind noise is not bad as most people complain, the suspension feels very rough and rugged on road (I love it).
7) Complaints: I really don’t have any complaints but few concerns that I hope to clarify soon:
a) When off-roading while in 4L, the transmission indicator was showing ‘D’ but for some weird reason and just for a sudden, I felt that the Wrangler rpm was going higher so I look at transmission indicator and it was ‘D1’ so I shifted the stick to ‘N’, then back to ‘D’ and it still showed ‘D1’!!!!! I moved the transfer case to 4H, then back to 4L and it still showed ‘D1’!!! I was leaving the trails at that point so I did not worry much but I tried it the day after and it worked just fine (I put it in 4L and it was on ‘D’). I’m not sure what was causing the issue – if you have any idea, please explain and provide feedback.
b) AC: every vehicle I have owned, I was able to let the outside air come into the interior without running the AC or fan just by simply turning off the ‘air circulation’ button. In my Wrangler, when I turn off the ‘air circulation button, while AC/fan off, I get no air at all coming inside!!!! (I don’t have automatic AC).
Please help me understand this one.
c) Suspension noise when moving while brakes are slightly applied – the noise is exactly like the one you would hear when negotiating very rough and rocky trail while barely moving and brakes are applied – like suspension squeaking noise). I started noticing it after I took my Rubicon off-roading). I greatly would appreciate it your feedback on this one.