RUBICON IS THE MAGIC WORD WHEN IT COMES TO WRANGLER’S OFF-ROADING CAPABILITY
The Jeep Wrangler may not be the only vehicle with off-roading capability — even luxury manufacturers play in this pool — but it's hard to argue with Jeep’s claim that its Wrangler is “the most capable and recognized vehicle in the world” when it comes to off-pavement adventures.
There’s no mistaking what designers had in mind when they introduced the first Wrangler at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1986 as a replacement for its iconic Jeep CJ series, and it wasn’t mere runs to the grocery store.
While that holds true for any of the four trim levels offered in the Wrangler lineup, it is doubled down with the Rubicon model introduced in 2003.
Named for the famed Rubicon trail in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains near Lake Tahoe, the Wrangler Rubicon was “designed for ruggedness and was the most capable off-roading Jeep vehicle at the time,” according to a post on The Jeep Blog (www.blog.jeep.com).
Come to now and not much has changed. If you are a serious off-roader, the 2019 Jeep Wrangler Limited Rubicon likely will be your vehicle of choice. (Just do an Internet search for “Rubicon Trail” and click on images. You’ll see the kind of environs the Wrangler Limited Rubicon is comfortable in.)
Unfortunately, such challenges are lacking in South Florida, so my week in the Wrangler Rubicon, with the exception of a brief pot-hole filled, dirt-road venture marked by “what are we doing here?” cries from the passenger seat, was spent mostly on pavement.
Sigh. My loss.
In a situation like that or similar, another Wrangler model — Sport, Sport S or Sahara — likely would satisfy your desires for a husky, off-roader, and you’ll save yourself some money as well. The Limited Rubicon carries a starting price of $41,445 before options and a hefty, $1,495 destination and delivery charge are tacked on while the base Wrangler starts at under $30,000.
Just something to consider.
The Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission is the standard power train on Wrangler models, including the Rubicon, with an 8-speed automatic available as an option.
A 2.0-liner turbocharged 4-cylinder also is available and includes the automatic transmission.
The V6 produces a bit more horsepower (285) than the 4-banger (270), but the turbo has the advantage in torque with 295 pound-feet to the 260 in the V6.
If you really do have the opportunity to off-road a lot, you likely would appreciate the extra torque in the turbo-4, and it has the advantage in fuel economy with ratings of 22 miles-per-gallon city, 24 highway, 22 combined for the 4-door and 23/25/24 for the 2-door. Numbers for the V6 are 17/23/19 with the manual transmission, 18/23/20 for the automatic.
The Rubicon gets its extra off-road muscle from such features as the upgraded Rock-Trac NV241, shift-on-the-fly transfer case and standard Dana 44 heavy-duty solid front and rear axles. It also gets about an extra inch of ground clearance with 10.4 inches to the 9.7 inches for the Sport and 10.0 for the Sahara.
Standard features on the Limited Rubicon include remote keyless entry, power windows with one-touch down, halogen head and fog lights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, an 8-speaker sound system, dual-zone air conditioning, and electronic roll mitigation.
A Sunrider soft top is standard with a Premium soft top available. It’s removable, but after spending a few minutes looking at a Youtube video showing the process, I decided it wasn’t worth it for just the few days I would have the vehicle.
The process for getting it back on and correctly in place was, frankly, something I didn’t want to fool with.
A power hard top is available as an option.
Adding such extras as leather-trimmed bucket seats and leather-trimmed parking brake handle and shift knob, LET lighting group, a technology package that included an 8.4-inch display for navigation (very intuitive to operate), safety features like blind-spot detection and rear parking assist ran the total for my test vehicle to $53,900.
What I liked about the 2019 Jeep Wrangler Limited Rubicon: Despite its rugged appearance and capability, the Limited Rubicon is still rather civilized with lots of nice features and technology, though some come as options that drive up the price. It’s an attention-getter, for sure!
What I didn’t like about the 2019 Jeep Wrangler Limited Rubicon: It’s more adept at rock crawling than it is on expressway commutes. The rugged all-terrain tires mounted on 17-inch wheels are more suited to off-road than highway pavement.
Would I buy the 2019 Jeep Wrangler Limited Rubicon: Living in South Florida, no, I probably wouldn’t. Other Wrangler trims are good for any off-road obstacles one encounters in my neighborhood. But there is no question if you like ultimate off-pavement challenges, the Wrangler Rubicon is worth your consideration with price being the determining factor.