2012 Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most iconic vehicles there is. A successor to the wildly successful Willys Civilian Jeep, it brings that classic Jeep look with a slightly modernized twist. Since the Wrangler was created in 1987, it has spawned 4 generations, with the latest one starting production in 2007. So does the latest edition of the Wrangler live up to the tradition?

Modifications on the 2011 and 2012 model years have made people fall in love with the Wrangler all over again. Long being considered as perhaps the most capable SUV when it comes to off-road driving, it has gained some welcome modifications. These modifications, including engine and interior upgrades, make this one of the best Wrangler models yet.

Exterior & Interior

On the exterior end of things, this looks like your typical Wrangler. This is exactly what the doctor ordered, as just about everyone likes the Wrangler’s classic yet functional styling. There are 2 trims available, the 2 door and the 4 door. And just like the original, the roof and doors can be removed. And speaking of the roof, you have a choice between a hard top and a soft top. And to top it off, regardless of variant, the aforementioned roof and doors can be removed simpler than you think.

On the inside, there is some serious upgrading going on. Now, the materials used in the Wrangler are now considerably higher end compared to the competition. But this doesn’t mean that cleaning up the interior is made difficult. The interior can withstand the elements and can be cleaned without so much effort, a must for a car such as this. The seats are wrapped in cloth as standard, but leather wrapping and heating are optional equipment.

Out front, the experience is bound to be great because the seats are comfortable. However, for those that are seated on the back, they are bound to be uncomfortable, and getting out of there is not going to be easy. A radio with AM and FM capability is mated with a CD player, USB connection, and an auxiliary jack. Optional equipment includes power doors and windows and air conditioning. As for cargo, the free space is measured at 17.2 cubic feet and 61 cubic feet with the rear seats removed. The 4 door variant has a slightly larger cargo space: 46.2 cubic feet with the rear seats on and 86.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

Performance

On the performance standpoint, reviewers have said that this is the most versatile Wrangler yet. It is still as competent when doing off-road duties, but its on-road performance is much improved. The key to its improvement is the new Pentastar 3.6 liter V6 engine that it received. Maximum power is rated at 285 horsepower, which makes a world of difference compared to its predecessors.

And despite this increase in strength, fuel economy is actually improved to an average of 16 to 20 miles per gallon, an upgrade compared to past years. And even though it still lacks on-road composure (which is more than made up by its strong off-road poise), the experience is still much improved.

The Competition

There are two vehicles that could be compared to with the Wrangler, the Toyota FJ Cruiser (MSRP $27,380; 17 city / 21 hwy) and the Hummer H3 (MSRP $33,390; 14 city / 18 hwy). There are a lot to like about all three vehicles. Jeep has preserved the classic Wrangler style and off-road ability while adding a bit more on-road skill and creature comforts. However, people still find it too crude and that may lead them to look elsewhere.

In the end, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler is going to stay true to its roots for better or for worse. It may not be the most refined thing in the world, but it is great because it sticks to its strengths that made it a 60 year old institution. With a welcome dash of refinement, and it becomes one of the best Wranglers ever.

Overall Rating
62 out of 100

What others say:

“The 2012 Jeep Wrangler doesn't offer much comfort on the road, but recent improvements to quell noise and vibration go a long way to reduce fatigue.”Car Connection

“Off-road testing shows Wrangler in its best light. Its suspension design and array of traction-assisting technology subdues most obstacles.”Consumer Guide

“Though more civilized than ever, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler remains a no-nonsense American icon. Its quirky character and unique off-road abilities continue to hold appeal.”Edmunds

“The 2012 Jeep Wrangler is engineered to deliver credible off-road SUV capability. To that end, its on-road demeanor is necessarily compromised. Both its separate frame and live axles (front and rear) enhance off-road performance, while compromising on-road stability (heavier unsprung weight from live axles) and performance (heavier curb weight – typically – with a separate frame) when compared to today's pavement-specific crossover SUVs.”KBB

Specifications

General Info
Vehicle Type: SUV Base Price: $22,045.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.6 gallons (70 liters) MPG: 17 city / 21 hwy
Dimensions
Length: 152.8 in. (388 cm) Width: 73.7 in. (187 cm)
Height: 70.9 in. (180 cm) Wheel Base: 95.4 in. (242 cm)
Curb Weight: 3760 lbs (1705 kg) Ground Clearance: 8.8 in. (22 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 17.2 cu ft Maximum Seating: 4 people
Performance
Engine: 24-Valve DOHC VVT V6 Displacement: 3.6 Liter
Horsepower: 285 HP Max RPM: 6400 RPM
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm Transmission: X-Speed Automatic
0-60 mph: 9.4 seconds Max Towing Capacity: 2000 lbs (907 kgs)
Available Trims & Engine
Option:Wrangler Sport S MSRP: $24,290; MPG: 17 city / 21 hwy
Option:Wrangler Sahara MSRP: $27,970; MPG: 17 city / 21 hwy
Option:Wrangler Rubicon MSRP: $29,995; MPG: 17 city / 21 hwy