2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Review

The brilliant purpose-built vehicle in search of a purpose.

By: David Merline

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: January 28th, 2014

The Jeep Wrangler is the real deal. It's descended from the original WWII Willys Jeeps, and indeed, the Wrangler is a Jeep in more than name only. This is a serious rock-hopping, water-fording, hill-climbing machine.

We had the good fortune of driving our 2-door Wrangler Rubicon during a particularly nasty bout of Chicago winter weather, and we grew to love the sheer mettle of the Wrangler more than we ever thought.

When it comes to off-roading, there aren't many vehicles that can offer you more capability, more agility, and more slow-speed fun for the money.

  • On the Road

    On the road is precisely where you don't want to be in the Wrangler Rubicon. Although you get the advantage of not having to pussyfoot around massive potholes, you also get to feel every bump, every crack, and every dip in every road. Jeep have done a fine job of making the Wrangler as capable a daily driver as possible, but there's only so much you can do to tame a machine that's been fine-tuned for trouble.

    With the convertible top (the only option worth considering on a Wrangler, let's be honest), there is copious road and wind noise and waiting for the interior to heat up (even with optional seat heaters) on a bitterly cold day takes a great deal of patience.

    But again, if you're looking for a smooth ride you shouldn't be shopping in this class to begin with. And if you're just going to buy a Wrangler to look tough and you'll never drive it on any surface other than tarmac, you're a dimwitted fool and you deserve all the discomfort you get.

    This is probably what Jeep means what it promises in its promotional material that the Wrangler's mission is "to make every day behind the wheel a thrilling adventure."

    While the Wrangler got us through many foot-deep snow embankments that once were parking spaces with relative ease, it skidded like a BMX bike on frozen roadways, proving, more than anything else, that even a rugged four-wheel-drive vehicle needs something for its tires to grip.

  • Exterior

    The Wrangler is, of course, what you picture when you close your eyes and think of a Jeep. We prefer both the look and the practicality of the convertible soft top, which is better suited to real off-roading. In any event, the Wrangler looks best completely covered in mud, dirt, and other debris that's been kicked up from the massive 32-inch tires.

  • Interior

    Inside is nearly as rugged as outside on the Wrangler, despite the optional cushy leather seats and the various mod cons like a nav screen, satellite radio, USB ports, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
    The design is strictly no-frills. "Tough" is what passes for the design philosophy in the Wrangler interior, which is fine. It's a fitting interior for a vehicle with a $20,000 base price, especially for one that's supposed to be used for pulling, climbing, or towing, more than driving.

  • Final Thoughts

    As a purpose-built vehicle, the Jeep Wrangler is among the most brilliant ever made. It can best any terrain, can get you out of any jam, and drive through massive puddles with aplomb. But it simply isn't a car, and when used as one it leaves plenty to be desired, mostly comfort, convenience (one doesn't get into a Wrangler, one climbs in), and reasonable gas mileage.

    For sporting, adventuring, or for frequent driving through weather conditions that would stymie most other vehicles, the Wrangler is absolutely brilliant, capable, and, above all else, fun.

  • Specs & Price

    Engine: 3.6-liter naturally-aspirated V-6

    Transmission: 6-speed manual

    Power Output: 285 horsepower / 260 lb.-ft.

    Towing Capacity: 2,000 pounds

    Fuel Economy: 17 mpg (city) / 21 mpg (hyw)

    Price: $22,395 (base)

    Features: 12V DC power outlet, USB and Aux-in connections, locking/limited slip differential, 32-inch mud tires, sway bar disconnect system, heavy-duty transfer case with 4:1 low gear ratio

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• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2014 Jeep Wrangler, click here: 2014 Jeep Wrangler.