So... I'm interested in buying a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (2012) and I'm interested to learn what it's capabilities are as a four wheel drive off-roader compared to the Rubicon model. I apologize in advance if this is a common question.
Having test-driven a sport model and (fallen in love with it) I'm suddenly scaling up my off-roading options thinking, it's just going to be awesome to take that thing on some rugged trails. Now, I confess I have never driven a four wheel drive before, and as much as the marketing for the Jeeps promotes them all as just awesome off-road vehicles, there has to be a point where you are on a trail and you wished you had bought the Rubicon instead. What is that point that some of you must have reached?
I understand on a basic level some of the technical engineering advantages of the Rubicon (and I'm not sure I can justify the additional cost) but I'm still curious as to what your stock Jeep Sport is capable of. I'm not expecting to go on any crazy trails with it and I have certainly watched some entertaining videos of Rubicons pushing over boulders and such, but at what point will my regular stock jeep just say 'woah buddy - can't go there....!'. Who knows how a particular trail might suddenly turn a little more advanced than you expected right?
I'm sure I'm still a little naive concerning off-roading but I'm trying to gather as much info as possible, especially when I have to go 'deal' with dealership salesmen.......
My wife and I have been very surprised at how capable our JKU Sport has been while wheelin' with our local club. Its her DD but on the weekends we have takin' it down forest roads, jeep trails, etc. I am not taking it out to Moab or anything, but here on the east coast, mountain trails, loggin' roads and power line right of ways are dominant.
Its all in how you drive it actually. But my wife and I are looking at a leveling kit and adding 33s. That way we can go on a couple more challenging areas, give it a nicer stance and a little more aggressive tread.
Save the money from a Rubicon edition and get the a Sport with the max tow package. That way you will get the 3.73 gears. For someone that has never been off roading I would join a local club, head out to the desert... Red Rock and Jawbone are a couple of my favorites and learn what your Jeep can do. And with all the money you didn't spend on the Rubi addition, you can upgrade to some recovery gear, skid plates (mandatory!), etc.
I had a friend actually get the Rubi wheels and tires put on his sport as a part of the deal. Try that and you will have even more cash left over. The SRA Goodyears are alright for the road but if get into some wet mud or slippery roads in the Sierras or northern Cali, then you will wish you had a more aggressive tread.
Good luck with the purchase!
I can do anything, just give me instructions.
Hey thanks for the advice there - and great to see your pics. I have certainly toyed with the notion of getting the Rubicon wheels and tires installed first as I'm sure once I have taken on a relatively simple trail that I will just want to scale up and have some more challenging fun.
The dealerships seem to offer a Sport with the 24S package (which varies a little) but ultimately suits my requirements. The last thing I need to decide on is the standard rear differential, or the anti-spin differential and I hear mixed reports about the anti-spin differential - it's either just poor performance and it eventually just wears out or it's just going to help somewhat when off-roading. Hmmmm........ any thoughts?
I guess the question is what are you looking at TJs 97-06 or JKs 07+. Having owned a Rubicon the only time I wished I had a sport is when I am stuck on a trail 3 miles farther up the trail than I would have made it with a sport. If you plan to off road the Rubicon can be justified the extra parts are worth about 5-6K plus warranty if there is any remaining on the vehicle you are looking at. If you buy a sport and you are one of those people that regrets decisions afterward, I would just save yourself the money, and mental anguish and get one the first time, pay once, cry once. That said the sports are very capable far more so than any other standard vehicle produced today. I would only get the Rubi wheels if they are the 17s, if they are the 16s on the TJ Rubicons there are much better aftermarket wheels in the 15" variety.
2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
4.0L, 42RLE, Dual Tops, Full Doors, JKS Front Disconnects, Cragar Soft 8 Black Wheels, 33x12.5x15 Goodyear Duratracs, .75" Front Coil Spacers, Bushwacker 6" Flat Fender Flares, Skid Row Steering Box Skid, LubeLockers, Rubicon Locker Mod, OBA, Cobra 19 Ultra III CB, 3' Firestik, Rough Country 2.2 Steering Stabilizer, RC 1.25" BL, RC 1" MML, RC Grab Handles, Fog Lamp Bent Pin Mod, 4" Apline S Series Speakers, Kenwood Excelon 6.5" Speakers, 6.5" JL Audio 6W3V3 Subwoofer (in center console) w/MTX Thunder 202 amp, IPF H4 Headlight Housing, Sliverstar H4 bulbs.