Jeep's most capable factory-built offroading vehicle to date is the Wrangler Rubicon. The Wrangler is built to mimic Jeeps original and extremely capable 1940's WWII era military offroading vehicle and the Rubicon puts Jeep factory offroad upgrades in place to allow you to go from the factory showroom to just about any 4x4 trail you want.
The Wrangler Rubicon is great to take out in the open air by rolling back the soft top or by removing all or part of the 3 piece modular hard top on the 2 door Jeep Rubicon. Take a look at my step by step guide on how to remove the 3 piece Jeep Wrangler Freedom Top.
The Rubicon Wrangler was first released in 2003. The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon "Tomb Raider" edition was also produced in a limited quantity of about 1,000 to promote Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.
Angelina Jolie instantly made the Rubicon famous with her dirty girl attitude and very capable offroad driving ability. The Tomb Raider edition is arguably one of the most collectible jeeps ever built.
The name Rubicon was derived from the famous Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, a Class 10 trail that boasts over 20 miles of some of the toughest offroading challenge you'll find available in North America.
Just looking at the Jeep Rubicon you get the impression it's a very capable offroad vehicle. Big, fat tires and diamond plate protection doesn't really tell the story, though, because the Ruby gets its offroad ability from the inside.
All the magic happens with things like driver-actuated locking differentials while the transfer case is in low range and at low speed (< 10mph). A dash mounted switch to control the front axle locker on or off will allow the driver to move the jeep more precisely around trails and over rocks by mechanically locking the axle shafts together, driving all four wheels at the same speed.
An unlocked rear axle has a torque sensing limited slip design that gives better traction on the road. The Dana model 44 axles with 4.10:1 ratio in both the front and rear to give you power and control offroad.
The transfer case on the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon has a four to one low range to slow vehicle speed and increase torque to the wheels. This helps when crawling over large obstacles like rocks and logs because it gives you lots of power and traction without fast wheel spin.
The transfer case is a fixed output NVG2401R was designed for the Ruby because of the extremely demanding nature of the factory offroad package and includes a pair of heavy duty drive shaft with tough 1330 universal joints.
All this purpose built offroading goodness is put to the ground with Goodyear Wrangler Maximum Traction Reinforced 31 inch tires with three ply sidewall treads. The P245/75R16's are mounted on 16 inch five spoke aluminum wheels. The dished shape of the wheel allows for tighter crawling without damaging them.
Of course, getting all the power and control to the ground doesn't do much if you can't stop it. So the Rubicon comes with self-cleaning disk brakes all around that will help make sure you can slow and stop when you have to.
There are 2 basic options when choosing the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon: 2 door or 4 door. If you're like me, a parent of youngsters that will need to get into the back seat often, you might consider the 4 door model. Except I didn't. I traded the ease of getting around tighter trails and a tight turning radius for the ease of the kids to get into the back of the Jeep.
Here are some more key features you'll find on the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon...
- Best-in-class approach and departure angles
- Best-in-class ground clearance
- Solid front and rear axles
- Locking differentials
- Huge meaty tires
- Full-length rock rails
- Steel plate under body armor