Despite the challenges, all the Jeeps survived, which was a big surprise to the owners of highly modified off-road vehicles that were sharing the trail with us. In many spots, the Rubicon isn't wide enough for two-way traffic, so groups of 'wheelers waited as we passed, smirking, expecting the Wranglers to roll, get stuck, or break. None of that happened. Oh, sure, things scraped and the occasional muffler was reshaped, but everything got through. The new engine and trans worked well, and even though peak torque is now at a higher rpm, there was no noticeable difference when off-roading at low speeds.

Jeep's goal with this latest version of the Wrangler was to make the vehicle more refined and better on a day-to-day basis, without sacrificing the JK's off-road ability. The new Wrangler stays true to the model's 71-year-old roots, but now is a lot more fun to drive on-road.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Drivetrain layout Front engine, 4WD
Engine 60-deg V-6, aluminum block/heads
Bore x stroke 3.78 x 3.27 in
Displacement 220 ci/3.6L
Compression ratio 10.2:1
Valve gear DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
SAE horsepower 285 hp @ 6400 rpm
SAE torque 260 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Transmission NSG 370 6-speed manual
1st 4.46:1
2nd 2.61:1
3rd 1.72:1
4th 1.25:1
5th 1.00:1
6th 0.80:1
Reverse 4.06:1
Opt transmission W5A580 5-speed automatic
1st 3.59:1
2nd 2.19:1
3rd 1.41:1
4th 1.00:1
5th 0.83:1
Reverse 3.16:1
Axle ratio 3.21:1 (6M std), 3.06:1 (5A std), 3.73:1 (6M opt, 5A Rubicon), 4.10:1 (Rubicon 6M std, 5A opt)
Final drive ratio 2.54:1 (5A std), 2.56:1 (6M std), 2.97:1 (6M w/3.73:1), 3.10:1 (5A w/3.73:1), 3.27:1 (6M w/4.10:1), 3.40:1 (5A w/4.10:1)
Transfer-case model NV241 Command-Trac, NV241OR Rock-Trac
Low-range ratio 2.72:1 (NV241), 4.00:1 (NV241OR)
Crawl ratio (1st x axle gears x low range) 29.9:1 (5A std), 38.9:1 (6M std), 45.2:1 (6M w/3.73:1), 53.6:1 (5A w/3.73:1), 58.9:1 (5A w/4.10:1), 73.1:1 (6M w/4.10:1)
Wheelbase 95.4;116.0 in*
Length x width x height 152.8;173.4 x 73.7; 73.9 x 70.8;70.9 in*
Track, f/r 61.9/61.9 in
Turning circle 34.9; 41.2 ft*
Appr/dep angle 40.8-44.6; 40.6-44.4 deg/37.4-40.6; 37.4-40.7 deg
Ground clearance* 8.8-10.3; 8.7-10.2 in*
Curb weight 3750-4150; 4100-4350 lb* (mfr)
Payload capacity 900-1000 lb
GVWR 4900-5700 lb
GCWR 6029-6296; 6427-8185 lb
Max towing capacity* 2000; 3500 lb*
Seating capacity 4; 5*
Headroom, f/r 41.3; 41.3/40.3 40.4 in*
Legroom, f/r 41.0; 41.0/35.6; 37.2 in*
Shoulder room, f/r 55.8; 55.8/61.6; 56.8 in*
Cargo vol beh 1st/2nd row 56.5/17.2; 86.8/46.4 cu ft*
Load lift height 27.8; 31.4 in*
Construction Ladder frame
Suspension, f/r Live axle, leading arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar/live axle, trailing arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Steering type Recirculating ball
Ratio 16.7:1; 14.7:1*
Turns, lock to lock 3.5
Brakes, f/r 11.9-in vented disc/12.4-in disc, ABS
Wheels 7.0x16-in steel, 7.5x17-in cast aluminum, 7.5x18-in cast aluminum
Tires 225/75R16 Goodyear Wrangler ST, 255/75R17 BFGoodrich Mud Terrain, 255/70R18 Bridgestone Dueler 693
Base price $22,045; $25,545*
Price as tested $34,575 (Rubicon), $34,930 (Unlimited)
Airbags Front
Fuel capacity 18.6 gal; 22.5 gal*
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 17/21; 16/20-21 mpg*
CO2 emissions 1.04; 1.08-1.10 lb/mile*
Recommended fuel Regular unleaded
*Wrangler; Wrangler Unlimited