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First Test: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

Is the Pentastar Really That Good?

Allyson Harwood
Sep 14, 2011
As you read our first drive story, Jeep's engineers anticipated that, with the new 3.6-liter engine, the Wrangler would be 2-3 seconds faster than when it was equipped with the 3.8-liter. It turns out they were right. The fastest time our test crew ever got in the Wrangler with the 3.8 was a 9.8-second 0-to-60 time, and a quarter-mile time of 17.1 seconds at 77.7 mph. (That was in a 2008 two-door Rubicon, so as you can imagine, the 2008 Sahara or X would've been faster.) For reference, the 2007 non-Rubicon Unlimited we tested reached 60 mph in 10.2 seconds.
Photo 2/4   |   2012 Jeep Wrangler Engine View
The 2012 Wrangler Sport we tested is the lightest, fastest combination you'll be able to buy. It has the soft top, six-speed manual transmission, short wheelbase, and very little in the way of interior goodies. It turns out the new engine is just as good as Jeep anticipated: Our 3918-pound Sport hit 60 in 6.7 seconds, finishing the quarter mile in 15.2 seconds at 89.1 mph. During our work commute, a mix of freeway and street driving, we also measured fuel economy, and learned that the Wrangler produced 18.0 mpg. Between the improvements in performance -- it's the fastest Wrangler we've ever tested -- and fuel economy, this is the best daily driver Wrangler yet.

2012 jeep Wrangler Sport
BASE PRICE $24,250
PRICE AS TESTED $27,760
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front engine, 4WD, 4-pass, 2-door SUV
ENGINE 3.6L/285-hp/260-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3918 lb (51/49%)
WHEELBASE 95.4 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 152.8 x 73.7 x 70.9 in
0-60 MPH 6.7 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.2 sec @ 89.1 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 135 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.70 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON 17/21 mpg
CO2 EMISSIONS 1.04 lb/mile

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