field test 2012 jeep wrangler un
Altair Club Cars Field Test: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

Field Test: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

Scott Brady talks about the significance of the Wrangler Unlimited platform and the changes made to the 2012 model Wrangler.

Hello i’m scott brady with expedition portal and overland journal and i’m here with the 2012 jeep wrangler the wrangler jk has been a significant vehicle since its introduction it’s been awarded many times over by numerous publications and video segments but i want to talk today about the things that make the jk particularly unique the thing that makes it exceptional

In its area of expertise now obviously the addition of the 3.6 liter v6 was a nice change for this truck in particular the 3.8 although it proved to be very reliable lacked a lot of the performance that the competitors in the same segment had but what the wrangler has always had is the the finest low to moderate speed technical trail capability of anyone in this

Segment that’s why i want to spend some time talking about that particular attribute today now obviously everyone knows this is one of the few remaining vehicles with a solid front and rear axle as a wagon it’s a four-door long wheelbase variant up to this point the wranglers have always been very short vehicles to doors now we’ve got a four-door variant a lot

More storage capacity a lot more ability to carry personnel and other equipment which is a really important for the thing for those of us who like to travel remotely in the outback now the key attributes that were talking about are tire performance suspension articulation and then crossed axle diff locks now the wrangler is the only vehicle that has best in breed

Articulation it has best and breed tire fitment and it also has best in breed total traction control system and when i say total traction control system i’m not just talking about just a rear locker or just front and rear lockers this vehicle has front and rear locking differentials it also has traction control and it also has a rear limited slip so it has a helical

Driven gear driven limited slip in the rear that’s available at all times so depending on the scenario you’ve got some variability in traction so in low speeds the driver has these ultimate available choices now what’s also common in competitors in this same segment is for them to have maybe good articulation in the rear and the reason for that is that these vehicles

Have to attain a certain level of on-road stability or on-road performance now in the case of the wrangler they fit a really heavy duty front anti-sway bar but then they give the driver the option to disconnect it they can uncouple the anti-sway bar by just pushing a button and when that happens you get maximum articulation like we can see here the rear anti-sway

Bar is also a very small diameter so it really has very limited control over the maximum range of motion of the rear axle but it does provide a little bit of side slope stability now what i found with this particular truck if you look at this obstacle that we’re going through i don’t have any of the differential locks engaged the reason why this vehicle is able to

Come through so effortlessly is because the tires are in contact with the terrain so articulation is very important not only for stability if we look the vehicle is completely level the hood is level with the horizon but the axle is underneath of doing all the work this adds a great deal of driver confidence and stability to the vehicle and technical terrain now

The next thing we’re going to talk about is tires now obviously tires are very easy for someone to change out but to me this makes an important statement jeep is saying that this is the intention of the vehicle this vehicle is designed to do technical terrain travel i’ve taken jeep rubicon’s over the rubicon trail 14 times we’ve taken them on extended expeditions

And we found them always to exceed our expectation for poor performance and one of those things has to do with the fact that these tires are fitted now these tires are unique to the jeep wrangler rubicon they were actually designed by it by bf goodrich to provide the level of traction that was required by jeep but also give a little bit better on road refinement

Than the traditional km if you notice these center lugs here are a lot closer together than they would be under traditional km specified tire the last thing that we’re going to talk about it across axle diff locks these are the most important of the features that i’m talking about because they give the greatest improvement in total traction now in the 90s the 80

Series land cruiser was fitted with front and rear differential locks which was really groundbreaking and it was a very important statement in the marketplace now this jeep wrangler has it front and rear it also has a rear mechanical limited slip differential and it also has traction control so depending on the conditions the driver can either select or allow the

Systems to work to their advantage for total traction now in addition to having differential locks you also have to have the hardware to support it and this particular vehicle is fitted with dana 44 axles front and rear so we not only have differential locks we have very strong differentials to take the size of tire it is and the potential torque input from the

Four to one transfer case now we’ve talked about these really important things tires axle articulation cross axle different locks but the jeep has a lot more than that that really sets it apart from its peers for example the tires stick out further to the sides in the body work which means that we’re near on the side slope in the mud you’re not just wrecking all

Of that expensive bodywork to repair you’ve also got lots of good approach and departure angle so from the front and rear when you’re coming up against the ledge or dropping off of a ledge we’ve got really good angles now obviously the four-door variant suffers a little bit on the break over angle this is a hundred and sixteen inch wheelbase and even though it’s

Got a pretty good sized tire on it and quite a bit of ground clearance because of that long wheelbase it does tend to get hung up a little bit but then again that’s where the tires axle articulation and diff locks can really help out so when we look at it compared to the other vehicles in this segment it’s just really important to understand just how effective

This truck is in slow speed to moderate speed terrain now obviously there’s some downsides to that all of this hardware creates some other compromises right so at higher speeds you’ve got lack of directness in the steering you’ve got a lot of noise and vibration and harshness that comes from the tires compared to it an all-terrain or a very street biased tread

You’ve also got a little bit more body roll because that rear anti-sway bar is much smaller diameter than the competitors may have there’s all those things that you compromise under to get this kind of performance but if you’re looking for the most capable off the showroom floor vehicle that’s currently available in north america there’s no question that the rubicon is it you you

Transcribed from video
Field Test: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon By Expedition Portal

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