2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

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14,505
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Top of Virginia
My folks are in town for a little while, and I drove their Jeep around today for a short bit. I can comment on ride/handling, but it's so far removed from a stock Jeep that the comments wouldn't really matter. It's a FAR cry (in a positive way) from their old '06 TJ. The ride is very soft and isolated, but it's with an AEV 4.5" lift with hundreds of pounds of body armor and underbody skids, so it's not representative of a stock unit at all. But the engine/transmission are the same as in other Jeeps. And the interior as well...mostly. Let me start with the engine. First off, this is a fantastic improvement over the 4.0L, and the 3.8L it directly replaces. It's not the absolute smoothest V-6 I've driven in terms of NVH...it is very comparable to Toyota's 3.5L GR-series V-6 to me. It's not as smooth as the 3.5L J-series V-6 in our Acura, but it's definitely an improvement over the 3.8L. Power is good across the range, but this is in a 5,800 pound Jeep with 37" Procomps and 5.13:1 gears, so again, hard to really assess how fast they are in stock form. I'll say that this one is probably significantly slower, given the weight it's hauling around. It's definitely a higher-RPM engine than the 4.0L, and will freely hold gears until 4-5k RPM, even at mid throttle. But the engine noise is so muted, you really don't notice unless you're looking at the tachometer. It's great. The transmission is pretty good, and shifts smoothly. At part throttle, shifting is almost imperceptible. Durability-wise, I know it's probably bombproof. The interior is such an improvement, even over earlier JKs, it's hard to put into words. The fit and finish is absolutely fantastic for a Wrangler. It feels solid, no squeaks, no rattles, no loose panels. The same could not be said at all for the TJ. And my neighbor's '07 JK feels decidedly cheaper inside. They also have Katskinz leather seats, so that helps. You apparently can only get leather if you get tan. They wanted grey, so they had to go aftermarket for the leather. Overall, I thought I'd like the engine more than I do, but the transmission is a winner. And I'm impressed with the interior more than I thought I'd be. Much more. Even professional photos don't do it justice. It's a REALLY nice vehicle.
 
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22,884
Location
Apple Valley, California
How do they like that hill hold thing. When you stop on a hill it applies the brakes for you. Lots of complaints about that on the Jeep boards. Seems that with a stick shift it doesn't release fast enough and the engine stalls. LOL There is a way to turn it off. It involves turning the steering wheel x amount of times while holding your index finger in your ear then turning the key on with your left hand. Something like that . duh
 

Hokiefyd

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14,505
Location
Top of Virginia
Let me clarify I few things. 1) The engine is a great piece. If it sounds like I don't like it, that wasn't my intention at all. It's very refined. It brings the Wrangler to a whole new level. 2) When I said the fit and finish was nice "for a Wrangler", I really meant "period". I didn't word that well. Compared with Wranglers of the past, this is not even in the same class, so it IS great for a Wrangler, but the thin panel gaps and visial appeal of the materials would be at home in more expensive vehicles as well. 3) Theirs has hill decent control, but I don't know if they use it. I'll have to ask. I'd like to spend some more time with it. Especially the engine and transmission, to get to know them better. The drivetrain is fantastic...I can't say enough how much of a difference a new drivetrain and interior make on a vehicle.
 
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1,153
Location
Washington
Originally Posted By: Hokiefyd
3) Theirs has hill decent control, but I don't know if they use it. I'll have to ask.
If its the same as my '10,they don't have a choice. Its on as soon as you apply the brakes if the hill is steep enough.
 
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2,892
Location
Illinois, U.S.A
In the "Chrysler bash" thread that I wrote in earlier I stated how I hope that Chrysler gets their [censored] in gear, the Wrangler is the way to do it. If the time and money taken in the redesign of the Wrangle is consistently applied to their other vehicles they will be in much better shape. From a vehicle selection and reliability stand point. Customer service is a different story..
 
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1,153
Location
Washington
Originally Posted By: RamFan
In the "Chrysler bash" thread that I wrote in earlier I stated how I hope that Chrysler gets their [censored] in gear, the Wrangler is the way to do it. If the time and money taken in the redesign of the Wrangle is consistently applied to their other vehicles they will be in much better shape. From a vehicle selection and reliability stand point. Customer service is a different story..
The problem with the Wrangler being the vehicle that gets their act together,is that most "hardcore" Jeep guys expect (and defend) the lousy build quality. I can't tell you how many times I heard guys on the Wtangler forums complain about build quality or underpowered engines,and the next 10 guys would all defend Chrysler and Jeep. Their reasoning is that since its a Wrangler,it ok to be be terribly underpowered and its ok to have garbage for front end components,and its ok for the top to leak. There is no incentive for Chrysler to improve the Wrangler line when the dealers can't keep the pieces of junk on the lot as is. The Wrangler is improved for now. Their customers will think its the greatest thing ever,and Chrysler will think the Wrangler can stand pat for the next 10 years.
 
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5,941
Location
Arlington
My dad has had his 3.8 Wrangler for awhile now. Mostly it just gets towed behind the RV but it does get driven. His complaints? It cost about the same as his Mercury Mountaineer AWD 4.0, gets worse gas mileage than the Mountaineer, and doesn't appear to be able to go anywhere that the Mountaineer can't. No complaints about leaking tops, being underpowered, or breaking down.
 

Hokiefyd

Thread starter
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14,505
Location
Top of Virginia
Originally Posted By: Spazdog
His complaints?...doesn't appear to be able to go anywhere that the Mountaineer can't.
If this is the case, he's not using it as a Jeep. Which is fine, I'm not saying he should or shouldn't be. But it can go WAY further than a Mountaineer can. Here's a stock JK on some rocks. It'd be hard to drag a Mountaineer though this.
 

Hokiefyd

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14,505
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Top of Virginia
Originally Posted By: Chris142
How do they like that hill hold thing. When you stop on a hill it applies the brakes for you. Lots of complaints about that on the Jeep boards. Seems that with a stick shift it doesn't release fast enough and the engine stalls. LOL There is a way to turn it off. It involves turning the steering wheel x amount of times while holding your index finger in your ear then turning the key on with your left hand. Something like that . duh
I asked dad about this. He said some guys complain that if you're backing up hill, it tries to drag the front wheels because the brakes don't release. I don't know. On their 2012, you can turn Hill Start Assist off via the Personal Settings in the gauge cluster. I think this would be for 2011-2012 models only (with the new interior/steering wheel/gauge cluster). There may be a different procedure for the older models. They also don't use the Hill Descent Control, or whatever it's called. With 5.13 gears and the Rubi's already low 4:1 low range, electronic speed control aids generally aren't required.
 
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5,941
Location
Arlington
Originally Posted By: Hokiefyd
Originally Posted By: Spazdog
His complaints?...doesn't appear to be able to go anywhere that the Mountaineer can't.
Probably right. I don't see my 65 year old dad rock crawling in his Jeep. LOL Muddy back-roads, ice and snow? Sure. The Mercury probably does alright in mud. shrug I don't know. I haven't driven an IRS Exploder/Mountaineer in the mud.
 
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8,670
Location
Texas
Originally Posted By: Vikas
This is the first time I am hearing about hill older on an AUTOMATIC car!
All 2012+ Tahoes, Yukons, Suburbans/Yukon XL and Escalades have this feature as well. You can roll back on a steep hill in an automatic. It is helpful for towing, too. About the Jeep...I loved the 4.0L and hated the 3.8. So glad they are getting back to putting a decent engine in the Jeep Wrangler. However, I still haven't found a new one that makes me want to replace my '78 CJ7.
 
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Messages
35,936
Location
NY
Thanks for the report Hokiefyd. I think they hit it out of the park with this one! I'll ordering a 2013 next year, too many things going on for me to buy a 2012. I hope they leave it exactly the same, no DI, please. Have you checked out the loop in the exhaust system yet? It has something to do with getting that engine to run properly in the Wrangler. Lots of talk about that.
 

Hokiefyd

Thread starter
Messages
14,505
Location
Top of Virginia
Yeah, it has a loop on the driver side down tube. I imagine it's to keep the exhaust pipes an equal length before going into the collector, which is apparently on the driver side of the vehicle. Most vehicles will have something to this effect. Our MDX has one also, but it's not a 360* loop like the Wrangler has. I wonder if other Jeep models (or any other ChryCo models) have this 360* loop...or if it's just the Wrangler. They haven't managed to get rid of the 4.0L's "nasely" sound with the new 3.6L. That's really my only complaint about it. With the doors closed and windows up (A/C on), you can hear the engine clicking and ticking away during acceleration. It almost sounds like an exhaust leak. But I think that's just the way it sounds. With the windows open or doors off, there's enough ambient noise where you can't hear the engine at all unless you're romping on it.
 
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