If you’ve got a good ‘un, make the most of it. That’s certainly been Chrysler’s philosophy when it comes to the super-successful Jeep Wrangler, which first appeared in 1987 and had been delighting supporters of serious SUVs ever since. Their interest in off-roading was duly reflected in the 2003 launch of the TJ Wrangler Rubicon, named not for the Italian river that represents the point of no return, but the rugged Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains beloved by serious four-wheel drivers.
The TJ Rubicon went down (and up) so well that when an all-new Jeep Wrangler JK series was launched in 2007 the Rubicon variant was a nailed-on survivor. The JK is longer and wider than its predecessor, though short-and long-wheelbase versions are offered. The two-door short-wheelbase Wrangler comes in X, Sahara and Rubicon trim, as does the long-wheelbase four-door Unlimited model.
A powerful 3.8 litre V6 provides the JK’s grunt, though a 2.8 litre turbodiesel is also offered outside the USA. Six-speed manual transmission is standard, with an optional four-speed automatic. Stability control is a new feature, as is anti-lock braking and traction control with an electronic limited-slip differential. Although it is still possible to remove the doors for rough-country work, the new Wrangler has remote central locking and electric windows. The Sundowner convertible top is standard issue, with a three-piece hardtop as an option.
The JK Rubicon’s dedicated package is the official off-road performance choice. It comes with the Rock-Trac 4:1 transfer case, front and rear 32-spline Dana 44 axles with special gearing, front and rear electronic cliff-lock, rock rails and electronic sway-bar disconnect. It even has special seats and a seven-speaker sound system to entertain the wildlife when the JK Rubicon arrives in remote parts that other off-roaders can’t reach.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
3.8 l (230.5 cid) OHV V6
Top speed of 109 mph (175 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 10.3 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Yup — Chrysler certainly knows a good thing when it sees one. The Wrangler JK was introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto show by being driven up steps and straight through a plate-glass window… replicating the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s dramatic entrance to the event back in 1992.