- The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is a serious off-roading machine.
- But can the trail-warrior Rubicon handle everyday life?
- The answer is that the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon isn’t interested in everyday life if there are trails to conquer — and if that’s your thing, you’ll be happy to spend $48,000 on the vehicle.
I’ve honestly never understood the appeal of the Jeep Wrangler (and before, that the Jeep CJ) to the vast majority of consumers. Sure, the rugged, barebones vehicle makes ample sense — if you’re a dedicated rock-crawler, have rivers to routinely ford, are planning an expedition to a place the civilization forgot, or are simply opposed to cars that don’t have doors that can be removed.
But that’s gotta be … I don’t know … less than 1% of all car buyers? The rest are going to use almost none of the Jeep Wrangler’s capabilities. And yet, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles still sold about 240,000 of these things last year in the US.
How many of those owners do you think are meandering through unimproved territory on a regular basis? Well, the answer is, "Some." But quite frankly, when it comes to an outdoor lifestyle, the spiritual descendant of what started its long life as a World War II scout vehicle is a less-good choice than a Toyota Tacoma.
The Wrangler owes its baffling, ongoing celebrity in the auto world to its image. That’s what makes, for example, teenagers dig a ride that every parent knows might look cool, but that’s expensive to own and rather challenging to operate. Even Alicia Silverstone’s disastrous driving test in "Clueless" can’t change hearts and minds.
However, because image is everything for the Wrangler, it can’t be a Potemkin village on four huge tires. Jeep has and continues to take this responsibility seriously. Ridiculously seriously.
I drove a fairly non-fuss Wrangler a couple of years ago and had a typical Jeep-in-the-‘burbs experience. More recently, Jeep tossed me the keys to an upscale 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with a base price of $37,500. Kitted out with many of the goodies that owners can get on the latest-generation that went on sale in 2018, our test car cost $48,000. The base Wrangler two-door in Sport trim starts at $27,945.
Has the $48,000 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon made concessions to soft modern life? Is the Greatest Generation/zombie-apocalypse-survival machine surrendering to the weakness of prospective owners who don’t spend their days far, far away from major highways? Can you still remove eight bolts and go doorless?
Read on to find out.
My $48,000 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon arrived with a snazzy paint job. It’s called "Punk’n Metallic." Get it?
The little Jeep that defeated Hitler wasn’t available in "Punk’n" metallic, but its battlefield history sets the standard by which all modern Jeeps are judged.
The first civilian Jeeps appeared in the late 1940s.
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