Home : Vehicle Reviews : Jeep : 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2-Door

2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2-Door

 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Review Notes: 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2-Door - 3.8 L OHV, 12-Valve SIMPI V6 / 4-speed automatic transmission
Pros • Go-anywhere capability
• Windshield still folds down
• Doors still come off
• Better interior
Cons • Anemic engine
• Tiny footbox
• Disconnected steering
EPA Fuel Mileage 15 city, 19 highway
The Verdict Typical go-anywhere, in any weather condition, capability. Now with better interior, but still the same old gutless engine.

 

 

2011 Jeep Wrangler RubiconInterior refinements meet go-anywhere capability 

24 years in the making, the Wrangler model of iconic Jeeps has seen its changes. Headlights that started round, went to square and back to round again, from inline 6-cylinder to V6 engines, and the introduction of the Rubicon line of extreme capability Jeeps, they have never lost sight of their roots – an adept, go-anywhere 4-wheel drive that has a folding windshield and removable doors. It’s difficult to improve on an already amazing product, so Jeep listened to its owners this year and made significant improvements to the areas that people talked most about – the interior.

The setting is Jackson Hole, WY, it’s early December, there is plenty of snow on the ground and Jeep sent us to test the new 2011 Jeep Wrangler in various fitments. We zeroed in on our favorite, the Wrangler Rubicon 2-Door, and drove it along a 45 mile on-road course, and through two tough off-road trails full of tight, twisty, tree-packed trails, through dry river beds, and steep, muddy ascents and descents. 

 

The new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon sports a host of new features and design changes. 

  • All-new interior with improved ergonomics and upgraded materials
  • All-new body-color hardtop on Sahara models
  • Power controlled and heated mirrors, heated seats
  • All-new steering-wheel controls allow the driver to operate the radio, cruise control, handsfree phone and other vehicle functions while keeping hands on the wheel
  • Standard electronic stability control (ESC), Hill-start Assist (HSA) and Trailer-sway Control (TSC)
  • Enhanced visibility courtesy of larger rear windows
  • New colors including Detonator Yellow, Deep Cherry Red, Sahara Tan, Cosmos Blue and Bright White
  • Increased acoustical treatment resulting in significantly reduced interior noise
  • New Limited-edition 2011 Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty: Black Ops Edition

“The iconic Jeep Wrangler keeps getting better,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO — Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “While retaining unmatched, legendary capability, the 2011 Jeep Wrangler boasts an all-new interior that delivers a host of comfort, convenience and versatility features. In addition, Sahara models now feature a stunning, all-new body-color hardtop, for customers looking for a Jeep Wrangler with a more premium appearance.”

 

The Test 

2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Our on-road tests included winding, wet and icy mountain byways. We drove the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2-Door with the standard 3.8 liter OHV, 12-valve SIMPI V6 engine and the automatic 4-speed with overdrive transmission. The 6-cylinder mill laboriously supplants 202 horsepower and 272 lb.-ft. of torque, but that just isn’t enough (still) for the 4,129 pound SUV. This engine isn’t just a shy a few horsepower, it simply underperforms and can be downright scary when trying to pass on the highway. Further on-road testing gave our testers a feeling of a disconnected steering wheel, a tiny footbox, and little shoulder room.

Despite these problems, the Jeep Rubicon is still one of our favorite 4×4’s made in the past 10 years, and I would still buy one today, even with the anemic engine and tiny seating compartment. The reason; it simply cannot be beat off road, and off-road is where this vehicle belongs. There is, in this editor’s opinion, no other new vehicle on earth that comes remotely close to its off-road capability. Period. Even if you strip away it’s iconic and lifestyle appeal, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is every off-roader’s SUV. From the manual transfer case engagement to the folding front windshield and removable doors, the Rubicon can, and will, go anywhere you point it.

So what makes it such a perfect off-road machine? The answer lies in a combination of perfectly balanced attributes.


4.0:1 gear reduction transfer case, 4.10:1 axle gears and 4.46:1 gears in the transmission (2.84:1 in the automatic), which gives it a very impressive crawl ratio of 73.1:1 (46.6:1 for automatic transmissions)
Solid front and rear, super-tough Dana 44 axles
32” tall, rugged BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires
Locking differentials front and rear
Disconnecting front anti-sway bar provides excellent front axle articulation
Excellent clearances – 44.3 degree approach angle, 25.4 degree breakover angle, 40.4 degree departure angle, and 10.5” / 10.2” front and rear axle ground clearance
95” wheelbase (116” for the Unlimited model) and 61.9” wheel track provides stability both front-to-rear and side-to-side

I won’t dive into too much of the off-road test, simply because the trails we hit weren’t enough to put the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon through its paces – albeit, these were NOT sissy trails.  You see, the Rubicon edition of the Wrangler is capable beyond what 99% of people on this planet would consider sane. However, to make things interesting, I drove the Rubicon through both off-road trails in 2-wheel drive, the lockers off, and with the front sway bar connected. Suffice to say, it walked through the entire course without difficulty.

Additional 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Pictures

The Verdict 

2011 Jeep Wrangler RubiconThe 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon still has a feeble engine that just isn’t enough to get it to pass anything on the road but a gas station. The interior compartment now sports a series of fantastic upgrades making it even more comfortable (but not too much that it forgoes its Jeep heritage), including new steering wheel controls such as radio, cruise and hands-free phone operation. The front compartment is still tight. You will also find a larger rear window with better visibility and improved ergonomics in the center stack too. The best new soft-feature though; power controlled and heated mirrors – no more will you have to play the hop-out / hop-back-in (repeat three more times) game of adjusting the passenger rear view mirror.

The exterior styling of the 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon hasn’t changed much from its all-new introduction in 2007, so we expect to see something new coming from Jeep in the next year or so. The front windshield still folds down, but expect to spend 45 minutes or so of disassembly to do so. The doors, however, pop off in a matter of minutes though.

On road the Wrangler Rubicon leaves some to be desired. The wind noise is a bit much, but the stereo quality is superb, so we just cranked up the tunes (it’s part of the Jeep experience, really). The steering wheel felt very disconnected from the road though, but the brakes and handling are very good.

Off-road is where this gem really shines. The Wrangler Rubicon is a true point-and-shoot  vehicle that can tackle extremely tough terrain right out of the box. Even without engaging the front and rear lockers or disconnecting the front sway bar, the Rubicon can out-4×4 just about any other vehicle on the market. Engage those lockers and disconnect the front sway bar and look out – it will surpass and summit nearly any obstacle you can throw at it, and do so with Jeep style and comfort.

Priced at just under $30,000 ($22,495 for the Unlimited Rubicon), you get a whole lot of off-road capability, pretty good on-road characteristics, and top-down, doors-off Jeep styling. Something that competitors just can’t achieve.

The Verdict 

2011 Jeep Wrangler RubiconThe 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon still has a feeble engine that just isn’t enough to get it to pass anything on the road but a gas station. The interior compartment now sports a series of fantastic upgrades making it even more comfortable (but not too much that it forgoes its Jeep heritage), including new steering wheel controls such as radio, cruise and hands-free phone operation. The front compartment is still tight. You will also find a larger rear window with better visibility and improved ergonomics in the center stack too. The best new soft-feature though; power controlled and heated mirrors – no more will you have to play the hop-out / hop-back-in (repeat three more times) game of adjusting the passenger rear view mirror.

The exterior styling of the 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon hasn’t changed much from its all-new introduction in 2007, so we expect to see something new coming from Jeep in the next year or so. The front windshield still folds down, but expect to spend 45 minutes or so of disassembly to do so. The doors, however, pop off in a matter of minutes though.

On road the Wrangler Rubicon leaves some to be desired. The wind noise is a bit much, but the stereo quality is superb, so we just cranked up the tunes (it’s part of the Jeep experience, really). The steering wheel felt very disconnected from the road though, but the brakes and handling are very good.

Off-road is where this gem really shines. The Wrangler Rubicon is a true point-and-shoot  vehicle that can tackle extremely tough terrain right out of the box. Even without engaging the front and rear lockers or disconnecting the front sway bar, the Rubicon can out-4×4 just about any other vehicle on the market. Engage those lockers and disconnect the front sway bar and look out – it will surpass and summit nearly any obstacle you can throw at it, and do so with Jeep style and comfort.

Priced at just under $30,000 ($22,495 for the Unlimited Rubicon), you get a whole lot of off-road capability, pretty good on-road characteristics, and top-down, doors-off Jeep styling. Something that competitors just can’t achieve.

About Rick Webster

Check Also

2006 Jeep Commander

Soccer moms and adventure tour guides everywhere can now rejoice in unison – Jeep is …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *