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Anybody familiar with Jeep will likely have heard of, or even experienced, the almighty Wrangler. The Wrangler has played a large role in shaping the landscape of Jeep’s automobiles, and after decades on the market, the Wrangler is still going strong. Originally released in 1987, the Wrangler would go on to become the vehicle of choice for off-road enthusiasts everywhere. As time moved on, new trim levels such as the Rubicon were introduced into the Wrangler’s lineup, with this trim making its debut alongside the 2003 model, accompanied by immediate fanfare. This newly-released trim ensured that the Wrangler was more off-roading capable than ever before, and years later, you can find a used Jeep Wrangler Rubicon at a fantastic price at a Jeep dealership like ours.
While the first Jeep with the Wrangler name attached didn't hit the market until 1987, it was heavily influenced by the very first Jeep, the Willys MB. This first Jeep was the epitome of a "go anywhere, do anything" vehicle that was needed during World War II. This Jeep evolved into the CJ (Civilian Jeep) that was for sale to the general public. The CJ would officially evolve into the beloved Wrangler in 1987, and in the summer of 2002, they would add the Rubicon trim for the 2003 model Wrangler.
The Rubicon trim is named for the famous Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and symbolizes the peak of off-road prowess that a Wrangler can deliver. Even in 2021, the Wrangler Rubicon is pushing the limits with the introduction of the Wrangler Rubicon 392 that has a powerful HEMI V8 engine. The Rubicon is all about power on and off the road, and the continued development of this famous nameplate just goes to show how effective and reliable a Wrangler Rubicon is.
The Rubicon is a trim level for the Jeep Wrangler that was released in the summer of 2002 as an option for the 2003 Jeep Wrangler. This trim level contained all of the very best aspects of the regular Wrangler yet adds a host of features that make it even more performant in off-roading situations than any of the preceding Wrangler models. Features that have been added to the Rubicon to differentiate itself from the standard model include the likes of a dedicated 4x4 system, which includes off-roading-oriented features such as front and rear locking differentials, which will ensure consistent traction while on the trail, even if all four wheels aren’t making direct contact with the ground.
Other aspects about the Wrangler that helped it not only separate itself from the standard Wrangler but from many of its direct competitors as well have shaped the Rubicon into the quintessential choice for off-roading enthusiasts. One of the most notable reasons as to why was an amply low crawl ratio, allowing you to fully maximize your torque throughput at lower speeds, a must for when on a steep trail.
As previously mentioned, the Rubicon was introduced into the Wrangler’s lineup in 2003 and has been updated every year alongside the standard model. At its core, the Rubicon is still very much a Wrangler and has historically shared the same powertrain with its standard counterpart. As an example, should you purchase a used model such as the 2009 Rubicon, the 3.8L V6 that was the only engine option for that year produces 202 hp and 237 lb-ft of torque.
Performance is a vital part of the Rubicon, and the Wrangler as a whole, especially since most off-road enthusiasts know that sacrificing performance can ultimately lead to some underwhelming results. This is important to note as the Wrangler has progressively become much stronger over time. Later models such as the 2019 Wrangler, as an example, consisted of two available engines, the latter of the two boasting excellent performance and efficiency derived from its 3.6L V6 setup that produced 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. However, the 2020 Wrangler had three engine options, and 2021 is adding the Rubicon 392 with its own exclusive engine option, so it's clear that Jeep is starting to focus more on providing more powerful options for this favorite trim.
Much to the Wrangler’s strength, it’s always been a vehicle that allows for a host of upgrades and modifications, which also translates to the Rubicon. What this ultimately means is that sometimes stacking two Wrangler Rubicons against one another won’t always be such a cut-and-dry comparison. The best part about this layer of versatility that the Rubicon offers is the sheer variety of available modifications that you can add, especially all of the most common and popular off-roading amenities. For example, the Wrangler allows for the installation of aptly named Rock Sliders. These are essentially guards that will ensure the lower half of your vehicle, notably the doors on your Wrangler, will be safe from damage associated with flying rocks when driving on rough terrain.
Among the wide range of other available modifications that you may install to your Rubicon, you can also add features such as a Roof Rack or even a winch. A winch can be seen as a necessary enhancement to any off-road capable vehicle as it can make getting up steep terrains easier and safer. Although the roof rack is best left uninstalled while on the trail itself, it’s an easy way to significantly increase the versatility of your Rubicon. Let’s say you don’t plan on doing any off-roading on a particular day but would still like to bring the kayak down to the stream or maybe bring a couple of motorbikes to the track. With the added benefits of a roof rack, you can securely hold all of your equipment with ease.
Modifications also can be made to the interior of your Wrangler Rubicon. For example, many Wrangler drivers have opted to install grab bars, which are perfect for any rough terrain, and help you stay secure and balanced while off-roading. Keeping your interior clean is important as off-roading trails can be muddy, snowy, and so forth, and because of this, there are several additions that you should consider when modding your Rubicon. Floor mats are essential because they will keep the padded carpet area of your interior protected from getting dirty, and seat covers will provide the same benefit for each seat in your cabin.
Although Rubicon models can come equipped with some excellent tires that are perfect for a plethora of off-roading scenarios, some drivers may opt to exchange these for another set from your brand of choice. Of course, tires aren’t invincible, and after you’ve owned your Rubicon long enough, chances are you’re going to be seeking a new set eventually. The most important take-away from the Wrangler and its Rubicon trim is the variety it allows, and it is easily one of the most popular vehicles for various modifications. Drivers tend to get creative with this freedom as a result, and Rubicons can even be found with mods that include the likes of bottle openers for those wind-down moments after the trail.