2012 Jeep Wrangler SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Jeep Wrangler SUV

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Jeep Wrangler Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 285 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/21 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Jeep Wrangler

  • Though more civilized than ever, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler remains a no-nonsense American icon. Its quirky character and unique off-road abilities continue to hold appeal.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Superior off-road capability; strong engine; surprisingly fun to drive around town; two- and four-door variations; rough-and-tumble image; it's a convertible.

  • Cons

    Soft top is difficult to use and creates security issues; noisy cabin; choppy ride; long braking distances; poor side crash ratings.

  • What's New for 2012

    After soldiering on with an antiquated engine for years, the Jeep Wrangler finally gets more modern power in the form of a 285-horsepower V6. A five-speed automatic is also now available, and every Wrangler is now four-wheel drive.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (6 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2013 wrangler sport

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Vehicle: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport 2dr SUV 4WD (3.6L 6cyl 6M)

Finally sold my beloved 97 Wrangler Sport rag top and bought a 2013 Wrangler Sport with the T-Hard Top. My new Wrangler Sport has pretty much all the bells and whistles of a Rubicon, but for $15k less. Notably missing are the electric disconnect on the sway bar and the 4:1 Low range 4WD. Who cares? My Low range 4WD is something besides 4:1. Big deal. Took the back seat out of the last one, probably will with this one too. If you're at all interested in a Jeep, go to any dealer with lots of models and compare features and prices. You can get a loaded Wrangler Sport pretty cheap compared to a base Sahara or Rubicon - if you don't mind fabric seats. Drive one and you'll be hooked.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

The last car

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Vehicle: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport 2dr SUV 4WD (3.6L 6cyl 6M)

I call this "the last car" because I will never drive anything else. That said, it is not a "car" as much as a street legal toy. A giant go-cart. The feeling of driving a jeep is incomparable, but certainly not for everyone. In fact, if you even have to debate whether you should; then you probably shouldn't. If you are comfortable, however, with the idea of changing a heavy stubborn top (hard or soft), having little freeway acceleration, and generally driving a giant go-cart; then this is the car for you! You have to be prepared to think of your Jeep as a street-legal toy to really appreciate it. (Also, get the manual transmission or just get yourself a minivan)



18 of 18 people found this review helpful

2nd jk owner

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Vehicle: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport 2dr SUV 4WD (3.6L 6cyl 6M)

5 months and 5000 miles later, I'm still excited to wake up every morning to drive my Jeep. Traded in a 2010 Unlimited Sport (auto) for the new 2012 Sport (6 speed). Instant upgrade in power and cabin presence. It's a little squirrely at highway speeds compared to the 4 door. If you have kids, the getting in and out of a 2 door is work. I'd think twice if this was your primary vehicle. I'm one leg in, one leg out to belt my 5 year old in, my wife climbs in to do it. Passenger side only. Great price point of $22k for a base sport. Don't let the looks of a Rubicon/Special Edition suck you in. If you aren't going to wheel it regularly, you're wasting 10 grand.



9 of 10 people found this review helpful

2012 wrangler 2dr sport, 6

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Vehicle: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport 2dr SUV 4WD (3.6L 6cyl 6M)

So far I only have 1,000 miles on the Wrangler so I cannot comment too much on the reliability of the vehicle. I got it in the Orange Crush color. The jeep is a blast to drive with the new Penestar 3.6L engine that it has. With 285hp there is plenty of power to get up and go and having that power just makes the offroading more fun. This is my first Wrangler and my second Jeep product. The top was not to hard to figure out. It is easier if you know someone who has one though and just let them show you how to take apart the soft top. The Jeep handles well and even in the rain without four wheel drive on it seems to handle well. I am 6'4" and 235 lbs and I fit very comfortably in my Jeep.



15 of 21 people found this review helpful

Better every year

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Vehicle: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport 2dr SUV 4WD (3.6L 6cyl 6M)

This is my 4th Jeep and I love it!! Its comfortable and as always fun to drive. The new engine makes such a big difference. Much quieter than my previous Jeeps.



33 of 49 people found this review helpful

Fun to drive, nothing like

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Vehicle: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport 2dr SUV 4WD (3.6L 6cyl 6M)

Been driving since August 11 and this is not only the best wrangler yet, it is best in class. This Jeep is great for daily driving and of course keeps the best in class out of the box off road capability even with the sport version. The new Pentastar V6 improves performance and mpg. Hard to rate reliability after 3 weeks but since it is required, gave it a 5.



Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 17
  • cty
/
  • 21
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Jeep Wrangler Review

What's New for 2012

After soldiering on with an antiquated engine for years, the Jeep Wrangler finally gets more modern power in the form of a 285-horsepower V6. A five-speed automatic is also now available, and every Wrangler is now four-wheel drive.

Introduction

Rarely does a car reviewed on Edmunds.com have as many pros and cons as the 2012 Jeep Wrangler. Most vehicles have a lot of one and not much of the other. The Wrangler, on the other hand, has a wealth of extremes. It has old-school solid axles at both ends and standard crank windows. It's incredibly noisy and rough-riding. The soft top is a puzzle to operate and is basically a big "break in!" sign to potential thieves. Indeed, measured against virtually any other new SUV, the Wrangler is in many ways, well, terrible.

And yet the Jeep Wrangler not only remains appealing but remains one of the best-selling SUVs in the country as well. Part of the reason why is because some of those foibles are actually indicative of an incredibly honest, back-to-basics off-roader. Of course, the Wrangler also looks pretty cool and can dive headlong into places where few other vehicles would dare dip their toes. Plus, what other new car allows you to remove not only the roof, but the doors and windshield as well? The answer is none.

Of course, some of the Wrangler's issues can't be brushed off as simply "quaint." The soft top's issues are real, as are long braking distances and limited secured storage. But there is finally good news for what lies under the hood. Gone is the agricultural and gutless old V6, and in its place Chrysler's new "Pentastar" 285-hp V6. Smooth, robust and reasonably efficient, this engine radically transforms the Wrangler. Boasting a whopping 83 more horses than the outgoing engine, the new V6 is more than a second quicker from zero to 60 mph. A newly available five-speed automatic improves power delivery and efficiency as well.

Whether you get a basic two-door Wrangler with crank windows and a soft top or a high-dollar four-door Wrangler Unlimited Sahara with heated leather seats and a hardtop, this iconic Jeep is without question a unique vehicle. However, we highly recommend taking it on a lengthy test-drive and paying attention to the above issues to see if you could really deal with them on a day-to-day basis. It's not uncommon for folks to be taken in by the Wrangler's cool factor only to quickly realize after purchase that a compact crossover or a more livable off-roader like the Nissan Xterra or Toyota FJ Cruiser would've been a wiser choice.

If you know what you're getting into, however, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler is a wonderful way to not only get back to basics, but nature as well.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler is a convertible SUV available in two-door Wrangler and four-door Wrangler Unlimited versions. Each comes in Sport, Sahara and Rubicon trims.

The Sport comes sparsely equipped with 16-inch steel wheels, front and rear tow hooks, foglamps, a removable soft top, crank windows, manual locks and mirrors, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, and a six-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack, CD player and steering wheel controls. The Unlimited gets a bigger gas tank, four doors, more backseat and trunk space, air-conditioning and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The Power Convenience Group adds heated power mirrors, power locks and windows, and keyless entry. Air-conditioning (two-door), satellite radio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and 17-inch alloy wheels are also optional.

The Sahara adds the above optional items plus 18-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded suspension, under-hood insulation, side steps, automatic headlamps, body-colored fender flares and a six-speaker Infinity sound system.

The Rubicon is not the most abundantly equipped trim level, per se, but rather the trim that boasts the most robust off-road credentials. It adds on top of the base Sport equipment special 17-inch wheels, 32-inch tires, heavy-duty axles and transfer case, electronic front and rear locking differentials, a disconnecting front sway bar, rock rails, air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and satellite radio. The Power Convenience Group is optional on the two-door, but standard on the Unlimited.

The following packages are available on all trims. The Connectivity Group adds Bluetooth, an iPod/USB audio interface, an upgraded trip computer and a leather-wrapped wheel on the Sport. A multi-piece removable hardtop with a rear defroster and wiper is optional with or without the standard soft top remaining. It comes standard in textured black, but can be had in body color on the Sahara and Rubicon.

Optional on the Sport and two-door Rubicon are a limited-slip differential and half doors that include plastic side windows. The Sahara and Rubicon can be equipped with leather upholstery and heated front seats, automatic climate control and a navigation system that includes a touchscreen interface, digital music storage and real-time traffic.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 285 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. Four-wheel drive is also standard and includes high- and low-range transfer case gears, though the Rubicon features an upgraded transfer case with extra-low gearing. A six-speed manual transmission with hill-start assist is standard, while a five-speed automatic is optional.

In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped, two-door Wrangler went from zero to 60 mph in a surprisingly quick 7.1 seconds. A much heavier automatic-equipped Wrangler Unlimited did it in 8.8 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the two-door is 17 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined regardless of transmission. The Unlimited is 16/20/18 with the automatic and 16/21 with the manual.

Safety

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, and hill start assist. Front side airbags are optional. In Edmunds brake testing, both two- and four-door Wranglers came to a stop from 60 mph in about 140 feet.

It should be noted that the Wrangler's doors do not provide the same level of protection as regular doors do in a side crash. As such, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it didn't fare well in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's side crash test. Without side airbags, the two-door Wrangler earned the worst rating of "Poor," while the Unlimited got the second-worst "Marginal." However, the Wrangler did get the best possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset test.

Interior Design and Special Features

Despite the increase in available niceties over the years, the Jeep Wrangler is still a vehicle meant to drive through dust, dirt and muck and then be easily cleaned afterward. Interior materials and switchgear were dramatically improved last year, and the design now has a rounder, more organic look.

The two-door's backseat can host only two passengers and suffers from limited leg- and foot room. If that isn't sufficient, the Unlimited has room for three and its extra set of doors makes for easier access. The four-door also offers 86 cubic feet of cargo space when the second-row seats are folded, which is quite substantial.

With any Wrangler's soft top, however, storing cargo inside can be a risky situation since only the meager glovebox and center console can be locked. The soft top is also complicated to raise and lower, and requires you to store its bulky plastic windows somewhere inside the cabin (which is tough in the two-door). The optional hardtop, which features removable T-top-style panels over the front seats, is a smart solution for those who don't intend to routinely go completely al fresco.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler is pretty much unstoppable in off-road situations, especially in Rubicon guise, thanks to its specialized hardware. The Wrangler Unlimited four-door isn't as maneuverable on tight trails as the much shorter two-door model, but its roomier interior means you can carry more gear. It also feels more stable around corners and on the highway. Nonetheless, all Wranglers suffer from tippy handling, a rough ride and steering that is kindly described as nebulous. Road and wind noise are also excessive.

The Wrangler also used to be described as slow, but no longer. It won't be winning any drag races, but the new V6 is a thoroughly modern engine that can actually get the heavy Wrangler moving briskly. The standard six-speed manual features precise but long throws and an easily modulated clutch. The automatic is now a much more modern five-speed unit that further aids power delivery and fuel economy.

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