For the preview of the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon to the automotive press, Jeep chose the La Salle Mountains, which lie directly outside of Moab, Utah. For those unfamiliar with this particular terrain, imagine the mountains of Mars, only more desolate, craggy and isolated. In the context of this imposing landscape, Jeep's latest product completely defied all of my preconceived notions of what a commercially sold vehicle is capable of. This praise is considerable coming from someone who has never previously appreciated the commercial application of Jeeps.
To put things in perspective, we tested the Unlimited Rubicon on a trail named "Hell's Revenge," which is operated by the Utah Bureau of Land Management. Surrounded on all sides by towering, petrified sand dunes, and pitted with jagged, "desert-varnished" canyons, the course that Jeep had set up for us more than lived up to its name. The company brought paramedics along for the ride, and it is a testament to the impeccable off-road capabilities of the Unlimited Rubicon that we didn't need them.
The preproduction vehicles that Jeep provided allowed us to crawl over mounds so steep that at times, I could only see the sky above me while driving. The engineers made much of the fact that the Unlimited Rubicon can negotiate 15 inches of water at 5 miles per hour. Indeed, we painlessly crossed innumerable gulches that John Wayne would have thought twice about traversing on horseback.
At one point, the engineers decided to show off the Unlimited Rubicon's full potential by straddling up two twin precipices which were elevated at about a 45-degree angle. This particular bit of the course was appropriately designated as "The Gates of Hell," and Jeep could not have paid me enough money to even sit in the backseat of the vehicle during this exercise.
Sure enough, the vehicle began to lose its footing about three-quarters of the way up, and many of us present were flabbergasted when the Unlimited Rubicon finally reached the party of gawking journalists at the top. Even though I later learned that this bit of tension was staged for dramatic effect, it did little to dispel the impression of true-blue ruggedness that the car made on me.
Pointing out the fact that the Unlimited Rubicon is difficult to get into and not at all comfortable to ride in seems beside the point. This car occupies a unique niche in the market and therefore has to be judged on its own terms.
The Unlimited Rubicon actually combines two separate Wrangler models — you guessed it — the Rubicon and the Unlimited, or as the people at Jeep were telling us, "chocolate and peanut butter." The standard Rubicon, introduced in 2003, was the most formidably equipped Jeep to date, with all sorts of features that provided a greatly enhanced off-road experience. The long-wheelbase Unlimited, introduced in 2004, added 15 inches to the standard Wrangler's overall length, resulting in greatly improved interior space.
With sales of the Rubicon up 30 percent last year, Jeep has apparently yielded to the most sordid fantasies of both its engineers and customers. In addition to the space increase of the Unlimited, the Rubicon hardware includes incredibly sturdy Goodyear Wrangler 31-inch tires, along with Dana 44 front and rear axles, a Rock-Trac transfer case and Tru-Lok locking front and rear differentials. In addition, the 4.0-liter Power Tech inline six, rated for 190 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque, is standard equipment.
Engineering Supervisor Jim Repp, who has a Jeep tattooed on his right bicep, describes the Rubicon Unlimited as his company's "image vehicle." Careful research revealed to the Jeep production team that serious off-roaders were adding up to $9,000 worth of aftermarket parts to enhance the performance of their Wranglers. The company decided to offer many of the most popular additions in a package that is much more consistently assembled than any custom job and is mass-produced to lower the overall cost.
With an MSRP of $28,825, the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon comes in about $4,000 more than the base Unlimited and about $800 more than the standard Rubicon. In Jeep's mind, going for a factory-built Rubicon would save the average buyer several thousand dollars compared to outfitting a Jeep through the aftermarket, not to mention the time and energy involved in getting it all done. Needless to say, this vehicle could set a lot of mountain men's hearts ablaze when it appears in showrooms this December.
As you would expect, mileage isn't the Rubicon's strong point. The Unlimited Rubicon has an EPA highway rating of 18 miles per gallon and a 14 mpg city figure. Obviously, this is not the sort of vehicle that most sensible people would choose as their primary vehicle. But then again, I could only imagine a Utah park ranger or perhaps the "Crocodile Hunter" driving one of these on a daily basis.
Also, while you're wasting plenty of money on precious fuel when picking up the dry cleaning, you're guaranteed a choppy ride. In order for a car to perform as well as it does in death-defying situations, though, a lot of basic amenities have to be sacrificed. I, for one, would rather entrust my life to the Unlimited Rubicon in a treacherous situation, over any Bentley or Maybach. While bumpiness characterizes this particular sort of beast, the Unlimited Rubicon is certainly not a car intended for the faint of heart or sensitive of stomach.
When it comes to a Jeep's strengths, which are both plentiful and entirely singular, nothing can touch the Unlimited Rubicon. It more than defied my expectations in terms of its off-road capabilities and the ability to bring me from the "Gates of Hell" back to the hotel in one piece.
Is the 2005 Jeep Wrangler a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2005 Jeep Wrangler and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2005 Wrangler featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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How do people like the 2005 Jeep Wrangler? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2005 Jeep Wrangler and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2005 Wrangler 4.4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2005 Wrangler.
Review I absolutely LOVE my Jeep! This is the 4th I've owned. The 1st was an 85 CJ. There is nothing like a Jeep. Period. They're absolutely a BLAST to drive, they look amazing, get attention everywhere, and the 4.0 6 cyl is unstoppable. If you're concerned about gas mileage, a Wrangler isn't for you. The fun factor and satisfaction of the Jeep is a worthwhile payoff in my book. I average 13 mpg, but I don't care because I LOVE my Jeep. I can haul my Harley in the trailer on the highway. Not fast, but I can do it! Road noise, loud top, stiff ride. So what! It's a Jeep, what do you expect? It's all part of the experience. Unlimited possibilities to customize it and make it YOUR Jeep.
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What options are available on the 2005 Jeep Wrangler?
Available Jeep Wrangler 2005 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Trims: Unlimited Sport, Unlimited Sahara, Sport, Unlimited Rubicon, Sahara, X, Rubicon, Unlimited X, Unlimited Rubicon Recon, SE, Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock, Unlimited Smoky Mountain, Unlimited, Unlimited Winter, Willys Wheeler, Unlimited Chief, Unlimited Willys Wheeler, Unlimited Altitude Edition, Unlimited Freedom, Unlimited 75th Anniversary, Unlimited Sport RHD, S, Unlimited 70th Anniversary, Unlimited Big Bear, 75th Anniversary, Unlimited Backcountry, Unlimited Freedom Edition, Base, Black Bear, Freedom Edition, Unlimited Black Bear, 70th Anniversary, Rubicon Hard Rock, Winter
Exterior Colors: Black Clear Coat, Bright White Clear Coat, Billet Silver Metallic Clear Coat, Black Clearcoat, Granite Crystal Metallic Clear Coat, Firecracker Red Clear Coat, Bright Silver Metallic Clearcoat, Rhino Clear Coat, Anvil Clear Coat, Flame Red Clearcoat, Chief Clear Coat, Gobi Clear Coat, Red Rock Crystal Pearlcoat, Hydro Blue Pearl Coat, Bright White Clearcoat, Xtreme Purple Pear Coat, Tank Clear Coat, Natural Green Pearlcoat, Flame Red Clear Coat, Stone White Clearcoat, Steel Blue Metallic Clearcoat, Jeep Green Metallic Clearcoat, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearlcoat, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl Coat, Rescue Green Metallic Clearcoat, Baja Yellow Clear Coat, Light Khaki Metallic Clearcoat, Black Forest Green Pearlcoat, Hypergreen Clear Coat, Mango Tango Pearlcoat, True Blue Pearl Coat, Moss Green Pearlcoat, Amp'd, Cosmo Blue Paint, Sunset Orange Pearl Coat, Commando Green, Copperhead Pearl Coat, Crush Clearcoat, Detonator Yellow Clearcoat, Midnight Blue Pearlcoat, Deep Water Blue Pearlcoat, Copper Brown Pearl Coat, Dune Clear Coat, Mojave Sand Clear Coat, Patriot Blue Pearlcoat, Rock Lobster Clear Coat, Sahara Tan Clearcoat, Deep Beryl Green Pearlcoat, Dozer Clearcoat, Gecko Pearl Coat, Sunburst Orange Pearlcoat, Flame Red, Surf Blue Pearlcoat, Crush Clear Coat, Dark Charcoal Pearlcoat, Electric Lime Green Pearlcoat, Flame Red CC/Black ST, Patriot Blue Pearl Coat, Rugged Brown Pearl Coat, Shale Green Metallic, Solar Yellow Clearcoat, Shale Green Metallic Clearcoat, Sienna Pearlcoat, Stone White, Winter Chill Pearlcoat, Anvil Clear Coat (Late Availability), Chili Pepper Red Pearlcoat, Dozer Clear Coat, Forest Green Pearlcoat, Gecko Pearlcoat, Intense Blue Pearlcoat, Light Graystone Pearlcoat, Solar Yellow CC/Black HT, Steel Blue Pearlcoat, Steel Blue Pearlcoat/Black HT, Black, Black CC/Black HT, Bright White, Bronze Star Pearlcoat, Colorado Red, Deep Amethyst Pearlcoat, Emerald Green Pearl Metallic, Impact Orange Clearcoat, Jewel Blue Pearl Metallic, Lapis Blue, Medium Fern Green Pearlcoat, Poppy Red, Stone White CC/Dk Tan HT
Interior Colors: Black cloth, Black leather, Dark Slate Gray/Medium Slate Gray cloth, Black leather/cloth, Dark Slate Gray/Medium Slate Gray leather, Black/Dark Saddle leather, Dark Slate Gray, Dark Slate Gray/Medium Slate Gray vinyl, Dark Slate Gray cloth, Dark Khaki/Medium Khaki cloth, Khaki, Black/Dark Saddle cloth, Agate, Black premium leather, Dark Khaki/Medium Khaki leather, Khaki cloth, Black, Black/Dark Olive leather, Dark Khaki/Medium Khaki vinyl, Black/Red premium leather, Freedom Edition leather/cloth, Black/Dark Olive premium leather, Camel, Camel/Dark Green, Dark Saddle premium leather
Popular Features: AWD/4WD, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Aux Audio Inputs, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Post-collision safety system, Alarm, 3500lb Towing Capacity, USB Inputs, Bluetooth, Trip Computer, Hardtop, Soft Top, Towing Hitch, Navigation, Heated seats, Remote Start, Upgraded Stereo, Auto Climate Control, Leather Seats, Upgraded Engine