Don't get us wrong, the stock Wrangler Rubicon is a mighty fine vehicle, possibly the best 4x4 platform one can build off of. But there is something about the Unlimited, with its 20-inches of extra wheelbase over the two-door, that makes its 32-inch tires look smallish and its breakover angle only adequate. Someone at Mopar must agree, because they raided the Mopar parts catalog to come up with a Wrangler that represents something that could be purchased from your local dealer, while moving the Rubicon platform up a notch in capability without eroding on-road performance.
This Deep Water Blue Wrangler offers a myriad of Genuine and Performance Mopar parts that not only make the Unlimited look more substantial, but also allow it work even better in all circumstances. Mopar started with its 2-inch suspension kit, which includes and new rear track bar setup and the Mopar/Bilstein monotube shocks with excellent ride quality. The 35-inch Goodyear MT/Rs are more meaty and mounted of factory wheels backed by 1.5-inch wheel spacers. The stock 4.10 gears have been swapped for 4.88 units and diff cover guards better protect the stock axles.
Other exterior modifications include the front bumper that houses a Mopar/Warn winch and Mopar/Hella 500 lights, as well as a steel rear bumper with tabs for recovery equipment. A locking fuel cap and chrome exhaust tip round out the exterior modifications.
While the team at Mopar may have been busy with the outside, they certainly did not neglect the interior. The first thing that grabs the eye is the Katzkin leather seat covers, which feel like a higher quality grade of leather than the factory leather option. Paired with the Katzkin covers are optional seat heaters, which really feel great on those mornings affected by Global Cooling. Mopar also added carpet-protecting slush mats, scuff guards on the doorsills and grab handles that attach to the sport bar. Those who take their music seriously should really consider the 200-watt amp and Kicker 10-inch sub that our tester was equipped with.
We tested this Jeep over the course of two weeks, including using it as a photography platform and runabout at the King of the Hammers event in Johnson Valley, California. On the highway, the Jeep was stable and predictable, while the new-style Goodyear MT/Rs were surprisingly quiet. With a smooth and controlled ride, the shocks offered the biggest noticeable benefit.
On the trail, the extra clearance was welcomed, and the traction from the Goodyear tires made us forget all about reaching for the locker switches. We did not experience any tire contact issues and the Jeep was more competent on the trail than a stock Rubicon. Even with its relatively modest modifications, it turned heads wherever we went. What we're most impressed with is that all of these parts work so well together as complete package.
If there were ever an extreme version of the Rubicon offered from the factory, we think this Wrangler gives you a pretty good idea of what it could look like. But until then, any one of the modifications could easily be yours with a trip to the dealer or Mopar's own website, and any these modifications can even be rolled in to the price of a new Wrangler.
Mopar has done a great job of picking the right parts to illustrate how they can improve an already great rig. This one is Four Wheeler approved.
|Total Package Cost (MSRP)|
|2-inch Suspension Lift||$1,510.00|
|Warn 9.5ti Winch||$1,375.00|
|Katzkin two-tone Leather Seat Covers||$774.00|
|Kicker 10-in subwoofer w/200-watt amp||$630.00|
|Mopar Rear Bumper||$558.00|
|Front Skid Plate||$299.00|
|Heated Seat Kit||$291.00|
|Front Differential Guard||$79.00|
|Rear Differential Guard||$79.00|
|Chrome Exhaust Tip||$55.00|
|Door Entry Guards||$40.00|
|Grab handles (2 kits)||$33.00|
|Locking Fuel Cap||$22.00|
|*35x12.50R17 Goodyear MT/R Tires (5)||$1,400.00|
|*Not offered through Mopar|