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2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Moab - Long Term Report Part 3 of 4

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on April 11, 2014
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Four wheeling at its very core isn’t a complex hobby. All you really need to participate is a 4x4 and some place to legally explore off-road. Sure, we enjoy modifying our rigs nearly as much as we do wheeling them, but the fact is that you don’t need to have an overly-built 4x4 to join in the fun. We were reminded of this fact recently as we took the 2013 Four Wheeler of the Year winning Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Moab on a little wheeling adventure.

Our wheeling destination was the Uwharrie National Forest located near Troy, North Carolina. While Uwharrie does offer some challenging trails for more modified rigs, it has quite a few that are accommodating to lightly-modified and even stock 4x4s. Since the 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Moab edition is fitted with heavy-duty steel front and rear bumpers, sliders, and underbelly protection, we had less to worry about damaging on the rocky and tree-lined trails. Over the course of our wheeling weekend, we made excellent use of the 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Moab edition's versatile 2.72:1 low-range ratio and selectable rear locker.

While a front locker would have been nice, it wasn’t really warranted. However, an option we would like to see become available on all Wrangler platforms is the disconnecting front sway bar. As much as we hark on some of the faults of the six-speed manual transmission, it was very useful for picking the right gear for the obstacle at hand. Second gear assaults with the rear locker engaged and a gracious amount of throttle was sometimes necessary to overcome some of the slick hillclimbs. Shifting gears over the uneven and often slick terrain made us more engaged in the wheeling experience, which only added to the fun.

Driving the plush 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Moab as a daily driver, it is easy to forget just how capable the platform is off-road. Spending a day in the dirt and then many hours driving back home in comfort makes you appreciate just how capable and versatile of a vehicle the Wrangler is. The stability that the 116-inch wheelbase offers off-road is also something worth mentioning, but it does come at a price. With a longer wheelbase comes a greater chance of high-centering, and as we found, it can leave your underbelly with a few trail scars.

While we had to keep up the wheel speed to prevent the Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor tires from packing with mud, the 31.5-inch all-terrains performed well overall. Keep in mind, the Moab package is themed after a place that is filled with the most traction-rich (and dry) red rock in the nation-so all-terrain tires are pretty fitting for its namesake. Speaking of the Moab name, we’ve learned something over the course of the past few months. For starters, not every person knows that Moab is an actual city located in Utah, which is really kind of sad. The more frequent query we receive is why the heck Moab is plastered in large letters on each side of the hood.

If you’re reading this magazine, we’ll assume that you know that Moab, Utah, is home to the annual Easter Jeep Safari and some of the best rock wheeling the West has to offer (if you didn’t know, now you do). For those reasons, it makes perfect sense to us for a special-edition Jeep vehicle to bear its name, but clearly not everyone is clued in. We’ve been asked not only what does Moab stand for, but is it what we call the Jeep, is it our nickname, and maybe our favorite, “Does Moab stand for the Mall Only Adventure Bus?” Typically, people get it once we explain a little, but it’s not quite there with the Rubicon badging just yet.

We have one more quarter to go with our Gecko Pearl Green tester, so be sure to check back in a few months to read the wrap-up on our award-winning JK.

Report: 3 OF 4
Previous reports: Dec. ’13, Mar. ’14
Base price: $31,195
Price as tested: $41,600
Four-wheel-drive system: Lever-actuated part-time, two-speed

Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 7,479
Miles since last report: 2,737
Average mpg (this report): 16.67
Test best tank (mpg): 19.50 (all highway around 70 mph w/4 adults and gear)
Test worst tank (mpg): 14.89 (off-road/in-town driving mix)

This period: None
Problem areas: None

What’s Hot, What’s Not
Hot: Off-road performance, selectable rear locker, useful body armor
Not: Lack of sway-bar disconnect

Logbook Quotes
“Yes. Moab is a place and Jeep edition.”
“The Jeep continues to impress inside and out.”
“A small lift would do wonders.”
“More RPMs the better, the power is at the top!”

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