Equipped with Dana 44 front and rear axles, a NV2401OR Rock-Track transfer case, and a proven five-link suspension system, the 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon doesn't leave much room for improvement in its off-road capabilities. So Jeep engineers decided to concentrate on the Wrangler's interior, to make this off-road vehicle, much more of a pleasure to drive on the street.
Cruising down the highway with the top down is a common occurrence in Southern California, so we were happy that Jeep made it easier on 2013 models. The easy-lift mechanism allows the soft-top to be opened by one person. The Jeep's old rugged vinyl top was also replaced with a new premium material soft-top, that gives the Jeep a more upscale appearance. It's also easier to clean, and slightly reduces interior noise. But not by much. If you want a quiet ride in a Jeep Wrangler, you'd had better opt for the hard-top, which in 2013 is also still available in the vehicle's body-color for a luxurious appearance.
Getting back to where all the improvements were made, the interior now has some new seats, that feature improved contours and bolstering that are much more comfortable for long drives. But don't fret. While we found these seats much more comfortable on a 200 mile road trip, they still provided great lateral support during low-speed rock crawling.
The rear seats are also more comfortable; enough for three teenagers to withstand the trip without so much as a whimper. At the bequest of other Jeep owners, engineers added a new release handle that allows the rear seat to fold down with one hand. This makes it much easier to do when you're holding child or a bag of groceries under one arm, while trying to get the seat down with the other.
When you sit in the driver's seat of the 2013 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, you're treated to a variety of storage areas to hold beverages and gear. In the evening, courtesy lighting under the instrument panel and in other areas of the dash and center console make it easy to find your items that are stored away. The instrument cluster is easy to read and the leather wrapped steering wheel adds a bit of luxury to Jeep's best outfitted 4x4 vehicle.
Although you may not need good radio reception on the trail, because you probably won't get any at all, it's good to know that the Alpine premium speaker system comes standard. Around town however, it sounds great. Even though the acoustics on soft-top models don't lend themselves to an audiophile's ear, you can still crank up your favorite Skid Row song on Sirius' Hair-Nation channel.
Millennials will love the connective capabilities on the 2013 Jeep, including various inputs for mobile devices, voice command with Bluetooth connectivity, a remote USB port, and a 40GB hard drive when equipped with the Uconnect 430N multi-media entertainment system. Our test model also came with an easy-to-operate navigation system and an optional tire pressure monitor system that gives a direct readout for each tire.
While the Jeep's interior tames the outdoors and has lots of amenities for taking on the daily urban grind, Jeep added some distinction to the 2013 model's exterior attitude. We really liked the new 17-inch alloy wheels that look aggressive and feature a gloss-gray painted inner face. Combined with a stunning orange (Crush) exterior paint color, our vehicle got lots of looks and a few photos taken of it while it was parked. Other stunning colors available this year are True Blue Pearl, Billet Silver, Rock Lobster, Commando (green), Rugged Brown and Dune.
The 3.6L V-6 was introduced in 2012, providing the vehicle with greater power and improved fuel economy. In 2013, the engine output remains the same, 285 horsepower and 260 lbs.-ft. of torque. But while Chrysler claims fuel efficiency up to 21 miles per gallon on the highway, we only averaged 17mpg, in combined street, highway and off-road driving. Nevertheless, there was plenty of power when we needed it and the automatic 5-speed transmission kept the Jeep within its power range and kept it from feeling sluggish, even while driving up steep highway grades.
With all these great interior upgrades, keep in mind that the Wrangler is no Range Rover when it comes to impressing the Jones'. But for those of us who aren't afraid of a little dirt and still want to enjoy the ride to pick up the kids from school, the new interior upgrades on the Jeep are a welcome experience.