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2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock 4X4 Sunrider:
Sun Ride. Sun Set.

Car Reviews

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock 4X4 Sunrider:
Sun Ride. Sun Set.

Nothing says ‘Go Anywhere Do Anything’ in Texas better than a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock 4×4 with a Sunrider soft top. Said another way, a Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon in Texas is synonymous with the freedom to passionately explore an adventure bucket list with confidence when driving this off-road icon. To that end, during a recent ride-and-drive adventure in Central Texas this Jeep handled all we threw at it.


Following the recent torrential rains, our test Rubicon cried out for the challenge and adventure of dirt and rock, steep slopes, boulders, creek beds, water and mud – lots of mud. So we obliged with gusto, spending several hours climbing big rocks and exploring deep mud holes around Lake Travis. On the way home – we made a quick trip (well, maybe not so quick given the heavy load of muck on-and-under our Jeep) through a car wash so that we (and a clean Jeep) could meet up with some friends for an evening on the town in Austin.

Driving a 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4×4, even in Hydro Blue Pearl Coat, does not get any better. If a Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon got you there – it’ll get you back.

Our Hard Rock Edition 4×4 Sunrider soft top (with sunroof feature) is the only four-door 4×4 open-air vehicle available on the market and – hands down – is the most capable Wrangler in the lineup.

With room for five and powered by the Pentastar 3.6L V6, it is equipped with Wrangler’s part-time four-wheel drive system that has electronic-locking front and rear Dana 44 axles powered through a Rock-Trac transfer case with a “4-Low” ratio of 4:1. The 4.10 axle ratio, front, and rear, is standard as is the Tru-Lok electronic locking differential. Our test Rubicon Hard Rock was equipped with Electronic Front Sway Bar Disconnect, rear stabilizer bar, Hill Start Assist, Traction Control and Electronic Roll Mitigation. The optional five-speed automatic transmission on our test Rubicon performed very well for us both on the highway as well as off-road among the rocks and the mud.

The Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock stands out with many distinctive features that also enhance its off-road capability. For sure grip on the highway and rock or mud crawling confidence off-road, it is equipped with BF Goodrich Mud Terrain L255/75R17 tires mounted on 17-inch Rubicon aluminum wheels painted satin black with polished faces and the red Jeep Wrangler “icon” logo on the inside pocket.

A Low Gloss Black grille with High Gloss Black inserts and Jeep badge say Rubicon even before seeing the “Rubicon” decal on the dual-vented Power Dome Hood. Bold black front and rear steel off-road bumpers give the exterior extra toughness. The front bumper has a winch-capable design and removable end caps to mitigate damage to the bumper from obstacles. Bright Red tow hooks on the front and rear allow for recovery. With a 10-inch ground clearance to start, it features Mopar off-road rock rails along with transfer case and fuel tank skid plates to give added protection on the trail.

Other features of our test Rubicon included the swing-gate mounted spare tire, tail lamp guards, black fuel filler door, fog lamps, dual swing-away mirrors and fold-down sunscreen.

The interior of our Rubicon featured heated black leather front seating with embossed Rubicon logos on the seatback and accent stitching. A unique gauge cluster features exclusive styling and also features a premium Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) with added read-outs such as oil pressure, transmission and coolant temperatures, digital speed and individual tire pressure. Other interior features included air conditioning, a full-length console with front and rear cup holders, 12-volt power outlets front and rear, 115-volt power point, remote keyless entry and rear 60/40 folding seats. A fully padded Sport Bar (roll bar) features four speakers and dome light along with handhold straps.

Final Rubicon Hard Rock 4×4 touches include all-weather Mopar ‘Jeep’ logo slush mats, Torx toolkit and a Jeep Trail-Rated Kit with tow straps, gloves, and accessories in a red canvas bag.

The MSRP for a 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4×4 is $36,995. Making it a Rubicon Hard Rock Edition Package adds $4,800 to the price. Substituting the five-speed automatic transmission with Hill Descent Control for the standard six-speed manual gearbox was another $1,350. Adding the Remote Start System was $495.

The infotainment system was upgraded to the Radio 430N with GPS Navigation, a 6.5-inch Touchscreen Display, Sirius Travel Link and a 40 GB Hard Drive for $1,195. With no additional charge for the bold Hydro Blue Pearl Coat paint, our 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock 4×4 priced at $46,525 with delivery.

Jim Nelson

Jim is an automotive and lifestyle journalist living in the Hill Country near Austin. Cars and trucks are an essential part of an active lifestyle that includes travel, entertainment, food, and spirits. To that end, Jim reports on automotive news, reviews new cars and trucks and reports on travel, food, and entertainment for multiple electronic and print publications.

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