A guide to the mechanical and visual difference

The Rubicon model has become synonymous with the Jeep Wrangler for hard-core off-roading, despite its relatively recent introduction on the 2002 Wrangler TJ. The Rubicon trim has remained a part of Wrangler history since, including the jump to Jeep’s all-new 2018 Wrangler. The Rubi is now more capable than ever thanks to an improved suspension system, use of the 2018 Wrangler’s stronger frame, improved skid plates, and lower gearing thanks to the new transmissions choices.

But the Rubicon isn’t just about mechanical advantages. There are aesthetics advantages, too.

Most notably, the Wrangler Rubicon comes with steel rock sliders that protect the vulnerable rocker panels under the doors; there’s an available steel bumper that easily holds an electric winch; and new for 2018, the front fenders are taller so owners can run 35-inch tires without having to modify a thing. Let’s get into the details below.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.

What makes the Rubicon different from other Wranglers

What Separates the Rubicon from the Wrangler's Other Trims Exterior
- image 751435
The most obvious difference is the big RUBICON logo on the hood.

Let’s start with the visual stuff. The most obvious difference is the big RUBICON logo on the hood. The aluminum hood is also vented on Rubicon models. The next most obvious change on a stock 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the unique wheel and tire combinations. Two styles of 17-inch wheels are available and both come exclusively with BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. Next are the red tow hooks. They come standard with the Rubicon. Most Rubicon models will likely come with the optional metal front winch bumper. It’s very similar to the metal front bumper seen on the JK, but its styling has been updated. The end caps still come off and an electric winch fits perfectly behind the center. Mopar sells a grille guard that bolts right to the exposed fasteners, too.

What Separates the Rubicon from the Wrangler's Other Trims Exterior
- image 751462
The Rubicon’s front fenders have been raised roughly two inches compared to non-Rubicon models

Last but certainly not least, the Rubicon’s front fenders have been raised roughly two inches compared to non-Rubicon models. This not only gives more clearance for front suspension articulation but allows the fitment of 35-inch tires with zero modifications to the fenders or suspension. Jeep knows its customers will upgrade their Wranglers, so the design and engineering teams made things as easy as possible.

As far as tops go, the Wrangler Rubicon is available with all the offerings. It comes standard with the Sunrider folding soft top and the Premium Sunrider soft top is optional. The same is true for the Freedom Top, the body-colored Freedom Top, and the new Powertop.

Of course, the Rubicon’s biggest attributes are hidden under the skin. The front and rear axles are now the newest generation of Dana 44 axles. They have larger diameter tubes and thicker tube walls for added strength. Front and rear electronic locking differentials return, but with an improved toggle switch on the dashboard. The same is true for the electronically disconnecting front sway bar.

What Separates the Rubicon from the Wrangler's Other Trims Drivetrain
- image 751465
The axles continue to have 4.10:1 ratios, but the updated Rock-Trac transfer case now has lower ratios for better crawling

Gear ratios are another big part of the Rubicon story. The axles continue to have 4.10:1 ratios, but the updated Rock-Trac transfer case now has lower ratios for better crawling. When combined with the automatic transmission, the Rubicon offers a 77.2:1 crawl ratio and an impressively low 84.2:1 with the new six-speed manual transmission’s first gear.

The Rubicon can be had with either the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 or the new 2.0-liter Hurricane turbocharged four-cylinder. The V-6 can be paired with either the automatic or manual transmissions, while the 2.0-liter only comes with the eight-speed automatic.

While we’d love to tell you how the Rubicon handled the challenging rock course jeep set up for the driving event, our impressions are embargoed until December 13th. Check back with TopSpeed.com for our thoughts then.

References

2018 Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler
- image 742104

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.

2017 Jeep Wrangler

2017 Jeep Wrangler High Resolution Exterior
- image 687100

Read our full review on the JK-gen 2017 Jeep Wrangler

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: