Is there any vehicle more suited for adventure than a Jeep?
We think not. And if you really want the best of the best, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Ultimate is just that: the ultimate SUV for the job. The Ultimate edition starting price, priced at roughly 50% more than the base model Wrangler, adds steel skid plates, rails and an enhanced 4X4 system so off-roaders are truly capable in any challenge or course.
We recently got to take the 2018 Jeep Rubicon to the canyons of west Texas where it felt right at home climbing up and down the steep canyon roads and navigating the 6 inches of snow that fell on our last night in Amarillo. And as you’ll see from some of the photos, we had a little 4×4 fun down by the Red River near my home in North Texas. 😎
Who this SUV is For
- Hunters, hikers, mountain climbers, off-roaders, those who tow adventure vehicles and anyone who goes off the grid and needs true capability
- People who live in cold climates and need extra traction
- People who like to take the top and sides off and enjoy the sun and wind
- Singles, couples, and small families
What This SUV Costs
- Wrangler base price: $27,945
- Rubicon base price: $33,645 (2-door) or $37,445 (4-door)
- Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, which adds 33″ tires, heavy duty axles, rock-track 4X4 system, steel off road rails and skid plates: $41,445
- The model we drove, which had and automatic retractable cloth roof package with removable rear window panels and roof panel ($3,995), leather seats ($1,495), trailer tow package ($795), upgraded infotainment package with navigation and premium audio ($1,995), active safety features including blind spot monitor, park sensors and rear cross-path detection ($895), steel bumpers ($1,295), e-Torque semi-hybrid energy management system (which recaptures unused energy when braking or cruising to reduce fuel consumption – $1,000), and delivery charge ($1,495) came in at $58,990
What We Love About the 2018 Jeep Rubicon Ultimate
While remaining loyal to the Wrangler heritage and styling, the Rubicon feels a little bigger and bolder than its cousins. It was redesigned for 2018 to add more creature comforts for daily driving but keep that classic Jeep look and feel. Of all the Jeeps, this is the one my husband and I can both agree on… we love it. And, while we may not need its off-road capabilities on a daily basis, we like that it is ready to go anywhere.
Some of the add-ons that made the Unlimited Rubicon 4×4 comfortable for driving around in the Texas sunshine were leather trimmed bucket seats, a tow package, LED lighting, the Uconnect infotainment system with an 8.4″ display, navigation, Sirius XM radio, an additional safety package with things like park assist and blind spot detection, steel bumpers that matched the body instead of the black plastic contrasting ones, an 8-speed transmission (instead of the standard 6-speed), keyless entry, and the all-new Sky one-touch retractable power top.
A Power Top Worth the Price … Or Even More
Of these add-ons, my favorite was the power top. With the touch of a button, you can slide the entire top of the Jeep all the way back… it’s an accordion style fabric top and it’s so slick! I was parked at the vacuums at the car wash and two different guys stopped and asked to see it work. It really is a game changer to be able to go topless without getting out and taking pieces off, then having to store them in the back. This particular add-on is almost $4,000, but for the ease and convenience of instant sunshine.
I wouldn’t spend the extra $1,495 on leather seats. Personally, I like cloth. They don’t get as hot, they don’t crack, and they’re easy to clean. And with a Jeep, I’d be putting washable covers on the seats anyway. Still, the leather bucket seats were comfy for the long ride and the contrasting tan looked great against the black interior.
I also liked that the seats were roomy and comfy, even in the back. My adult brothers went for a ride with me and even they fit fine in the back seat.
Think You Want a Jeep? Here are Some Things to Consider
While not terrible gas hogs, Jeeps are far from fuel-efficient superstars. If you have a long commute to work, the Jeep might make a great second vehicle.
If passenger space is a concern, head to your dealership and try it on for size. My 6′ 2″ tall hubby is a big guy. He fits, but just barely. If he were any taller or broader, he might be uncomfortable.
2018 Jeep Rubicon: The Ultimate Off-Road Experience
Jeeps aren’t quiet, and they aren’t luxurious when it comes to creature comforts, but you shouldn’t expect them to be. They are built for adventure and they excel at keeping you safe while providing you with all the technology and hardware needed to go just about anywhere.
The Wrangler JK Rubicon is equipped with electronic remote locking differentials for better traction when crawling over boulders and through large ruts. The extra large tires help with that too! A specially geared transfer case with 4:1 low-range ratio give the driver more control in off-road situations and the electronic front sway bar disconnect and rock rails help to protect the vehicle.
I got to try out the 4-wheel drive when I took the Rubicon down some county roads after a rainstorm. The ruts were deep and muddy and 2-wheel drive just wasn’t cutting it. We were stuck. Once I switched to 4×4, we had no issues and I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure and getting to go places my little car could never take me.
This vehicle is available with a hard top, which would be a lot quieter, but I think I’d still choose the fabric powertop. It’s just so fun!
Should You Buy a Jeep Rubicon? Should We…?
We’ve talked about it for years. My husband and I both love Jeeps. My first vehicle was a Jeep Grand Cherokee. But, they’ve never been a practical choice for our family at the time. We were either shopping for more space for car seats, or fuel economy for long commutes. Now that the kids are older and my husband’s commute is short, a Jeep would work for us. And we’d love it!
Do we really need all the off road capability? Likely not. Or not yet, anyway. We might be smarter starting with the Wrangler and deciding in a few years if we are really going to challenge Hell’s Gate or Rebelle Rally, which is where the Rubicon Ultimate becomes not just a Jeep for everyday, but necessary equipment for the challenge.
I have driven a lot of really cool sports cars and powerful trucks, and nothing has ever put a smile on my face the way driving this Jeep did. An off-road rally may just be in my future!
What We Loved About the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
- A comfortable riding, 5-passenger SUV
- That retractable soft top!
- Plenty of leg room front and back for my tall passengers
- Car-like comforts including rear seat USBs, climate control and cup holders
- The newly redesigned infotainment system which includes Apple Car Play and Android Auto
- The look and feel of a classic Jeep
What You Need to Know
- Fortified for off road with added steel and 4X4 features that add about $13,000 to the Wrangler’s base price
- Fuel economy: 22 city/24 highway; we averaged about 17MPG
- Auto retractable soft top adds $4,000 to the price
- This is a TALL car; shorter passengers will need the hand grip to pull themselves up into the seat
- 8-speed automatic transmission
- 2.0 liter I4DOHC DI Turbo eTorque Engine
- 5-year or 60,000 mile powertrain warranty
- 3-year or 36,000 mile basic warranty
Jeep provided the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Limited Rubicon for this test drive; all opinions are 100% my own.