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2013 Jeep Wrangler Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon - a hit or miss vehicle. by TXWeatherman

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Introduction

If you want a vehicle that can get you places in the back country, mountains, or other off-road locations, this is the Jeep for you. If you want an in-town vehicle for an occasional trip to the country, you may be able to find a cheaper option. In all cases, you may end up with a Jeep that gives you more problems than your neighbor, family member, or best friend that owns the exact same make and model!

Reviewed: 2013 Jeep Wrangler

4dr SUV 285-horsepower 3.6L V6 5-speed shiftable automatic 4WD, part-time w/low range

Why the 2013 Jeep Wrangler?

Off-road capability

What can I say; it is a Jeep! This vehicle has driven me through two foot deep snow banks, down passes in Colorado while snowing and raining, and in the back country that most 4WD vehicles will struggle with. The Unlimited Rubicon is great to take a family off-roading in because of the extra row of seating, the standard equipment (selectable front and rear locking differentials, low crawl/gear ratio in the transfer case and drivetrain, and selectable front swaybar disconnect) helps get you into off-road terrain that other stock vehicles can't get through/over/around, and the stock mud terrain BF Goodrich tires stay fairly clear in snow and mud. When you aren't off-roading, the traction control, and 4-High transfer case can get your through the worst roads in city-driving.

Fuel economy

Compared to my 2001 TJ Jeep Wrangler which got around 11 to 13 MPG, the 15-17 city and 18/21 highway are quite the improvement, especially since it is a longer/heavier 4-door model. At the worst, I've gotten 13 MPG in stop and go driving and 15 on the highway in very strong headwinds. The flip side; the best I've gotten in-city is 18 MPG and an impressive 28 MPG with a tailwind from Colorado to Texas! Overall, for driving what is basically shaped like a brick on the road; the fuel economy for my Jeep I feel is rather impressive.

Controls and instruments

Granted, I went for comfort this go round since it is my primary in-town driving vehicle. The heated leather seats are great for cold weather, the A/C does a great job cooling in the hot Texas summers, the HVAC system has filters that help keep dust to a minimum (IF you keep the top on all the time), and the steering wheel controls help to make for a comfortable ride. Everything is easily accessible and within reach. The transfer case shifter gives a nice solid "thunk" when going in and out of modes so that there is no guessing if it is engaged or not. Even though the seats are not power-adjustable; the manual controls give enough flexibility for comfortable driving positions for my 5' 11" frame or my wife's 5' 6" frame.

Depreciation

Based on what I can find on the various car websites, price lists, and for sale ads, Jeep Rubicons have some of the better resale value for off-road vehicles. This is especially improved as you add more and more features.

Why Not the 2013 Jeep Wrangler?

Materials & workmanship

This is my biggest gripe. Ever since I bought this Jeep, it has leaked. Initially we didn't notice it because the first time it rained, we were travelling and getting in and out of the Jeep a lot. We then returned home and had one of the driest years on record so the adage of "out of sight, out of mind" took place. Once it started to rain again, we noticed a leak on the passenger side interior on what is called the A-Pillar (the part of the windshield frame that the door closes on). Water drips down the plastic moulding, sometimes behind the dash, sometimes on the dash and kick panel, sometimes on the body wall. During the heaviest rain events, enough water would leak through to soak an oversized bath towel. Every time I took it back to the dealership to have it looked at under warranty, they would tweak something and say it was fixed. After the 7th return trip without it being fixed, I finally had to open a trouble ticket with Chrysler Corporate customer support. Now on it's 9th time back to the shop, after someome from Jeep Headquarters told them how to fix it, it still leaks and has been at the dealership I bought it at for over a week. The service department rep said they know it leaks, but can't figure out how to fix it or where to fix it. If you do a search for Jeep Hardtop Leak, you will find many posts to forums and boards by other disgruntled Jeep Wrangler owners that have had similar problems. Some have had the leaks fixed, others continue to have problems, and some have had to do Lemon Law returns or dealership swaps in order to get out of their vehicle. There is no consistency to the leaks either between model years or makes, I have two friends that both have Unlimited Jeep Wranglers (a sport and a Rubicon) that have had no leaks with their hard tops even after taking them off and putting them back on several times!

Quietness

Even with the hard top, the noise in the Jeep is rather loud, even with the hard top. It is better than my old TJ Jeep Wrangler but on long road trips, the noise can be a bit overwhelming.

Rear seat room & comfort

If you have a long-legged person in the front, the rear seat legroom can be a bit small. A major issue however is that there are no vents in the backseat for climate control. This is especially noticeable in the winter. In order to keep my daughter warm driving in the mountains in the winter, we have to keep the front unbearably hot in order to circulate enough heat to keep her barely warm enough. We typically have to keep a blanket in the back seat for anyone to use in the winter when temperatures fall into the 30s. Switching to summer, the back seat can stay somewhat cool if the vents are pointed towards the back. Depending on where one sits, the front seats can block some of the airflow and it can be uncomfortably warm at times especially if sitting on the side of the Jeep that the sun is hitting. In the hottest part of the summer, we usually have to run the A/C at 3/4 full blast and on recirculate to keep the back seat comfortable.

Dealer practices

Your mileage may vary with your dealer depending on where you are located. There are two dealerships in our town that are owned by the same people. They are constantly understaffed in the service department and sometimes can take up to 30 minutes to get your vehicle checked in for service if it is a walk-in. I have also made several appointments when the service shop right when it opens only to have the person I made the appointment with not be there. Depending on what the problem is with your Jeep, some dealerships may not even know how to work on the issue (such as the case with my hard top leak; Fiat Chrysler America had to contact the dealership to instruct them how to properly test for leaks...something the dealership had been doing wrong for a year and a half!!). Again, a google search shows that some people have better luck with other dealerships in different geographic areas; others have had far worse experiences than I have).

Other Features of the 2013 Jeep Wrangler

Brand reputation & image

I have loved Jeeps since I purchased my used 2001 TJ back in 2005. It was super reliable, got me to some amazing placs in the back country and mountains of Colorado, and was great for whipping in and out of parking spaces around town. The maintenance was so easy that all minor repairs (brakes, fluids, oil, radiator leaks) and some major repairs (replacing a leaking radiator) were easy to do. Jump forward to my 2013 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon and all those good feelings are gone. Although we have enjoyed owning our Jeep, the last year has pretty much been a crapshoot on whether or not we could drive it in the rain, a lack of effort on our dealerships part to get the problem fixed, and noticing some of the things that could have been improved for a vehicle in this price range (A/C and heating issues, materials quality, noise). Because of the problems I have had with both my vehicle leaking and the dealership and corporate, I'm afraid I will not recommend a Wrangler to anyone looking to own one primarily as an in-town vehicle. If you live in the country or in a climate that brings a lot of snow, mud, rain, or "bad" weather...then this vehicle will get you where you need to go. A buyer will need to be diligent in making sure it doesn't leak or have other minor problems from the get-go. For as many Jeeps as Fiat/Chrysler cranks out, I would think that these issues would have been resolved but it seems that this isn't the case so this is another reason I wouldn't recommend Jeep to future buyers.

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