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7.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 7.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 6.9
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Jeep Wrangler Review

If serious off-road capability is important to you, reviewers said the 2012 Jeep Wrangler is one of the most trail-ready options in the class. 

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful V6 engine
  • Outstanding off-road ability
  • Standard four-wheel drive
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Limited standard features
  • Subpar safety scores

New for 2012

  • Standard four-wheel drive
  • More powerful V6 engine
  • New automatic transmission

2012 Jeep Wrangler Overview

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler comes standard with a V6 engine and a six-speed manual transmission, while a five-speed automatic is available. Reviewers noted that the 2012 model year's engine is considerably more powerful and polished than that of the 2011 model. They agreed that the Wrangler has plenty of power and swift acceleration. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic was newly available for 2012. The base Wrangler gets 17/21 mpg city/highway with either transmission, which is low for a compact SUV. Reviewers also thought despite the Wrangler's off-road nature, it has a generally smooth ride quality on the pavement. Automotive writers considered the Jeep Wrangler to be one of the best off-road vehicles in its class, noting that it can take on brutal terrain effortlessly, including cavernous holes and craggy rocks.

Critics were pleased with interior updates that the Wrangler received in 2011, including a redesigned instrument panel and higher-quality materials. They were also impressed that hardtop models are reasonably quiet. The base, two-door 2012 Jeep Wrangler seats four, while the four-door Wrangler Unlimited seats five. Test drivers said the Wrangler’s front seats are generally comfortable, though the two-door model doesn’t offer much back-seat passenger space. With the rear seat folded, the Jeep Wrangler has 56.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Completely removing the rear seat gives you 61.2 cubic feet of space. The Wrangler comes with an AM/FM/CD stereo, an auxiliary input, a tilt steering column and steering wheel cruise and audio controls. Available features include air conditioning, power door locks and windows, satellite radio, Bluetooth and a USB port. Test drivers were pleased with Wrangler's interior improvements over previous model years.

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler earns lower safety scores than many competing 2012 compact SUVs.

Other SUVs to Consider

Test drivers said the 2012 Nissan Xterra has a powerful V6 engine and great off-road capability, just like the Wrangler. The Xterra is available in a PRO-4X model, which includes features like skid plates and hill descent control to enhance its off-road performance.

Reviewers said the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser not only offers good performance off the pavement, it also has good on-road manners. They were also impressed with the FJ Cruiser’s practical water-resistant seat upholstery and intuitive dashboard controls.

Compare the Wrangler, Xterra and FJ Cruiser »

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