The Wrangler requires no formal introduction. A true icon, it’s known all around the world as the quintessential off-roader and it’s still the centerpiece of the Jeep lineup. Ask any enthusiast to list three nameplates that represent the American auto industry and odds are you’ll hear the names “Corvette,” “Mustang,” and “Wrangler” – or at the very least “Jeep.”

A pair of round headlights, a grille with seven tall slots, and a rear-mounted spare tire characterize the Wrangler’s timeless looks. Imitators from all around the globe have tried to grab a slice of its market share for decades, but none have ever succeeded. I spent a week behind the wheel of a Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock to find out what its secret is.

The basics

The Wrangler is equipped with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that delivers 285 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. The six-cylinder spins the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission, which is the automotive equivalent of a Nokia 3310 now that gearboxes with seven gears or more are common. A six-speed manual transmission is standard.

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