Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited Dominates 4Runner in Snowy Arena
Whether on the street or on the dirt, nothing can stop epic fun-runs in the Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited, not even the Canadian winter.
Spring is here, which means there will soon be tons of Jeeps heading off to Moab, the Rubicon Trail, and other major (and minor) off-roading hot sports around the country for adventures galore.
Of course, winter’s still around here and there, especially in Canada, where Thomas Holland and James Engelsman of the YouTube channel Throttle House recently compared the 2019 Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited to the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.
“Tighten up the bolts on that skid plate, Toyota, because the Wrangler Rubicon is here to reign over the rough country,” said Holland. “If you offer the Rubicon trim, you get some very serious off-road goodies… but most importantly, this is a proper Jeep with a 285-horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque, naturally aspirated six-cylinder. And now, it has a very good interior. It also comes with some more aggressive tires than that 4Runner, which should help today when we do a bit of light off-roading. Nothing serious, just some good old-fashioned fun.”
And help those tires do, for while Engelsman believes his Toyota’s got it going on, it’s immediately spanked by the natural off-road prowess of the Rubicon, climbing to the top of the hill while Engelsman’s big SUV struggles through the snow.
Once over the hill, the Rubicon made for quite the drift machine, which made Holland quite happy, as he normally prefers track days over rock crawls. The snow just flies wherever the Jeep goes, while the Toyota struggles. As Holland says, the Rubicon “is a go-anywhere vehicle,” one he absolutely loves.
“This is the Jeep Rubicon interior,” Holland says to Engelsman. “It is fantastic. It’s actually really, really usable. It’s classically Jeep in that way, The steering wheel’s comfortable. It gets so hot it hurts my hands.”
The main draw of the revamped interior is the Off Road Pages section of the Uconnect infotainment system, which present info on everything from pitch-and-roll to the temperatures of various fluids. The Rubicon’s drivetrain can be shifted into the proper power transfer, have all the power go to the rear wheels, and the sway bar can be disconnected, all from the comfort of the driver’s seat. Holland adds that while he’s not a fan of most vehicle interiors, the Rubicon’s interior has won him over.
The Toyota’s, on the other hand, isn’t all that impressive. The use several trim materials baffles Holland, signifying the SUV’s parts-bin specialness, and the lack of cohesion when compared to the Rubicon’s “classically Jeep” take. Even the key, which is a bog-standard key, pales in comparison to the Rubicon’s modern key. Plus, there’s no Apple CarPlay, a deal-breaker for anyone shopping for any vehicle. As Engelsman says, “everything is fine” as far as the Toyota’s interior goes.
“All cars nowadays, they all feel broadly similar,” said Holland. “This is one of the first vehicles that I’ve driven in a long time that feels different. It feels different, and it feels special, and I absolutely love it. It’s a Jeep thing; I understand.”
On the road, the Rubicon’s six-cylinder provides quick power delivery, and sounds good doing it. Holland also loves the steering and comfortable seats, but wishes his automatic model had a dead pedal, along with more sound-deadening materials for a quieter experience. On the other hand, Holland says the Jeep “feels cool all the time” while driving around town, and on the highway if you don’t mind wind noise.
“This is a hilarious thing to say, because it’s a Jeep, and it hasn’t changed much since its inception,” said Holland. “It is a more modern vehicle than that Toyota. I have a remote start on my key fob. I’ve got a digital screen. I’ve got heated seats and a heated steering wheel that come on immediately. I’ve got an eight-speed transmission that’s seamless. I’ve got auxiliary buttons which I can assign to different lights around the car as you install them. And I’ve got some really good off-road tech. This is a good car.”
And while the wind noise isn’t an issue at all for the Toyota, the whole experience feels more like driving a Corolla than something timeless and classic, like a 2019 Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited.