Six years ago I was fortunate enough to purchase a brand new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. I bought almost exactly what I wanted. Firecracker Red, manual transmission, soft top, and because the price was right I also opted for the Hard Rock package. That package came with leather, steel bumpers front and rear, a vented hood, and a few other style pieces to set it apart from the average Rubicon.
What the Jeep had that I wasn’t excited about was four doors. I am a family man and I had kids at the teen and pre-teen age that needed transportation to what seemed like everywhere.
When the new JL came out in 2018 I again bought what I wanted. Firecracker Red, manual transmission, hardtop this time, with steel bumpers, no leather, and yep four doors. It was a good Jeep, one of the first ones available on the East Coast and I was happy. Three years later and my oldest is driving, my youngest sits up front because he is tall like his old man and a four-door isn’t necessary anymore.
I finally bought the Jeep I wanted back in 2015.
Jeep introducing the four-door Wrangler might be the smartest decision in automotive history. The sheer number of Wranglers sold the first year alone makes it one of the most successful Jeep vehicles in their history. It also made it so I could own a Wrangler and raise a family without having extra vehicles. So for that, I am thankful.
Now that I can buy what I want without worrying about all of those familial responsibilities I did something I had never done before. I ordered a Wrangler built exactly how I wanted it in 2021.
There are a few things that fell into place to make this happen. The used car market is crazy right now and what dealers and resellers will pay for a used vehicle is insane. Jeep offered a feature I knew might not be around forever, and I had the time to wait for it to be built and delivered.
What did I buy? A 2021 2-Door Rubicon
That’s right the latest project vehicle is a 2-door Rubicon ordered my way. Which honestly wasn’t that much but I found it impossible to buy one similarly equipped anywhere within a reasonable distance.
Here’s what I added to a base Rubicon:
- Half-Doors – Any Jeep with half-doors looks 100% better but a 2-door is perfection.
- Upgraded mud-terrain tires – Vanity purchase because they look better. Waste of money since they won’t be on more than a few weeks but for $195 I didn’t lose anything.
- E-Torque Upgrade – I have always thought the stock 3.6 V6 was weak down low where you want grunt off-road. The E-Torque upgrade fixes that issue and so far I am loving it.
- Automatic Transmission – This is a side effect of the E-Torque upgrade. Considering the plethora of issues Jeep has had with the latest 6-speed manual and their current fix is to remove power to help the 6-speed survive it was an easier decision than you might think.
- Tow Package – I know, it’s a 2-door, and towing is very impractical. What I really wanted was the auxiliary switches with the wiring installed from the factory and the fuses all ready to use. I loved this on the four doors and had to have it.
- LED Package – The fact that this is an upgrade shows how far Jeep still has to go before they stop being partial Luddites. Every new Wrangler should have LED headlights and taillights.
- Cold Weather Group – I’ll admit it somewhere along the way I decided I liked comfort more than I used to. Remote start, heated steering wheel, and heated seats are amazing and I don’t care who knows it.
- Keyless entry – For some reason when I chose the half-door option this became mandatory. I don’t hate it and will probably come to love it but being forced to take it just irritates me.
Where I think Jeep still falls behind the competition.
At the price point of a new Wrangler Jeep’s quality control, and fit and finish have a long way to go. From ill-fitting parts, unnecessary rattles in the plastic dash, and parts that have poor finishes the Wrangler interior is just this side of a Yugo. With the Ford Bronco entering the same sales space this isn’t going to be overlooked by every buyer Especially those with no intentions of going very far off the beaten path.
What’s coming up?
In the next article, I will cover all the parts we already have on hand, or on the way, to build the two-door. Following that, I will have some initial driving impressions switching from the longer wheelbase Gladiator and Unlimited to the much shorter two-door, and even though I have reviewed the Falken MT01 tires previously I will do an update on their performance.