Wrangler vs. Rubicon

Wrangler vs. Rubicon

Written by Cameron Repic
September 5, 2023

A common misconception is that the Rubicon is a completely separate Jeep model from the Wrangler, whereas the Rubicon is simply a type of Wrangler. In this article we will compare the Wrangler Rubicon to the Wrangler Sport.

The word Jeep has always been synonymous with adventure and exploration. The design and workmanship behind Jeep is focused on creating a vehicle that can go anywhere. Since 1945, Jeep has been the go-to for drivers who want to venture into the unknown and explore places that are off the grid. Whether you want to coast down sand dunes or drive through overgrown mud trails, a jeep is the ride for you. Continue reading to discover the difference between the two most popular Jeep models: Wrangler and Rubicon.

Jeep Wrangler

The Wrangler is the classic Jeep model. If you close your eyes and imagine a jeep, you’ll probably be thinking of a Wrangler. It’s perfect for off-road travel but it’s also a great city car. The Wrangler is a popular option mainly because it’s so versatile. It’s easy to add different parts and features to enhance its off-road capability. This is one reason why it’s a go-to for first time Jeep buyers. You can get that classic Jeep look and have the option to customize the car as you get acquainted with the Jeep lifestyle and philosophy!

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

The Wrangler Rubicon model was released in 2003 and it instantly became a popular Jeep edition. It has a powerful transfer case, low gear range, and rocker protection. The tires on the Rubicon are also designed specifically for traveling over mud-terrains. The Rubicon was made to explore off-road. You can bet that the designers who drew the blueprint of the Rubicon had a bumpy trip in mind! This model was designed to make its own way through raw trails and mountainous roads. The Rubicon’s off-road capacity far outshines most of the other Wrangler models. If you’re looking for that quintessential jeep that can take you anywhere, then this is the one for you!

The Difference Between Rubicons and other Wrangler Models

The most important difference between these two models is their performance off-road and the price. A Wrangler Sport is less expensive than a Rubicon. However, there are also many interior and exterior adds-on that are available to pump up your Wrangler. This means that you can customize and change the off-road capabilities of the Wrangler until it rivals even a Rubicon! In comparison, a Rubicon will be ready for off-road exploration as soon as you get those new keys in your pocket.

  • Four-Wheel Drive Systems: The Wrangler Sport has the Command-Trac system, while the Wrangler Rubicon has a Rock-Trac system.
  • Axle Ratios: A 3.21 axle ratio comes standard for Saharas, which is significantly lower than the 4.10 axle ratio for the Rubicon.
  • Front Axles: Both the Wrangler sport and Rubicon have the same rear axles, the Wrangler Rubicon is equipped with a Dana 44 axle in the front. The Sport features the Dana 30 solid front axle.
  • Differentials: Since the Wrangler Rubicon is geared toward off-roading, it has Tru-Lok differentials for the front and rear rather than the conventional differentials found in the Wrangler.
  • Electronic Front Sway Bar Disconnect: Only the Wrangler Rubicon features the Electronic Front Sway Bar Disconnect, which really comes in handy when you are on the trails.

Pricing and Customization

Price is often a deciding factor when choosing between the Wrangler and the Rubicon. Generally, the Rubicon comes with a higher price tag due to its advanced off-road features. However, the standard Wrangler offers more affordability, leaving room in your budget for customization.

Both models have an extensive range of aftermarket accessories and modifications available, allowing you to tailor your Jeep to your specific needs and preferences. Consider how much you're willing to invest in customization when making your decision.

A Wrangler unlimited will set you back around $35,000. Whereas the more expensive Rubicon can be cost you anywhere up to $47,950.

There are small design differences between these two popular vehicles that are important to keep in mind. Below is a short summary of what makes these models distinctive! 

The Wrangler Sport features a front stabilizer bar, heavy-duty suspension and gas shock. On the other hand, the Rubicon has an electronic front sway bar disconnect, rock rails, and performance suspension. All of these details can sometimes read as gibberish to first time buyers. Make sure you talk to other Jeep owners about their experience and opinions. Most people will jump at the chance to give advice and tell you what they love about these cars!

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Here are some of the most important similarities between the two different models. They both have the black soft top (it wouldn’t be a classic jeep without one!), a 3.6-liter engine, 285 horsepower, and 6- speed manual transmission. Keep in mind that both models are great for off-road journeys; however, the Rubicon is almost like the Wrangler on steroids! It will definitely take you where you need to be. 


At the heart of their design, the Wrangler and the Rubicon are a classic jeep. They both offer you the first-rate Jeep experience and style. However, the main difference is that the Rubicon is more geared towards off-road travel. If you're looking for an everyday ride that also can be put through its paces, consider the Wrangler. It’s less expensive and can also be customized later down the track!

At the end of the day, it can be difficult to decide between a Wrangler Sport and Rubicon. Whether you’re new to the jeep family or a serial jeep enthusiast, the difference can sometimes be like splitting hairs. Just do your research, get in touch with the Jeep community, and focus on what you need from your new car. Either way, both the Wrangler and Rubicon are great Jeeps that will enhance any adventure that you have in mind!

MUST READ: Best Jeep Wrangler Upgrades & Accesorries

Neither a Jeep Wrangler Sport or Rubicon would be complete without off-roading accessories or recovery gear. That's why we recommend checking out RhinoUSAinc.com, the best in the business when it comes to off-roading and recovery! Rhino USA makes the most dependable, durable, and best-looking gear in the industry, all with a lifetime warranty.

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How much does a Jeep Wrangler weigh?

A Jeep Wrangler weighs any where between 3,948 pounds to 5,200 pounds depending on the model. The lighter Jeep models would be the two-door Wrangler Sport, and the heavier Jeep Wrangler being the new 4xe, due to the heavy batteries in the hybrid powertrain.

How much can a Jeep Wrangler tow?

The Jeep Wrangler has a tow capacity between 2,000 pounds and 3,500 pounds depending on the model and year. Most of the 4-door Jeep Wrangler models can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

What are the main differences between a Jeep Wrangler and a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon?

The primary differences between a Jeep Wrangler and a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon lie in their off-road capabilities. The Wrangler is a versatile off-roader designed for various terrains, while the Wrangler Rubicon is equipped with advanced off-road features, such as locking differentials, heavy-duty axles, and enhanced suspension, making it better suited for tackling challenging trails and obstacles