2012 Jeep Wrangler

Model Overview

Rarely does a car reviewed on Edmunds.com have as many pros and cons as the 2012 Jeep Wrangler. Most vehicles have a lot of one and not much of the other. The Wrangler, on the other hand, has a wealth of extremes. It has old-school solid axles at both ends and standard crank windows. It's incredibly noisy and rough-riding. The soft top is a puzzle to operate and is basically a big "break in!" sign to potential thieves. Indeed, measured against virtually any other new SUV, the Wrangler is in many ways, well, terrible.

And yet the Jeep Wrangler not only remains appealing but remains one of the best-selling SUVs in the country as well. Part of the reason why is because some of those foibles are actually indicative of an incredibly honest, back-to-basics off-roader. Of course, the Wrangler also looks pretty cool and can dive headlong into places where few other vehicles would dare dip their toes. Plus, what other new car allows you to remove not only the roof, but the doors and windshield as well? The answer is none.

Of course, some of the Wrangler's issues can't be brushed off as simply "quaint." The soft top's issues are real, as are long braking distances and limited secured storage. But there is finally good news for what lies under the hood. Gone is the agricultural and gutless old V6, and in its place Chrysler's new "Pentastar" 285-hp V6. Smooth, robust and reasonably efficient, this engine radically transforms the Wrangler. Boasting a whopping 83 more horses than the outgoing engine, the new V6 is more than a second quicker from zero to 60 mph. A newly available five-speed automatic improves power delivery and efficiency as well.

Whether you get a basic two-door Wrangler with crank windows and a soft top or a high-dollar four-door Wrangler Unlimited Sahara with heated leather seats and a hardtop, this iconic Jeep is without question a unique vehicle. However, we highly recommend taking it on a lengthy test-drive and paying attention to the above issues to see if you could really deal with them on a day-to-day basis. It's not uncommon for folks to be taken in by the Wrangler's cool factor only to quickly realize after purchase that a compact crossover or a more livable off-roader like the Nissan Xterra or Toyota FJ Cruiser would've been a wiser choice.

If you know what you're getting into, however, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler is a wonderful way to not only get back to basics, but nature as well.

Jeep Wrangler Consumer Reviews By Year:
2012 Jeep Wrangler

NEW FOR 2012

After soldiering on with an antiquated engine for years, the Jeep Wrangler finally gets more modern power in the form of a 285-horsepower V6. A five-speed automatic is also now available, and every Wrangler is now four-wheel drive.


Superior off-road capability


Choppy ride

44 Total User Reviews

Average Rating

By raiders2 on January 25 @ 2:28 pm
Fun to drive, nothing like it
Been driving since August 11 and this is not only the best wrangler yet, it is best in class. This Jeep is great for daily driving and of course keeps the best in class out of the box off road capability even with the sport version. The new Pentastar V6 improves performance and mpg. Hard to rate reliability after 3 weeks but since it is required, gave it a 5.

By tlucyk on May 5 @ 1:27 am
2012 Unlimited Sahara with 5spd automatic
Drove from Williston, ND to Jackson Hole WY so terrain was a combination of flats, hills and mountainous. On the flats, the Jeep had no problem holding the speed limit using the cruise control. In the hills and mountainous areas, it down shifted 1 or 2 gears to maintain the speed limit. Our best fuel economy was 24.3 MPG (no wind, no A/C, highway speed limit less than 60 MPH); our worst fuel economy was 17.7 MPG (10 MPH head wind, A/C running, highway speed limit 75 MPH). 95% of the mileage was highway. Fuel mileage was hand calculated (miles driven divided by gallons to fill), not based on vehicle computer.

By tj65 on April 22 @ 5:11 pm
2012 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited Auto
I took delivery of my new 2012 4 door Sahara Automatic about 3 weeks ago. I have about 1000 miles on it and the vehicle is fantastic. Jeep has really done a great job with this car. It is quiet, smooth riding and responsive. The new 6 cyl is the best thing Jeep could have done for this vehicle. I have had 2 jeeps previously ('98 and '07) and this one is by far the best put together Wrangler. My mileage is about what the sticker says----16 city and 20 mpg on the highway. My advice to anyone who reads this review is test drive the vehicle youself. Most of the reviews by the so called experts give the Wrangler a BAD rap. Try it yourself and ignore the so called experts!!!

By albert993 on September 2 @ 1:08 pm
My first 1100 miles
Living in S. Texas, I took delivery of my 2012 Jeep Sahara Unlimited out of a dealership in Roswell, just North of Atlanta, GA during the Labor Day weekend. I was planning on a leisurely trip back through New Orleans but Tropical Storm Lee changed all that. I skirted the storm as close as Baton Rouge and encountered very heavy rain and high winds but my new Jeep took it like a trooper. Between Baton Rough and Lafayette, I even encountered some minor flooding that backed up traffic for over a mile but my trusty new Jeep forded the rising water like a champ. Once leaving Lake Charles, the rains receded and it was off to Houston. Never did I notice even a drop of water penetrate the interior

By strman on January 13 @ 6:40 pm
Fun car but
I bought the 2012 Wrangler Sahara. So far I'm happy with the vehicle but it does have it's quirks. I have the soft top and this rag is a very poor fitting nightmare. You will bust up your hands just to get the back window in place and I'm cursing the designer of this top every time I put it back up. It already has small holes tearing in the top and it is only a month old. The transmission and engine feel great though. I've spent the past 6 years driving a Subaru OutbackXT. The Subaru is a lot smoother and quicker and actually does better on the beach than this new Wrangler. Driving 2000 miles now mileage is around 20 highway and 16.4 around town. There are no skid plates around engine

By johntesh71 on November 1 @ 11:55 pm
American Icon Reborn
Ok first off I would like to congratulate Chrysler for finally fixing the Wrangler...and ridding the world of that POS 3.8L V6 it had previously....Although I really wish the 6Speed in this thing didn't sound like it was on its last limb with only 22 miles on the odometer.....Other than that a very pleasant and comfortable ride on or off road.

By vtjeep4 on March 2 @ 8:04 pm
Better every year
This is my 4th Jeep and I love it!! Its comfortable and as always fun to drive. The new engine makes such a big difference. Much quieter than my previous Jeeps.

By 006_si on October 1 @ 1:59 am
This Wrangler is a definite 'keeper'. You don't buy this for your kid, you give him/her your current car and keep this puppy for yourself! Power out the wazoo, peerless offroad credentials, and an interior that could put a Mercedes K-wagen to shame. Plus, you can take the freakin' top off, and the doors, AND THEN drop the windshield! Unbelievable!

By gmaster on January 24 @ 2:16 am
Thought I wanted an FJ, but went for 2012 Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
Wanted FJ, so I thought I did. Drove FJ, 2011 Wrangler and the 2012 Wrangler. FJ felt cheap. New 2011 Wrangler engine sluggish and auto trans grinded on shifts. 2012 Wrangler WoWed me!

By jackcolton on April 6 @ 7:07 pm
Finally back in a Jeep Wrangler!
I custom ordered a 2012 Black Jeep Wrangler Sahara (6-Speed), and finally took delivery 2 weeks ago. This thing is awesome! I've owned a 1998 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, and this one is substantially better in every way. Build quality feels strong and as if it will last a very long time. A few things... 1) Don't buy a Jeep Wrangler without test driving and loving everything about it. If you have a big smile on your face each time, you are good to go. 2) There is at least $4,000 or so in markup, so do your shopping research and negotiate. Mine stickered at $32,500, got it for $27,800. 3) So far in city driving I'm getting about 320 miles per tank. 4) Custom ordering took 7 weeks.

By georgiadog69 on April 19 @ 5:10 am
Is this really legal?
I just bought a 2012 Unlimited Rubicon. So far, I love it. Don't get hung up on the reviews. It's a Jeep. It should be no surprise that it doesn't ride or perform like a luxury sedan. One thing buyers should be cautioned about though is that Jeeps do not come with an owner's manual. Is it just me, or is it absolutely absurd that a $40,000 vehicle, or any vehicle for that matter would not come with an owner's manual. If you want one you have to buy one from the Jeep website for $50.00! How can that possibly be legal? At a minimum it is pathetically cheap. Jeep is cheap!

By jeepin315 on May 12 @ 9:05 pm
2012 Wrangler 2Dr Sport, 6 SPD
So far I only have 1,000 miles on the Wrangler so I cannot comment too much on the reliability of the vehicle. I got it in the Orange Crush color. The jeep is a blast to drive with the new Penestar 3.6L engine that it has. With 285hp there is plenty of power to get up and go and having that power just makes the offroading more fun. This is my first Wrangler and my second Jeep product. The top was not to hard to figure out. It is easier if you know someone who has one though and just let them show you how to take apart the soft top. The Jeep handles well and even in the rain without four wheel drive on it seems to handle well. I am 6'4" and 235 lbs and I fit very comfortably in my Jeep.

By orange06 on February 15 @ 7:10 am
2nd JK Owner
5 months and 5000 miles later, I'm still excited to wake up every morning to drive my Jeep. Traded in a 2010 Unlimited Sport (auto) for the new 2012 Sport (6 speed). Instant upgrade in power and cabin presence. It's a little squirrely at highway speeds compared to the 4 door. If you have kids, the getting in and out of a 2 door is work. I'd think twice if this was your primary vehicle. I'm one leg in, one leg out to belt my 5 year old in, my wife climbs in to do it. Passenger side only. Great price point of $22k for a base sport. Don't let the looks of a Rubicon/Special Edition suck you in. If you aren't going to wheel it regularly, you're wasting 10 grand.

By mickeytom on September 15 @ 2:15 am
My husband & I have had Jeep Wranglers in the past but, have had to trade them in for bigger vehicles when our kids couldnt fit anymore :) Well, they are grown & gone now & we decided to buy the 2012 Jeep Wrangerl WOW!! We both love it! The interior is beautiful! The ride is very quite & really comfortable! We will be keeping this one for a long, long time!

By sbresnick on October 9 @ 3:37 am
There is only one!
Looks great, drives fun! Surprisingly smooth ride around town and a blast to drive!

By chesshorse on January 9 @ 6:42 am
Nice But Little Things Add Up
I bought the top of the line Sahara with every option available thinking all will be great. Within literally 100 miles the engine started knocking, the driver seat squeaks so bad, the A/C is luke warm, the driver side windshield visor pops off, the painted hard top has haze marks all over it, the windshield makes a whistling noise, driver seat seatbelt area rubs and makes a load noise, and the driver side seat adjuster is making a rub mark on the leather to list a few! Now it has 3,500 miles and I still am trying to make an appointment to get it looked at. I have canceled many appointments because of my work schedule and the service department have limited hours! I am defiantly disappointed!

By chewmeista on February 2 @ 5:04 am
Simply Amazing
I have owned 3 different wranglers in my time. This one takes the cake. At first I wasnt sure if I would like the 4 door, but I thought about it for a while, browsed jeep forums and realized that this is the one I need. It seems as though jeep has taken everything into consideration while making the new jeeps. Highly highly recommended.

By jeepornot on May 18 @ 8:13 pm
2012 Jeep wrangle
I had purchased a new 2012 wrangler and less then a month I was on the side of the road of a major highway. My stearing and car just died when I was going 65 mph in the fast lane at two major highway intersections. They towed the Jeep Wrangler to the dealer and they said it was a defective fuel pump. Rediculous. I talked to the tow company and they said oh yea he tows a jeep wrangler at least 3-4 times a week. I had a 2009 I traded in for the new arctic model and now wich I had kept it as I did not seam to have any issues with 2009 version

By mike95376 on November 2 @ 12:39 am
So far so good
I have 3,300 miles on my 2012 Rubicon. I love it. I get 17 mpg no matter how I drive. No more, no less. I don't care since I did not buy it for fuel economy. The new Pentastar V6 has excellent power. I can almost pull wheelies. Having the oil filter on top of the engine is a plus for maintenance. It's cheaper to buy too (no metal can). I am carefully monitoring reliability but so far NO problems.

By hsteff on March 18 @ 11:51 am
By Far the Most Fun Vehicle I've Ever Owned!
I'm a first time Jeep owner & I bought a Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon because I've always wanted a convertible and also wanted a vehicle that could handle almost any off road trail and occasional deep snow. This past summer, I removed my hardtop and 4 doors and had my Wrangler in “topless mode” for 12 weeks—it was the best summer I’ve had in years. This fall, I participated in the 25th Ouray CO Jeep Jamboree where I learned how to properly drive my Jeep on mountain trails & was utterly amazed on how well engineered & tough Jeeps are to handle the wilderness to include traversing over fields of small boulders.

By robertolive on February 12 @ 12:05 am
The Last Car
I call this "the last car" because I will never drive anything else. That said, it is not a "car" as much as a street legal toy. A giant go-cart. The feeling of driving a jeep is incomparable, but certainly not for everyone. In fact, if you even have to debate whether you should; then you probably shouldn't. If you are comfortable, however, with the idea of changing a heavy stubborn top (hard or soft), having little freeway acceleration, and generally driving a giant go-cart; then this is the car for you! You have to be prepared to think of your Jeep as a street-legal toy to really appreciate it. (Also, get the manual transmission or just get yourself a minivan)

By bomstead on March 17 @ 1:30 am
2013 Wrangler Sport
Finally sold my beloved 97 Wrangler Sport rag top and bought a 2013 Wrangler Sport with the T-Hard Top. My new Wrangler Sport has pretty much all the bells and whistles of a Rubicon, but for $15k less. Notably missing are the electric disconnect on the sway bar and the 4:1 Low range 4WD. Who cares? My Low range 4WD is something besides 4:1. Big deal. Took the back seat out of the last one, probably will with this one too. If you're at all interested in a Jeep, go to any dealer with lots of models and compare features and prices. You can get a loaded Wrangler Sport pretty cheap compared to a base Sahara or Rubicon - if you don't mind fabric seats. Drive one and you'll be hooked.

By stylee6 on February 14 @ 10:18 am
2012 JKU Rubicon
Excellent vehicle

By sunlover1 on March 3 @ 9:35 pm
Do Not Buy
I ordered my Wrangler Rubicon & waited 6 weeks for my very first Jeep to come in. Within the first 6 months I had a transmission fuel line rub and loose all its fluid. I was accused of *gasp* running it off road. I had NOT driven this vehicle off road, it had only 3000 miles & sat mainly in my garage waiting it's first WV trip. It was bad line placement. Now I have 16k miles and it has been in the shop twice in the last 2 weeks for check engine light. They tell me they need to replace the entire left head and they will have it for several days. On an 18 month old vehicle. That is mainly driven by a women with her dogs to the beach or family trips to our WV mountain retreat, not off road.

By new_jeep_own1 on April 4 @ 12:55 pm
Fun to drive, but waiting for something to go wrong
I live in a snowy area and wanted a 4wd vehicle. It's great on snowy surfaces under 35. On the freeway the vehicle whips around badly from the wind @ higher speeds which negates any 4wd benefit. Then there's the quality. The ceiling screws in the hardtop gradually come loose no matter how hard I screw them in. The check engine light turned on @ 22k. It stayed on for a week, shut off, then turned on again. I took it to the dealer where I was told the CPU indicated it needs a new Cylinder Head. Their solution was run a "Flash Update" to shut it off and see if the light comes back on. It came back on same day. When everything is working, it's very fun to drive.

By derbs24 on July 4 @ 7:09 pm
Great all-around family car
Bought one of the first 2012 in fall of 2011 for $37K. 3.6 Pentastar was worth waiting for. Have Avg 20mpg over 74,000 miles. Have gotten 24mpg on multiple road trips from WI to FL. Wife drives it daily 50mi roundtrip for work and she still loves it! Not the most comfortable, not the quietest but it is a Wrangler. Freeedom top is awesome, we leave the hard top on and just pop the front 2 panels for sun. Had the cylinder head issue, but dealer fixed no problem, no drama with free rental. Love the looks, love the image (kinda like riding a Harley). Just got some trade numbers and dealer offered us $27,000 to trade on a new Wrangler so we bought a new 2015 Willys Wheeler. Resale second to none.

By oldcoastie74 on February 11 @ 12:13 am
Improvements for Future Years
I have now owned my Rubicon Unlimited (automatic) for 60 months and 85000 miles, in Colorado, where snow and mountain jeep roads have tested it. I am still in love with it. The highway ride is fine. I switched from M&S tires to A/T and noted an improvement in both ride and mileage, with no noticeable loss of Off-road capability in the mountains. After the initial transmission cooler line problems were fixed under warranty, no futher repairs were necessary. I did wait a tad too long to replace the rear brake pads (70,000 miles) and had to also replace the disks. The Brake Lock Differential system apparently causes the rear pads to wear out before the front pads. I have been happy keeping my JKU pretty much stock, and it has had no problem handling the forest service and 4WD roads in the Colorado mountains. I am awaiting the 2018 JKU to see what improvements have been made. The rear-view camera and other safety features, along with the 8-speed automatic promised, will be looked at closely. Also, the front suspension, to see if improvements have been made to reduce the occasional "death wobble." Finally, I hope they will be improving the GPS system. The current one does not even tell you how fast you are going, let alone what the speed limit is. Given the wide variance in tire sizes used on the Jeep, it would be very helpful to know how fast you are really going.

By jshhand on August 24 @ 6:16 pm
not great
I ended up selling my wrangler after 3 years. I had numerous issues with the heat. Specifically the heater core,oil cooler and radiator. I had them all replaced under warranty. The heat never did work properly on the vehicle. I did like the look of the jeep. It towed my boat well. I don't know if I trust the 285hp . It always felt under-powered. Unfortunately It was rough on the road, had very little storage and was incredibly slow on the road. I would give this vehicle a honest rating of 3 out of 10. I would not purchase again. although it did have amazing resale.....

By rvnclaw22 on March 8 @ 4:23 pm
i thought that the car had a little comfort issues but it was amazing.

By annie on August 7 @ 8:15 pm
My 4th Jeep,and my favorite
Make sure you are tall enough to get in the Jeep.I am a short lady. I am used to how to successfully manage getting in. I have not had one second of trouble,with this Jeep,or the previous 3. I love my Jeeps,and this is the fastest one yet.Going through the gears is exhilarating. Living in the Winter Wonderland(Michigan),I need reliable transportation to get me through the mountains of snow we are bound to have. I am an amateur photographer,and my Jeep allows me to drive in two-tracks ,in snow,in mud,or in any kind of weather. I was very fortunate to have gotten the Sunrider top with this Jeep. If I buy another vehicle,it will be a Wrangler. I have been a Jeep maven since my first new one,in 1997.

By Lynn on November 8 @ 1:52 am
Fun Car But Too Many Repairs
Great fun to take off-road - drives well on the highway. I've had this 2012 Wrangler back to the dealer many times for all types of repairs including cylinder head replacement, parking brake replacement and a bunch of other problems. It is frustrating spending all that time in the shop - especially after owning Toyota's. The jeep was in the shop 3 different times for over 2 weeks just to fix a water leak - they never could get it fixed. The warranty is now expired and I must throw a tarp of the jeep to keep the water out. Looking at Consumers Reports they got the leaks fixed in the 2015 model.

By Steve on August 23 @ 7:53 am
Rust at 3 years old
The door hinges are all rusting at 3 years old. 30,000 miles and garage kept. Not the only one doing this per dealer. Chrysler (Fiat) does not want to fix it. This is my 3rd and last wrangler. I have owned over 10 Chrysler vehicles over the years. I was a Chrysler/Jeep Technician at a dealership for 16 years, I know this is not right. Now I have to decide what my new vehicles is going to be after 25 years of buying Chrysler products. The jeep is not what it used to be.

By Scott on August 1 @ 11:43 am
What I wanted and love it!!
As you know wranglers are not built for the smooth ride. But they have really improved all comfort aspects of the vehicle. If you have not driven one in a while you should take a test ride. I love my Jeep so happy I gave it a chance and did not just say it is a 4x4 jeep.

By Robert debella on June 10 @ 6:46 pm
2 door wrangler saharah
Sporty, fun, easy to drive. The back seats [non-permissible content removed] to get into.

By Joseph Stepien on April 3 @ 9:06 pm
2012 Jeep Wrangler
I love my Jeep! Runs great, feels great & fun to drive.

By Joe :-) on October 4 @ 8:30 pm
Overall, very happy with this purchase :-)
If you buy a used model of the 2012, make sure that any recalls have been taken care of. These include the "oil cooler tube" recall and the "power mirror" recall. I have not experienced any problem with either. The only problem I had was with water leakage around the door seals. I had to take it back to the dealer twice, but they did fix it. :)

By Matthew on April 9 @ 8:59 am
Incredible choice
This is my first vehicle that gas actually met my standards set of a "top notch ride" and I feel in love. I can go off road easily (which I do) and if I'm taking my family out for a nice ride, the children can fall asleep listening to music while I can step on it to get a thrill. Best part is I can talk on my phone without even touching it in my pocket. I love it to death

By Robert Dakel on September 27 @ 4:57 am
my Jeep

By Bill Hewlett on April 17 @ 4:07 pm
Supposed to use off road
Never been off road.

By Peter Schwathe on January 27 @ 11:52 pm
It's a jeep
Runs good, price was decent, does what I expected it to. Not the greatest highway car, some engineering issues, and feels completely gutless after driving a 1970 chevelle. But hey, I bought it for something to drive in the snow, and to get me up to the trailheads in summer, It's perfect for that, so I can't complain about issues I knew knew would be part of the package.

By Kevin on January 20 @ 6:54 am
2012 Wrangler sport
First Jeep. Very happy. The V 6 is very responsive. Drives OK on Highway does great off road. Fun little vehicle to drive.

By Larry F on March 28 @ 9:46 am
2012 JKU 35k miles in 1 year
If you want a quiet ride this is not the vehicle for you. I have put 35k miles on the jeep in just over a year(travel for work etc). No issues what so ever except a faulty thermostat that was replaced under warranty. Stock tires (Wrangler sra) horrible in snow or even just rain, replaced with Goodyear silent armor AT and it's a world of difference(and maybe .5-1 mpg drop). During spring/summer I have averaged 21mpg on the highway at 80mph through MI/IN/IL. The winter months see 17-18 max. I love the jeep, great for road trips and hauling my 2 german shepherds. I have also used it to move and it can handle a lot with the tall rear area and no headliner to damage(get the hard top). I found a great deal at a Toyota dealership and even after a year owe less than its worth. The resale value is ridiculous on these vehicles. Plan on keeping until the new diesel JL comes out(hopefully next year)

By A Train on May 20 @ 1:15 am
Come on Jeep...Get it together
This thing is a ton of fun on trails and in the snow. However, it is hard to justify keeping it after so many electronic and mechanical issues. I bought it used in 2013 with 20,000 miles. The repair list is as follows: CD player/radio stopped working—had to be replaced Seatbelt and Airbag light wouldn’t turn off--$300 sensor repair Horn stopped working 2x--$400 to replace Cruise control stopped working 2x, once on a 13 hr road trip—unknown cost Wheel bearing went out--$200 repair Headlight bulbs already had to be replaced Traction control light, Anti-lock brake light, and Hill descent assist lights were all on and it was hesitant to shift out of 1st gear- the cause was that the wheel speed sensor had gone bad/come loose and was driven into the wheel hub assembly--$700 repair Battery quit at 40,000 miles, 2016--did not give hesitant starts 1st and would not even jump start, had to walk 2 miles to get other car to go get battery and bring back to jeep May 2017 --rear wiper sprayer had to be re-routed and replaced, also replaced Cruise Control switch for the 3rd time--still not working, also had oil leak--cam shaft seal replaced and it is still leaking

By James McKethan on March 10 @ 3:37 pm
My Jeep
Excellent handling in rain/snow/ice winter conditions.

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