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For stylish suburban parents, the Unlimited is likely tempting as a commuter vehicle or family rig, but it should be kept in mind that the no-compromises off-road philosophy does have some significant drawbacks on the road. That considered we give it a score of 4 out of 10 here at FamilyCarGuide. Its ride quality is only acceptable—it tends toward bouncy and jittery when on anything but smooth pavement—and its solid front axle and old-style recirculating-ball steering gear mean that the Wrangler isn't much fun in the curves.
Safety is also a serious concern for the Wrangler lineup; side airbags remain optional, and crash-test results have been lackluster.
The Unlimited shows much more promise (versus the standard Wrangler's 2+2 layout) if you plan to carry the kids to practice, or have a couple of seats free for heading out to lunch. The flat, unsupportive seats won't satisfy on long highway hauls, but they'll do the job just fine around town or on the trail.
Considering the whole package, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is either a throwback to the days of more rugged SUVs, matched to modern conveniences, or a really expensive niche vehicle. By checking a few option boxes, it can come better-equipped than many family-focused crossover utes, with features like a navigation system, automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, hard-drive music storage, and Sirius satellite radio. The Rubicon can be equipped with most of those items plus one of the most comprehensive off-road hardware packages on the market; but beware, a loaded Unlimited Rubicon can total more than $40k.