Jeep calls it the "ultimate off-road rig."
Perhaps "ultimate" is a bit much, especially after having experienced how well a 2003 Hummer H2 maneuvers up inclines, through streams, down hills and over/under/around/out of ruts.
But "off-road" is true.
Jeep boasts that its Rubicon Wrangler "allows serious off-road enthusiasts the opportunity to drive over some of the most extreme trails in the country and then drive it home."
The "drive it home" part is what sets Rubicon apart from your everyday Jeep Wrangler. Rubicon will handle extremes, but, unfortunately, when the pavement appears, Rubicon remains in "extreme" mode.
Not everyone will appreciate this vehicle. Rubicon is meant to help you move in and out of tough spots when off-road, not to cushion your tush when on pavement.
The ride is stiff, which it is meant to be. Handling refers to climbing, clawing and digging into sand, dirt, mud or whatever other gunk or goop you need to grab hold of to keep moving when the pavement disappears, which is when you grab the transfer case lever and engage the four-wheel-drive.
Pluses: A 4WD sport/ute without the unruly size and without the miniscule fuel economy rating. Ruggedly cute version of Wrangler meant for serious off-roading.
Minuses: If you're not a serious off-roader, the ride and handling, not to mention tire noise on dry pavement, will leave you wondering why you didn't opt for an on-road Wrangler or perhaps a Jeep Liberty. With options added, you near the $30,000 mark.