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Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Offroad magazine names Wrangler “4X4 of the Year”

by Bill Cawthon on

Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine today announced it has named the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon the winner of its coveted 4×4 of the Year award. This is the 30th year of the enthusiast magazine’s in-depth competition of new 4×4 vehicles, and the third time the Jeep Wrangler has taken home the award. In fact, Jeep products have won the award more than any other marque, a total of 12 times for different Jeep vehicles.

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon was pitted against the worthy Ram Power Wagon, both solid-axle titans of the off-road world. The Wrangler ranked high in every category of this year’s in-depth test. The grueling 1,000-mile trial evaluates each vehicle’s suspension, engine, transmission, and transfer case along with the style and creature comforts the vehicle provides. Most importantly, the 4x4s are judged heavily on how well they perform off-road in dirt, mud, rocks, sand, and gravel, as well as on the highway.

“The 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the most competent 4×4 ever produced,” said Rick Péwé, editor-in-chief of Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road. “The Rubicon gives you complete confidence in its terrain tackling abilities. It allows you to take the trail less traveled without worrying about the journey. And it does so while leaving a smile on your face. This is one fun ride.”

“No one puts a vehicle to the test more thoroughly than the editors of Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road, so Jeep is especially proud to win this prestigious award,” said Mike Manley, Jeep brand CEO. “Jeep Wrangler Rubicon has long been the most capable vehicle on the planet. With a completely new powertrain for 2012, it has reset the capability benchmark, while simultaneously offering consumers more fuel efficiency, horsepower, and on-road performance in every-day driving.”

To be eligible for the award, a vehicle must be all-new or have substantial improvements that make it perform significantly differently from the previous model year. Vehicles must also be available for sale before January 15 of the model year, have a production run of at least 2,500 units, and be equipped with a two-speed transfer case. The complete test results and vehicle evaluations for the 2012 4×4 of the Year competition will appear in the February 2012 issue, available December 6, 2011.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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