The good and bad of a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock arriving at my door

Last month a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock was delivered to my door for review. I was excited as can be—until I realized it was a standard transmission.

Now, I can drive a standard. I learned to drive on a manual transmission. I haven't driven a standard transmission in decades, though, and I didn't want to practice getting back in the swing of things in a nearly $40,000 vehicle that didn't belong to me.

So my joy upon seeing the 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock in my driveway quickly turned to disappointment.

jeep wrangler rubicon hard rock review 

Not so for my husband, though, as Jim was immediately tapped to be the one in the driver's seat for this review.

My reluctance at driving a standard was just one of the "bad" parts of having a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock arrive at my door. Another bad? May 2015 was the rainiest May ever in Colorado Springs. Historic rain and hail and subsequent mud and mudslides on mountain sides, mountain passes. Which means Jim never got to tackle heavy-duty four-wheelin' in the Jeep. He did tool about town in the Wrangler Rubicon for a week, though, and that's where the good comes in.

wrangler rubicon exterior

Six good things about the 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock, according to Jim:

It's solid. Nearly each and every day Jim drove the Wrangler Rubicon, the word "solid" was used to describe the experience. "I just feels solid!" he exclaimed to me, to coworkers, to strangers. "I've ridden in other Jeeps before and this did not feel like what I expected."

It shifts exceptionally easily. The gearshift "felt like it was in a track," which made going from gear to gear smooth and easy. "It was almost like driving an automatic," my husband said. (A jab at my concern over driving a standard? I prefer to think not.)

wrangler rubicon interior

Super performance in sopping wet weather. Jim was disappointed the cruddy weather conditions prevented him from testing shifting ability to the max by taking the vehicle out and about on rugged roads—and trails and non-roads, too—the 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock seems designed for. It served as an ideal vehicle while driving in town through the rain and storms, though. "I had no problems, even with the rainy conditions. Driving and braking was just like driving on clear, dry roads."

Comfortable driver's seat. "The seat felt like I imagine sitting in a cockpit might feel," Jim said. "It's comfy and seems to wrap around the driver."

Front top comes off quickly. "Unlatch a few latches and BOOM! It's off!" Once the top was off (technically called the Front Freedom Panels), so were Jim and Patrick! The Rear Hard Top takes a little more work—it requires removing six Torx screws—but didn't seem too difficult for days when the sun's shining and folks want to set out for some four-wheeling action.

freedom panels removed

On a similar note—according to me, the one who would be hauling groceries in the vehicle on a regular basis—the back gate was relatively easy to open and close despite the spare tire being stored there. Nowhere near as heavy and awkward as I expected.

The little things. There were a few features that stood out and made the 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock seem a wee bit more fun and safe. The frivolous but fun: The way CDs are inserted into the navigational panel. Just cool. 

jeep wrangler rubicon nav panel

Plus, on the topic of CDs, the optional Customer Preferred Package includes a 40 GB Hard Drive (with 20 GB available) that allows owners to upload their music from CDs and other devices directly to the system. Which means CDs could stay at home and not be bounced around in the vehicle as daring drivers traverse the most rugged of roads while their favorite tunes blast from the Jeep's eight speakers.

One interesting and new—to us—safety feature on the 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock is the Event Data Recorder (EDR). Like an airplane's black box, the EDR records important information in the case of a crash or near crash-like situation. It doesn't prevent crashes, but it helps provide a better understanding of what the heck happened. (Note: No personal data is recorded, such as name, gender, age, and crash location. And it only records in crash situations, not normal driving conditions.)

These are just a few of the highlights of the 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock, but there are many, many more. Read about them on the Jeep website.

My, err, Jim's review vehicle had a base price of $31,595, with additional optional equipment bringing the total price to $39,255.

Disclosure: I received this vehicle free for review for one week; opinions are my own... and Jim's, the lucky duck who drove it and came close to refusing to return it!