As an outdoorsy type, should I buy a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited or 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX hatchback?

I am trying to decide between a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited four-door or Subaru Impreza WRX five-door. I live in Connecticut so our winters vary, but I also like going camping and snowboarding. Which in your opinion is more practical and better for when my fiancée and I get married?

Greg F., Norwalk, Conn.

The Wrangler Unlimited is the more practical choice, both now for camping and snowboarding, and later for when you are married and may have additional needs.


Though the WRX hatchback has ample cargo room (44.4 cubic feet) for its exterior size, it is designed more for performance than practicality. The fact that it comes only with a manual transmission is one indication of that. And though it has higher EPA ratings than the Wrangler Unlimited (19 mpg city/25 highway compared with 16/20), the WRX requires premium gas, negating part of the difference.

The Wrangler Unlimited has more passenger space and a larger cargo area (up to 70.6 cubic feet with the rear seat folded), plus it has superior off-road capability. We aren’t entirely sold on the Wrangler as an everyday vehicle, however, because of its high noise levels and trucklike handling ability.

If you want all-wheel-drive primarily for on-road traction and need cargo room for your outdoor activities, perhaps a crossover SUV such as the Subaru Forester or Honda CR-V would be even more practical than either the Wrangler Unlimited or the WRX and more comfortable, as well. Either would be more carlike than the Wrangler, yet still provide similar cargo-carrying capability.

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Answered by Rick Popely on January 6, 2013 in Jeep , Jeep Wrangler , Subaru , Subaru Impreza , Subaru WRX , What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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