I was told that using the minivan 3.8L V6 was a bad choice, and I fell prey to this misconception. My recent research has shown some statistics that might surprise you: The new V6 makes its power at a slightly higher rpm than the retired 4.0L inline. Typically, you'll find that you will drive the V6 about 700 rpm higher than the inline when on the highway. The 4.0L is a great engine, but even it has problems, such as cracked exhaust manifolds, plus it runs lean at wide-open throttle. The V6 will still start in low-range first gear and idle up a hill, whereas the inline will not. Plus, the 4:1 gearing in the Rubicon transfer case works better with the 3.8 V6 than it does with the 4.0 inline. In the sand and mud, the higher-revving V6 seems to have the advantage as well. These argument are moot however with the addition of the 2012 3.6 Penstar which brings an extra 85 HP, better MPG, and higher torque. Enough said.
Some people feel the new electric lockers are garbage. In my personal and highly tested opinion, I’ve never had a problem with them, and according to official specs, the JK axle housings, shafts, and gears are all stronger than the TJ's. When disengaged the rear JK Rubicon locker is open, whereas the TJ has is a limited slip locker, but given the choice, I’d prefer strength and durability to the limited slip.
In conclusion, the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited JK have added some features that make it overall a better buy then previous models. The push-button sway-bar disconnect on the Rubicon model is amazing. It helps provide more suspension articulation and a smoother ride off-road. Jeep should have thought of this sooner. The fact that front and rear lockers, plus a sway bar disconnect come standard on some models makes wheeling that much more pleasurable. Plus, the new rocker guards are hands down the best Jeep has ever built (Rubicon only). I didn’t even switch mine out. I added an aftermarket weld on kit to extend the protection.
Please don’t get me wrong. I love my older Jeeps, especially the way they look. They just look tough. But don’t think for a second the JK is anything less than a serious off road beast, because there may be a day when a JK rescues you on the trail.