Jeep Willys Vs Rubicon – The Better Bet?

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Last Updated on July 20, 2022

Having the same status as Jeep Wrangler’s (JL) latest editions, the Willys and Rubicon are some of the best choices for off-roading.

Both of them have special traits while lacking in some fields at the same time. So, if you are planning to pick a version between Jeep Willys vs Rubicon, it’s good to learn about them beforehand.

In this guide, our main focus would be on finding differential points of them only so that you can understand better. Stay with us till the end to find the winner.


Jeep Willys Vs Rubicon

From the history to the behavior on off-roading, both of them do great differently. Let’s start the comparison of Willys and Rubicon through an in-depth analysis of their characteristics.

For Your Information – In 1940, the Jeep created their first-ever iconic Wrangler called Willy’s “Quad”. Then, the brand made the most capable vehicle version, Rubicon “Trail”.

1. Height

If talking about Willys vs Rubicon height, they have dissimilarities in some models, not all. To put it simply, both editions have common height measurements in vehicles which is 73.60 inches (6.133 feet).

However, some models of these two editions do differ a lot in body height based on year. Such as

Willys (Year)Height (Inch)Rubicon (Year)Height (Inch)
2017 Willys71.9”2017 Rubicon72.52”
2018 Willys73”2018 Rubicon74”
2019 Willys70.9”2019 Rubicon73.6”
2020 Willys73.6”2020 Rubicon73.6”
2021 Willys73.6”2021 Rubicon73.6”
2022 Willys74”2022 Rubicon72.8”

To sum it up, anyone can tell the Rubicon models of JL are taller compared to the Willys in general.

Winner: Rubicon

2. Wheels & Tires

The Jeep Rubicon vs Willy’s discussion will be incomplete if we don’t mention the wheels and rims diversity. And this factor plays a vast role to make the vehicle look more aggressive and hostile.

All latest JL Willys vehicles contain 7″ dark black wheels with 35″ BF mud-terrain tires in 4×4 or 2×2 types. However, the older editions have 32” rims which are average.

On the other hand, the JL Rubicon vehicles are designed with 17” aluminum wheels along with 32” BF mud-terrain rims. But, you can easily exchange the tires with a larger one as they usually have enough space to fit bigger rims.

Winner: Willys

3. Interior Color

Looking at Willys and Rubicon in pictures might give a similar feel but in reality, they differ in interior and sometimes exterior color. Just look at the body logo which poles them apart by placing details in different colors.  

You can clearly see the internal colors of them owning two special shades. The JL Willys vehicles have black and heritage tan shades in their interior color options, which seems a bit on the lighter color side.

In contrast, the JL Rubicon vehicles come with black and dark saddle shades that appear rough. FYI, darker shades in the interior section help a lot for drivers to hide flaws that lighter colors can’t.

Winner: Rubicon

4. Interior Design

Both of their inside environments are another aspect that makes them different. Willys vehicles usually have ‘cloth low-back bucket seats’ which is great for driver’s comfort when driving in a distant area. Still, they don’t have special traits on the interior side like leather-wrapped knobs.

Conversely, Rubicon vehicles include ‘premium low-back bucket seats’ with leather wrapping on shift handle, park-brake knob, and door trim panel areas. These traits confirm their cushion capability to give a cozier and firmer feel as a noticeable upgrade.

Winner: Rubicon

5. Off-road Capability

One big thing that we think raises the status of one side for smooth off-roading is the gear ratio. Anyone can guess Willys and Rubicon comparison on this aspect after using them.

It’s more like 3.73/3.45 vs 4.10 where you can easily say the Rubicon wins for its larger gearing facility. The mechanics play a big role to maintain good traction in off-road terrains like hard rock paths.

Winner: Rubicon

6. Display System

The JL Willys and Rubicon contain separate display systems to give facilities like radio, Bluetooth connection, and other hand-free facilities.

To start with, Willy’s vehicles use Uconnect 4 with a 7” touch screen to enjoy FM radio, Apple CarPlay, voice command, and so on.

And with a 5 years trial subscription, they let users have Uconnect 4C NAV with an 8.4” display to have various options like climate control, SiriusXM, 1-year voice command, and so on.

In opposition, Rubicon vehicles use Uconnect 4C NAV with an 8.4” display without a subscription to have all premium facilities like GPS maps. Sadly, it can be enjoyed for 5 years only.

Winner: Willys

7. Radio System

If you like to hear the updates on current affairs, then the Am/Fm radio will do great with promising sound quality.

The JL Willys models have 8 speakers to listen well inside the car while driving. But, this feature isn’t available in the Rubicon vehicles which might result in hearing the news through radio in bad sound quality.

Winner: Willys

8. Price

Anyone who would like to purchase a model from these 2 options would love to know the cost and related factors.

Since both versions have been upgraded each year to give better facilities, the prices tend to be higher. It’s true that Willys vehicles are inexpensive. But, the range is pretty close to Rubicon which has reasonable value.

One thing we want to highlight is the Rubicon promises 5 years of lifespan per 75k miles. Thus, the Willys would last around 3 years per 36k miles.

Winner: Rubicon

9. Weight

In terms of load capacity, the Willys and Rubicon vehicles might differ but only on the Curb weight, not the gross load capacity.  

To put it simply, the carrying load of 2021 Willys vehicles without luggage or accessories is around 4,167 pounds while the 2021 Rubicon contains 4,449 lbs Curb weight.

Winner: Rubicon

Wrap Up

Coming to the ending part, we can say the Willys vs Rubicon clash has a somewhat winner. But, it’s also true that both vehicles give a good feel for off-roading with individual facilities.  

In our opinion, the winner is Rubicon with its huge carrying capacity, longevity, interior design, darker color to conceal spots, riding stability, and height benefits.

That doesn’t mean the historic Willys vehicles are lacking in traits. They give a blast with their larger wheels & tires, radio, and display while costing less. 

In the end, it comes down to the user’s preference, so your understanding of your needs will be the most important deciding factor. 

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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