Photography: Craig Perronne

The Jeep JK elicits a wide range of reactions. Some people love them, like the mountain bikers who yelled, “sick” (it was more like sicccccck) as they rode by during our feature shoot. Or the soccer moms who checked us out (okay, it was probably the Jeep) while we searched for a lunch spot. And the guys we found peering under our feature Jeep to get a better look at the suspension. Jeep must be doing something right; they sell them as fast as they can make them.

Others abhor the JK and think they are about as exciting as alphabetizing your mother’s coupon collection. Some will puff their chest out and say that “real 4x4s” are built and not bought. Of course, there are some who simply hate on the JK because they don’t have one. Others just don’t like it because it’s a Jeep.

No matter what camp you fall in, there’s no denying the capability of a Jeep JK. In Rubicon form, it is the most capable vehicle you can buy straight off the showroom floor. Hate on it all you want, but that is a fact. When the going gets tough, and the terrain turns technical, there is no other stock vehicle we would rather drive.

There is also no denying how incredibly easy it is to expand on that capability. With the right parts, a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon can take on some pretty difficult trails. Yes, those parts cost money, but it’s way easier than having to fab up your own suspension. Instead of spending months in your garage, you can bolt some parts on and go. If that is too much to tackle, a shop can handle it. Buy it off the showroom floor on the weekend, roll it into a shop, and you can be wheeling it hard the next weekend. Hit the sweet spot of modifications without going overboard, and you still have a capable rig that is comfortable on the road and can be driven daily.

That is exactly what happened with this 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. Built for BFGoodrich, it was bought on a Saturday and then immediately taken to the closest 4 Wheel Parts store. There the team transformed it over the course of a week to make it even more capable. The next weekend it drove 800 miles to Moab to take on some of the hardest slickrock trails on Earth. After a week of getting beat on, it drove back to California, all while enjoying air conditioning, leather seats, and satellite radio. We can’t think of any other vehicle that could do that; it’s no wonder the Jeep JK is so popular.