Originally Posted by Bueller
Funny how the 3.8 is referred to by some folks as gutless compared to the 4.0 it replaced, yet it makes more horsepower, more torque, and gets better mileage. On the way out here to Moab at the top of last week I buried the speedo on flat ground at an altitude of 5000 feet. Not sure what you expect a Wrangler to do, and admittedly the new 3.6 makes a lot more horsepower. But that extra horsepower is at high RPM. It would be nice to have, but it isn't a necessity.
Having owned 5 Wranglers - including one 4 liter TJ - I find my current 2009 Rubicon to have similar performance to my previously owned TJ, and I know my rubi would handily beat my friend's TJ Sahara in a drag race. His TJ came with 30" tires and 3.73 gears. My Rubicon came with 255 (32.5") tires and 4.10 gears, so there's no real overall gearing advantage.
I suspect you already know this, but with a Jeep, the numbers do not tell the whole story. The I-6 makes 70% of its peak torque at idle. Sitting in traffic, you can creep forward in second gear without touching the gas. So the 3.8 making "more" torque is misleading.
My '05 Rubicon is a very flexible vehicle - from inner city DC traffic to very rural California living, it has been fantastic. I came close to trading it on a '12 4-door Rubicon, but luckily the dealer tried to severely low-ball me on the trade, and I could look him in the eye and say "not gonna happen" knowing I already had a Jeep I loved.