Having a chance to test the 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock Edition recently in the back country of Texas, one wonders why other brands don’t even try to offer a competitor.

After all, the Jeep Wrangler is arguably in a class all its own. The Rubicon being the top-dog model with all the off-road toys would be enough you’d think, but Jeep offers this year Hard Rock Edition, an even higher level.

Based on the Rubicon model, the Hard Rock gets part-time four-wheel drive with electronic-locking front and rear Dana 44 axles. They have a 4.10 ratio both front and rear.

Combined with a transfer case that has a 4:1 low ratio, the Wrangler Rubicon has a 73.1:1 crawl ratio when optioned with the six-speed manual transmission.

On our short drive in the back-country we found the suspension to be exceptionally compliant over the rougher rocks and ruts as you’d hope. Even at speed across the prairie, the Wrangler felt at ease.

Having driven both the short wheel-base Wrangler and the longer Wrangler Unlimited I personally tend to prefer the longer as it’s ride and handling is a bit more controlled. It doen’t bob and picth as much over irregularities.

Crawling up the rock hill, the low range and fully locking differentials in addition to the disconnecting sway bars made childs play of it all. The latter allows for better suspension travel when maneuvering challenging terrain.

Truth be told, we made several trips up this hill, and the Jeep Wrangler even drove straight up it in two-wheel drive without any of the locking toys deployed.

Appearance do-dads for the Hard Rock include satin black painted 17-inch Rubicon wheels with polished faces which carry its BF Goodrich KM 255/75R17 tires.

There’s black front and rear steel off-road bumpers, the front bumper with removable end caps and winch capable. It also of course gets the dual vent hood that looks so mean. Mopar off-road rock rails and red tow hooks along with a few unique decals and badges finish off the look.

Inside the Hard Rock comes standard with the nine-speaker Premium Alpine audio system, along with heated black leather seats, premium instrument cluster, and silver trim accents. A Premium Sunrider soft-top comes standard, but available is either a black or body color hard top.

The 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock Edition is available in both the two-door and four-door unlimited versions. Whether or not the Hard Rock will continue to be available in the 2016 model year has not yet been announced.

Hard Rock pricing starts at $36,395 for the two-door and $40,195 for the four-door Unlimited. Our fully loaded tester in the awesome color of Tank priced out at a premium chunk at $47,015. It seems a dear spend, but for its level of capability, where else you gonna go?