How much better is the JL over the JK?

Gymguy

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I have owed CJ’s, YJ’s, TJ’s, and I’ve had a few JK’s since 2007 when they came out. For those of you that spent a bunch of time in a JK, how much better is the JL and why? And specifically the unlimited Rubicon which is the JK I’ve had for years. I’ve seen bits and pieces of this question, but I wanted to make a thread where past JK owners can tell their opinions on everything from driving, off-roading, interior, exterior, everything.
Thank you,
Chris
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JIMBOX

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Jrbrannan

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So my experience comes from a 2008, but I must say it is night and day difference. I have owned over 10 CJ/Wranglers over my life and this one truly spoils me. Fit and finish is so much better, it feels like you are driving a fairly modern SUV instead of a 20 year old pickup. The design is also a huge upgrade, small things, things that should not matter but do in day to day living with the jeep. The freedom tops can be put on and off in less than half the time. The drivability of it has improved. I have only had it for about 10 days but even my wife loves it and she loathed my old TJ Rubicon (granted it had 37's and was a beast and she is 5 foot tall..) but she is now talking about wanting one as her next car.

Put it to you this way... I have always wanted to go out west and wheel with my brother but I have never had a town vehicle for my Jeep. This is the first Jeep I looking forward to driving out there because I know I can drive out there comfortably, wheel it had drive back.
 

Cyclone88

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Just took my new JLU for a roadtrip over the weekend, ~700 miles. Just a completely different ride. Going above 50mph in my old JK felt like you were rattling along at 80. It was easy to hit 75 in the JL and it was incredibly smooth. My wife also loved the new ride, super well behaved on the road and at highway speeds. Not to mention, much more comfortable in the cabin.
 

MikeJLURubi

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Just took my new JLU for a roadtrip over the weekend, ~700 miles. Just a completely different ride. Going above 50mph in my old JK felt like you were rattling along at 80. It was easy to hit 75 in the JL and it was incredibly smooth. My wife also loved the new ride, super well behaved on the road and at highway speeds. Not to mention, much more comfortable in the cabin.
How was gpm?
 

Spank

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I had nothing but confidence in my '08 JKUR-from a Ruby VIRGIN to a highly modified JKUR, she was unquestionable/non-wavering and fully capable of every task-
Good for you! Unfortunately, I and many others had vastly different experiences. Regardless of such, there's no arguing that Chrysler's commitment to quality, let alone pride in their vehicle lineup, was virtually non-existent when the JK debuted.
 

Rusty Teeth

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2018 jlu in shop, got new jk as a loaner.
Vast differences, i miss my jL

This drives like a jeep and for the purist
Its awesome. I like the jL go into 9th gear.
Led, and side lighting visibility. Bit lacking on jk.
This being said I loved the JK till i got the JL
You can still choose they have many of each here in York,pa
 

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It's a lot better.

Any other questions?
 

TheRealTVGuy

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I Loved my 2015 JKU Sport and it was bittersweet to see her go, but EVERY time I drive my new JLU Sport S I find myself more and more excited about owning/driving it. And I'm not even CLOSE to finished upgrading it.

A few highlights:
-The 8-Speed transmission is a VAST improvement. (Even though I'm still nursing the engine through its break-in period. I'm looking forward to seeing how much pep it really has once I hit 1000+ miles. I'm really looking forward to wheeling it after that also.)
-Freedom Top panels remove/install in less than 60 seconds with NO wrist-straining twist bolts.
-No Leaks above the interior front door handles!
-The fit and finish is excellent.
-The digital display for the gauge cluster is great and provides a lot more info than the old EVIC.
-The startup animations make me smile.
-The rubberized texture for all the controls is a nice touch.
-I (FINALLY) have Apple CarPlay in my Jeep! Having USB-C built into the front is awesome too.
-Rear headrests fold down with the flick of a handle.
-I can view the backup camera video feed while driving down the highway.
-NO MORE ABS Wheel Speed Sensor issues! (so far...)
-It feels a little "tighter" when driving than my last Unlimited. Makes for more fun!
-The telescoping wheel is one of those simple things that make a big difference.
-I can rest my arm of the window ledge more comfortably than before.
-I like the design of the new Mopar All-Weather floor mats. After a day on the lake, the water in my floor mats can now drain directly out of the Jeep!
-18 MPG around town is better than 12.9!

Couple things to get used to:
-As others have said, the cruise control takes a little more pressure on the brake pedal to disengage. If you don't apply enough pressure, the system will detect the small drop in speed and try to accelerate to compensate.
-My SiriusXM Tuner sounds a little distorted or over modulated. Not sure if it's in the Sat tuner, or the preamps.
-When scrolling through screens on the gauge cluster display, I wish there was a quick way to get back to the MPH/Speedometer screen without having to cycle up/down through other info.
 

WXman

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I've had a YJ, ZJ, WJ, and two JKUs in terms of solid axle Jeeps. In my opinion, the JLU is only marginally better.

The handling/steering is HORRIBLE in the JLU. I'm starting to believe that it may be due to the front suspension and caster changes. I always read that the JKU was set to roughly 4.5° of caster from the factory. I poked around under my JLU last night with an angle tool and couldn't find anywhere near that amount of caster on my new Jeep. There are countless complaints online about terrible JLU steering. It's obviously a real issue, not a make believe one. At my first oil change, I will ask the dealership to check my alignment so I can get concrete caster numbers and see where I'm at.

The ride quality is firmer on JLU compared to my JKUs, and it's uneasy going into curves. I've owned dozens of vehicles of all types and I'm big into Mustangs so I'm very accustomed to driving curvy roads. The JLU is the first vehicle I've ever owned that doesn't feel planted in curves. It's a little un-nerving to be honest. I definitely wouldn't push this vehicle in the rain.

The interior comfort is worse on JLU. The seat/hip width is noticeably less. The leg room is worse. I have plenty of headroom at the Freedom Panels but I worry about hitting my head and killing myself on the sport bars in a crash. (6'3" and 225 lbs). The seats are not as cushioned. The back of the seat is as flat as a sheet of plywood. Overall, the JKU was very good for me on long trips. The JLU is a 30 minute or less vehicle only. This is the one area that I'm most disappointed.

Now, for the good stuff, they have clearly fixed the little issues that people griped about on JK. They've tried to improve all the little things that people notice in daily life. Better headlights, less chance for death wobble, no more "hammock" in the 2nd row center seating position, more angle to the 2nd row seatback, nicer looking fender flares, better designs on the tops to make them easier to use, door stops to hold the doors open while you're entering the vehicle, better audio systems, more information in the dash display, FAR better transmissions, better standard axle ratio, LED lighting for license plate, interior, etc. standard, better fuel economy (this is a big surprise for me...the JK was already great and the JL is about 2 MPG better for me so far), tire sizes that are common for a change and easy to find, cabin HVAC filter standard on more models, etc. etc. Just a lot of little changes that make the JL a better daily vehicle.

When I got mine in mid April, there was a JKU sitting right next to it. It was a tough choice. After a month with my JLU, if I had it to do all over again, it would still be a very tough choice. While I do appreciate the little things FCA has done to make the JL better, the fact is that the JK is cheaper, more comfortable, drives better, and already has a million aftermarket parts available.
 

Cyclone88

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WXman - interesting, we've had the complete opposite experiences.

Re: steering - I've seen a few threads about legitimate steering issues on the JL. Scary stuff. I haven't experienced any of those myself, so I'll just compare to what I was used to in my 2 door JK. That Jeep I could steer with a finger. My wife complained about the steering feeling "loose" on the JK but both of us agree the JLU feels much tighter.

Re: curves - I drove down a 2 lane Iowa highway with tons of curves and gravel shoulders over the weekend and never once felt uncomfortable taking curves at a decent speed (~50mph). My JK...well, even without a lift, I felt like I really needed to slow down more. Maybe this is partially the result of the heavier, longer 4 door, but I was very pleased with the performance of the JLU on a curvy highway.

Re: interiors - again, we had the opposite comment. It felt like the seats are actually wider. We were very comfortable on the 5 hour drive, though our only passenger in the rear seat was our dog who spent most of the time passed out in the hammock. I'm 6'0"

I do agree with all the "good stuff" though! Mileage was surprisingly good, I don't expect much.
 

kre62

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I've had a YJ, ZJ, WJ, and two JKUs in terms of solid axle Jeeps. In my opinion, the JLU is only marginally better.

The handling/steering is HORRIBLE in the JLU. I'm starting to believe that it may be due to the front suspension and caster changes. I always read that the JKU was set to roughly 4.5° of caster from the factory. I poked around under my JLU last night with an angle tool and couldn't find anywhere near that amount of caster on my new Jeep. There are countless complaints online about terrible JLU steering. It's obviously a real issue, not a make believe one. At my first oil change, I will ask the dealership to check my alignment so I can get concrete caster numbers and see where I'm at.

The ride quality is firmer on JLU compared to my JKUs, and it's uneasy going into curves. I've owned dozens of vehicles of all types and I'm big into Mustangs so I'm very accustomed to driving curvy roads. The JLU is the first vehicle I've ever owned that doesn't feel planted in curves. It's a little un-nerving to be honest. I definitely wouldn't push this vehicle in the rain.

The interior comfort is worse on JLU. The seat/hip width is noticeably less. The leg room is worse. I have plenty of headroom at the Freedom Panels but I worry about hitting my head and killing myself on the sport bars in a crash. (6'3" and 225 lbs). The seats are not as cushioned. The back of the seat is as flat as a sheet of plywood. Overall, the JKU was very good for me on long trips. The JLU is a 30 minute or less vehicle only. This is the one area that I'm most disappointed.

Now, for the good stuff, they have clearly fixed the little issues that people griped about on JK. They've tried to improve all the little things that people notice in daily life. Better headlights, less chance for death wobble, no more "hammock" in the 2nd row center seating position, more angle to the 2nd row seatback, nicer looking fender flares, better designs on the tops to make them easier to use, door stops to hold the doors open while you're entering the vehicle, better audio systems, more information in the dash display, FAR better transmissions, better standard axle ratio, LED lighting for license plate, interior, etc. standard, better fuel economy (this is a big surprise for me...the JK was already great and the JL is about 2 MPG better for me so far), tire sizes that are common for a change and easy to find, cabin HVAC filter standard on more models, etc. etc. Just a lot of little changes that make the JL a better daily vehicle.

When I got mine in mid April, there was a JKU sitting right next to it. It was a tough choice. After a month with my JLU, if I had it to do all over again, it would still be a very tough choice. While I do appreciate the little things FCA has done to make the JL better, the fact is that the JK is cheaper, more comfortable, drives better, and already has a million aftermarket parts available.
If your steering is horrible in your JLU, it's probably your specific JLU. There has been universal praise for the steering in the new JL. There have been some with steering issues, so you may want to check your welds/track bar/ etc to make sure you dont have any defects.
 

WXman

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If your steering is horrible in your JLU, it's probably your specific JLU. There has been universal praise for the steering in the new JL. There have been some with steering issues, so you may want to check your welds/track bar/ etc to make sure you dont have any defects.
It's not my specific JLU. I test drove 3 separate ones. All had the exact same issue. If you do a Google search on "JL steering" your screen will blow up with results. Lots of people who go test drive a JL notice it immediately. The NHTSA has logged complaints about it already. Jeep has logged complaints about it. The big question is...what's going on? Is it actually the caster? I've read that they are releasing them from the factory below caster specs. Is it the steering stabilizer that needs time to wear in and loosen up a bit? I know it's not the tires because I test drove a few models all with different tires. There's clearly an issue. It's almost certain that in the coming months, FCA will issue a statement or "fix" regarding the issue. Stay tuned...

As far as the seat comfort, on paper the JL lost 1.7" of hip room. That doesn't sound like a lot, but in the world of automotive dimensions it's actually a really big loss of space and comfort in the driver seat. I'm not really sure what they did with that space we lost. Did they use it for the transmission tunnel to fit that 850RE trans. under there? I don't know, but I'd like to have it back. 2" wider and 2" more roof height and the JL would be so much better for men to drive.
 
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