JL first drive thoughts

johnnyp26

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I thought I'd give my thoughts on a test drive I took yesterday on the JL. It was a pretty fully loaded rubi, aside from color matched stuff the only option I didn't see was the tow package. I currently drive a 2015 JK hard rock rubicon.

Exterior:

This is the area that to me isn't a dramatic departure from the JK. The windshield angle is noticble if you are looking for it. The hood latches are improved for sure but still not great. The cowl area where the wipers are is plastic, I really don't understand why it looks really tacky IMO. The vent behind the fenders looks good, I'm curious to see what the aftermarket does with it if anything. The fenders themselves look better in person but I'm still not a huge fan of the incorporated light. I thought the LED headlights looked great, I probably won't order them and go custom because I think there will be some cool aftermarket options.

The doors feel good, lighter for sure but still a decent feel and weight to them. The grill is growing on me, I still don't love it but I think it looks much better in person. It clearly sits a good deal higher than a JK rubi, I'd guess 1.5" or so. The engine bay is a bit more busy I guess the word would be, it will be a tight fit to get a SPod and air compressor in there but doable. The tailgate is light, I'm not sure that's a good thing for those of us that go to much bigger tires, so getting that weight off the gate and onto the body will be important.

The steel bumpers are basically the same as the JK version which means I'll be skipping them. They look great, but when you add in the required $300 plate if you want to mount a winch and another $250 or so to add a stinger or bull bar, you are pushing $2k for bumpers that don't even have decent recovery points. I love the look of them but there will be much more functional options that not everyone and their brother will have.

Interior:

To me this is where the JL really shines. The seats felt pretty much the same as my JK seats. The steering wheel has a more sporty feel. The shifter looks and feels great. The gauge cluster and screen in there look great. The red stitching was a nice touch on the seats and wheel. I like the red along the dash, but it's a weird red, not even close to the same as the stitching and other red accents which is odd to me. I've added a lot of matching red to my JK which you can see in the attached pic, so not having the dash match will be something I will work on via wrap most likely.

The 8.4 screen looks really good. The screen seems to be bright enough that you'll still be able to see it well with the top down, which is a big plus for me. The screen is very responsive and is a decent resolution, though it does appear to be a bit older. I do think since it comes with the Alpine Speaker upgrade it's worth the cost, those speakers were great in my JK. I was able to add a small amp to my current Alpine sub and it does well, and the new sub is bigger so I think it will be great as well. I didn't get to really crank the sound but it did sound good.

The rear seats seem to have a bit more leg room, though I never sit back there in the JK so it's tough to say for sure. I like the cup holder in the arm rest and am kinda bummed I won't get it since I don't want leather. The leather is nice, but living in FL and running topless as much as I can I'd prefer cloth since I get a lot of unannounced rain. The rear vents are great, my kids will really appreciate it.

Drive:

The transmission, oh man what a step up. It felt almost quick, though I've been driving a JK on 40's with low gearing so just about everything feels fast. The shifts were so smooth and crisp, I'm a big fan. The steering feels different though I'm not sure I can put my finger on why specifically and again I'm coming from driving on 40's and my steering wheel has a lot of play. I did notice it was easier to turn the wheel when not moving so I'd assume some steeering pump upgrades have been made. The ride was smooth and quiet, though this jeep had a hard top and I've only ever run a soft top with noisy mud terrains.

That's about all that comes to mind. If I can figure out a way not to completely take a bath on my modded JK I'll be buying a JL for sure, the interior and transmission make it an easy choice for me if the numbers can work. If you have any questions fire away!

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galleywinter

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Ha! I was just thinking at the dealer how much taller the JL Rubi is over the JK. I thought man the 33's look way bigger than the 31's on the JK, I probably won't even go 35's. Then I see your built JK next to the JL and the tires look tiny, lol. I'm also rocking a 2015 Hard Rock and hoping I can sell before my order arrives. Looks like you have the JW Speaker LED's. I love mine. I wasn't sure if I wanted to order the Mopar LED's or go JW's again. I went factory Mopar's. Hoping I don't regret it.
 

guarnibl

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Electro-hydraulic steering seems like an upgrade to me when I test drove it.

+100000000000 on the transmission. Massive step up.

Did not think about the additional cost and recovery point situation. I do like OEM... but thank you -- I will have to consider that when I do end up getting one.
 

guarnibl

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Ha! I was just thinking at the dealer how much taller the JL Rubi is over the JK. I thought man the 33's look way bigger than the 31's on the JK, I probably won't even go 35's. Then I see your built JK next to the JL and the tires look tiny, lol. I'm also rocking a 2015 Hard Rock and hoping I can sell before my order arrives. Looks like you have the JW Speaker LED's. I love mine. I wasn't sure if I wanted to order the Mopar LED's or go JW's again. I went factory Mopar's. Hoping I don't regret it.
Getting out of a stock JL Rubi felt identical to getting out of my TJ w/ a 2.5" lift with 33's. It's absolutely higher than a stock JK rubi.
 
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johnnyp26

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Ha! I was just thinking at the dealer how much taller the JL Rubi is over the JK. I thought man the 33's look way bigger than the 31's on the JK, I probably won't even go 35's. Then I see your built JK next to the JL and the tires look tiny, lol. I'm also rocking a 2015 Hard Rock and hoping I can sell before my order arrives. Looks like you have the JW Speaker LED's. I love mine. I wasn't sure if I wanted to order the Mopar LED's or go JW's again. I went factory Mopar's. Hoping I don't regret it.
Yeah these tires appeared to be close to a 33, I think I saw somewhere they measure around 32.5. They are much quieter than the KM2's that came on the JK. I took my JK tires off right away, I had 35's waiting when my order finally arrived and the JK was lifted within 100 miles of owning it. Of course the 35's gave way to the 37's, then to the 40's. The JW's have been great, one of my favorite upgrades. I've always been a sucker for blacked out lights and it took me awhile to find light bars that also had the smoked look and weren't crap. I'm curious if the harness on the JL is different from the JK, it would be cool to move the JW headlights over. One thing that kind of bothered me about the LED package was while the headlights had a blacked out look, the fogs appeared to have a chrome housing and didn't match. It's kind of a nitpicky thing but it stood out to me. I think you'll like the upgrade, they did appear to be a very quality light. I was told that JW had a hand in designing the JK LED's when they finally started offering and it wouldn't surprise me if JW had a hand in designing these as well.

Electro-hydraulic steering seems like an upgrade to me when I test drove it.

+100000000000 on the transmission. Massive step up.

Did not think about the additional cost and recovery point situation. I do like OEM... but thank you -- I will have to consider that when I do end up getting one.
Yeah I never thought I would change the bumper when I got it, but after adding up the costs to get it where I wanted it I just couldn't justify keeping them. I ended up getting $1,300 for them at a year old though, so it worked out. Maximus 3 added an option with the winch plate to add recovery points to the front, but nothing for the back. I ended up adding a hitch and put a hitchlink from Factor 55 in the back for rear recovery which served me well and would work if you do decide on the bumpers. I ended up with the Metalcloak bumpers which offered more modular options to switch lengths and attachments and had recovery points with no winch plate required. I'm hoping they put out a similar bumper for the JL, I'll be all over it.
 

Grigs

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Electro-hydraulic steering seems like an upgrade to me when I test drove it.

+100000000000 on the transmission. Massive step up.

Did not think about the additional cost and recovery point situation. I do like OEM... but thank you -- I will have to consider that when I do end up getting one.
 

Grigs

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The steering is not an upgrade on the JL. I feel that I am always making minor adjustment as i drive to keep it going straight. I did not say anything to my wife but she brought up the same point last night.
 
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johnnyp26

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The steering is not an upgrade on the JL. I feel that I am always making minor adjustment as i drive to keep it going straight. I did not say anything to my wife but she brought up the same point last night.
Dumb question but what PSI are you running in your tires? I'll never forget picking up my JK and driving it 2 hours home and I had the same feeling, I had to constantly correct the steering. The dealer had the tires set to 42 PSI. I dropped it down to 30-32 PSI and it made a ton of difference. I noticed when I drove the JL the tires were at around 46 PSI, but it didn't feel nearly as jumpy to me. Air yours down if they are above 35 and see if that helps.
 

17FreedomChief

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Agreed I like my JK at 35 cold psi. Seems like every time I go to the dealer they pump them back up to 40+ it’s a huge difference!
 

DanW

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37 psi cold is what is recommended for the JL Rubi. Mine was delivered with 41psi.
 

Grigs

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Dumb question but what PSI are you running in your tires? I'll never forget picking up my JK and driving it 2 hours home and I had the same feeling, I had to constantly correct the steering. The dealer had the tires set to 42 PSI. I dropped it down to 30-32 PSI and it made a ton of difference. I noticed when I drove the JL the tires were at around 46 PSI, but it didn't feel nearly as jumpy to me. Air yours down if they are above 35 and see if that helps.
Dropping to 35 did help. Ty
 

macintux

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Wait, you found a manual transmission JL on a lot? Guess miracles do happen.
 
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