Potential New owner question on Wrangler highway ability.

Kang22

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We have a 2018 JLU Sahara (Stock) that we have taken many short road trips and one long one in. Our longest trip was from Chicago to New York City and back via Niagara Falls. While the highway driving isn't as smooth as a luxury car, it was way better than most pickup trucks I've owned. We have three children that rode in the back seat the whole trip (15, 13, 8) and never complained. It is by far the most fun vehicle we have ever owned. We never realized how much we would like it until we had it. There is nothing like seeing the lights of the big city without having to hang out the window.

We also did the drive this spring from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon (in a rental 2020 JLU Sahara). The drive was easy with no problems at all.

The kids are a little bigger now (17,15,10) and starting to get to the point that they don't fit so nicely in the back seat anymore. Our other vehicle is a 2019 RAM 1500 Laramie Crew Cab. If you haven't been in a newer pickup, I can say it drives and rides nicer than anything else I've ridden in. It rides like its a luxury car, and has more room in the back seat than most couches... But, on normal trips, the kids still opt to ride in the jeep.
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JLUandCJ-7

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I've logged a few thousand HWY miles on my 2020 Sahara riding on Rubicon wheels and suspension (33 inch KO2s). I love it on the highway. The drive is reminiscent of my 2002 Ford Explorer. You could tell it was a truck, but it was surprisingly better than expected.

The most exhausting parts are three fold:

1) It's not a vehicle that you point and shoot. You constantly have to drive it. IMO, I like that, but it is more tiring.

2) The wind noise with my sunrider for hardtop is noisy enough that I prefer to have the freedom panels in, but that still doesn't make it as quiet as a typical SUV.

3) The seats lack the support of others. If you jack it down its not bad (thighs stay in place, butt goes down), but if you like riding high you lose the support under your front thighs, leading to extra pressure on your posterior. (I'm 5' 10") For long trips I jack it down. Longest was 10 hours and was fine.

I'm going to install the seat jackers by Desert Does It, and hope it helps keep the support while jacked up. I prefer that riding high position.
 

Xcoaste

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The old saying you only live once.... if you want it, get it. Worst case you discover it isn't for you and you sell it.

I have owned Jeeps for 20+ years. We are a 2 car family. Sometimes we take the Jeep, sometimes we don't. It is fun and I enjoy the ride. It gets us from A to B but yes, there are more comfortable rides out there, and most get better MPG. The 4 door checks all the boxes for our family and allows us to keep a Jeep in the garage.

Enjoy the new Jeep!
 

Kang22

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I'll share my thoughts. For context, I've driven an '07 GMC Sierra for the past ~15 years. Bought a '21 Sahara Altitude in July. I'm what you call "a road-tripper". In my life, I've driven from Texas to damn near everywhere - Minnesota, Illinois, NYC (yep), Arizona, Colorado, South Carolina, etc. I've driven halfway around Iceland and back.

My Sahara is currently bone stock.

Here's my points to consider:

1. The Jeep is, by far, the most fun vehicle I've ever owned or driven. I swapped the Freedom Panels for a Bestop Sunrider for Hardtops and honestly I could just drive this thing for the rest of my life. It's that fun.
2. The 2.0L w/ auto has no problem with power, either getting up to speed or passing people, etc. It actually takes work to keep it around 70 (I like MPG over speed when I'm road tripping) - otherwise you look down and you're going 80+.
3. MPG is decent. I average 20-24 MPG, which is better than the 12-14 I had on my truck, lol.
4. Road noise is what I would call "acceptable". It's not nearly as quiet as my truck was, or my wife's new Lexus RX 350, but it's not as noticeable/obnoxious as I assumed it would be, even with the Sunrider. With the top closed, windows up, and at hwy speed, I have no problem having conversations (even with my rear passengers) or hearing the radio, etc.
5. The factory ride was kinda stiff, but that's cause the dealership had my PSI at 41 all the way around. Dropped it to ~36-37, and it's pretty nice. Not super soft and luxe like the Lexus, but comfortable for sure.
6. The steering is a bit more rough than my truck was. Cross-winds have a big impact, and you'll definitely feel them. Just part of driving essentially a shoebox down the road.
7. The seats aren't UNcomfortable, but they're also not what I would call comfortable. Especially not compared to the couches that my '07 GMC Sierra had, lol. Depending on your build, you may want to invest in some seat adjustors and/or a u-shaped tailbone pillow.

If you're going to be spending a lot of time on the freeway, the Sahara trim level is your obvious choice. It has a lot of extras that are made for the road. There are also some add-on options that you're going to absolutely want:
1. Both safety packages - you get a bunch of niceties, but the automatic cruise control is the kicker. It's not perfect, but on long stretches, it's REALLY great to have it manage your speed in relation to the traffic around you.
2. Cold Weather Package - an obvious choice if you're up north or will be hitting the mountains often, but the heated seats are especially nice on long road trips, to apply some heat and relief to your back.
3. OPTIONAL - the LED package if you drive at night a lot. I personally skipped this one, as I don't do much night driving, and it's relatively easy/cheap to DIY w/ aftermarket.
4. OPTIONAL - the selec-trac automatic 4WD might be a good package for you, too, depending on where you're likely to take it. Helpful for slick/slushy roads.
I second #5 above.. From the dealer, the tires were at 44 psi... Very rough ride.
 

bigbaozi

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It can be very noisy, my watch alerts me pretty regularly when we are on the highway (>80 decibels). Loud noise increases fatigue, you'll probably feel more tired than you would expect after a long drive. The sound level varies a lot depending on wind direction.

Running out west can be a little hairy sometimes, gusty desert crosswinds and highway speeds aren't fun. A Wrangler also won't do you any favors going through a bumpy curve on the Interstate.

The windshield will murder every bug and catch every rock in a 60 mile radius. Carry stuff to clean the windshield. We've had to stop on the side of the road more than once because we couldn't see through the bug guts. The wipers don't help much for whatever reason.

We still take it on road trips though, it has to get to the place we want to use it somehow and it beats towing the thing. And it is way more pleasant on the highway than the JK. Front seats are pretty comfortable and since we had the steering box TSB done it is way less fidgety.
 

Buckster

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Lots of spot-on advice here. I'll just add this -
I've had several Jeeps over the years starting with a CJ7 to the current JLUR. I can't think of any stories that start with "remember that time in the Camry" or "the Suburban", but my boys have a lot that start with "remember when we were in the Jeep...?"
Road manners will be a compromise but the "Jeep factor" makes up for it.
 

track.n.trail

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A Jeep will never be as refined as something like a 4Runner with IFS for on-road use. Having said that, I've been perfectly happy with mine on 37" tires as a long distance road trip machine. I just completed a 5000 mile trip through NM, CO and UT with about 500 miles off off-roading mixed in. It was a blast and I never once wished I was in a 4Runner or Bronco.
 

entropy

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These are the cars ive driven:
- 1989 Toyota corolla.
- 1995 Jeep XJ
- 2000 Chevrolet Blazer
- 2007 Peuogeot 307
- 2009 Volkswagen passat
- 2012 Jeep patriot
- 2013 corolla
- 2018 JL
- 2019 JL
- 2020 Camry
- a bunch of rentals

All of those cars drove very nice. Other than the blazer which had too much body roll and felt unstable. The XJ had very loose steering and drifted. But they were all alright. The JL drives as good as all of them. Granted the XJ was like 15 years old, my dad keeps cars for a very long time.

Cars that I remember they actually bothered me were rentals. Mazda 3, a very small nissan, Jeep renegade.

To me the JL is as nice as drive as my favorite (2020 Camry,2009 volkswagen,2012 patriot). And I drive a 2 door.

It is so relative everyone is gonna tell u something different. go test drive one.
 

LarryB

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Owning a Wrangler does mean some level of sacrifice, although, the level is much lower than it used to be with the recent generations. If you compare it to a similar priced SUV, you are going to give up some comfort, handling ability and likely pay more for fuel. However, it offers an incredible platform for having fun and incredible resale value.

Jeeps require passion and a bit of tolerance for pain compared to other vehicles. If it is truly for you, you will know it and have no issues with the shortcomings.
 

syismaster1

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Like a lot of people, we've been looking a new Wranglers. Wow.... what a crazy market we are in. My question stems from the intended use of the purchase. We are looking at the sky one touch roof as a must have. Other than that, we are open.
My question is this. We would be potentially using this Wrangler Unlimited for 4-6k miles of vacation highway use a year. I have two boys 8 and 11. How highway capable is the Wrangler now days? I'm assuming a Sport or Sahara are the two more road friendly models. Any advise is welcome.
I’ve had my Jeep for less than a month and just hit 2500 miles so a lot of highway driving. It’s so good on the highway. Granted you obviously can’t cruise at 90 but it’s very comfy and if you listen to music you don’t notice the wind noise.
The only con is in severe thunderstorms you have to slow down alot compared to a normal SUV because the wind will blow hard but that’s not too bothersome if your used to driving in inclement weather.
 

RubiSc0tt

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We just did a 500 mile round trip (4ish hours from Upstate NY to Southern Maine). 2019 JLUR, 2.5" lift, 37's, winch, armor, and all our gear for a week at the beach with me, my wife, our 4 year old and 1 year old. No issues. Did it completely stock 2 years ago. Also no issues.

I've also driven to Rausch Creek in PA: 4 hours @ 70mph, wheeled all day in 4 low in the 90 degree heat, then did it again the next day and drove home. No issues.
 

631_Islander

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Like a lot of people, we've been looking a new Wranglers. Wow.... what a crazy market we are in. My question stems from the intended use of the purchase. We are looking at the sky one touch roof as a must have. Other than that, we are open.
My question is this. We would be potentially using this Wrangler Unlimited for 4-6k miles of vacation highway use a year. I have two boys 8 and 11. How highway capable is the Wrangler now days? I'm assuming a Sport or Sahara are the two more road friendly models. Any advise is welcome.
2020 4 Door Rubicon owner here. I am 34, have been married for 7 years and have a 3 year old daughter. Have driven the Rubicon plenty of times on road trips and have rented some Saharas and 4 Door Sport models in the past for road trips before I had my Rubicon. My Jeep is 100% factory stock and I rarely off road it.

There is a difference on the Highway between Rubicon and non Rubicon models for sure like you mentioned. But at least for me the difference is minor and we really like going on road trips in our Rubicon. If it helps, my Rubicon is an 3.6 Pentastar/ 8 speed automatic without eTorque. The JLs I rented in the past were all very basic 2.0 Liter with eTorque. All I used to get in those was a backup camera and a small 5 inch screen. My Rubicon has all the bells and whistles minus the ACC.
 

OffRocker

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I drove a JKU Sport on the freeway. Didn't think it was that bad.

But then rented a 2020 JLU Sahara. It was a lot better. I wouldn't say either were bad. The noise was louder than sedans. I did have to ask my kids every once in a while to repeat what they said, as hearing them from the back seat can be a bit difficult at times, but you can think of it as automatic child silencer. :)

We drove hundreds of miles, with 6 hours one way. I'd say it's not really an issue.
 

Mikester86

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Yes they are more work to drive. We have a 2020 JLUR and a 2020 Cherokee Trailhawk.
We take the Wrangler on long trips. Been from Michigan to Florida. Trips to the UP of Michigan.

You will be amazed at the amount of muscle memory you will have after driving the Wrangler for a while. Once that happens, it is far less of a chore to drive.

Driving the Cherokee is a nice break, but we love the Wrangler.
 

JL Fan

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Like a lot of people, we've been looking a new Wranglers. Wow.... what a crazy market we are in. My question stems from the intended use of the purchase. We are looking at the sky one touch roof as a must have. Other than that, we are open.
My question is this. We would be potentially using this Wrangler Unlimited for 4-6k miles of vacation highway use a year. I have two boys 8 and 11. How highway capable is the Wrangler now days? I'm assuming a Sport or Sahara are the two more road friendly models. Any advise is welcome.
In my opinion, it’s great on the highway. I put about 3 or 4K highway miles on per year, 7 or 8K city…total of about 12K. I’ve got Nitto Terra Grapplers (stock size) and a soft top. I didn’t put a lift or anything that would change the geometry. I had the same concerns as you have and feared that i would regret the road noise of a soft top Jeep. But i don’t. It is great. But it might also depend on what you’re coming from. I had a Toyota Tacoma (light truck, not a Cadillac or Lexus). I loved my Tacoma pick ups too. But I’ve always wanted a Jeep. I think old Jeeps may have been different. But my JLU 3.6L 6M is great on the highway.
 
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