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Whither a JL?

NJRadioGuy

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At the risk of walking into a lion's den wearing a suit made of pork chops, I have a serious question to ask. My first-ever (and only) Jeep branded product is my 2018 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. I've kitted it out with a Warn 10k winch, rock sliders, front and bottom armor, bull bar, sump protection and a couple of lights. It's a beautiful rig and until recently I thought it would handle the trails just fine. But apparently it didn't. On one of my rides I must have hit the front sub frame assembly hard enough to take out both control arms and various bushings, to the tune of $6800 worth of damage (dealer cost; estimate coming next week from a body shop). It got me to thinking of whether a JL or a late-model JK might be better. But here's the issue.

When I went to the dealership to pick it up (refused the estimate) they had a new JLUR in the showroom that I was seriously ogling. I sat in it, and...I didn't like it, at least at first blush. My desire is to build a capable overlanding vehicle, but living near NYC there aren't many back-country overlanding destinations that aren't a 5 day drive away, so the only chances for wheeling in my immediate future will be at the big off-road parks in eastern PA (Rausch Creek and AOAA for those who know the area).

I'm not into serious wheeling, but I would like to be able to take on some moderate trails and a Rubicon should be the ultimate ride for this. But here's the problem. I don't fit in it comfortably. I'm a pretty big older dude and the seats in this top-of-the-line rig were just plain uncomfortable. There didn't appear to be a dead pedal and the fit-and-finish was definitely not the same as our Trailhawk. Won't get into the window controls in the center of the dash, and manual seats. Long story short, am I thinking of making a huge mistake here? I could pull the trigger on a used 2019/2020 Rubicon tomorrow but coming from a seriously nice WK2 would I resent the JLUR whenever it's on pavement, which it will be 99% of the time. Would I maybe be better off getting a cheaper 2015-2017 era JKUR instead and just build it up for off-roading and put through an insurance claim on the WK2?

The thing is, the WK2 is really nice for car camping and great on the less-technical trails; my limited slip rear diff, and air suspension will often get through obstacles and across roads that a Sport or Sahara will get bogged down in. But for overlanding it's really not a great vehicle for a number of reasons. For those who own Rubicons (stock or maybe 35s and a couple of inches lift) and overland with them, how do you manage to fit everything in? How comfortable will that 12 hour drive to the boonies be on I-95? I wish there were a place to rent one, but here in NJ, they don't even want you to test drive a Wrangler unless you're ready to buy.

I'm very confused. Your thoughts?





 

Stuckinthesand

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Honestly you’ll regret getting a wrangler. 2 completely different vehicles. Cherokee is IFS which the wrangler can never touch daily driver wise. Your talking about a box on 2 solid axles. It will feel like driving a tank compared to the Cherokee. You don’t need a top of the line Rubicon but they are the best equipped. The sport and saharas also come with limited slips and you can also put 35”s on them. With the exception of the leather and red trim all interiors are the same on the wranglers. The reason the power window switches are in the middle is because the doors are removable. If you have this many questions or pause I would suggest sticking with the Cherokee.
 
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Sounds like you want good highway driving, some (limited?) luxuries, and a solid front axle with lockers at the same time.

Problem is that everybody's interpretation of highway driving and luxuries are totally different. From your description I think maybe the wrangler would disappoint you there. This leads me to think... maybe try a power wagon? If that fits on your local trails/lifestyle.

Either way, I really hope you find a vehicle that fits all your needs!

-respectfully,
Some random guy on the internet
 

Beachcomber72

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At the risk of walking into a lion's den wearing a suit made of pork chops, I have a serious question to ask. My first-ever (and only) Jeep branded product is my 2018 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. I've kitted it out with a Warn 10k winch, rock sliders, front and bottom armor, bull bar, sump protection and a couple of lights. It's a beautiful rig and until recently I thought it would handle the trails just fine. But apparently it didn't. On one of my rides I must have hit the front sub frame assembly hard enough to take out both control arms and various bushings, to the tune of $6800 worth of damage (dealer cost; estimate coming next week from a body shop). It got me to thinking of whether a JL or a late-model JK might be better. But here's the issue.

When I went to the dealership to pick it up (refused the estimate) they had a new JLUR in the showroom that I was seriously ogling. I sat in it, and...I didn't like it, at least at first blush. My desire is to build a capable overlanding vehicle, but living near NYC there aren't many back-country overlanding destinations that aren't a 5 day drive away, so the only chances for wheeling in my immediate future will be at the big off-road parks in eastern PA (Rausch Creek and AOAA for those who know the area).

I'm not into serious wheeling, but I would like to be able to take on some moderate trails and a Rubicon should be the ultimate ride for this. But here's the problem. I don't fit in it comfortably. I'm a pretty big older dude and the seats in this top-of-the-line rig were just plain uncomfortable. There didn't appear to be a dead pedal and the fit-and-finish was definitely not the same as our Trailhawk. Won't get into the window controls in the center of the dash, and manual seats. Long story short, am I thinking of making a huge mistake here? I could pull the trigger on a used 2019/2020 Rubicon tomorrow but coming from a seriously nice WK2 would I resent the JLUR whenever it's on pavement, which it will be 99% of the time. Would I maybe be better off getting a cheaper 2015-2017 era JKUR instead and just build it up for off-roading and put through an insurance claim on the WK2?

The thing is, the WK2 is really nice for car camping and great on the less-technical trails; my limited slip rear diff, and air suspension will often get through obstacles and across roads that a Sport or Sahara will get bogged down in. But for overlanding it's really not a great vehicle for a number of reasons. For those who own Rubicons (stock or maybe 35s and a couple of inches lift) and overland with them, how do you manage to fit everything in? How comfortable will that 12 hour drive to the boonies be on I-95? I wish there were a place to rent one, but here in NJ, they don't even want you to test drive a Wrangler unless you're ready to buy.

I'm very confused. Your thoughts?
I’ve had 3 Rubicons, They are not the Ultimate ride. They offer nothing more than a Sport or Sahara unless you are on trails that need a front sway bar disconnect for better articulation, and even then that’s do-able with add-ons to any model. If you like things a tad bit on the more dressier side then your better option may be a loaded Sahara but it’s only minimal in finer interior touches.

Truly it sounds as if you just may not be a good fit for a Wrangler. You are going to be more pleased/situated in another Grand Cherokee. A wrangler is a different breed as they take a bit of vehicle sacrifice in a few departments. Drive wise and interior refinements from their counterparts. Great vehicles that serve their purpose and I’ll own one till I die but be warned, it’s a big grown man’s box of legos that is customizable to your hearts/wallets content and when you fully get bitten by the bug you won’t look back to any other brand ever.

I wish you the best in whatever you decide upon.

Life is definitely better in a Wrangler, period…regardless of model.
 

Stuckinthesand

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I’ve had 3 Rubicons, They are not the Ultimate ride. They offer nothing more than a Sport or Sahara unless you are on trails that need a front sway bar disconnect for better articulation. If you like things a tad bit on the more dressier side then your better option may be a Sahara but it’s only minimal in finer interior touches.

Truly it sounds as if you just may not be a good fit for a Wrangler. You are going to be more pleased/situated in another Grand Cherokee. A wrangler is a different breed as they take a bit of vehicle sacrifice in a few departments. Drive wise and interior refinements from their counterparts. Great vehicles that serve their purpose and I’ll own one till I die but be warned, it’s a big grown man’s box of legos that is customizable to your hearts/wallets content and when you fully get bitten by the bug you won’t look back to any other brand ever.

I wish you the best in whatever you decide upon.

Life is definitely better in a Wrangler, period…regardless of model.
This right here sums it up. Whatever anyone else says this is 💯 the most accurate statement you can get.
 

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Grayhound

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This right here sums it up. Whatever anyone else says this is 💯 the most accurate statement you can get.
X2 exactly right! This tends to be a vehicle of sacrifice. Maybe the hardships are part of what leads to such a deep comrade with wrangler/cj owners over the years.
 

Spartan99

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I’d bet the damage was more your driving and less the vehicle. Wranglers can get pretty banged up on easier trails too when mistakes are made.
 

Geronimo

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X2 exactly right! This tends to be a vehicle of sacrifice. Maybe the hardships are part of what leads to such a deep comrade with wrangler/cj owners over the years.
X3
 

Jebiruph

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Test drive a Gladiator, much better highway driving.
 

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scj64

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I’m a bigger and older fellow as well and the 1.5” seat slammers definitely improve your comfort in the Wrangler. If you want a Rubicon, get one! 100% able to customize to any desire. Just don’t buy mud terrain tires when you plan to use it 90+% Road miles.
Gearing in the Rubicon gives you more pep plus resale is better.
 

JeeperKeeper

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At the risk of walking into a lion's den wearing a suit made of pork chops, I have a serious question to ask. My first-ever (and only) Jeep branded product is my 2018 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. I've kitted it out with a Warn 10k winch, rock sliders, front and bottom armor, bull bar, sump protection and a couple of lights. It's a beautiful rig and until recently I thought it would handle the trails just fine. But apparently it didn't. On one of my rides I must have hit the front sub frame assembly hard enough to take out both control arms and various bushings, to the tune of $6800 worth of damage (dealer cost; estimate coming next week from a body shop). It got me to thinking of whether a JL or a late-model JK might be better. But here's the issue.

When I went to the dealership to pick it up (refused the estimate) they had a new JLUR in the showroom that I was seriously ogling. I sat in it, and...I didn't like it, at least at first blush. My desire is to build a capable overlanding vehicle, but living near NYC there aren't many back-country overlanding destinations that aren't a 5 day drive away, so the only chances for wheeling in my immediate future will be at the big off-road parks in eastern PA (Rausch Creek and AOAA for those who know the area).

I'm not into serious wheeling, but I would like to be able to take on some moderate trails and a Rubicon should be the ultimate ride for this. But here's the problem. I don't fit in it comfortably. I'm a pretty big older dude and the seats in this top-of-the-line rig were just plain uncomfortable. There didn't appear to be a dead pedal and the fit-and-finish was definitely not the same as our Trailhawk. Won't get into the window controls in the center of the dash, and manual seats. Long story short, am I thinking of making a huge mistake here? I could pull the trigger on a used 2019/2020 Rubicon tomorrow but coming from a seriously nice WK2 would I resent the JLUR whenever it's on pavement, which it will be 99% of the time. Would I maybe be better off getting a cheaper 2015-2017 era JKUR instead and just build it up for off-roading and put through an insurance claim on the WK2?

The thing is, the WK2 is really nice for car camping and great on the less-technical trails; my limited slip rear diff, and air suspension will often get through obstacles and across roads that a Sport or Sahara will get bogged down in. But for overlanding it's really not a great vehicle for a number of reasons. For those who own Rubicons (stock or maybe 35s and a couple of inches lift) and overland with them, how do you manage to fit everything in? How comfortable will that 12 hour drive to the boonies be on I-95? I wish there were a place to rent one, but here in NJ, they don't even want you to test drive a Wrangler unless you're ready to buy.

I'm very confused. Your thoughts?
Sounds like you might like a 4Runner instead.
 

azwjowner

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Buy a WJ and you combine Grand Cherokee comfort and Wrangler capability. :rock:
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