I'm hoping to buy a 12' JK at the end of the model year and trying to decide what all I need/want beforehand. I've seen all the threads about the advantages/disadvantages of having just one top or both and, normally, I would say "Get dual tops". But, I'm thinking only the hard top seems to make sense for me and I could use the money saved for other goodies. Being retired and on SS, I need to be a little more careful on what I spend. I'd like to get your feelings and see if getting dual tops still makes any sense for some reason I'm overlooking. Here's my reasoning for just the hard top:
I live in New England. To me, that dictates right from the start that I need the hard top for the winter season. I'm also a fly fisher and kayaker and have some pretty expensive gear with me in my vehicle the other 3 seasons. So, security is a big issue. As much as I would like to have and use a soft top on occasion, I can see where it would be a PITA to continually be switching from the soft top to the hard top because I want to go fishing and/or haul my kayak.
Now, the only possible reason I can think of for having both is if I decided to sell the JK and have both available for the new buyer. But I tend to keep vehicles a long time. The last car I got rid of I had for 19 years. Besides, with the readily available after-market tops, getting one isn't a problem for anyone.
I bought my '12 Unlimited Sport as my only vehicle (beside the motorhome that tows it) and with more than one capability in mind. I'm 70, certainly no longer interested in even thinking about all the capabilities available to Jeepers and much more interested in comfort and being able to go beyond where my Saturn Vue was able to go. I really like the ability to use the roof system where I can remove either the drivers side or the passengers side, both or the entire roof if I want. If the Jeep was to be used as many do for "Jeep" things, then I'd probably have bought the soft top as it weighs much less. But after two months of owning ours, I'm very happy with it.
It sound like you should just get the Hard top. You can get a soft top aftermarket for about the same price on sale as the dealer is going to charge you. I think it is around $860 extra if I remember right when you do the math. The only real reason I can think you would really want to get the soft top at purchase is if you want to put it in with the financing and maybe to have it under warranty to fix any leaks.
Agree with Rooster76. Get the hardtop only, then if you want a softop you have a lot to choose from besides the OEM - I got the Trektop and prefer it to the factory softop, and it set me back only $540 with shipping.
Nobody seems to have mentioned the SPLIT hardtop. I have one - a Bestop - on my 2000, and even though I have the soft top too, it seems less likely that I'll put it on, at least while I still live in the NorthEast. THe removable part - over the front seats - only weighs about 40 pounds and it's easy for me to singlehand it off and on.
The only drawback to the split top is that there seems to be no way to get the removable panel INTO the Jeep (a regular Sport). So I can't go "semi-topless" if there's any threat of rain.