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Old 12-24-2010, 12:10 AM   #1
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Advice for a first time wrangler buyer

Hey all. I will keep it brief. I've always wanted a wrangler, now I think I'm going to pick one up. Saw a base 2011 wrangler sport - automatic. Planning on making the switch from an 02 Benz ml320 suv. For the sake of comparison, the Benz has had an increasing number of electrical issues and I can't deal with it any longer.

My main questions about the 2011 wrangler:

1. How well does it handle highway travel at ~ 75mph? I drive accross NY and PA every few months, as well as to work on occasion. Magazine reviews make the wrangler sound like it's some sort of death trap at those speeds...

2. Are there any major mechanical/design flaws with the newer models that I should be aware of?

Thanks in advance for the help!

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Old 12-24-2010, 12:17 AM   #2
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Just putting this out there as a caution- Jeeps are not SUV s they are not cars or trucks. They are Jeeps-it is something you either love or hate in the way it drives. They can and people do drive them in the manner that you sound as if you intend to use it. It is more at "home"closer to 65mph-and it loves the less traveled paths even more. It will become a way of life and it will be, "lets take the Jeep 'cause the adventure is in getting there."

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Old 12-24-2010, 12:25 AM   #3
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I read that the JK is an uncomfortable ride as a daily comute and for long trips. I have no Idea where the hell they get their surveys and stats but for me, the ride is more comfortable than any ride I have driven before
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:37 AM   #4
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I have a 2011 Rubicon and I usually keep it at 65 to 70. It's not that it's uncomfortable at higher speeds but it gets kinda squirrely at the higher speeds. As for an everyday driver, I absolutely love it!! Also, it's great to go from work week driving to weekend fun with no roads!!
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Old 12-24-2010, 05:49 AM   #5
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This year, I've driven my JK to Louisville, KY. and to Kansas City from NW. Pennsylvania, and had zero problems at interstate speeds.

Sometimes,I even ran up to 80+. I would take my JK anywhere....
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Old 12-24-2010, 07:05 AM   #6
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Great advice, thanks. See, you mention that it can get "squirrely" around 75mph...why is that? I choose that number cause that is more or less the "speed limit" in the NYC/Philly region. As long as the vehicle actually stays under control and isnt on the verge of rolling if I hit a pothole, I don't mind a few bumps (this Benz isn't exacly the softest ride either, believe it or not). I just want to be sure it's safe at those speeds, that's all.

Any glaring mechanical/electrical issues?
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Old 12-24-2010, 07:12 AM   #7
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The JK is a very comfortable DD for a Jeep. That said, it does not ride like any other vehicle however and it is bumpy and can be swirly at higher speeds. Just one small part of what you'll love from owning a Jeep after getting one. You can surely drive 70-75 on the interstate if you want in the JK with no problem. You may already know that Jeeps have thirsty engines but if you cruise the interstate for a long trip in one doing 75 miles an hour your Jeep will drink gasoline like a runner does Gatorade in a marathon.

Its a Jeep's way of punishing you for not using the gas for offroading instead of interstate driving.
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Old 12-24-2010, 07:24 AM   #8
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The Wrnagler will cruise at 75 - 80 with no issue. Try to do it on a blustery day, however and you will have two hands on you wheel in a death grip.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Booyowdeedsy
1. How well does it handle highway travel at ~ 75mph? I drive accross NY and PA every few months, as well as to work on occasion. Magazine reviews make the wrangler sound like it's some sort of death trap at those speeds...

2. Are there any major mechanical/design flaws with the newer models that I should be aware of?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booyowdeedsy
See, you mention that it can get "squirrely" around 75mph...why is that?. . . . As long as the vehicle actually stays under control and isnt on the verge of rolling if I hit a pothole, . . . I just want to be sure it's safe at those speeds, that's all.

Any glaring mechanical/electrical issues?
There are no "glaring" design flaws I'm aware of. Every vehicle needs maintenance and occasional repairs, and every vehicle model occasionally sends a few off the assembly lines that are just stinkers. You should be fine.

As to your other concerns about handling at highway speeds, etc., you need to take a test drive or two. I commute 60 miles each day in my Jeep, routinely at the speeds that you're talking about and it's fine. It is a street legal vehicle, don't forget. Whether it'd be right for you is something you need to drive to decide. Good luck!
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:19 AM   #10
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I have a 2008 base jk so it's pretty close to what you are getting. I use it as my DD and absolutely love it! On the highway I think it is very good. I always drive about 80 and it handles fine. The one thing is when you come to bridges with big bumps it's best to slow down and let off the gas. With the solid axles and off road suspension it is a little rougher on those bumps. Letting off the gas is to prevent the squirrely-ness. I love my jk. I went from a VW passat to this and it was the best choice I ever did. I thought the vw was good in the snow until I got this. Plus it's fun to do mods to your car to make it your own
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jp2611
Just putting this out there as a caution- Jeeps are not SUV s they are not cars or trucks. They are Jeeps-it is something you either love or hate in the way it drives. They can and people do drive them in the manner that you sound as if you intend to use it. It is more at "home"closer to 65mph-and it loves the less traveled paths even more. It will become a way of life and it will be, "lets take the Jeep 'cause the adventure is in getting there."
I agree with the love hate thing. I have wanted one forever before I got it and my sister was going to buy one too. After she used mine for a week she didn't want it anymore. It was a little rough and lacked the things she wants in a car. If budget permits rent it for a couple days from hertz or enterprise. They always have wranglers. You don't want to buy one just because all of us love them and realize it might not be right for you
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:28 AM   #12
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The best thing to do is to take a long test drive on the Interstate where you can see how you like it above 70 or so. I drive my 2011 Rubicon at 70+ mph every day as part of my daily commute and have no issues with stability. The Wrangler uses live axles rather than the independent suspension that almost all other passenger vehicles have today. This live axle setup is far superior for offroad articulation, but the compromise is that the on-highway ride is rougher, especially when both front wheels hit something like an expansion joint at the same time. It will not be as smooth as your Benz, but that's the price you pay when you commute in a vehicle with a suspension designed for off-road use.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:36 AM   #13
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I drive mine two to three days a week at freeway speeds from North Texas up to Oklahoma to the nearest casino. I love the drive and ride of the Wrangler. The wife, not so much. She really does not care to drive my Jeep and, ya know, that's alright with me.

The short wheelbase, stiff suspension, and quick steering are what takes a little time to get accustomed to. After your do, like everyone says, you will either love it or hate it.

Just a warning though, a quick test drive around the dealership neighborhood will not give you a true picture of the ride and drive of the Wrangler. You have to put it through some road and crosswind testing to really know if you will like how it handles at high speeds.

Good luck!
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:41 AM   #14
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By squirrley I just mean that it moves around a lot. Wind is a factor plus how much you turn the wheel to do what you want. I think someone said it earlier that you will just want two hands on the wheel. The Jeeps are definitely capable of driving at 75+ but they just do better at lower speeds. Someone also said that it's ba gas mileage going that fast because its your Punishment for not using the gas off-road!! I love that.
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:39 AM   #15
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I make a 60 mile commute everyday. Speeds range from 45 to 70. No problems with it. Took about a week to learn her quirks. I have to slow down to take one curve that I used to take at 55. Now I take it at 45.

And I have fun everyday. Had it 2 1/2 months and pushing 4500 miles. Every one with a silly grin plastered on my face.
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:58 AM   #16
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I have my 2010 as my daily driver and love it. I love it soo much I drive my other car in between days so that its even more fun when I get back into my Jeep On the highway I have had it at 70-75mph with no issues. It is a little bouncy but its geared for off roading so they did a terrific job of making it versatile! I have the soft top and I really thought it would have been worse, it is completely manageable for sound/road noise But the best solution, take one for a long test drive, if they dont let you test it for as long as you need and in the conditions you'd like (while being reasonable of course!) then take your business elsewhere!
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:04 AM   #17
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Every one with a silly grin plastered on my face.
That's the hardest adjustment..... sore cheeks from smiling all the dang time! Makes people wonder what you've been up to.....
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Old 12-24-2010, 01:19 PM   #18
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The Wrnagler will cruise at 75 - 80 with no issue. Try to do it on a blustery day, however and you will have two hands on you wheel in a death grip.
This!^^

On windy days, I slow down to about 55mph. Driving a Jeep in a heavy crosswind is truly a different feeling than I've ever experienced with any other vehicle. The first time in major winds, I almost pulled over to see if I'd somehow broken a swaybar connector or something, the ride felt so weird.
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Old 12-24-2010, 07:01 PM   #19
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That's the hardest adjustment..... sore cheeks from smiling all the dang time! Makes people wonder what you've been up to.....
Me too.. ! only thing that bums me out is when people don't wave back
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:24 PM   #20
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My 2010 sport cruises at 70-75 no problem, but hit a hill and you must go to 5th and if its steep 4th will follow soon if you plan on keeping speed. Keep in mind I got a 6spd sport with 3.21 gears and 32" tires that did not come stock with the JK. Other than the hills I have no issues and by no means is this thing a rocket ship but has plenty of power between 2500-4000 rpm. Yes it blows around and no its not a caddy but it is plenty comfortable and it holds 2 people and cargo no problem with the 2 door. I do have the back seat removed but it folded forward and allowed for more storage than my girls TJ any day. The Wrangler is a life style, not a car or truck and you must understand that. Especially if you get a 2dr soft top.
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:58 PM   #21
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I've taken my 2010 2dr Rubi on some long road trips and it was fine on the highway, as long as I kept it at reasonable speeds. It's happy around 65mph, but will go 75 without much fuss. It does not handle like a car, but I usually just cruise along in the right lane and don't mind people passing me.

As far as crosswinds, sure the Jeep will get a little squirrely in heavy winds but it's all relative. It still has four tires on the ground. I've ridden my motorcycle in some heavy crosswinds and that will give me a serious ass pucker. When it happens in the Jeep, it's not really a big deal.
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Old 12-25-2010, 02:45 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Booyowdeedsy View Post
Great advice, thanks. See, you mention that it can get "squirrely" around 75mph...why is that? I choose that number cause that is more or less the "speed limit" in the NYC/Philly region. As long as the vehicle actually stays under control and isnt on the verge of rolling if I hit a pothole, I don't mind a few bumps (this Benz isn't exacly the softest ride either, believe it or not). I just want to be sure it's safe at those speeds, that's all.

Any glaring mechanical/electrical issues?
I have never driven a vehicle like the jeep in my life and so far it includes over 30 years of driving. I have loved my jeep from the moment I got in it on the test drive. That was a Sahara Unlimited. When Chrysler bought that one back because they couldn't solve a leak and I got the Rubicon Unlimited the smile went from shl+ eating grin to well beyond that. As others have said, my dang cheeks hurt. And yes, people wonder what I've been up to. My wife just let me get a YJ for my son who will be getting his learner's permit in 6 months. I think I may be a....gulp....addict! That's me though, you will have to form your own opinion.

Some things I will caution you on with your choice of a base sport auto is that the gearing on that will emphasize the limits of a the 3.8 engine to deliver power to the wheels and will be somewhat slug like. That can be somewhat mitigated by getting a standard but not completely. It is definitely not a sports car but mine can kick butt well enough that I'm happy on the highway. But the Rubicon is geared much lower and shows it in the MPG. I don't mind the trade off.

Regarding this squirrel that everyone talks about is something that...well...your jeep will teach you about. The jeep is very smartly aerodynamically designed like a BRICK. You sit high up (compared to any vehicle I've owned to date) and combine that with a bouncy stiff suspension and you will be surprised what stiff cross winds will do to it. Now, if that wasn't enough, add in responsive steering and it can be a little daunting in the cross wind. The reason that I have found that you need to keep two hands on the steering is that if you don't, all of the things mentioned immediately above combine to set up an oscillation feedback system with the one hand on the wheel and produces over-steer or a giggling effect. The first time it happened I nearly crapped my pants. Lately, I haven't crapped my pants because I have gotten used to putting two hands on the steering wheel at 10 and 2 when conditions get windy. Another thing that my jeep has taught me in these conditions is when the hood starts flapping...and yours will with the stock hold downs, is when you need to begin driving with two hands. Now, some folks have, at great expense, gone out and purchased better tie downs for the hood but I don't recommend it. I consider my hood flutter my early warning system for KRAPPIN MY PANTS avoidance. But...to each his/her own. Tie that sucker down and be surprised in a cross wind and spend time at the next rest stop cleaning skid marks...your choice .

Regarding general handling, I usually hang at 65 which is generally the speed limit in the northeast. I don't fear 75 except in gusty conditions. In real gusty conditions I've been known to be in the right lane tooling along at 55...safely.

If you do buy a jeep, I hope you are as happy with yours as I am with mine. It is definitely a jeep thing, you will most likely love it or hate it. Happy hunting.

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