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Old 08-04-2011, 12:08 PM   #1
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Advice needed! 2011 Jeep soft top versus hard top

I'm getting a jeep wrangler (new, either 2011 or 2012) and I need to know which is better to get, hard top or soft top. Obviously I'm a newbie so I want opinions from those with experience. Since I'm a college student, it will be parked outside year round, in an area that can have unpredictable winters and hot summers. Getting to my college take 4 1/2 hrs in different seasons so I will need that top to be on (how noisy is it, really?). Also I hear the hard top is difficult to take off alone, also I'm short so that doesn't help (only 5 ft tall). I know as soon as the heat hits I want my top down and I don't mind going out during snow storms to brush off snow but I need opinions please! I've been wanting this car forever and plan on keeping it a long time so I want to make a wise decision!

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Old 08-04-2011, 12:16 PM   #2
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haha, the hard top is not only DIFFICULT to take off by yourself. It is almost impossible if you don't want to drop it. I was able to remove it by myself once and set it on the ground safely, but when I tried to put it back on... I almost broke my back and came close to dropping the top. The top is extremely bulky and heavy. My mom refused to help me take it off after a few times. (She is 5'6 and had some upper body strength)

That is why I sold the hardtop and bought a soft top. I took the hard top off too many times to make it practical for me. The soft top is not as noisy as many people say. You will hear some road noise and maybe a little wind, but that usually is all. I just love the freedom of being able to drop the top whenever I want. Once you get some practice, you'll have it down in five minutes.

One thing that many people do is get a hard top hoist that keeps it suspended in the garage. This is a good option, however, you say that it will be parked outside.

Considering all of this... If I were you, I would get the soft top. You won't be sorry.

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Old 08-04-2011, 12:25 PM   #3
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Couldn't agree more. The hard top may be a little warmer in the winter, but that is the only advantage I can see. You would be amazed how many Jeeps I see with the hard tops on when I am soaking up the sun in ole Jake.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:43 PM   #4
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Both get them both now. The price of either afterwards is crazy.
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:56 PM   #5
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get the soft top. When winter hits if you find you really need the hard top look at mopar.com. I seen one selling for $1200. That's cheaper then the $2000 aftermarket ones.

The heater and the air conditioning is extremely powerful in these things. If its normally just you and a passenger I am sure you will find you don't need a hard top.

I see so many hard top jeeps around on a nice 85 degree day with their top up, passing me with my rag top down and a smile on my face.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mellyrivvsjeep View Post
I'm getting a jeep wrangler (new, either 2011 or 2012) and I need to know which is better to get, hard top or soft top. Obviously I'm a newbie so I want opinions from those with experience. Since I'm a college student, it will be parked outside year round, in an area that can have unpredictable winters and hot summers. Getting to my college take 4 1/2 hrs in different seasons so I will need that top to be on (how noisy is it, really?). Also I hear the hard top is difficult to take off alone, also I'm short so that doesn't help (only 5 ft tall). I know as soon as the heat hits I want my top down and I don't mind going out during snow storms to brush off snow but I need opinions please! I've been wanting this car forever and plan on keeping it a long time so I want to make a wise decision!
Its always better to buy a jeep with a hardtop because they are worth more than soft tops, but also may be a little more expensive. If i were you, given the conditions you talked about I would say defiantly go hard top, and you can always just go softop or bikini in the summer (or topless =]). Removing the hardtop isnt very difficult I did it myself a few times, but just gave in a bought a little winch for it to put it on and off really quick (i highly recommend getting one if you find yourself with some extra cash, can easily do it alone). Alright hope I helped u
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:17 PM   #7
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No way a 5 foot tall girl is going to be comfortable routinely removing a hard top, without a hoist, alone, all the time. The practical outcome will be you'll hardly ever take it off.

Plus, would you even have a place to put it while it's off? There's no way you can bring it inside an apartment or house--it needs a garage or a backyard to sit in.

Sure, hard tops are more expensive than soft tops aftermarket, but a jeep with a hard top costs more than one with a soft top. You'll pay for whatever top you get, whether from the dealer or aftermarket. You pay the piper either way.

In my view, you need a soft top. Many folks on this forum have only a soft top (me included), and that is a fine way to go.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:37 PM   #8
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Thanks! I know there's no way I could bring my hard top up into my dorm. So I was always thinking soft top, I just don't want the nightmare of it breaking or something while being outside in the snow.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:42 PM   #9
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I have both & the hard top is nice in Winter but the soft top is great in summer, it's not noisy when it's up either the factory ones are very quiet. There is the theft aspect though if you are leaving it somewhere not so safe then a hard top would be better for you
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:48 PM   #10
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There's no real worries as far as the area is concerned, plus I'm not one to leave anything 'attractive' in the car or anything to draw attention to it. Theft isn't really an issue. My biggest concern is the strength of the soft top.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:58 PM   #11
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I don't really know if the soft tops hold up well in the snow, I have only put mine on this summer & mines in the garge most of the time anyway, sorry
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:53 AM   #12
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I don't really know if the soft tops hold up well in the snow, I have only put mine on this summer & mines in the garge most of the time anyway, sorry
The first winter I had mine we had a blizzard that dumped 34 inches. I used a brrom to sweep the snow off the top evey 8 inches or so. Soft tops hold up just fine as long as you remember to not clear ice from the windows. Let the blast furnace of a heater melt it off.

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Old 08-05-2011, 10:17 AM   #13
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I bought both thinking I'd use the hard top in Winter and the soft top in summer but found I enjoy having the soft top on that I just want to sell my hard top. True, buying a hard top afterwards is ridiculously expensive, so I'd suggest buying both and then selling the new hard top after your first winter to see if it truly makes a difference for you. As everyone has said, it's a pain-in-the-ass to remove the thing by yourself but not impossible. Storing the hard top is the worst part of owning it. The soft top does make a bit more noise, but it's not too noticeable and besides that extra noise is part of what owning a jeep is all about.

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