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Old 11-12-2009, 11:49 AM   #1
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JK Rubi 2009 - First impressions (on road driving)

Hi all,

It's been a good 10 days that I own my new Rubi and I had to drive twice from Boston to Princeton NJ and back, so no time for pics and off-road fun, but I had a good chance to experience the "car" option of the JK.

I have the 09 Rubi, Power Convenience, Auto, Soft-top (still waiting for the hard-top, but also thinking of canceling the order). My other car is a Porsche Boxster, so obviously my "review" of the on-road driving experience with the Rubi is extremely biased by the fact that I typically drive an "on-road heaven" car.

On-road driving experience:
It's been 3 years now that I drive the Porsche as a DD and holy sh*t these Germans know how to make cars! The Jeep is difficult to handle, it's braking ability is questionable, when driving above 80 you get the feeling that you are flirting with a very serious accident and generally it's a process that requires 100% of your attention. For its height the turning ability is very very good (even at relatively high speeds), but breaking is an issue. I get this feeling with everything I drive so it's a Porsche advantage, and not so a Jeep disadvantage. Still, using the Jeep for long trips (4-5 hours) is not a pleasure (as it was with the Porsche). Only good thing is that I can go through the GW bridge without worrying about all those bumbs!

Economy:
It was a pleasant surprise realizing that of course it is less fuel efficient, but the difference is not that big of a deal... One full tank was spent for the one-way trip to NJ, which is exactly how much I would consume with the Porsche or my wife's Ford Focus (of course tank capacity is different, but not so much). Fueling in NJ and Boston (and NOT in CT) saves much more than what is lost by Jeep's fuel inefficiency. Anyway, bottom line is that even for a long drive (especially after I realized that this is a Jeep and not a racing car) Jeep's low MPG is not that big of a deal...

Auto transmission:
This is my first auto vehicle and I have to admit I am not impressed. It does what it is supposed to do (and it is a bless not to be bothered with changing gears) but I would do it better (especially down-shifting). I wonder how well it will perform when off-road... Anyway, not big issues there, just the racing feeling missing, but only because I was sooo used to it...

Soft-top:
It's not as perfect as the one on my Boxster (makes some noise, etc.) but it is waaaay better than what I was expecting! I am seriously thinking to cancel my hard-top order, because I am super satisfied with the soft-top. For some reason it's like summer in Boston (and NJ actually) lately so I am praying for some rain to test the soft-top in rain. QUESTION: how is it in snow???

Convenience:
My wife is 6 months pregnant. Se hates the Porsche (especially with me driving it...) and she really loves the Jeep. Only minor concern is that eventually (during her last two months) she will have a problem getting in (or should I say on) the car, so I definitely need to get some side-steps. Moper molded, or tubes? I cannot really decide....
My dog has had a good driving experience with the Jeep. I really don't know what dogs understand as a "pleasant ride" but he was sleeping half the time and that's a really good sign!
Space is not an issue (and I was afraid that it would be...). It fits our needs and even after the baby comes it would be more than ok for simple rides. Going on vacation with the Jeep, the dog, my wife and the baby requires some roof rails or something like that. When I will face this I will decide what I need...

Off-road:
I really haven't had the chance to do much off-roading (wearing a suit most of the day, with my wife in the Jeep -BTW a suit and the yellow Rubi is a contradiction-). I did play just a little bit with it and it's really amazing! I used to do have off-road fun with my Ford Escape back in Greece, but this thing rocks! Being Greek who loves warm weather it is the first time in my life that I am actually praying for some snow! I just want to take it on a mountain trail or something and play...

Expecting a baby with a Prosche and a Jeep is not practical at all!!! It translates into having fun alone most of the times... But when life is practical it's not fun ...

Generally speaking I drove my new Jeep for about 1500 miles in 10 days and my one real concern is breaking... Everything else was as expected or even better than that. I guess this is the one and only comparison of a Jeep with a Porsche, but I can't help it... It's what I own and like... Nonetheless, for me it was a pleasant surprise that I was not disappointed by this comparison...

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Old 11-12-2009, 12:18 PM   #2
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My biggest concern when I first got behind the wheel of a jeep in nov. of 2007 was the handling as well. I wasn't used to being so high up as when in the jeep and so my perception about things like pulling into a parking space with other cars close in took some getting used to. I would think that I would need a can opener to get out to then get out and discover that the other cars were not as close as originally thought. So that was the first thing that took some getting used to.

The next thing was the speed thing that you mentioned in your post. I too was a bit unnerved by the performance of the jeep at 80mph. It took me about a year and a half to get used to the effect that the wind has on the jeep at that speed. If it gets gusty, plan on slowing down to 60 or so to really keep things under control. If it is really gusty, and you are not expecting it, the jeep can be blown sideways a bit before you have time to react. I recall getting blown over a half a lane a few times and it really got me to slow down in those conditions. It used to send my heart up into my throat at times. This does not have the same effect now as when the jeep was relatively new to me.

I too am concerned about the braking and the speed that it became a concern at, like you, was 80 or so. I rarely go over 80 and when I do it might be up to 85 and then I'm reminded to slow down. I would describe the ride as squirrelly at any speed but at 80 or above it seems especially so and I always worried about the extreme stop from that speed as in when you approach stopped traffic on a highway. I have nailed the brakes a few times and it tracked rather well. Knowing this about the jeep, I tend to be more conservative.

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Participate in life....Keep movin'....Go there....JK'n it.........Do it! Jeep #1: Red Rock 08 JK Rubicon 4dr, 6 sp manual, Stock Mud Tires, MyGIG Upgrade, Hard Top, after sale BestTop SunRider Soft Top, Congo Cage Rack, Mopar slush mats Jeep #2 Black 08 JK Rubicon 2dr, 6 sp manual, both tops, some chrome...uggg (my wife's jeep) Jeep #3 White 92 YJ (my son's jeep) A great quote from a good friend: "All hail click clack and master jk'n." Click and clack are my idols!
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:38 PM   #3
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It was windy but not so much so I didn't get the feeling that I could get blown...

And yes, I should have said that... After the first 500 miles I realized that it is safer AND easier to drive the Jeep up to 80 (not exceed that) and typically at 70-75. Cruise control helped controlling my self.

And of course, I was braking not brEaking, but I cannot edit my posts here! Why?
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:42 PM   #4
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My 09 Rubicon is a 2dr so it's even more squirrely.

I found myself overdriving it and trying to make every little correction input to the wheel to keep it as straight as possible but that actually made things worse. When I relaxed my grip of the wheel and almost let it, do a degree, drive itself I was much better off.

I had the same issue first time I ever drove my latemodel race car that had a really fast 3.4 rack. I felt like I was swerving back and forth all over the place because I was holding so tight to the wheel doing everything I could to keep it straight, ie. overdriving it. When I relaxed my grip of the wheel a bit and let it drive itself I found it was much easier to make go straight without feeling like I just drove 1000 miles.

These things are obviously areo challenged so you have to be up on the wheel more because the air at speeds plays with you a far amount but I have found if you let it drive itself to a degree versus trying to constantly make corrections it is much more relaxing to drive.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:43 PM   #5
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The edit function only works for a limited amount of time after you make a post in any thread. I typically post and then read the post and edit immediately. I caught myself using breaking instead of braking on my last post and edited it to correct the spelling error. I didn't look to see if it actually worked though so will go back and see if it did. I don't know what the specifics are but this has been from experience on the forum.
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Participate in life....Keep movin'....Go there....JK'n it.........Do it! Jeep #1: Red Rock 08 JK Rubicon 4dr, 6 sp manual, Stock Mud Tires, MyGIG Upgrade, Hard Top, after sale BestTop SunRider Soft Top, Congo Cage Rack, Mopar slush mats Jeep #2 Black 08 JK Rubicon 2dr, 6 sp manual, both tops, some chrome...uggg (my wife's jeep) Jeep #3 White 92 YJ (my son's jeep) A great quote from a good friend: "All hail click clack and master jk'n." Click and clack are my idols!
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B11 View Post
My 09 Rubicon is a 2dr so it's even more squirrely.

I found myself overdriving it and trying to make every little correction input to the wheel to keep it as straight as possible but that actually made things worse. When I relaxed my grip of the wheel and almost let it, do a degree, drive itself I was much better off.

I had the same issue first time I ever drove my latemodel race car that had a really fast 3.4 rack. I felt like I was swerving back and forth all over the place because I was holding so tight to the wheel doing everything I could to keep it straight, ie. overdriving it. When I relaxed my grip of the wheel a bit and let it drive itself I found it was much easier to make go straight without feeling like I just drove 1000 miles.

These things are obviously areo challenged so you have to be up on the wheel more because the air at speeds plays with you a far amount but I have found if you let it drive itself to a degree versus trying to constantly make corrections it is much more relaxing to drive.
I concur. I think this is why my heart no longer goes up into my throat when in gusty conditions. I am a lot more relaxed and know better what to expect. But the first year and a half really took some getting used to the controls and the response on the jeep. This is my first experience with a vehicle that has the driver's seat so high up off of the road.
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Participate in life....Keep movin'....Go there....JK'n it.........Do it! Jeep #1: Red Rock 08 JK Rubicon 4dr, 6 sp manual, Stock Mud Tires, MyGIG Upgrade, Hard Top, after sale BestTop SunRider Soft Top, Congo Cage Rack, Mopar slush mats Jeep #2 Black 08 JK Rubicon 2dr, 6 sp manual, both tops, some chrome...uggg (my wife's jeep) Jeep #3 White 92 YJ (my son's jeep) A great quote from a good friend: "All hail click clack and master jk'n." Click and clack are my idols!
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:31 PM   #7
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I agree with the OP, the gas mileage is not that bad, especially when you consider the JK is a relatively heavy, block on wheels, with no concern for aerodynamic drag coefficient.

I've had the car for about six weeks now and I'm averaging about 17.5 mpg...

I have the hard-top and luv it. Prior to purchasing my JK, I visited my local Jeep dealership and opened the door to a soft-top JK, and was doused with a splash of water from the previous days rain. This alone convinced me to get the hard-top.

The 4spd Auto is not that bad, especially when I compare it to my old '00 TJ; that 3spd auto was terrible!

Considering the JK is merely a toy, I luv it for what it is.

B/R,

BB
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenDiem View Post

I have the hard-top and luv it. Prior to purchasing my JK, I visited my local Jeep dealership and opened the door to a soft-top JK, and was doused with a splash of water from the previous days rain. This alone convinced me to get the hard-top.

B/R,

BB
I have both tops. I have gotten used to the free shower received when entering after a rain storm. It is just one of those jeep things. I also enjoy the hard top in the winter. Quiets the jeep down a bit and I think it provides a slightly warmer feeling when it is really cold outside. I worry less about snow accumulation with the hard top also.

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Participate in life....Keep movin'....Go there....JK'n it.........Do it! Jeep #1: Red Rock 08 JK Rubicon 4dr, 6 sp manual, Stock Mud Tires, MyGIG Upgrade, Hard Top, after sale BestTop SunRider Soft Top, Congo Cage Rack, Mopar slush mats Jeep #2 Black 08 JK Rubicon 2dr, 6 sp manual, both tops, some chrome...uggg (my wife's jeep) Jeep #3 White 92 YJ (my son's jeep) A great quote from a good friend: "All hail click clack and master jk'n." Click and clack are my idols!
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