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Old 05-03-2013, 09:20 AM   #1
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New JKU: Dual Top Option vs. Hard Top + aftermarket Soft Top?

Hi all,
So the Jeep bug bit me and I'm trying to narrow my options down. We're a family of 4 with two kids 10 and 12. We have a mini-van so this will be our fun vehicle to drive around town. Doubt we'll ever go off-road but may like to try it at some point. We're looking at buying either a 2013 Sport S or Sahara Unlimited off the lot. We'd like to get a soft top for the warmer months and a hard top for winter.

As I search dealer inventory it doesn't look like we'll be able to get the exact options that we want so I'm putting together a must have list. Being a newb, I just don't know enough about the differences between the OEM Premier Sunrider Soft Top and the after market tops. My question is do you think the Dual Top option should be a must have or should I consider the OEM Hard Top and an aftermarket soft top? Is the new OEM soft top that much better (not sure what better means ) than the after market tops? Thanks in advance for your help!

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Old 05-03-2013, 09:50 AM   #2
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Welcome to WF

100% up to you. There are pros and cons to each. When you say aftermarket, I'm assuming you are thinking of something like a Trektop NX?

The Trektop looks much cooler, is a lot less expensive, and can be a true safari top....but you can't fold it down and take it with you.

The OEM top actually folds down so you can always have it with you (more versatile), and has more room in the rear when up....but does not look nearly as cool.

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Old 05-03-2013, 09:56 AM   #3
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I have a 2013 jku with hardtop if I had to do it over I would get the dual top option.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:58 AM   #4
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I was forced with the same choice. I ended up going with just a hardtop from the factory. I knew I wanted a soft top too, but didn't feel like paying for the dual top group. I ended up buying a Supertop NX brand new for $775 (after $100 rebate). You are going to want a soft top with those ages!
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:10 AM   #5
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Yes, something like the Trektop NX or any other top. We're definitely looking for something we could fold down and keep with us. Would want to be able to get the top up quickly if it started to rain or if the temperature drops. My wife always wanted a convertible so we're looking for that type of functionality. Are there others worth considering besides the OEM?
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:18 AM   #6
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I'm a newbie also. Welcome brother.
We are living the same lives, almost.
Married, two kids, 9 and 11 for me. I got bored with my vette because I couldn't do anything with my family in it.
So we bought a 2013 Sahara Unlimited. I didn't play that game. I went straight for the dual tops. I knew we wanted soft in the summer and hard in the winter so why play any games with aftermarket.
Like it is said up above. There are pros and cons to both. The big pro to getting the dual tops is, one, the warranty from manufacture. If I have any issues I go right back to the dealership. Two, no shopping around.

Good Luck.

Our dealership had a huge inventory, so we found exactly what we wanted.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:20 AM   #7
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I ended up buying a Supertop NX brand new for $775 (after $100 rebate).
Are you happy with the Supertop NX? Is it comparable to the OEM?
I'm okay spending the extra $ on the OEM. The issue is that seems like it may be difficult to find a JKU with the Dual Tops with the options we want and without the ones we don't want.

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You are going to want a soft top with those ages!
Yes I know, but what are my kids going to want?!?!
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:48 AM   #8
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Yes, something like the Trektop NX or any other top. We're definitely looking for something we could fold down and keep with us. Would want to be able to get the top up quickly if it started to rain or if the temperature drops. My wife always wanted a convertible so we're looking for that type of functionality. Are there others worth considering besides the OEM?
Because of the underlined, you don't want the Trektop NX. I purchased one, and never took it out of the box because I knew I had made the wrong choice.
Either get the dual top option, find an OEM softtop on Craigslist, or go with the Supertop NX (which is made by Bestop....who makes the OEM tops). The Supertop NX is basically the OEM top.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:54 AM   #9
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Are you happy with the Supertop NX? Is it comparable to the OEM?
I'm okay spending the extra $ on the OEM. The issue is that seems like it may be difficult to find a JKU with the Dual Tops with the options we want and without the ones we don't want.

Yes I know, but what are my kids going to want?!?!
Yeah the Supertop NX is basically the same as the factory top. It isn't the same as the premium top, but if you are getting a hard top you don't need the premium top in my opinion. The $100 rebate runs out in June I think though.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:08 AM   #10
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I'm a semi-noob who just put in my order. One of the things that surprised me about the Wrangler world was that a lot of owners order their Wranglers to be built.

I'm not sure what type of timeframe you have, but if local dealers don't have what you're looking for, you can always order one to be built exactly like you want it with a factory order.

I thought for 5 seconds about not getting the dual top group, but wanted the warranty coverage, and the new premium top for 2013 = boss.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:37 AM   #11
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I was in your same boat about 3 weeks ago. Was going to go with the dual top combo, but after researching and speaking with a lot of jeep owners, I learned that most end up with one favorite and never put the other on. I opted to get the hard top and then purchased the Bestop Trektop NX. I currently have the soft top on and plan to keep it on for the summer, then back to the hard top (I think). If you need to access the rear a lot, the soft top is not nearly as practical and convenient.

The reason I went the route I did was price and appearance. The dual top combo was expensive vs. buying the soft top I wanted at half the price. I love the fast back look of the trektop NX compared to the boxier premium sunrider.

Not sure about the comment about pulling the top off and on being a problem EXCEPT that you can't take the entire top off and carry it. You can use it in bikini mode by opening up the sunrider top and removing rear and side panels, so effectively you'd have the rear seats covered and everything else open, but you'd be able to carry everything with you and pop them on in a few minutes if needed.

I'm VERY glad I went the route I did.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:48 AM   #12
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My $.02:

I think having a soft top is a MUST for a Jeep. Whichever route you go, factory or aftermarket.

That said, I have the Dual Top option and I think the new Premium soft top looks the best. That's subjective, obviously. But I think it looks awesome, and being factory, there's no guessing about fit & quality... and accountability for your dealer.

I ordered my JKU, so I spec'd the Dual Top option. But earlier in the process I had found a JKU with the hardtop, but no soft top. I was able to get the dealer to agree to order a premium soft top and add it to the purchase. You can always go that route if you find the Jeep your looking for, and that's the only missing piece.

Both hard & soft tops have their advantages, and I'm glad I have both. But if I was forced to only have one top, the Premium soft top would be it.

Edit* I was just reading another thread about somebody taking 4 hours to put on an aftermarket top... I'm sure there's a little embellishment going on. But I remove my hard top (ceiling hoist), install my soft top, BY MYSELF, including carrying the soft top up from the basement AND sipping on a cold one in under an hour EASILY. And I can reverse the process in about half the time.
Premium = Boss *yeah I stole that from another commenter
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:01 PM   #13
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If I'm understandng the OP's question, it isn't really hardtop vs softop. It dual tops (hardtop + OEM softop) vs hardtop + aftermarket top.

So basically it is OEM soft top vs aftermarket (usually Trektop NX) soft top.

There are tons of theads on this topic and there isn't really a right answer. Kinda depends on your needs. I traded a brand new Trektop NX for a brand new Premium Soft Top. The person that I traded with wanted every feature of the Trektop NX that I didn't want...and vice versa. I even threw in $100 because I didn't think it was a fair trade.

IMO the biggest problem with the factory dual top option (especially the premium tops) is that it cost too much. When I ordered, I went hard top only, with plans on finding an OEM soft top on Craiglist to save loot.

Lots of pros and cons to each.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:03 PM   #14
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Since warranty has been brought up a few times I want to add that I have owned 5 Bestop soft tops in my life and all were bought aftermarket. I had 2 issues with wear and tear and Bestop replaced them both times no questions asked. Also know that Supertop and standard factory top are basically the same thing. I guess the biggest benefit of getting the soft top from the factory as a dual top (not the premium) would be to finance it into your payment. But keep in mind you are paying more for it in the long run. Either way get a soft top if you want to get the most fun out of your Jeep in the summer!
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:09 PM   #15
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If I'm understandng the OP's question, it isn't really hardtop vs softop. It dual tops (hardtop + OEM softop) vs hardtop + aftermarket top.

So basically it is OEM soft top vs aftermarket (usually Trektop NX) soft top.

There are tons of theads on this topic and there isn't really a right answer. Kinda depends on your needs. I traded a brand new Trektop NX for a brand new Premium Soft Top. The person that I traded with wanted every feature of the Trektop NX that I didn't want...and vice versa. I even threw in $100 because I didn't think it was a fair trade.

IMO the biggest problem with the factory dual top option (especially the premium tops) is that it cost too much. When I ordered, I went hard top only, with plans on finding an OEM soft top on Craiglist to save loot.

Lots of pros and cons to each.
Not arguing against this point at all, but I'd guess that the majority of people buying a brand new Jeep are financing it. (With interest rates @ 1.2% why wouldn't you?)

But consider the Premium top adds about $1700 to the bottom line, that means about $30/month on a 60 month loan. For some, that's much easier to swallow, than plunking down $800 out of your pocket for an aftermarket top.

Just sayin'...
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:13 PM   #16
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The dual tops is by far the best factory option that's available ... take advantage of it!
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:17 PM   #17
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I bough a 2012 off the lot last summer with the color marched hard top. This spring I decided that I really wanted a soft top. The dual top option waste only thing I didn't get that I would have said my dream jeep would have, but I wasn't really sure if I would need it with the freedom tops. Turns out I ran fully topless most of the fall, thus my search for a soft top this spring.

The factory style tops fit the bill for me because I really like to take the top fully off, but want to be able to have it with me. For example going camping this week can run topless but still have a full top with me for the 3hr interstate run and incase it rains. Couldn't do that with a hardtop. The bikini top I tried was just too sloppy and didn't provide enough rain protection.

I bought my 2013 Premium Top on craigs list last weekend. I can't speak for the non premium fabric, but I love this top so far. Last week we had two absolutely perfect top off days here followed by a rain storm and a temperature dip into the 30s so up the soft top went.

If you can't find one with the dual top option but it had everything else surely the dealership would work a soft top into the deal, but if not Craig's list worked for me. Took about a month of watching to find one new in the boxes (I do live in ft worth, TX so Craig's list deals are pretty easy to find for me)
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:41 PM   #18
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Not arguing against this point at all, but I'd guess that the majority of people buying a brand new Jeep are financing it. (With interest rates @ 1.2% why wouldn't you?)

But consider the Premium top adds about $1700 to the bottom line, that means about $30/month on a 60 month loan. For some, that's much easier to swallow, than plunking down $800 out of your pocket for an aftermarket top.

Just sayin'...
This is very true....
It depends on the situation.

I didn't finance my Jeep (and no, I'm not rich), I ordered my Jeep in October (so I had time to hunt for the best deal on a soft top all winter), and I live in the Chicagoland area....so Craigslist has plenty of options at low prices. One of the better deals I came accross was a new in box 2012 OEM softop for $550. I called, the guy said come on down....but I never did. I was too lazy to drive from the burbs to near downtown (by the United Center....go Bulls!)...I hate traffic.

I set my softop budget at $500 (ended up spending $657 on a premium top).
But if you are someplace where soft tops don't pop up everyday on Craigslist, and you are financing, it may make more sense to roll it in with the payments and get the warranty.

Oh....one more thing about the factory soft top....it is excellent (or so 've heard) when used with either a Dirty Dog shade or Spiderwebshade.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:50 PM   #19
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My $.02:

....found a JKU with the hardtop, but no soft top. I was able to get the dealer to agree to order a premium soft top and add it to the purchase. You can always go that route if you find the Jeep your looking for, and that's the only missing piece.
This seems to be the same situation you are in, and seems to be great advice!
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:52 PM   #20
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Thanks for all the input. I haven't got into pricing yet but the ones on the lot seem to be well-priced online so I'm guessing I'd do better off taking one of the lot rather than ordering one (plus I want it now! ). Right now my must-haves are the two tops, auto trans, side-air bags, 3.73, LSD, power-group, and probably connectivity. Heated seats may be a must-have for my wife which would push me up to the Sahara (I know it's an expensive upgrade for just to get heated-seats!). And we may want a specific color. When I search dealer inventory online, it's doubtful I'll be able to find one exactly like this.

My preference would for the Dual Top option for the Premium Soft Top. But, just not sure I'll be able to find one with that option without having to take a bunch of additional options that I really don't need.

As mentioned previously, I could order the Premium Top from the dealer but I don't know how much they'd discount it as an add-on. Maybe too pricey that way. I'll guess need to think about the style of the Trektop NX vs. the Supertop NX.

Forgetting cost, is the OEM Premium top that much better than the Supertop NX? I understand the material is thicker and it's easier to fold down, but for everyday use during warm season, what makes the Premium that much better?
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:55 PM   #21
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Not arguing against this point at all, but I'd guess that the majority of people buying a brand new Jeep are financing it. (With interest rates @ 1.2% why wouldn't you?)

But consider the Premium top adds about $1700 to the bottom line, that means about $30/month on a 60 month loan. For some, that's much easier to swallow, than plunking down $800 out of your pocket for an aftermarket top.

Just sayin'...
When you consider that the hardtop is a $750 option, you really are getting the OEM top for less than a thousand bucks. Which is not a bad price for a brand new top.

I am still watching CL for a soft top, but not a lot show up locally. I may end up bitting the bullet and ordering a Trektop or Supertop.

Edit: Holy c-rap I just checked and the dual top option went up to $2185 and hard top to $995. So now the soft top is really $1200.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:13 PM   #22
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Thanks for all the input. I haven't got into pricing yet but the ones on the lot seem to be well-priced online so I'm guessing I'd do better off taking one of the lot rather than ordering one (plus I want it now! ). Right now my must-haves are the two tops, auto trans, side-air bags, 3.73, LSD, power-group, and probably connectivity. Heated seats may be a must-have for my wife which would push me up to the Sahara (I know it's an expensive upgrade for just to get heated-seats!). And we may want a specific color. When I search dealer inventory online, it's doubtful I'll be able to find one exactly like this.

My preference would for the Dual Top option for the Premium Soft Top. But, just not sure I'll be able to find one with that option without having to take a bunch of additional options that I really don't need.

As mentioned previously, I could order the Premium Top from the dealer but I don't know how much they'd discount it as an add-on. Maybe too pricey that way. I'll guess need to think about the style of the Trektop NX vs. the Supertop NX.

Forgetting cost, is the OEM Premium top that much better than the Supertop NX? I understand the material is thicker and it's easier to fold down, but for everyday use during warm season, what makes the Premium that much better?

Hopefully you can take this the right way, but you seem like the type that knows what you want & won't settle for anything less. I think you should strongly consider the 6-8 week wait & go order the Jeep exactly the way you want it. It sounds like it will be the only way you'll be 100% satisfied. Why settle for anything less? I guess if you can't wait because you want it now, then you shouldn't complain about not getting what you want. Simple as that. Ordering & waiting is 99% of the FUN! The whole family will enjoy it that much more after having to wait.

Good luck with whatever you choose!
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:26 PM   #23
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you seem like the type that knows what you want & won't settle for anything less. I think you should strongly consider the 6-8 week wait & go order the Jeep exactly the way you want it.
I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if I don't get the Premium Top am I really settling for less.

As far as ordering vs. taking one off the lot, some Saharas I see online are being advertised for about 15% below MSRP. My assumption was that I won't be able to get nearly as good a price if I were to order one.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:48 PM   #24
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When you are at the dealership ask to see a premium top and the standard top. I don't see how the premium top would be easier to put down. My Supertop is the standard top material (sailcloth) and I can put it completely down in probably 2 mins or less if I needed to. That includes unzipping everything. Also consider how often you will have your soft top on your Jeep if you are also getting the hard top and see if that makes a difference. Lastly a soft top typically lasts 5 years depending on your location and use. The windows scratch pretty easily and it might be cheaper to replace them on a standard top compared to the premium. As you can tell I am not big on the premium top, unless you get a killer deal like Panthermark or you don't get a hard top.

Since you mentioned heated seats, there is an aftermarket option for that is well, of course!
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:53 PM   #25
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Something else to keep in mind. 2013 4-door soft tops have spring assist (I think both normal and premium have this).


Oh....and order what you want. Use invoice, not MSRP.
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:00 PM   #26
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I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if I don't get the Premium Top am I really settling for less.

As far as ordering vs. taking one off the lot, some Saharas I see online are being advertised for about 15% below MSRP. My assumption was that I won't be able to get nearly as good a price if I were to order one.
"I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if I don't get the Premium Top am I really settling for less. "

- IMHO, Yes. For reason's stated before. Ease of use, fitment, take it with you, looks, warranty, roll it into purchase.

"As far as ordering vs. taking one off the lot, some Saharas I see online are being advertised for about 15% below MSRP. My assumption was that I won't be able to get nearly as good a price if I were to order one."

Don't be to sure about that... in general I think most will agree that most dealers will give you the same deal on an ordered unit, as they will on a unit sitting on the lot. In other words, they typically don't discount units that have been sitting longer (because they don't sit) and it's not like they're going to be "stuck" with your order if you back out.

If you find the one you want that has the hardware you want, ( i.e. auto, 3.73 gears, side airbags, stereo, and color, then have the dealer add the top, and even the heated seats can be installed at the dealer if that's the only reason to look at a sahara ), buy it. Then you have it now. Your dealer can search and try to find one to fit these requirements.

If the only thing missing is the top & heated seats, or even leather, add them at the dealership. Otherwise, order. Waiting sucks, but the agony you suffer during the waiting period... Hurts... So....Good!
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:03 PM   #27
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I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if I don't get the Premium Top am I really settling for less.

As far as ordering vs. taking one off the lot, some Saharas I see online are being advertised for about 15% below MSRP. My assumption was that I won't be able to get nearly as good a price if I were to order one.
I posted this in another soft-top thread but I don't see how to link to the response. So here it is again as it's relevant.
-----------------
You may want to check Craigslist first. At least in my area there are frequently individuals posting unused factory soft-tops for less than half than what you'll pay online as they came with a dual-top option that they never plan to use.

To my knowledge the 07-13 Jeeps can all use a soft top from any of those years but you would need matching hardware for the soft-top from the specific year. For instance I got an unused 2010 top for my 2012 and although the door surrounds and rear window changed for the 2011-2013 soft top it works fine on my 2012 because the seller included all the parts.

If someone is selling a top to you there should be the top (wrapped by a protective vinyl sleeve that you discard after installation), and a box with the door surrounds and rear window bow and another box containing the vinyl windows and rear window clips.

The dual top option came with the soft-top connected to the sport bar so you will need to the 4 bolts that attached the bows from the seller's sport bar. If someone is selling a top they may not remember them because they are under the wrap on the angled down tubes of the sport bar.

Hope that helps.
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:08 PM   #28
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If I can't find what I want, I will definitely see about ordering. Thanks for the tip.

You guys brought up another interesting point -- adding heated seats. I did some searching and from what I found you can't yet add heated seats to the 2013's that come with side-airbags. Is that true?
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:13 PM   #29
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If I can't find what I want, I will definitely see about ordering. Thanks for the tip.

You guys brought up another interesting point -- adding heated seats. I did some searching and from what I found you can't yet add heated seats to the 2013's that come with side-airbags. Is that true?
I added them to mine through the dealer and I have the airbags on the side. There was some question at first and the dealer thought they couldn't, but apparently they can now.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:14 PM   #30
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I went with hardtop only because I knew I wanted and Off Road Heroes top. Then I bought one and didn't like it and sold it two days later. I'm glad I kept the HT, but wish I would have gone dual top option. I am now looking for a soft top, but they are hard to come by in the south especially when you want one. So, I have a hoist coming and will just play the weather game and soon here in Texas it won't rain for 4 months so I will be ok. Then the HT goes back on.

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