I am a former CJ owner and new JK owner who just went through the “Jeep Selection Process”. Like many of you, I joined the forum here to ask all kinds of questions about which model I should buy, gear ratios, and MPG. I certainly wasn’t the first, and I won’t be the last. So, below is some basic advice to people who are about to make this decision.
To begin with, before getting hung-up on 3.21 versus 4.10 gear ratios, MPG, or which model will climb up a cliff face better one has to spend some seat-time in the actual vehicle. You need to head to your local Jeep dealership and drive the various models: Sport, Sport S, Sahara, and Rubicon. Also, drive the 2-door and 4-door, as well as leather versus non-leather interiors. While they are all Jeeps, each one has a unique feel to it which may (or may not) suit your driving style. People might ask (as I did) if they should get one model over another, and this is really hard to say. The only true way to know if you like the Jeep, as well as one model over another, is to test drive them. You can’t choose a vehicle from reading Internet articles or blogs.
I learned a tremendous amount from test driving them and maneuvering them around some empty parking lots to get a feel for backing into parking spaces, blind sports, turning radius, etc. Going out on the Interstate to get an idea of how it is at 65 to 70 MPH is also a good idea. The bottom line is that you really need to drive them and check out all the various options before dropping your hard earned money. For those of you who don’t already know: the Sport drives very different than a Rubicon on the road. You need to experience this before making a decision. You might like it…or hate it.
Incentives: you need to read the fine print with these. Sometimes dealerships advertise one thing and say another. Getting certain discounts often requires that you finance through them for a specific term. There are discounts like Tread Lightly that will get you 1% below MSRP as well as the Chrysler Friends and Family plan. A dealership offered me a discount just by me mentioning the Tread Lightly program. You just have to ask.