Test-drove a 2012 auto Sport... it was gutless. Are the manuals any better? - Jeep Wrangler Forum
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:31 PM   #1
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Test-drove a 2012 auto Sport... it was gutless. Are the manuals any better?

I was toying with the idea of buying my first automatic vehicle ever, a Jeep Wrangler JK. But.... to be honest, I just test drove a 2012 and it was completely gutless. I don't know what gears it had in there, but it didn't feel much faster than my 95 S10 with the 3.63 rear end and 33" tires. (and there is NOTHING slower than a 4-banger S10 with 33" tires). It felt... I dunno, boring. Like a van. It shifted lazily at best.

I'm guessing it had the 3.21 gears in there... would the 3.73s make a world of difference, or am I just going to have to get the manual for it to be any fun to drive? Was thinking, the auto tranny on the Wranglers is pretty bullet proof, and since I plan to drive the wheels off this thing I'd rather not have to ever replace a clutch again. Plus I'm tall, so sticking my left leg out on the running boards as I'm driving doorless would give me some great legroom.

But if it's going to feel so... lazy and sluggish, I'll forgo the auto and get the manual in a heartbeat.

Thoughts?

Charles.

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Old 04-29-2013, 03:36 PM   #2
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It probably had the 3.21 gears.

I have the 3.73 gears on my '12 and it runs great. I have 35" tires. Once I used the AEV procal, runs like stock.

If you didn't like it, check if it was in fact the 3.21. Then try one with the 3.73. Then a Rubi with 4.1. Even if you don't want to buy a Rubi, you could always but a sport and have it re-geared depending on tire size.

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Old 04-29-2013, 03:40 PM   #3
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what's AEV procal?

Also, I'll occasionally be towing a trailer with two motorcycles on it, if that makes any difference. Through the blue ridge mountains at least once a year.

Charles.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:41 PM   #4
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I have a '13 manual with 3.73 gears. No complaints here. While it isn't going to beat anything out the gate, I find it more enjoyable than the 4.0 my TJ had and that was a 5 speed.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:46 PM   #5
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Among many other things, the Procal will correct the spedometer and shift points when you increase wheel size or change gears.

See here:
ProCal Module - Shop By Category

When I moved from stock to 35's, my Jeep ran kind of crappy like you were describing. Shifting was 'weird' to say the least. After using the Procal, if someone had charged me $1000 and told me it was re-geared, I would believe them. Huge difference.

It will also allow you to turn off the TPMS warning.

A Jeep won't be the best at towing. However, I have a tent trailer that probably weighs more than your motorcycles. I have been able to tow it up to the mountains and back with no issues. Takes a little longer to accelerate (mostly up hill), but is tolerable, not that bad.

Definitely want 3.73 or 4.10 if you're going to be doing any towing. If going to 35's and towing, probably want the 4.10.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:49 PM   #6
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I bought a 13 manual with 3.73's but had the intentions of buying an automatic. Both Wranglers I drove had the 3.73's. i would not personally call the automatic with 3.73 sluggish. I bought the manual simply because I enjoyed the driving experience more. I have no idea what it feels like driving the auto with 3.21's.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:54 PM   #7
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I don't know much about the gear stuff you boys know about (my Jeep man being one of them) but I have the 2012 2 door with a six speed. It is a blast to drive around town and holds on when going up Vail pass!!! (over 10,000 ft altitude!!) My man says I drive it like a race car... It is my Iroc with 4x4!!! Love it!!!
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:55 PM   #8
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I have an auto, but with 4.1 gearing...and it seems like a muscle car to me. Granted, my last vehicle was a TJ...and prior to that was a YJ...so yeah, big improvement. If I was coming from something else, perhaps I would feel differently.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:58 PM   #9
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I'll be towing one 500 lb street bike and one 300 lb dirt bike, on a single axle steel-frame trailer with a wooden floor. (Basically the large Harbor Freight trailer, which is roughly 300 lbs). And that will be only once, maybe twice a year. (I like to take both the sporty bike and the enduro with me on trips to the mountains). So 1100, maybe 1200 pounds behind the Wrangler shouldn't be a problem with the 3.73 gears, should it? I'd have to go with a Rubicon to get the 4.10's, and they don't come with half doors.

I do want 35"s though. That, I think, is the largest I can put on without a lift kit, right?

Charles.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:07 PM   #10
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I drove an auto with 3.21, it was very sluggish, a Prius felt faster. I have a 3.73 manual with 33's and love it, million times better than the auto I test drove.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:09 PM   #11
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Towing that trailer won't be a problem at all. I tow 2,000lb regularly with mine. It's not fast, but it goes just fine and holds 75 on the highway
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:21 PM   #12
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Excellent. I'm probably going to end up with the manual then. Especially if it's got a more sports-car feel to it. I'm sooooo sick of driving underpowered vehicles. Everything I've owned up to this point has been a shitty 4-banger... and I'm 35 :/

Haven't owned that many cars though. S-10 has been reliable for the last decade, so no reason to replace it... except that I hate it with an unbridled passion born of the inability to reach 65mph by the end of the on-ramp...

That, and it has started to need regular repair. Head gasket, clutch, radiator, starter, broken coolant pipe, u-joint (twice), drive shaft seal, all in the last 5 years. And now the tranny is grinding funny and its leaking power steering fluid.

Charles.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:27 PM   #13
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my 13JK was slow when I first got it. turns out it had 3.73's but the computer was programmed for 3.21's. shift points were all messed up. it drives better on 37's now than it did on 33's with the messed up programming.

at 60 on the highway it used to take just shy of pedal to the floor to get it to shift down.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:37 PM   #14
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The 3.6 is no slouch. I have no complaints with mine. Auto with 4:10's on 35's. Having said that I wasn't expecting much as far as a sporty feel to a Jeep Wrangler. If I wanted a sporty feel I would have been looking at either a sports car or maybe a Ford Raptor. I would test drive a stick. I didn't like the stick. Not sporty feeling at all. More like a mail truck to me but the last stick I had was a Civic Si so I was a bit spoiled.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
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The 3.6 is no slouch. I have no complaints with mine. Auto with 4:10's on 35's. Having said that I wasn't expecting much as far as a sporty feel to a Jeep Wrangler. If I wanted a sporty feel I would have been looking at either a sports car or maybe a Ford Raptor. I would test drive a stick. I didn't like the stick. Not sporty feeling at all. More like a mail truck to me but the last stick I had was a Civic Si so I was a bit spoiled.
yea I felt the same way, that was on of the reasons I went with an auto, I came from a 6mt 350Z and I knew it just wouldnt be able to compare to that transmission.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:45 PM   #16
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I test drove a 2013 Black JK automatic and it felt sluggish, then test drove a 2013 Gecko JK 6 speed and bought it.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:46 PM   #17
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If you get the tow package from the dealer, doesn't that come with better gearing? If so that would kill two birds with one stone.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChopperCharles View Post
...Especially if it's got a more sports-car feel to it. I'm sooooo sick of driving underpowered vehicles...
Sports car feel? I don't think so at least not any I've driven Having said that I don't feel like my 2012 JKU with 4:10 gears and 6spd is under powered but its certainly no speed demon either. It is very fun to drive none the less but comparing to a sports car is apples to oranges at best.
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChopperCharles View Post
I'll be towing one 500 lb street bike and one 300 lb dirt bike, on a single axle steel-frame trailer with a wooden floor. (Basically the large Harbor Freight trailer, which is roughly 300 lbs). And that will be only once, maybe twice a year. (I like to take both the sporty bike and the enduro with me on trips to the mountains). So 1100, maybe 1200 pounds behind the Wrangler shouldn't be a problem with the 3.73 gears, should it? I'd have to go with a Rubicon to get the 4.10's, and they don't come with half doors.

I do want 35"s though. That, I think, is the largest I can put on without a lift kit, right?

Charles.
pretty sure you can order any model wrangler with half doors if you want. just have to mention it to the salesman. as for towing, the fact you are still under 1500 lbs means your not forced to go with the 4 doors ( 3500 lbs max ). for the amount of times I use the back seat, I opted for a 2dr and just took out the rear seating for increased storage. works great for me tho. as far as biggest you can put on without a lift, there are a few threads out there about that, if i recall you're about there but it would require the trimming of the pinch seams, then again I hear the latest batch of 2013's come with the pinch seams pre trimmed.
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:01 PM   #20
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Pentastar auto unlimited 4.10s 315/70/17 duratracs (33.5" actual) towing a 4x6 cargo trailer loaded with tools no problem. Just completed a 1200 mile trip. 14mpg with 75 to 80 most of the way. Up mountain passes without breaking a sweat. I was the one passing alot of the time, not getting passed. My 85 CJ with straight 6, carburetor, and 31s would have been a nightmare! Really, I think the pentastar is sufficient for just about everything we need. Doesn't really stop me from coveting a supercharger...
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:37 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ChopperCharles View Post
I was toying with the idea of buying my first automatic vehicle ever, a Jeep Wrangler JK. But.... to be honest, I just test drove a 2012 and it was completely gutless. I don't know what gears it had in there, but it didn't feel much faster than my 95 S10 with the 3.63 rear end and 33" tires. (and there is NOTHING slower than a 4-banger S10 with 33" tires). It felt... I dunno, boring. Like a van. It shifted lazily at best.

I'm guessing it had the 3.21 gears in there... would the 3.73s make a world of difference, or am I just going to have to get the manual for it to be any fun to drive? Was thinking, the auto tranny on the Wranglers is pretty bullet proof, and since I plan to drive the wheels off this thing I'd rather not have to ever replace a clutch again. Plus I'm tall, so sticking my left leg out on the running boards as I'm driving doorless would give me some great legroom.

But if it's going to feel so... lazy and sluggish, I'll forgo the auto and get the manual in a heartbeat.

Thoughts?

Charles.
Thoughts?

My thoughts are you have never driven one.

Both the 3.21 and 3.73 are great with the 3.6. The auto (and I come from driving manuals) is one of the best I have driven.

Stick with the S10....
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:07 PM   #22
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Im gonna have to say that there must have been something wrong with the one you drove. My 3.6 auto with 3:21 is well actually pretty zippy. Even with 33" tires it will still giddy up when you smash the pedal.My other ride is a 390hp Hemi so I know what zippy feels like.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:09 PM   #23
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High-revving engines don't give the same type of acceleration as engines with more lower-end. You don't feel so much with the Pentastar, it's just that when you look down at the speedometer you realize you are actually moving at a pretty good clip. I am certain even with 3.21's, a Pentastar Wrangler accelerates far more quickly than a 4 cylinder S10.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:24 PM   #24
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Hemi JK versus 3.6 JK not a huge amount of difference.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Pentastar VS 2011 Jeep Wrangler 5.7 VVT Hemi - YouTube


Another one which I dont think the JK looks gutless.



Ive actually ran light to light against my wife in her 2012 Ram with the 390hp Hemi and out of the hole I can run right with her till about 30 mph then the Hemi will walk off from the JK but in all honesty the 3.6 is no slouch at all for a box with wheels.And compared to previous years it is in fact a speed demon. My 79 CJ with a 304 didnt pull as hard as this 3.6.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:48 PM   #25
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No complaints here with my 3.6 auto, 3:73's and 33's.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:55 PM   #26
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My '12 JK auto with 3.73s runs 0-60 in 6.3 seconds, pretty fast for what it is.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:37 PM   #27
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My first impression when I read this was... troll? This engine is making 285hp and with a 5 speed auto and decent gearing (3.73 is decent gearing) it accelerates very respectably. What's it going to take to not be a dog... 400hp?
To give the benifit of the doubt.. the op is sincere and he got one that wasn't right, but to say the new jeeps are guttless is bs. They will accelerate with any other car of approximate weight in the the 280-300hp range and the new 5 speed is in my experience a well programed/performing auto.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:37 PM   #28
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No, I'm not a troll. I just was not impressed with the automatic I test drove. It felt sluggish. The last automatic I drove was the Chevy HHR (rental car, 4-doors), and while I thought it was uglier than sin, it would press me back into the seat when I gunned it. The Wrangler didn't have that same feeling. It didn't feel bad, it didn't feel like it was straining, it just felt... lazy.

Just looked it up btw. It was a 2011, not a 2012. This is the exact wrangler I test drove:
Used 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport VIN 1J4AA2D17BL582111 For Sale | Durham NC .

Charles.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:50 PM   #29
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And there's the problem...the 2011 has the 3.8 with 4 speed auto and is indeed gutless. You need to drive a 2012 or 2013 with the 3.6, day and night difference.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:57 PM   #30
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Oh, okay. Wasn't aware the engines and transmissions were different, thought all the JKs were the same. I need to do more research I guess.

Charles.

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