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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to preface this by saying I have owned probably 30 Jeeps of virtually every variety and configuration over the last 40 years, beginning at age 15 with an early CJ. Some for a few months and turned, some were “Keepers” that I owned for a decade or more.

I have restored, modified, engine/trans./transfer case/diff. swapped too many to remember. I have been into Jeeps (and a lot of other 4WD hardware) for a long time.

One of the perks of my career is travel. Often in California, but also to the Pacific Northwest, the Northeast, the Midwest, and the Southwest. When I fly, I also rent vehicles at my destination, sometimes for a day or two, sometimes for a week or more. My rental agency status allows me to pick from some pretty nice vehicles. I won’t bore you with the list, but the variety of vehicles I have had the opportunity to long term test drive has been very cool.

I will try to be as non-descript as possible, but I recently took possession of an August build 2020 JT Rubicon, with 8 miles on the clock. It has been/will be with me for the majority of the week, and I will do my best to give an honest opinion of the drive time early next week after it goes back to a slot next to the incessant rows of Benz, BMW, Infiniti, Challengers, and Suburbans.

As stated:

JT Rubicon with the variable valve timing Pentastar (the only engine available obviously), 850RE trans; the good transfer case, electric lockers, 4.10 gear sets, ‘Performance’ (yeah right) suspension, electric disco-sway bar, Fox shocks, Falken Wildpeak 285/70/17’s, and yada yada yada.

This isn’t the first JL/JT I have driven, but it is the first JT Rubicon.

First impressions:

The cloth interior is decent, seats are supportive, dash layout is acceptable although I am not a fan of the red ‘anodized look’ dash trim (For five weeks I had a 2019 Dodge AKA Ram Rebel with similar dash and door panel trim, ugliest interior of any truck I have ever driven, bar none. My opinion only!).

The VVT Pentastar is relatively quiet and runs strong considering relative lack of displacement. I have a company vehicle with an earlier Pentastar and it doesn’t run as strong. 850RE shifts strong, converter works, it will boil the Falken’s with relative ease. The ECM/TCM seem to work well together, but it does have the annoying tendency to hunt between 7th and 8th gear at 70-75 MPH at part throttle. This seems to be more pronounced than any other unmolested JK/JL/JT I have driven, and may be due in part to the 33” tall tires and 4.10’s. Overall it pulls hard to redline 1st through 4th with an indicated 88 MPH at the top of 4th gear. I kept waiting for Marty McFly to show up in the passenger seat.

Mopar struggles with spring rates on certain vehicles, whether leaf or coil. This thing handles like CRAP on the highway at speed. I will state that I drive vehicles relatively hard. It truly feels like the ‘Performance Suspension’ on the JT utilizes the same spring rate rear springs as a 4-door JL Rubicon or Moab, without enough weight on the rear to make the spring rate work.

At times it jumps around like a 60’s car sporting HiJacker air shocks, other times it gets in a wallowing rhythm that just doesn’t feel like a quality driver. Shock valving may play a part, but I am not convinced. With some weight in the bed it would probably change and become more compliant. As info. I did lower the rear tire pressure to 32 PSI from the recommended 37 PSI cold, which did help a bit.

The front spring rate/suspension/shock valving seems to work well when you differentiate it from the rear.

The transfer case is balky to shift, but I am sure some of that can be attributed to lack of miles on the clock. The crawl ratio in 4 Low is amazing for a new vehicle. Lockers work well (although a 4WD High option would be good for people who understand how to drive a vehicle with lockers). I get it though. Nanny’s save people who don’t know how to drive. That being said, I am sure a hack could be effected (if it hasn’t already) with enough circuit research.

Fuel mileage SUCKS. 16/23 my a$$. I would challenge even the most docile driver to make that happen. I am getting roughly 12-14 combined.

Overall, in the first few hundred miles, it is cool to drive. Gets a lot of attention, and is a decent driver.
 

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It's easy to get bad fuel mileage with any vehicle. I can just imagine the way you are driving it to get 12-14 mpg. At least you admit to driving "relatively hard." I've put 1900 miles on mine and have not reset the B tripmeter in that time. It reads 21.9 mpg.

As for highway handling, mine handled like crap on the 120-mile drive home from the dealer...with 48 lbs of air in the tires. Since I lowered the pressure to a reasonable level, I have no gripes with the handling...even on the interstate at 75-85 mph...unless it's windy. It handles a lot like every other truck I've owned. The ride is always smoother with weight in the bed.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's easy to get bad fuel mileage with any vehicle. I can just imagine the way you are driving it to get 12-14 mpg. At least you admit to driving "relatively hard." I've put 1900 miles on mine and have not reset the B tripmeter in that time. It reads 21.9 mpg.

As for highway handling, mine handled like crap on the 120-mile drive home from the dealer...with 48 lbs of air in the tires. Since I lowered the pressure to a reasonable level, I have no gripes with the handling...even on the interstate at 75-85 mph...unless it's windy. It handles a lot like every other truck I've owned. The ride is always smoother with weight in the bed.
If you are getting 21.9 combined since day one, I applaud your driving habits. I would never achieve that mileage with this thing unless I was on a cross country trip with no head or cross winds and used cruise control 90% of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
JT Rubicon Extended Drive, Part II

So a relatively brief recap with my overall thoughts.

Six days, 1120 miles driven in a variety of conditions. Total off road miles traversed was approximately 45, with approximately 35 in 4WD, and only 2-3 in 4 Low. Average fuel economy (or lack thereof) was 13.93 MPG over the entire 1120 miles.

Interior is laid out well and was comfortable for the driving I did. Seats did not leave me sore nor did I feel like I was constantly moving to get comfortable. A/C blows cold, and even in 90* temperatures the cabin stays cool despite the black interior and exterior. By contrast, the A/C in the white 2019 Rebel I recently piloted for five weeks was absolutely terrible.

Controls are all within reach and fairly well thought out. I like the steering wheel and the layout for wheel mounted switches. Shifter is placed ergonomically and feels solid. Thank God they haven’t gone to the dash mounted round knob for a shifter like a bunch of the Mopar vehicles. Those shifters are lame to me.

Transfer case shifter is not horrible to reach, and some of the balkiness described in the first post went away with use. The switches for the lockers, power windows, and the controls for the radio and A/C are certainly placed acceptably and all work well.

As previously stated, engine runs good, ECM/TCM tuning seems to work well, particularly under full throttle in 1st though 4th, and does well in traffic in the 50-65 MPH range, and 77 MPH and up.

Between 70-75 this particular unit seemed to hunt a lot between 7th and 8th gear. With a 4.10 gear, 33” OAH tire, .822 and .640 7th and 8th gear, respectively, that may be expected. Some variants of this transmission have a .8392 and .6667 7th and 8th, which may have been enough of a final drive bump to alleviate this, but for whatever reason the Chrysler engineers obviously chose this. CAFE standards maybe.

I don’t see how people are installing 35’s or 37’s without gearing them, even with the 8 speed. Anything with a tall tire and not enough gear equates to less than exhilarating drive, at least for me personally.

The 285 HP is not enough for me in this vehicle. The power to weight ratio is just on the low side for what I expect out of a modern vehicle. If I ever do buy one, I will certainly have a Hemi swap well planned out in advance. I took a lot of measurements, and it certainly can be done. That A/C compressor down low on the left side in front of the exhaust manifold/cat, with the aluminum hard lines snaking all over isn’t exactly the cleanest design, but anything can be overcome.

As previously stated, if you drive hard, you will find this thing to be a handful when driven hard. Rear end never really feels planted at speed on uneven freeways/highways, particularly on sweepers with expansion joints. Crosswinds negatively impact the overall stability at speed, quite profoundly at times.

Lockers work well, engage and disengage quickly and without fanfare. Transfer case works well and of course the Rubicon’s low range is a relative joy when in the rough stuff.

Anyway, sorry about the diatribe. It was a good drive overall, just not sure if I would lay down $44k for new one, knowing I would need to dial in the suspension, and figure out what to do for the lack of HP. Will be keeping an eye on resale values and determine if it is viable to build one in the next year or two with a clean low mile used one.
 

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So a relatively brief recap with my overall thoughts.

Six days, 1120 miles driven in a variety of conditions. Total off road miles traversed was approximately 45, with approximately 35 in 4WD, and only 2-3 in 4 Low. Average fuel economy (or lack thereof) was 13.93 MPG over the entire 1120 miles.
I live in SoCal and I've never achieved over 14-15 MPG with my 2013 JKUR 10A. Sure, I can hop on a flat freeway and get 19 MPG until I hit an incline or exit the freeway and start navigating city streets with stop-n-go traffic.

A pickup truck will get worse mileage on the open highway due to the rear tailgate.

People that claim better mileage are comparing apples to oranges. I would like to see their options list, routes traveled and method of determining the MPG when claiming higher than normal fuel mileage.

.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I live in SoCal and I've never achieved over 14-15 MPG with my 2013 JKUR 10A. Sure, I can hop on a flat freeway and get 19 MPG until I hit an incline or exit the freeway and start navigating city streets with stop-n-go traffic.

A pickup truck will get worse mileage on the open highway due to the rear tailgate.

People that claim better mileage are comparing apples to oranges. I would like to see their options list, routes traveled and method of determining the MPG when claiming higher than normal fuel mileage.

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Agreed! And in retrospect, I am not sure I have ever achieved manufacturer advertised fuel economy in ANY vehicle I have owned! That being said, I certainly have had a lot of fun in a wide variety of vehicles, with fuel economy usually being lower on the list of requirements. Only my opinion of course!
 
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People that claim better mileage are comparing apples to oranges. I would like to see their options list, routes traveled and method of determining the MPG when claiming higher than normal fuel mileage.
I've been pleasantly surprised at the mileage with the Gladiator. I got about 17 with my '13 JKUR, and about 20 with the 2016 GMC Canyon that I traded in on the JT.

Options list: still pretty stock Rubicon, no tonneau, ESS disabled. Always loaded with a refrigerator and over 300 pounds of Search and Rescue equipment, photo equipment, tools, and recovery gear. Actually, the weight of the reefer and its power supply is offset by the fact that I removed the 90-lb rear seats and installed a flat floor.
Routes travelled: Most of the miles are back and forth to Moab from my cabin, which is 26 miles outside of Moab and 2000 feet higher. That 2000 feet is covered in 8 miles with some steep grades. Several of those uphill trips with a 45-gallon (about 400 lbs) water tank in the bed. Considerable amount of stop and go driving in Moab. Several lead-footed responses to rescues. One 200-mile round-trip to Grand Junction, 75-85 mph on I-70. Maybe 100 miles off-road, most 4H, some 4L.
Calculation method (which agrees with the math at the pump):
 

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I've been pleasantly surprised at the mileage with the Gladiator. I got about 17 with my '13 JKUR, and about 20 with the 2016 GMC Canyon that I traded in on the JT.
That's about the same as driving from Rancho Cucamonga to Cajon Junction -- 26 miles with an approx 2,500 ft. total elevation change. Two thirds of that is a moderate 500 ft. elevation change cruising the freeway near Glen Helen motorcycle park. Beyond that and you're traveling up a slight grade until you reach Cajon Junction off ramp.

And like all things... what goes up must come down. :)

Are you able to measure MPG for each trip meter? or does that reflect MPG on the odometer?

What's interesting about the MPG readings on the EVIC, which I think is accurate.. I can get the average MPG to display just about anything I want it to display. Not suggesting that's what you've done to demonstrate higher numbers on your JT -- I think what's more important is understanding the variables and how that impacts the numbers.

I'm not familiar with the EVIC on the newer Jeeps. What I do know, the algorithm that calculates the MPG data between fills and what's retained in the history has much to do with the AVG MPG that displays on the EVIC.

For example, I can retain the data between each fill and continue with the historical AVG... which has very little impact on the overall cumulative averaged data, as displayed. The data collected over a longer period of time will show more realistic MPG averages -- which reflects the true mileage for an individual in a particular vehicle.

On a new vehicle there is very little history... so comparing mine with yours is only relative if I clear the history at the same time you clear yours -- and we drive the same roads, at the same time, same speeds, same time sitting in traffic, same throttle input... the list goes on.

I can show my current EVIC display and it will show 14.3 MPG -- but I haven't reset the data in a long time. Does that mean your 2013 JKUR got 3 MPG better fuel mileage than I get with my 2013 JKUR 10A? I doubt it...

If I select "RESET" at each tank and retain the history, the AVG MPG reading will show moderate variation -- depending on throttle input and time sitting in traffic. If I reset current MPG data and the MPG history by selecting "RESET ALL"... I can show as much as 130mpg or little as 1.8mpg -- again, depending on the road, traffic and manipulating throttle input.

But those extreme averages quickly disappear as the data collects and retains history while driving with *normal* throttle inputs over various road elevations and over a long period of time.

Examples:

.
 

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Mopar struggles with spring rates on certain vehicles, whether leaf or coil. This thing handles like CRAP on the highway at speed. I will state that I drive vehicles relatively hard. It truly feels like the ‘Performance Suspension’ on the JT utilizes the same spring rate rear springs as a 4-door JL Rubicon or Moab, without enough weight on the rear to make the spring rate work.

At times it jumps around like a 60’s car sporting HiJacker air shocks, other times it gets in a wallowing rhythm that just doesn’t feel like a quality driver. Shock valving may play a part, but I am not convinced. With some weight in the bed it would probably change and become more compliant. As info. I did lower the rear tire pressure to 32 PSI from the recommended 37 PSI cold, which did help a bit.

The front spring rate/suspension/shock valving seems to work well when you differentiate it from the rear.



Fuel mileage SUCKS. 16/23 my a$$. I would challenge even the most docile driver to make that happen. I am getting roughly 12-14 combined.

Overall, in the first few hundred miles, it is cool to drive. Gets a lot of attention, and is a decent driver.

The Rubicon is the one trim I haven't driven, but the Overland and Sport ride like a dream. Best riding Jeep I've ever driven, and I've driven almost every Jeep released since the 1980s. Fantastic suspension and dialed in perfectly.

My JLU showed 20 MPG combined on the window sticker and it got exactly 20 MPG combined in stock form. My JT Gladiator window sticker showed 19 and that's exactly what it got from day 1. The window stickers are spot-on these days. If you're going through gas like you're sponsored by OPEC, you either need to 1) slow down 2) buy quality Top Tier gasoline or 3) unhook the trailer.

Also, real world users have logged 36,000 miles and the average is 18 MPG, which is what I get now that I'm modded with larger tires.
 

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What's interesting about the MPG readings on the EVIC, which I think is accurate.. I can get the average MPG to display just about anything I want it to display. Not suggesting that's what you've done to demonstrate higher numbers on your JT

I can show my current EVIC display and it will show 14.3 MPG -- but I haven't reset the data in a long time. Does that mean your 2013 JKUR got 3 MPG better fuel mileage than I get with my 2013 JKUR 10A? I doubt it...
You can doubt all you want. The simple fact is that I averaged about 17 mpg in my '13 JKUR over about 40,000 miles.

With the Gladiator, I reset Tripmeter A at every fill up...and I've kept written mileage/fuel records on all my vehicles for business/tax purposes for over 40 years. My calculations on the JT agree with the EVIC display. I have not reset Tripmeter B, shown in the photo, since I bought the Gladiator. As it states, 21.9 mpg over 1962 miles and almost 2 months.

And of course it's easy to get the EVIC to read whatever you want. If I reset it at the cabin, I could probably get it to read 99 mpg if I coasted all the way to the Colorado River. If I reset it at the gas station and drive directly home up the river, it usually reads around 25-27 mpg when I hit the turn off where the steep grades start, and drops to around 20 by the time I get home, 8 miles and 2000 vertical feet later. The way I see most people driving, it's not surprising that most get poor gas mileage.
 
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I live in SoCal and I've never achieved over 14-15 MPG with my 2013 JKUR 10A. Sure, I can hop on a flat freeway and get 19 MPG until I hit an incline or exit the freeway and start navigating city streets with stop-n-go traffic.

A pickup truck will get worse mileage on the open highway due to the rear tailgate.

People that claim better mileage are comparing apples to oranges. I would like to see their options list, routes traveled and method of determining the MPG when claiming higher than normal fuel mileage.

.
I have a little story on this....
In 1992 I bought a new Ford Ranger 4x4 with a 4.0 Liter engine. I took careful notes of the miles driven and gas used for the first year of ownership. About half way through that year California came out with a new additive to help make fuel more environmentally friendly.
Before this additive I was averaging around 25 MPG. After this additive I was averaging 20 MPG.
I never figured out how a 20% drop in mileage helped the environment. I did figure out how it helped the state collect more gas tax though.
 

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I have a little story on this....
In 1992 I bought a new Ford Ranger 4x4 with a 4.0 Liter engine. I took careful notes of the miles driven and gas used for the first year of ownership. About half way through that year California came out with a new additive to help make fuel more environmentally friendly.
Before this additive I was averaging around 25 MPG. After this additive I was averaging 20 MPG.
I never figured out how a 20% drop in mileage helped the environment. I did figure out how it helped the state collect more gas tax though.
Yeah... one would think burning more, but slightly cleaner fuel (assumption) is defeating the purpose -- in the end you're pumping more pollutants into the environment by burning more.

And if you consider the lifecycle of fuel from ground-to-combustion... well, how often do people look at the entire process? Rarely!

In process improvement activities, I call that squeezing a ballon...

Unless you take waste out -- not just redistribute to another step in the process, you've essentially done nothing. Perhaps wasted a bunch a valuable resources to listen to the BS.

.
 
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Is it true that the Gladiator Rubicon Tow Rating is lower than a sport?
With the automatic transmission, yes.

Sport w/ Max Tow package is 7,650 lbs
Rubicon is 7,000 lbs

With the manual transmission they are both 4,500 lbs
 

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Based on my experience sticker MPG is pretty accurate, 18 avg on the sticker for mine
18.3 real average after one year. (fuelly)
EVIC is usually +10%.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have a little story on this....
In 1992 I bought a new Ford Ranger 4x4 with a 4.0 Liter engine. I took careful notes of the miles driven and gas used for the first year of ownership. About half way through that year California came out with a new additive to help make fuel more environmentally friendly.
Before this additive I was averaging around 25 MPG. After this additive I was averaging 20 MPG.
I never figured out how a 20% drop in mileage helped the environment. I did figure out how it helped the state collect more gas tax though.
I clearly remember that as well. MTBE was a popular additive for some California areas, as well as the almighty ethanol coming on the scene. Obviously ethanol runs cool and you can certainly make a bunch of power with non-naturally aspirated applications, but the consumption rate of alcohol is roughly twice that of gasoline, so the numbers are relatively easy to understand.
 
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I clearly remember that as well. MTBE was a popular additive for some California areas, as well as the almighty ethanol coming on the scene. Obviously ethanol runs cool and you can certainly make a bunch of power with non-naturally aspirated applications, but the consumption rate of alcohol is roughly twice that of gasoline, so the numbers are relatively easy to understand.

More consumption = more tax collected. I don't think the environment was ever really considered. More consumption must produce more pollutants...

Sad stuff. Now California is running scared with electric cars not using gas at the pumps. I hear registration has added taxes (like registrations aren’t crazy enough here already) for electric cars.
 

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My real world experience with mileage is that it's very driving dependent. It's my wife's DD, and she maintains an average of 18-19, tank after tank. This is a mix of city driving, and back road 15 mile commute, with a 1500 foot elevation change each way. If I drive it around town on my days off, I get a little lower, around 15-16, but then again, I have a heavier right foot. On trips, we get much better mileage. On a recent 250 mile trip to the coast and back, I recorded an average of 28. Now about 160 of that was on open highways holding 65mph, but the remainder was mountain two-lane. I was just simply driving for the best mileage possible, not rabbiting out of starts, not pushing it on hills, and taking advantage of momentum.
 
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