Drove a new Rubicon last week.... - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
Matt1981CJ7
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Drove a new Rubicon last week....

....and wasn't impressed.

My buddy from Florida brought his family to Colorado for a visit. He rented a 2020 Jeep Rubicon 4-door. It was equipped with all the bells and whistles, like selectable lockers, auto sway bar disconnect, retractable roof, 33" tires, etc, etc....

My first impression was it's a cool looking ride that kinda resembles a real Jeep. But that's where my favorable opinions ended. Upon driving it, I was shocked at how poorly it handled. Every slight bump felt like the thing was going to jump into the next lane. It wandered so badly, you could never totally relax while driving it. Acceleration was OK, but the shift points were very harsh unless you really feathered the go pedal. Cornering was what you'd expect from a high COG vehicle, not good.

We concluded this rig wasn't really built for highway cruising, so we hoped it would eat up the loose dirt county roads around my ranch. Wrong. It was even more squirrelly on them. I didn't dare drive it over 50 MPH on the same roads I routinely drive my Tundra on at 65.

We didn't do any rock crawling or hard-core wheeling in it. Perhaps that's where this rig really shines. I hope so, because it absolutely sucks for everyday driving.

Overall, my buddy and I were very disappointed with this rig. We both concluded we would never own one. For the price, we were expecting a lot more. I honestly wouldn't trade my old CJ for one. The whole experience reinforced my belief that the last real Jeep was made by AMC.

Matt

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post #2 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 07:04 AM
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tires were over inflated i would bet. they tend to put like 37-40psu in them, they only need like 29. Makes huge difference. But to get below 37 you need a programmer or it will ding your life away.

Bet that jeep will out climb you on anything Tall and steep and out crawl yours Stock<>Stock, By night and day and earth to the moon. that 116" wheel base shines in places like Sand Hollow or Moab where it is more about length. Your Cj7 is 93" a 2 door jk is 95.5"( mine is at 97)

I can say i have see these on the trails and not easy stuff too. things that dent your junk and break it......So there are people that wheel it hard and pay what 60K+ for one.

The worst is the JT truck. its way to long break over angle is horrible. rear angle is horrible. I watched a guy just about bet the hell out of one trying to do something your Cj would walk through. thing is just to long. that guys was an idiot as well. after that day our club changed the rules on who goes on how hard. Hard trails cause damage its part of the game. this guy was so overly confident and end day was very pissed off as his 75,000 jeep was rock rashed.... we told him him not to go but he insisted he was good. latter we find out he dont under stand AZ trail rates. He comes from where its 1-10 . AZ its 1.0-5.0 The trail we ran was a 4 so easy side of 4 not a 4.5 or 4+. fact is that day that was a warm up for the second trail that was 4.5.


anyway to me its a jeep if i see you on the trail. if not its a DD and might as well drive a car.................................Fiat sucks too would not buy another if it was the last vehicle on earth. I would ride a horse. I have had cjs starting back in 1975 when i started driving and i lived right next to the Rubicon trail in a Cj2a stock hat ran that all the time.
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post #3 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
Matt1981CJ7
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Agreed. I sensed that the Rubicon would be a wheeling beast. But my wallet isn't thick enough to beat on a $60-70K rig.

Perhaps my expectations were too high. I expected a rig that would handle more like my Tundra for everyday driving AND would climb a tree if the bark wouldn't slip. A tall order I know.

Anyway, I mean no disrespect to those who own the 4-door Rubicon, and love them. The retractable roof certainly was appealing, and I definitely appreciate all the dedicated wheeling accessories they put on them. I just can't justify the expense for such a one trick pony.

Matt


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post #4 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 08:20 AM
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The rubicon package is all about off roading, that’s probably why it didn’t impress you, because you didn’t take it off road where it probably would have impressed you. The mods that make it perform well off road, detract from its on road ride and comfort.

My 2020 JLU EcoDiesel rides fine on the highway, or any type of street driving, for that matter. I had the Mopar 2” lift installed at the local Dodge dealer, and I installed new wheels and 35’s, so it sits a little taller than a stock Rubicon. I don’t have any complaints about the way it drives, rides or handles. I bet you would agree, if you drove it.

My EcoDiesel got 31 MPG when it was stock with the little tires, now it gets 22 MPG with the 35’s.

I used my JLU to tow my Bass boat last week, and I’m pretty happy with how it performed doing that. It has plenty of weight, power, and braking ability, to tow the boat. I wouldn’t tow much more with it, but that’s what I own a Duramax for.

I towed the same boat with my CJ-7 last week as well, and I won’t do that again, at least not until after I do my SOA YJ leaf conversion, then I will try it again. That SOA/YJ leaf conversion will add some overall weight, lower the gearing, and provide better braking ability. The new SOA axles will have bigger brakes, suited for a half ton truck or better, along with lower, 350 gears. The 273 gears in my CJ-7 didn’t tow well. It will scoot around fine with my new motor, and it will probably tow my Jon boat fine, but it didn’t cut it, towing my Bass boat. But then, the CJ-7 is a 1/4 ton vehicle designed for off roading, not towing, so it is what it is. It’s my favorite vehicle to drive, hands down.

I get it, you don’t like newer Jeeps. That’s OK, it takes all kinds to make the world go around.

I like them all, and I’m thinking a WWII era looking Jeep, something like JeepFellers Jeep, would look nice under my carport, next to my CJ-7 and my JLU.
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post #5 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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AX,

What's a JLU? I stopped keeping track of the letters after the YJ.

I wouldn't say I don't like all newer Jeeps. I liked the first 2-3 generations of Chrysler-made Grand Cherokees. That was a sporty, nimble, and reliable ride. I had a hard time calling them a "Jeep", though.

That said, I would definitely classify the Rubicon I drove as a "Jeep". It had all of the same handling characteristics of my 40 year old CJ, only with modern accessories and gadgets.

Matt


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post #6 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt1981CJ7 View Post
Agreed. I sensed that the Rubicon would be a wheeling beast. But my wallet isn't thick enough to beat on a $60-70K rig.

Perhaps my expectations were too high. I expected a rig that would handle more like my Tundra for everyday driving AND would climb a tree if the bark wouldn't slip. A tall order I know.

Anyway, I mean no disrespect to those who own the 4-door Rubicon, and love them. The retractable roof certainly was appealing, and I definitely appreciate all the dedicated wheeling accessories they put on them. I just can't justify the expense for such a one trick pony.

Matt

Can't really compare a passenger car front suspension and rear leafs to a pair of solid axles on soft coils for daily driving....


Can't justify the new price, nor the newly used price for a Rubicon, but with the popularity of the package, hopefully there will be some left for a good price when I finally decide that leafs and 42's are a bit excessive for a mild wheeling weekend and I want something that rides nice and doesn't have to be trailered to the trailhead.

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post #7 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Matt1981CJ7 View Post
AX,

What's a JLU? I stopped keeping track of the letters after the YJ.

I wouldn't say I don't like all newer Jeeps. I liked the first 2-3 generations of Chrysler-made Grand Cherokees. That was a sporty, nimble, and reliable ride. I had a hard time calling them a "Jeep", though.

That said, I would definitely classify the Rubicon I drove as a "Jeep". It had all of the same handling characteristics of my 40 year old CJ, only with modern accessories and gadgets.

Matt

TJ/TJU 97-06
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The U for a TJ is the lwb/LJ
Otherwise the U means 4dr

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post #8 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 09:21 AM
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Yeah Matt, me too, I thought the same way about them, that is until I test drove the EcoDiesel.

It has the power of a V-8, the 373 geared Dana 44’s front & rear like a Rubicon, heavy duty 8 speed automatic transmission, heavy duty brakes, like a Rubicon, all for about 45K. Never mind the LED lights, AC, electric windows, remote start, heated seats, ten speaker sound system, it’s on a different level, for sure.

I’m willing to bet a price analysis comparing a 1986 CJ-7 Renegade, considering wage earnings & inflation over the last 36 years would reveal they cost about the same, but that’s just a guess.

I know folks are thinking Heated Seats? WTF…Lol

Yup, I love them…especially after working on my junk out in the garage.

Why do I own a CJ? I like to “Balance the wrench and the steering wheel”
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post #9 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 10:30 AM
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If it has 4 doors it's not a Jeep, its an SUV. 1 post was all it took for someone to suggest that wider and longer is better. I say not so fast. Not all 4 wheeling is about rock crawling. Bring your SUV up into the mountians with me and my lowly little CJ and lets try some old logging roads, where trees and gulches render the path tight and narrow and tight turning capability is still a thing. And that long and wide wheel base, all other things being equal actually translates into worse ground clearance than a narrower, more nimble CJ. Oops, capability just got redefined.

I dont dislike Wranglers and Rubicons, I commend them for carrying on the Jeep tradition. But what I do dislike is a blurring of the lines and forgetting what made Jeeps great in the first place. I am definitely not a fan of the new jeeps being rebranded as a "Willys". There are already people who think that THAT is what it means to have a "Willys" Jeep. Turns my stomach.
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post #10 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 10:50 AM
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I'm putting my CJ6 on a JKU frame/suspension because they can handle going down the highway at 70mph on 37" tires and perform amazingly well off road.

Sounds like the rental rig needs some attention somewhere if it was twitchy going down the road. The Rubicon goodies (gearing and lockers) shouldn't detract at all from road handling duties.
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post #11 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 12:29 PM
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I'm putting my CJ6 on a JKU frame/suspension because they can handle going down the highway at 70mph on 37" tires and perform amazingly well off road.

How is that project going? I am still on the fence over keeping leaf springs or going to coils/links when I replace the frame under my '6.

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post #12 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
Matt1981CJ7
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Sounds like the rental rig needs some attention somewhere if it was twitchy going down the road. The Rubicon goodies (gearing and lockers) shouldn't detract at all from road handling duties.
It was virtually brand new. Less than 1K miles, and not a scratch on it.

It didn't pull left or right, while driving or braking. And it returned to center nicely after a turn. It just didn't track well. Minor ruts, or inconsistencies, in the road would catch the big tires and pull the jeep side to side. You constantly had to make minor corrections to the wheel. When you did, the steering was so responsive, it caused the rig to dart in the direction of the correction. It was down right dangerous going over washboard. I took one corner at the speed I normally would in my pickup. When I hit the washboard just beyond the corner, the Rubi literally bounced sideways. The best way I can describe it is it was like driving a big go cart with no suspension.

Like I said, I was probably expecting too much. I'm sure the Rubicon performs well off-road at low speeds. But it's certainly not a rig I'd want to travel cross country in, or even to the grocery store.

Matt
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post #13 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 04:58 PM
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Welll. I hear and agree with most of your opinions. Wife broke me down….. our JLU Sport-S is arriving in the next few weeks.
I honestly tried to talk her out of buying a Chrysler product. Failed badly. I DID talk her out of a rubicon. 1. Insane prices. 2. Told her she will never ever ever use all the 4wd features.

So. Soon as it gets herenit is getting a 2” lift and 33’s. I drove several. They were very car like. Just fine.

My boy asked me if we were selling my jeep. (Insert laughter here) I explained to my 8 yr old son, “ theres 2 kind of jeeps….. ones you sell. And ones you dont. Daddy’s ‘86 CJ7 laredo is a Don’t. Mommy’s mall crawler is a do. “

We will see. If I post a photo of my CJ next to my wrangler….. is it still a win for me?


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post #14 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 08:14 PM
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I get it, you don’t like newer Jeeps. That’s OK, it takes all kinds to make the world go around.
This comes across as one of the most arrogant generalizations I’ve read on this forum.

Funny thing is I had the exact same experience when renting a new 4 door wrangler. I thought their on road manners was complete garbage along with the plastic interior, they’re not $50k - $60k vehicles.
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post #15 of 60 Old 07-23-2021, 09:00 PM
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What I said is not a generalization, it’s a reply to what Matt said, specifically, the last sentence of his first post. It kind of reminded me of me, however; the more I am around post CJ era Jeeps, and the people that own them, well…the more I accept them, all of them.

If you don’t get it, that’s OK.

I have purchased a CJ-7 and a JLU, New…off the lot. I have experience owning both. I am not basing my opinion on a one time rental.

If you don’t like the JLU, that’s OK, I get it. You rented one, once, based on that experience, you have a negative opinion.

Why do I own a CJ? I like to “Balance the wrench and the steering wheel”
1985 CJ-7 Sebring Red, White hardtop, 284 CID inline six (4.7) TF 999 auto
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