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Our new Sahara JL is just short of 1000 miles this evening so I thought I’d share some thoughts. Many have posted asking about experiences with the new JL design………some asking should they buy, or wait till it gets into the second years production to get some “kinks” out of the design. I thought I’d share my experiences with our new JL and in doing so, perhaps I’ll answer those questions and concerns.


First, so y’all know, I am a new, 71 year old Jeep owner. My wife and I have a “fleet” of six cars (two homes, AZ and SC). My wife would buy a new car every….well….10-12 years <G> I’d buy one every two years. Getting my wife to agree to get a new car is pretty difficult <laugh> We have some very nice cars and SUVs….Audi, Tesla, Jaguar, Mercedes, and we’ve owned Toyota, BMW, Chev Suburban, Lexus, you name it. My wife agreed to my getting a new car in SC to replace my Toyota Sequoia that I also used as my fire department car (I’m still an active volunteer firefighter in SC). She challenged me, though, to get something interesting, something fun…….so after much study over six months or so, I picked the new Jeep JL!!


We ordered a fully loaded Sahara, and also ordered a Rubicon hood to replace the hood on the Sahara. I also bought a set of Rubicon upgraded wheels and tires to replace the wheels on the Sahara. Our car was delivered in early May after about an 8-10 week wait. The dealer put our hood on and changed the wheels before we put a single mile on it. Since it arrived, we’ve driven it almost exclusively on two-lane country roads in upstate SC and around Greenville SC.


I know lots of people have posted concerns/complaints about the new JL………..let me cut to the chase, we’ve had NO complaints at all. This is one of the very few cars we’ve bought new that didn’t have something wrong that we had to return to the dealer to get it fixed. There have been NO defects at all. Delivery quality has been exceptionally good.


We are averaging about 18.2 – 18.4 MPG on regular gas. The steering is pretty good for such a car, precise and tight. You do have to watch the road…….a slight move on the wheel can put you in another lane <G> It is NOT a car you can allow yourself to be distracted in while driving. Frankly, I don’t see myself doing 75-80 MPH in it either……..most of my driving has been under 70 MPH. The noise is OK, it's what I would expect for a vehicle of this design shape, after all it’s a box on four wheels. Rain is a little unnerving……you hear it for sure as it hits the hard top (and I do have the MoPar insulation in the top) <chuckle> Speaking of rain, probably my ONLY complaint on the design is that the drip rail doesn’t go far enough towards the windshield………open the door and you will get water in your car! The good news is the car has drains and I’m told the dash, etc., will easily withstand a little water.


The engine performance has been good – it’s not on par with my Jaguar F-Type <chuckle> but acceleration is adequate and I’ve never felt under-powered. The new eight speed transmission works quite well and shifts smoothly, and gets in the right gear range for all my needs.
The electronics took a little learning………but everything works fine and the more I play with it, the more I like the protocols and features. My iPhone connected easily and works perfectly. The hidden treasure is how my ONKYO Hi-Res Digital Audio Player, DP-X1A, plays. This is very important to me as I have well over 17,000 songs on it, all in FLAC format (lossless hi-res). In every other car I own, I play the DP-X1A via a cable from the earphone jack on the DP-X1A to the cars audio system. This works OK, but it means I cannot control the DP-X1A from the car, I must get the DP-X1A out of the center console to see song information or skip a tune, etc. I was blown away to see the artist and song information on the screen of the JL. Not only that, but I can skip tunes, advance through my list of tunes, etc., from the touch screen in the dash!! The sound is outstanding – the upgraded sound system really does work well in the Sahara.


The seats are pretty comfortable, and work well. My wife and I throw golf clubs in the back often with no problems. Today we loaded all kinds of gear in the back to feed 25-30 apprentice actors at the Flat Rock Theater….we did a special dinner for them. Everything worked fine and access was easy!
Another kind of interesting thing……people just LOVE the looks of our firecracker red JL. The other night, while attending a play near Hendersonville, a woman stopped me as I got out of the car and asked how I liked the Sahara. She said she wanted one very badly, and was trying to convince her husband. Now get this, she wasn’t 20 something, she was probably in her mid to late 50s <G> The Jeep has surprisingly wide appeal, men, women, young and old, seem to love the iconic looks of the Jeep!
So, in summary……we absolutely LOVE the Sahara, or Saharacon as we call it because it’s a cross between the Sahara and a Rubicon <G> My wife absolutely loves driving it, she says it’s so easy to handle, it turns easily into parking spots, and she loves sitting up high and having good visibility. The proof is in the pudding though…I knew I hit gold with the Sahara when my wife suggested we buy a second one for our Arizona home!! By the end of the year, we’ll be a two JL family <G>


Next week I will have fire department radio, siren, etc. installed. I’m still working on an emergency light design, that’s coming soon though. We want to get it all set up and then we plan to look for some easy trails to explore around the Blue Ridge mountains. More as we go……….
 

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Thanks for the very in depth review! Glad to hear that most of the early complaints are baseless and that you're actually considering picking up another one. Luckily there should be some new vibrant colors available by the time you go to place an order. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your fire dept mods.
 

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The car is looking great so far, and I really like the whole fire department aesthetic. I have the feeling that we're going to see a lot of people doing some Rubicon part swaps. The Wrangler definitely appeals to drivers of all ages, and I expect as it moves towards electrification that it'll even become peoples choice commuter vehicle.
 
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