First Jeep Truck Test Drive

BAT

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Well I finally got to drive the Jeep Truck. Instead of dealing with the dealerships my buddy decided to rent a Jeep Truck and give it a good drive so I went along. I am coming from a Ram 1500 and I have no history with Jeeps so this was all new to me. I was not going into it with any crazy expectations. But after riding and driving it close to 100 miles left with a mixed bag. While the Jeep Truck and my Ram both share the same engine the entire shifting, acceleration, etc seemed so different which I guess I was kind of surprised at. I figured same engine. But the shifting and the entire feel from the gas pedal to acceleration/deceleration was so much smoother in my truck. The JT was very kind of herky jerky. I pressed the gas on and off multiple times just to see. Since this wasn't from a stop the Auto Start/Stop wasn't in play. The JT seemed to kind of need a second or so to get in motion on each pressing of the gas and then when letting off it seemed to kind of lurch. Kind of like a not very smooth changing of the gears. Acceleration was good and the breaks were good. It was nice downsizing a bit and was plenty comfortable for the miles put in. The steering was crazy. It was so loose. It felt like I could turn the steering wheel about 4-6 inches before the truck made any changes in direction. As I have no history in them not sure if this is normal. Maybe its something that would get used to over time but would have to be very aware that it certainly wasn't going to change unless major input was made. Don't want to be next to miles of cement barricades or in between couple of 18 wheelers in tight with that steering. Everything was laid out pretty well. It was a soft top and I was kind of surprised I did not find the noise that much but I don't think we went over 65-70 at most and a bunch of it was city driving. It wasn't a loaded version but just a Sport or Sport S I didn't ask him. It had the 5" screen which was pretty much useless for my old eyes. All in all it was something different which I expected and it hasn't changed my mind I still want to get one cause I think being able to take the top off or down and drive to various fishing spots, etc would be great while still being able to have a truck. That steering though man sure hope that is not normal or is possible to correct somewhat.



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Jeepnoob34

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Oddly enough, I traded in my Ram 1500 hemi 5.7L for a Jeep overland. My Jeep doesn’t have the same engine though. I didn’t think Jeep made a mode with the 5.7. Maybe not all rams came with it.
Anyway, I agree with all your points with the exception of acceleration. Acceleration felt pretty good to me and shifting seems good. This is my first Jeep also, but I can tell you mine has a huge deadzone with the steering wheel. I was able to wobble the wheel back and forth 3-4” each way and I got no response. That being said, I took it for a hour long drive on some back roads the other day and it wasn’t a problem. I’ve had mine for a week and have put around 400 miles on it thus far. I’m absolutely loving it. Mainly all the bells and whistles inside.

While I’m loving the Overland model, I can’t help but regret not going with the rubicon. Sure, it’s priced a bit higher, but I think it will be a wash once I add the things to it that I want. I feel like I will end up paying the same amount as a rubicon by the time I’m happy with the look of it.
 

Incommando

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My JT does not have a huge dead spot in the steering and the transmission is smooth. The steering is notably crisper than a friend’s ‘19 JL. The pedal input issue is there but I wonder if that isn’t somehow deliberate as they make tuners to adjust it.
 

Adawg1203

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Well I finally got to drive the Jeep Truck. Instead of dealing with the dealerships my buddy decided to rent a Jeep Truck and give it a good drive so I went along. I am coming from a Ram 1500 and I have no history with Jeeps so this was all new to me. I was not going into it with any crazy expectations. But after riding and driving it close to 100 miles left with a mixed bag. While the Jeep Truck and my Ram both share the same engine the entire shifting, acceleration, etc seemed so different which I guess I was kind of surprised at. I figured same engine. But the shifting and the entire feel from the gas pedal to acceleration/deceleration was so much smoother in my truck. The JT was very kind of herky jerky. I pressed the gas on and off multiple times just to see. Since this wasn't from a stop the Auto Start/Stop wasn't in play. The JT seemed to kind of need a second or so to get in motion on each pressing of the gas and then when letting off it seemed to kind of lurch. Kind of like a not very smooth changing of the gears. Acceleration was good and the breaks were good. It was nice downsizing a bit and was plenty comfortable for the miles put in. The steering was crazy. It was so loose. It felt like I could turn the steering wheel about 4-6 inches before the truck made any changes in direction. As I have no history in them not sure if this is normal. Maybe its something that would get used to over time but would have to be very aware that it certainly wasn't going to change unless major input was made. Don't want to be next to miles of cement barricades or in between couple of 18 wheelers in tight with that steering. Everything was laid out pretty well. It was a soft top and I was kind of surprised I did not find the noise that much but I don't think we went over 65-70 at most and a bunch of it was city driving. It wasn't a loaded version but just a Sport or Sport S I didn't ask him. It had the 5" screen which was pretty much useless for my old eyes. All in all it was something different which I expected and it hasn't changed my mind I still want to get one cause I think being able to take the top off or down and drive to various fishing spots, etc would be great while still being able to have a truck. That steering though man sure hope that is not normal or is possible to correct somewhat.
I can comfortably tell you that my transmission is smooth as butter whether accelerating or decelerating. Also, the steering is an adjustment however, 4-6 inches prior to responding is an issue/problem and not the norm. There should be some minimal play in the wheel, but not anything significant. Also electing for the larger radio will give you a much better experience.

I know you said you will still get one but just wanted to give you some owner feedback and possibly help put you at ease while you go through the purchase process, eventually. At least you test drove the gladiator. I went with an LE so bought site unseen and never owned a Jeep prior. The vehicle has exceeded my expectations and I think it will do the same for you!
 

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They say these new computer dominated vehicles learn you driving habits. OP tested a rental for a week. I bet that computer is confused.
 
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BAT

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Oddly enough, I traded in my Ram 1500 hemi 5.7L for a Jeep overland. My Jeep doesn’t have the same engine though. I didn’t think Jeep made a mode with the 5.7. Maybe not all rams came with it.
Anyway, I agree with all your points with the exception of acceleration. Acceleration felt pretty good to me and shifting seems good. This is my first Jeep also, but I can tell you mine has a huge deadzone with the steering wheel. I was able to wobble the wheel back and forth 3-4” each way and I got no response. That being said, I took it for a hour long drive on some back roads the other day and it wasn’t a problem. I’ve had mine for a week and have put around 400 miles on it thus far. I’m absolutely loving it. Mainly all the bells and whistles inside.

While I’m loving the Overland model, I can’t help but regret not going with the rubicon. Sure, it’s priced a bit higher, but I think it will be a wash once I add the things to it that I want. I feel like I will end up paying the same amount as a rubicon by the time I’m happy with the look of it.
No my Ram has the V6 In it not the Hemi. Its been a good engine and I haven't had any issues with it. Thats why I was thinking ok I have this engine I know how it feels but it was like night and day in the two vehicles. Its smooth as silk in my Ram but not so in the Jeep. Maybe this was because it was a rental and folks have ragged it out already since the JT had almost 11,000 miles on it when we rented it.
 
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BAT

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They say these new computer dominated vehicles learn you driving habits. OP tested a rental for a week. I bet that computer is confused.
Actually he only rented it for a 2 days. They charged him $10 a day (LOL). I didn't ask which company he rented it through
 
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BAT

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I can comfortably tell you that my transmission is smooth as butter whether accelerating or decelerating. Also, the steering is an adjustment however, 4-6 inches prior to responding is an issue/problem and not the norm. There should be some minimal play in the wheel, but not anything significant. Also electing for the larger radio will give you a much better experience.

I know you said you will still get one but just wanted to give you some owner feedback and possibly help put you at ease while you go through the purchase process, eventually. At least you test drove the gladiator. I went with an LE so bought site unseen and never owned a Jeep prior. The vehicle has exceeded my expectations and I think it will do the same for you!
Yes good to hear and I had been reading the forums so I was aware that coming from a Ram loaded out to the JT was going to be some differences and that's ok by me. I would definitely test drive my vehicle before buying and if it had a big dead spot in the steering like this one had there would be no way I would purchase that. I knew from reading some of the early models I thought had the dead spot in the steering. I suggested to my friend Rufus that he mention it to the rental company on the steering.
 

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Always interesting to hear others experiences.

I like the 8 speed transmission better than the 6 speed in my JKUR. Same engine in both but the 8 speed makes the Gladiator feel more responsive. The shifts are smooth and well placed matching the rate of acceleration. In about 1,200 miles there were a couple of times I felt the transmission and I weren’t synced, maybe similar to the shifting issue described by the OP. The transmission was apparently about to change gears just when I let off the gas. As long as it doesn’t regularly repeat, not enough for me to fret about.

Steering response is not anything like a Porsche Cayman or a Miata, but steering feel has been as expected for a solid axle. Not sharp but not an issue at all. No major dead spot. I don’t have a problem keeping a stable line in tight traffic, like in construction zones during Dallas rush hour. I have had a few Jeeps over the years so maybe I am just familiar with it.

Also like the ride a lot compared to the JKUR. Maybe it’s the difference in wheelbase or shocks or springs or all. Again, not an Escalade, but plenty comfortable.

At the risk of sounding like a homer, the Gladiator is my current favorite vehicle which surprised me a bit. Does a lot of things really well. And it’s just cool.

I’d say folks who are interested should definitely drive one for themselves. Don’t just read about it. Experiences, perceptions, and expectations vary widely. Don’t just rely on someone else’s take. Certainly not mine.
 

12BNNT

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Thing to remember too is the Ram (I believe) had the previous gen pentastar. I know I heard something about the JT having the newest generation pentastar engine in it. My previous Jeep (17) had the other one and this one is a lot more responsive. The 8 speed makes a difference too but the bigger Ram is probably programmed a little different in the cpu. The fly by wire systems have some lag in them by nature of how they work but they get better as they learn your driving style (as @ZTMAN pointed out).
As for steering, mine is a rubicon, but, it has only a little play in it. What most cars/trucks have, but I have seen a few people on this forum talk about excessive play and the posts I’ve seen seem to indicate that the dealers have fixed this in a few different ways. (Steering stabilizers or other things)

Sometimes judging a model by a rental can be good as to get an extended test drive in your normal driving conditions over several days or a week. Other times it can be a negative in that your driving a car that previous drivers have been rough on without a care because it wasn’t theirs. Hard to say if previous drivers refused to avoid large potholes because they didn’t care and bent something in the steering or suspension causing it to be loose and the rental agents are clueless as to it being a problem.
Now that you have an idea that you like the truck and what you would change or option up if it were yours, go by a dealer and test drive one spec’d they way you would buy it. One trick I’ve done a couple times, go near the end of the day, ask to take it home for the night to show the wife and that you’ll bring it back in the morning. Had a couple dealers do that for me. Gave me a good idea how it drove on the roads I drive everyday.
 
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BAT

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Thing to remember too is the Ram (I believe) had the previous gen pentastar. I know I heard something about the JT having the newest generation pentastar engine in it. My previous Jeep (17) had the other one and this one is a lot more responsive. The 8 speed makes a difference too but the bigger Ram is probably programmed a little different in the cpu. The fly by wire systems have some lag in them by nature of how they work but they get better as they learn your driving style (as @ZTMAN pointed out).
As for steering, mine is a rubicon, but, it has only a little play in it. What most cars/trucks have, but I have seen a few people on this forum talk about excessive play and the posts I’ve seen seem to indicate that the dealers have fixed this in a few different ways. (Steering stabilizers or other things)

Sometimes judging a model by a rental can be good as to get an extended test drive in your normal driving conditions over several days or a week. Other times it can be a negative in that your driving a car that previous drivers have been rough on without a care because it wasn’t theirs. Hard to say if previous drivers refused to avoid large potholes because they didn’t care and bent something in the steering or suspension causing it to be loose and the rental agents are clueless as to it being a problem.
Now that you have an idea that you like the truck and what you would change or option up if it were yours, go by a dealer and test drive one spec’d they way you would buy it. One trick I’ve done a couple times, go near the end of the day, ask to take it home for the night to show the wife and that you’ll bring it back in the morning. Had a couple dealers do that for me. Gave me a good idea how it drove on the roads I drive everyday.
Yea as I get closer to purchase will definitely drive before purchase. I had tried a couple times at dealerships but they were such pains in the ass I ended up just leaving. So when my friend said hey can rent a JT. I figured ok I get a chance to get behind the wheel for an extended drive with no one irritating me and can get it on the road and see what its like. I was thinking man what a fun truck and yet it can still handle all the functions of a truck that I would need.
 

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Well the Ram has 20 more horsepower and different axle ratios. It shouldn't feel identical.
 
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BAT

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Well the Ram has 20 more horsepower and different axle ratios. It shouldn't feel identical.
Yes it was just a general thought I had that with basically the same engine the acceleration/deceleration would be similar. There wasn't a lot of difference once up to speed except with the ride somewhat but that was expected. Didn't think about the axles and gearing, etc. Those were all just minor things and I guess just something you would feel coming in from a Ram to the JT. It kind of reminded me of my Nissan Exterra years ago.
 

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