JohnC. You are absolutely on anytime you want to go. I live in the Phoenix area. I am a Jeep fan. The 8 speed appears to be a big improvement. There appears to be a few glitches with rough shifting, etc. I'm sure Jeep will get it perfected. My 6 speed has worked perfectly, as my Jeep has been trouble free at 40K.
I keep seeing all the V-6 guys over the years try to justify not getting the Hemi by bragging about what appears to be in real world driving a few, 1-3 MPGs advantage for the most part. With the way I drive, it would probably be less.
There hasn't been a lot of Hemi testing but Car and Driver compared the 2011 Hemi vs the LR4. The Hemi did 7.3/15.4@90
. They did passing from firstname.lastname@example.org
sec. That is better than your 8speed,6 cyl, 7.5/15.7@90
. The 6cyl 8 speed passing from email@example.com
sec. Not apples to apples, but again, your not looking in you rear view mirror at me.
For me, I would never buy a 4x2 Jeep. Defeats the purpose of a Jeep IMO. I also would never buy a 6cyl over a V8 in general, if they are close in price and didn't need a 6cyl for some special reason/purpose. Too each his own my Jeep brother.