After a couple of weeks with the new Jeep, I though I'd share my thoughts, both positive and negative. This is my first Jeep product, but not my first Mopar or Hemi, I'm a Mopar only kind of guy. Due to our first baby coming in July, we thought it would be best to replace my wife's SRT8 Charger with the Jeep for some more storage room and a softer ride. The Charger would have worked if it was just us and the baby, but we have two small dogs that we must haul around as well and they needed somewhere to go besides the trunk of the car.
I still have my 2012 Ram Power Wagon, but it's just not a good road trip vehicle.
I ordered the Jeep mid February and it was finally built on March 13th. I was the lucky winner of the extra quality audit so it sat at the factory for an additional two weeks, which compared to some other members, that wasn't too bad. It was delivered to my dealer on 4/11 and I took delivery that evening with 10 miles on the odometer. I was expecting more mileage considering the extra inspections. First thing I noticed was how well the new transmission shifted, it was as smooth as butter. With the stock exhaust, you could barely tell it was even shifting. The Hemi felt strong and suits the Jeep very nicely.
The next morning, with only 77 miles on the odometer, I backed it onto my ramps and swapped out the whisper quiet factory exhaust with a Magnaflow cat-back system. I have a review of the exhaust on the performance section, but I'll just say it again here that it sounds great. Very minimal drone, if any at all. I also installed my left-over Billet Tech oil catch can from my Charger.
I racked up about 500 miles pretty quick just driving around town and to the in-laws a couple times. I got used to the new shifter pretty quick and actually like it now. I was getting used to all the UConnect stuff and hadn't experienced many bugs at this point. I got my seat and steering wheel all adjusted, programmed my memory button, linked my key fob to my button, and all was well. Tried to do the same with my wife's key fob with no success. I tried a few times and gave up. I need to give it another try. Once I got my key fob programmed, the disappearing settings after 3 seconds started happening to me. Hopefully they will get this ironed out soon. Otherwise, I'm really impressed with the whole system and the sound quality is excellent for a stock system.
I was really bummed that they stuck in 3.09 gears, and still am a little, but it works pretty well with the Hemi and 8 speed. When your other vehicle in the driveway has 4.56 gears, 3.09's seem really high. It does downshift to 7th gear on the highway quite often but it does it very smoothly and doesn't drop a single MPH when the cruise it set. If I had stock exhaust, you might not even know it's downshifting.
My wife and I took a small vacation getaway this past Wednesday through Sunday. We drove from Tulsa to Hot Springs, AR Wednesday evening, about 4 hours and 250 miles. The ride and handling was excellent. This is the smoothest riding vehicle that I have ever had. In the curvy mountain roads of Arkansas, you don't realize you're driving a 5500 lb SUV. It obviously wasn't as sporty as the old SRT8 Charger, but I was impressed none the less. I drove pretty hard the entire trip and was still getting about 18 MPG on the highway. Over the next few days running around town, the mileage dropped to around 16, still good IMO. My Charger would have been around 13 and my Ram would be in single digits at this point. On the way back home I drove a little
easier and was sitting at 18.7 MPG when I pulled in my driveway. If I wasn't running 80-90 MPH on the Oklahoma turnpike, I probably could have hit 20+ pretty easy.
During this trip I did notice a couple more bugs with the electronics. A couple of times when I started the vehicle the SD card wouldn't read. I just switched to SXM and the SD card worked on the next startup. Not a huge deal to me and will probably get corrected in future updates. I also got the "Raising" message a few times that wouldn't seem to go away after going from park mode to normal ride height. Cycling back to park mode, waiting a second, and then going back to normal height seemed to fix it. Hopefully this will also get this ironed out soon as well.
The only big issue I had was a leaking pano roof. It rained all day on Thursday and two times I heard some gurgling and then some water dripping in from behind the sunglasses holder. This really irritated me, especially considering the extra quality inspection my Jeep went through. I sent an email to my salesman and will drop it off next week for them to look at it. They are giving me a loaner vehicle though, which I know that don't have to do. I also heard the buzzing type sound under the steering wheel a couple of times. I crawled under the dash to remove the extra bracket per the recent Star bulletin, but it was already gone. I also thought heard the sunroof rattle a couple of times, but it could have been stuff in the back too. I'll bring up both of these issues with the dealer.
I went ahead and changed the oil when I got home with a little over 1200 miles on the odometer. I have always changed the oil on new engines within the first 1000-1500 miles. I used Mobil 1 5W-20 full synthetic and a Mopar filter as I always do. Surprisingly, the oil filter came off very easily, which never seems to happen on the first oil change. I was surprised to see a composite oil pan. My other Hemi's had either a steel or aluminum pan. What I didn't expect to see was an o-ring on the drain plug. I got the old oil drained, filter swapped, 7 quarts back in the engine, the old oil poured into my big oil bucket, and had a nice little orange o-ring sitting in the bottom of the oil drain pan. Rather than drain all the oil back out to put on o-ring back on, I enlisted the help of my wife for a quick magic trick. I unscrewed the plug and quickly plugged the hole with my finger like paramedic with a gun shot wound. Tossed the plug to my wife who put the o-ring and and quickly popped the plug back in. Surprisingly, I only lost a couple of ounces of oil. Crisis adverted.
Sorry for the long story. I hope this helps some future potential buyers.