They were just the factory black plastic RB. I like the look of the tubular boards, but as we have a LOT of mud on the roads around here, I like the solid boards because they keep the Jeep cleaner. Not so much for looks, but because loading my little one in the back is hard to do without getting dirty from the mud and dirt that sprays on the back fenders.
They looked just like this, but longer of course: Running Boards
The noise volume on the highway in the '09 was abysmal. Especially when it was windy. But the '11 is a HUGE improvement, perhaps because the interior is more padded.
The ride itself in the '11 is much smoother than the '09 as well.. I am not sure what the technical differences are, but it is definitely noticable.