By on July 19, 2018

“It’s a Jeep thing; you wouldn’t understand.” That phrase might be a breathtaking bit of cultural appropriation at a level that shocks even your aging and decidedly hidebound author, but it’s not wrong.

Consider, if you will, the vehicle pictured above. It’s the old “Wrangler JK” — a vehicle which has had a decade-plus run as talisman, touchstone, profit center, and Jurassic-DNA-in-mosquito-frozen-in-amber for Chrysler in no fewer than three corporate iterations. From the moment you touch the rough plastic of the pushbutton exterior doorhandle, it’s absurdly plain that everything on this vehicle was designed from the outset to cut costs, only to have more costs cut as the years go on. Not that the bones of the thing aren’t fit for purpose — they are — but my God has there been a Great Cheapening going on in Wrangler-land over the past few years.

“Listen, dummy,” you’re no doubt saying, “of course this is going to be cheaped-out. It’s the final form of the model, kept in production until recently for the rental fleets, the skinflints, and the people who are both allergic to change and unable to get themselves to a dealership during an entire year’s worth of new-for-2018 Wrangler publicity. What did you expect? A ‘Golden Eagle’ luxury model?” Well yes, I did expect that, and they did in fact make some, but that’s not the problem here. Nor is it the fact that Jeep ran the old model for an extra year. That was a groundbreaking practice in 1996 when Ford did it to hedge its bets with the jellybean ’97 F-150, but it’s become fairly common in the two decades since then. Birds do it, bees do it, Malibus do it. (A bit of trivia for you: Ford had planned to do that as well with the 1986 Taurus, by keeping the aero Fox LTD in production at the Atlanta plant, but as the zero hour approached they decided to go all-in on the new car. What a disaster that would have been.)

No, my beef with this coupon-clipper old-shape 2018 Jeep is as follows: It ain’t cheap.



With the assistance (okay, he actually did everything) of my racing crew chief, the well-known and well-loved Bozi Tatarevic, I managed to obtain two window stickers — one for the 2018 “Sport S” model I rented this past week, and one for the 2012 Wrangler Sahara six-speed that was custom-ordered in lime green by an ex-girlfriend of mine a while ago. (You can read a little bit about the girl, and the Jeep, in my 2016 Wrangler review.) Let’s talk a bit about the general vibes of the two Wranglers, and then we will evaluate their prices.

[Get new and used Jeep Wrangler JK pricing here!]

2018 Wrangler Sport S — a coal-black misery pit seemingly designed to suck the will to live right out of your soul, containing precisely zero surprise-and-delight features, with cloth seats that look like they were going to be used in the 2002 Neon before Amnesty International got involved to stop it. Infotainment designed to mimic the “Star Wars” LED watches sold to children in 1978. HVAC controls that have only the most indifferent advisory power over what’s happening in the cabin.

2012 Wrangler Sahara — comfy dark brown heated leather seats, upscale appointments, uConnect with a big screen, chrome tips on buttons, dual-zone climate control.

Alright, let’s roll tape on the price:

2018 Wrangler Sport S: $35,530

2012 Wrangler Sahara: $35,550

How’s that for a head-scratcher? Both vehicles have the hard top, but the new one has the additional expense of the Nineties-era Benzo five-speed automatic. Oh, did I mention that the girl’s Sahara had 18-inch wheels and a limited-slip diff?

I know, I know. News flash — cars become more expensive over time — film at eleven! But this is particularly egregious because you’re just paying about the same money to get a lot less truck. We all expected this sort of thing back when Jimmy Carter was the president and inflation was so rampant that GMAC was running prime-time television ads offering 12.9 percent financing, but automotive pricing has been reasonably flat over the past five years. The cynic in me says they’re just jacking up the price so they can offer bigger rebates. And the “real” 2018 Wrangler costs a couple grand more. Maybe I should quit complaining and actually review the vehicle. Let’s do that.

What do you get for your thirty-five grand, anyway? Well, you get that rarest of things in $THE_CURRENT_YEAR: a vehicle which is not entirely at ease on the freeway. Speeds above, say, 75 mph have the Wrangler wandering a bit in its lane. The Sahara doesn’t do that, but I promised I wouldn’t talk any more about the Sahara. Nota bene that the Wrangler Sport S has upgrade wheels; the plain steel-wheeled Sport must be a real annoyance on the Interstate.

While I doubt that it would tip in normal service — this ain’t a CJ-5 — it never fails to feel tippy and unhappy. At least it gets up to speed in reasonable if not spectacular fashion. I know the old Jeepers don’t much care for the Pentastar, but it truly is the 3.6-liter Atlas that shoulders this ancient-feeling vehicle onto the barest precipice of modern usability. It’s better with the six-speed manual, but how could you not know that already?

The stereo is utter garbage, crippled even further by AUX circuity that appears to route the signal through an Ibanez “Tube Screamer” mounted somewhere behind the fascia, but the wind noise is severe enough to render it a non-issue even with the hardtop. The seats are capable of inducing little aches and pains in the first hour, and I say this to you as someone who has driven a Corvette with fixed-back Sparco Evo racing buckets from Venice Beach to central Ohio. The windows roll down all the way in all four doors, a feature which is truly appreciated by children and any rear-seat passengers who are prone to carsickness. Visibility is, by modern standards, disturbingly good. The cliff-face dashboard and flat-panel doors go a long way towards making you think of today’s cars as deranged slaves of fashion, right up to the point that you realize that it’s the Jeep, not the Camry or CR-V, that truly imposes a distorting aesthetic on its packaging.

The new Wrangler, as you’d expect, makes significant improvements in this area, just as this JK did over its predecessor.

Do not let any of the preceding make you think I don’t like the Wrangler JK. I do like it. It’s easy to make the argument that Jeep has been far more careful and adept with its heritage model than, say, Porsche has been with the 911, although both the JK and the 991 have a touch of the ol’ interior-dimension elephantiasis about them. Furthermore, the Wrangler really does pack some useful off-road hardware under the retro skin. I know from experience that these vehicles can do tremendous things, even in stock or close-to-stock trim.

My problem is that I don’t like this particular Wrangler JK. Get yourself a Golden Eagle, or a Sahara, or even a Rubicon. Get the six-speed. Buy the upgrade diff and anything else you can get in the way of factory-fitted off-road hardware; as with Porsche’s X-Whatever Powerkits, they pay off both in daily use and at resale time. Then feel free to enjoy the heck out of the thing. You’ll be far happier than you would be in this po-faced charcoal-cavern sorrow-wagon that commands a premium price for a coach-class experience.

Ah, but the more I think about it the more I think that the nice people at Jeep are a lot smarter than I am. They know that this “Sport S” model is a sack of misery. But they also know that there is a sort of cachet that attaches to the purchase of a “bare-bones” Jeep. There’s an assumption that your off-road intentions are somehow purer than those of my ex-girlfriend in her cocoa-interior, uConnect-equipped Sahara. The Sport is kind of like the Carrera T to the Rubicon’s GT3RS; the “cheap” model that says something a little bit flattering about its owner.

You pay extra money for the Carrera T, so it’s no wonder that this Sport S also costs a pretty penny. So here we are, looking at a bare-bones hair shirt on wheels that costs about the same money as a Lexus-lite Camry XLE. The misery of it isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. I told you. It’s a Jeep thing. I don’t understand.

[Images: Jack Baruth/TTAC]

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77 Comments on “2018 Jeep Wrangler JK Sport S Rental Review – Time Machine...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    They’re crude, outdated and a rolling dinosaur…and I still want one! Just make mine a base two-door, six-speed manual with the half-doors. My only concession to modern convenience would be the desire for A/C. Having said that, even configured as such, it’s well beyond my means to afford.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      last few years the fleet dealers around me typically had 2 door manuals for around 23-24k. That’s the price of a base, base, base model 4 cylinder Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      lzaffuto

      It’s no wonder that a new base model is so expensive. 2000s TJ models are selling for upwards of $14k with mileages upwards of 160k! A Cherokee XJ with the same mileage and 95% of the capability (minus convertible top) costs less than $10k.

    • 0 avatar
      phila_DLJ

      My Canton-based cousin let me drive his new JK a couple years ago, and at no point did I not have a huge grin on my face as I opened up that sweet Pentastar. Also got no less than three Jeep Waves in ten minutes of driving!

  • avatar
    ajla

    “There’s an assumption that your off-road intentions are somehow purer than those of my ex-girlfriend in her cocoa-interior, uConnect-equipped Sahara.”

    Is that assumption incorrect?

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    This is why the Wrangler didn’t even warrant a test drive when I bought a 4Runner. This Jurassic Sport model costs as much as the Pleistocene Toyota and I just didn’t see any benefit. The 2-door ragtop with a 6 speed looks like a fun proposition, though.

    What’s up with that LS500 in the background?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      As much I ripped on the 4Runner rental I had, the 4Runner feels and drives positively comfortably and quietly in comparison to the Wrangler, and I’d buy a 4Runner all day long and 2x on Sunday over the Wrangler if I ever needed/wanted a vehicle with off road/very rough road chops.

      • 0 avatar
        AJ

        I recently bought a 4Runner Limited. It will probably never see more then a graded dirt road. The ride really is fantastic, and I love its build quality as I keep my vehicles a long time. I do also have a very modified TJ Wrangler. The TJ is just two-doors, but still, even a four-door Wrangler would be a better for off-road use. I’m thinking of in the case of narrow, high mountain Jeep trails and switchbacks, and as well tight trails through forests. I would not feel comfortable with my 4Runner’s larger size in many situations I’ve been on with my TJ. Not to mention, the after-market support for modifiying a Wrangler is just awesome and easy.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      No comment!

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    This was a fantastic review to me BECAUSE all the opinions Jack expressed reflect my own biases (I have to also state that, c’mon, no one can really push back against the points that this thing is cheap feeling inside, rides absolutely terribly at speeds above 5 mph bashing one’s body about on anything resembling an actual road, is noisier to ride in at highway speeds than a Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye at cruising speed, and is about as comfortable and fuel efficient as same plane referenced, given its drag coefficient that’s roughly that of a sheet of drywall standing on end).

    I will concede that these are very capable off-roaders due to their suspension, narrow track, approach angle, customizability, and other factors, so they are a great niche vehicle for those niche who purchase them for such niche things.

    The price of these is the kick in the a$$, though. It’s ridiculous. It’s not as insane as, say, a G-Wagon (which is also awful on anything other than abhorrent roads/tracks, for many of the reasons mentioned, and not able to be tackled by other vehicles), but you can get a whole lot more refinement, at near this price, losing not that much in utility, if you care to.

    Great automotive-centric review, Jack!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Honestly some days I think that the only reason that owning a Wrangler is somewhere on my bucket list is because they are built in Toledo (not that far from where I was born and raised). I honestly question whether I would have any desire for one if they were built somewhere else.

    Grand Cherokee would make much more sense if I were to ever try to figure if there’s any substance to this “JEEP thing.”

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    I can echo everything said in this review. Just like everything else FCA makes…JUNK JUNK JUNK.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I respectfully disagree that Jack “slipped in an attack on Jimmy Carter.”

    It’s a fact that inflation was raging when he was in office*, and that interest rates were hiked into the stratosphere to combat this*.

    *Causation does not necessarily equal correlation (although the two may be connected depending on circumstances).

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Edit – meant to write —

      *Correlation does not necessarily equal causation (although the two may be connected depending on circumstances).

      I still don’t see any express or implicit or even cleverly subtle attack upon Carter of any kind by Jack.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The comment was not really relevant to the comparison of the two Jeeps. It was unnecessary and added nothing. Jack is in a position to voice his political views and integrate them into articles if he so desires. At least his stuff is well written. Most righty tighties are not nearly as gifted with the written word. Imagine how much more intelligent the idiot in the White House would sound if Jack wrote his speeches and responses. Hell, there would even be more than the same 75 words.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I bought my last Wrangler 18 years ago. I went to look at some a couple of years ago, they had 27 of them on the lot. Of those, only seven were two doors and only one had a manual. I wanted to puke. “It’s a poseur thing”. These are vehicles for hipsters now, hipsters who would be better served driving four door Suzuki Samurais…with automatics.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    Sorry to hear Jeep is not keeping their margins low to satisfy rental customers and Chrysler critics who will never buy one, when there is no competitor in its segment. Them greedy capitalists, right?

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “The stereo is utter garbage,”

    sadly it’s miles better than the system that was in the TJ it replaced.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I almost didn’t recognize it without the de rigueur 35″ mud tires without a speck of mud on them.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    There are so few truly purpose-built vehicles out there that we should raise our glasses to the remaining few, even if we’d never buy one.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Make of this what you will, but the Bureau of Labour Statistics claims that $35,550 in 2012 works out to about $39k in 2018 dollars, which appears to be right about what you’d be spending on a new Sahara. I think your quibbles are less with FCA and more with the current rate of inflation (especially if sales have remained steady over the past 6 years).

    Also, as bad as the base interior currently is, it’s still leagues ahead of the original, Cerberus era JK interior.

  • avatar
    James2

    I know nothing about Jeeps but is there any other car that advertises its “model code” JK like this Wrangler? I mean, I see many a darkly tinted BMWs scrubbed clean of its “330i” from the trunklid, but so far none boasting “E30” or whatever.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      I recently learned from another poster here on TTAC that the “JK” stickers were added for 2018 to differentiate the old Wrangler from the (also MY18) JL models.

  • avatar

    Years ago my Ex would pester me to purchase a Wrangler and I would resist with the usual rationale, giving what I assumed were sane, thoughtful and analytical responses that she would surely understand why this vehicle is not worth considering and much better choices await.
    Time goes on, the relationship ends and what’s one of the first things she buys after the settlement? A bog standard Jeep Wrangler.
    By her own admission she paid too much for it, it’s not fun to drive on the highway, hard on gas, and way too many trips to the dealer for assorted warranty issues……and she loves it to death. Is that what they mean by it’s a Jeep thing, because I sure as hell don’t know.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    the old supply and demand equation
    Too many buyers willing to spend crazy money for Wrangler and constrained plant capacity. It’s been driving up prices of new and used Wrangler for the past 10 years.
    Well, it’s all starting to change. FCA has nearly doubled capacity to make Wrangler. Inventory at dealers is already past the stage of too little, past just right and is now at the too many stage (in some regions). FCA planned on balancing domestic demand with exports to keep the Wrangler cash register ringing. Should the crazy tariff trade war continue then FCA keeping Toledo as sole source may cause major problems. Not much flexibility here to move production.
    Good thing for FCA that Ford and GM have no credible Wrangler competition.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

    I know this is a weird detail to nitpick about, but aren’t the rough exterior door handles simply grained that way to be easier to grab and to convey an appropriately “rugged” image? They never struck me as a cost-stripping measure.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    One would think a long production run would improve a vehicle; the tooling is paid off, the line workers know where the bits and pieces go, the flaws are discovered and corrected, etc. Turns out it’s the opposite. All carmakers are guilty, not just the domestic brands.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    2018 Wrangler Sport S: $35,530

    Jack – looking at Jeep’s website, that’s the price for the *new* Wrangler Unlimited Sport S.

    The JK is listed at $32540 (net). That’s almost a 10% price difference.

    Did you copy the wrong price?

  • avatar
    gtem

    It’s funny, I test drove a mid level stick shift JKU a few years back, and compared to my ’96 4Runner the Jeep had basically equal highway manners and comparable NVH, despite the 4Runner’s IFS and non-convertible top. However I found the visibility somewhat restricted by the internal roll bars not to mention the spare on the back. I think they are really neat but I too balked at the price. The cargo area was rather restricted as well (roll bars, again), and a hassle to get to. If I had money for a toy, I would totally get a basic 2 door example with a stick shift.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      This. A manual 2-door is a fun weekend toy. The 4-door for a a daily driver is…hell. Unless you have to regularly haul passengers over rugged terrain…why would you pick this?

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Under normal circumstances, I’m a Wrangler evangelist, but the current MSRP’s are simply too high to recommend a new Wrangler to anyone, unless they have money to burn. Wranglers don’t have enough everyday utility to demand a $35K-$50K price tag.

      A few years ago, you could still get a 2-door soft-top manual Rubicon for $30K OTD after incentives. That was the last of the reasonably priced Wranglers. Should have pulled the trigger when I had the chance. Oh well. Today, you’re looking at $33K-$35K, and I can’t remember the last time I saw a bare bones variant.

      The 4Runner has better everyday utility and represents a better value, but it’s also built in Japan. No telling how tariffs will affect the 4Runner.

      Dark days for offroad vehicles, but, on the bright side, anyone who owns a used vehicle will see appreciation.

      • 0 avatar
        Super555

        I felt the same way. Back in 2017 they were wanting premium money i.e. mabye a $1,000 or no discount for the same key, radio and nav that was in my 2006 Ram in this JK.

        Grand Cherokee Trailhawk was my choice. $8000 off msrp right away. Latest UConnect and bells and whistles. With the air suspension on “Off Road 2” just as much ground clearance as this Wrangler. But in the highway or “sport” mode the GC lowers to “Aero” setting and it feels as planted and stable as my Challenger T/A 392.

        Not to mention as Jeep says their most advanced 4WD system ever. Been off roading up at Outdoors in the Smokies park in TN and it did great. Oh plus good fit and finish. It has only been to the dealer for an oil change. The old lady gets lots of compliments on it. Of course the Wranglers never do the Jeep wave but that’s ok we do and smile!

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @S555: I disagree about the utility; the JKU I had was a remarkably useful vehicle, at least in part because I could carry almost anything in it that I would carry in a pickup–but not everything. With the back seats folded, you’ve got more usable space than most CUVs of similar size as well as the ability to carry it anywhere at almost any time under almost any conditions. I didn’t trade it because I didn’t like it; I traded it because the wife couldn’t drive it and she needed a 4×4 of her own that would be easier to drive–I had already inherited a “compact” pickup truck so we felt the Renegade was a better choice for her. — I’ve regretted it ever since.

          Oh, we love her Renegade; it’s almost ideal for her needs while letting us do things we couldn’t do in any lesser car. But it lacks the capacity we had in the JKU. The pickup has the capacity, but the regular cab also inhibits its utility when I need to carry a load AND carry the wife and dog along. It makes the new JLU much more tempting.

          • 0 avatar
            Super555

            A neighbor of my parents traded in his TJ Wrangler for a GoMango Renegade Trailhawk. It’s nice l was seriously considering one if not for the great deal on the GC. He just put a lift kit on it. I am going to try to get him up to the off road park. I also like the Limited models with the silver grills. Very classy. The Fast lane car channel on YouTube did an off roading test with a Renegade TH and we’re very impressed. Only issue was the transmission wouldn’t allow wheel spin over an obsicle they figured it was for warranty concerns.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This would be a awesome car to tool around in on weekends during the summers.
      Problem is, a lightly used Mustang 5.0 convertible would be even more awesome.

      (Then again, you can’t press the Mustang into service when there’s two feet of snow on the ground.)

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    Wrangler love is so strange and yet makes sense at the same time. The funny part is when I sold Jeeps you had a few crowds. 1. Want the barebones model, going to upgrade and take it off road. 2. People that want the model with more features, but settle for this barebones model to get that monthly payment just right. 3. Those who want the highest/most b/a model.

    I hated driving JK’s. On the road they’re fun for a whole 1 minute. Off-road I’m sure that’s different, but give me a beater. I will say the JL is SO MUCH BETTER. My gosh, it’s almost liveable. No wonder they can’t keep them on the lot long enough.

    • 0 avatar
      Super555

      Would love a base JL 2 door for off roading. I’m also considering a new Roxor Jeep side by side to go off roading with. 4 cylinder diesel manual trans and open top talk about some of the most fun you can have with your clothes on! Now just have to decide if I would wrap it in WW2 olive drab or Desert Tan!

  • avatar
    TW5

    CAFE 2025 is working its magic. Jeep is raising the MSRP to reduce demand, raise profits, and minimize exposure to CAFE penalties. The same thing happened 4 years ago with the new GMT K2U based SUV’s. Toyota 4Runners also get more expensive with each passing model year. Land Cruiser is $80,000 now. Nearly every manufacturer is raising prices on non-compliant short wheelbase body on frame vehicles.

    Ruthless cheapness might be a Jeep thing, but rising MSRP for offroaders and short-wheelbase trucks is not. It’s a CAFE thing, and no one understands it.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Only in part, dude. Only in part.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Toyota 4Runners also get more expensive with each passing model year.”

      My 1996 Limited was about $33k in 1996 dollars, that’s about $50k in today’s money. That sort of puts things in perspective I think. But factoring in the stagnation in real wages and I’d say you’re not wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        @ gtem

        Currency exchange is important, too. When they decided what to build in 96 (probably in mid 1995) the yen was trading at about 80 per dollar. That’s a super yen considering it was about 150 to the dollar in 1990. 4Runners are made in Japan so the exchange rate was probably partly responsible for the sky high price.

        The manufacturers are fond of chaining their prices to inflation, and then claiming no real price change has occurred. As you point out, it doesn’t reflect the actual condition of consumers in an economy.

        Furthermore, we aren’t really engaged in capitalistic endeavors as a society so that real price stays the same. Real prices are supposed to plummet over time. People once worked about 4 hours per day to afford a loaf of bread. Today a minimum wage worker only needs 12 minutes. No one is demanding ruthlessly cheap automobiles, but still, the price performance should be better than no real change.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          To be far low $30ks was right in the middle of upper trim Eddie Bauer jellybean Explorers and Tahoes and such. What’s crazy is that a top-trim Tahoe is now a good amount more than than inflation adjusted ($50k).

          A new 4Runner compared to mine has about 100 more horsepower (it also weighs about 1000lb more), a lot more refinement and comfort and certainly more safety tech. But there have been some serious regressions as well. Fragile painted plastic bumpers instead of chromed steel, much worse paint quality, and much more ding-prone thinner sheetmetal. Of course, if someone offered me a straight across trade for a new 5th gen Trail Premium I’d jump at it. But I have some things I really appreciate about my ’96.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    I’ve had my 15 JK almost 3 years now. Can’t argue with much of this review, especially the highway behavior. I really won’t take it on highway trips or over 70. Paid too much for it despite the crank windows and lack of infotainment.

    However when the warm weather comes and the top and doors are stashed away in the garage, there is nothing better.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Having owned an ’08 Sahara for 9 years, I fully understand the “Jeep thing”. It puts a bug in your blood you just can’t get rid of. However, running at 65mph down the freeway is a lot different than running 75 down the freeway… for one thing, the hood doesn’t try to lift. Drop another 5mph and you could push it to 22-23mpg on the flat and… even with going through some mountain passes on I-81 going north, you can still average 25mpg (I have photo proof, albeit blurry since the photo was shot while driving.)

    Do I want another one? Yes. I’d like the Scrambler even better, since I need a truck. But… Not at $40K+. Ten years does not equate to $10K. I can guess as to the cause but trucks of all stripes are being taken out of the price range of those who most need them, despite the supposedly high incentives claimed to bring them back down. I need AWD but I certainly don’t need something that will eat $600/month or more just to finance–and I don’t lease. Never will.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Your mileage numbers are believable. Thin air at high altitude increase throttle input and reduces drag. Both of these things are a Wranglers best friend.

      My 4.0L TJ can make 25mpg at 45-50mph around 7,000 ft. I’m sure JK can do the same at higher speed, especially if your Sahara had touring tires.

  • avatar
    ernest

    In 1977 I bought a new CJ5 for about $6000 (inflation adjusted, $26,500). It was “loaded” at the time, meaning a V8, three-speed stick, AM Radio, and the nifty Denim “Renegade” trim. That was a lot of money then for not very much actual value. Did I mention that, compared to a new one, it rode and drove like a Conestoga Wagon.

    Would I buy it again? Yep- it was unstoppable in the woods, and when the weather was right and the top/doors were off, it was magic. Thirty years later, my wife admitted she had hoped to meet the boy that drove the white Jeep, and maybe he’d even take her ‘wheeling in it. You just can’t put a price tag on stuff like that.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    Deadwood:

    “Inflation was raging while Carter was in office and interest rates were raised to combat this.”

    I am surprised that you believe that interest rates are raised to reduce inflation. The market raises interest rates in an attempt to insure that, even after projected inflation, the lender makes money. Interest rates rise with inflation, not the converse. This is exemplified by the bond market.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “.  It is not true that tight money cost Jimmy Carter the election.  His poor supply-side policies combined with his neglect of inflation produced a high misery index on election day.  That would have happened with or without Volcker.

      *In 1981 Reagan took over and supported Volcker’s fight against inflation.  By mid-1981 the Fed got serious, and real interest rates began rising sharply.* NGDP growth plunged into the low single digits.  During the recovery Volcker did allow relatively rapid NGDP growth, but not enough to re-ignite inflation.  Once RGDP growth leveled off, NGDP growth also slowed.”

      I agree with The Money Illusionist on this.

      In general, you are correct, inasmuch as’rising interest rates offset the destructive force of inflation on lenders’ balance sheets.

      I was honing in on the misconception that Volcker killed Carter’s reelection by raising interest rates; he didn’t aggressively hike rates until Reagan was already in office, and did so aggressively for a short term, which collapsed asset prices to the point where inflation dropped significantly (the 30-year tnote was yielding close to 16% in 1981, after which time, rates were cut aggressively, much bad debt and misallocation of resources and malinvestment were wiped out, and growth then picked up rapidly with sharp cuts to the fed funds rate.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    Deadwood:

    I believe that you are placing too much blame on Jimmy Carter. The inflation of that period really started during the Vietnam war when the Johnson administration and congress refused to pay the cost of the war through increased taxes. Instead they monetized the debt which resulted in inflation. The price of oil dramatically increased in 1973 and 1979 which also caused sharp rises in prices. It was not supply side economics. The recent tax cut, of which you will probably benefit considerably, is a current example of supply side economics which ultimately will produce considerable inflation.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      The only thing that produces inflation is emission (Upd: yes, velocity does too — but velocity is not a government policy). Tax policy has no effect on inflation.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    I think Jack makes a good point… Back in 2010, when I got my JK, the Rubicon was only $31k. A Sport like this went for something below $25k (although in my case the prices were for 2-door versions, because I wasn’t considered 4-doors and don’t have the data now). Selling a Sport for $35k now, even with the Pentastar and 4-door, seems a little excessive to me.

    Also… I’m a little curious what the quality was for these parallel-build units. My 2010 was (still is) almost completely bulletproof. The only thing I got changed were transmission cooler lines. The 2018 though, I’m not sure. Anyone thinks that all better workers got assigned to the new and exciting automobile built in the same plant? Territorally it was the same plant. And I still remember how much worse PT Cruiser got in its final year.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    I have to take an issue with any sort of report that finds a difference in the “highway behavior” between two JKs, especially when both have the same engines. The undercarriage is exactly the same in all of them. The weight difference in transmissions is not enough. For all the cred of a real racer who can sense car behavior, I suspect Jack gives in to subjectivity at this point.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      All the suburban moms in Columbus, OH drive these – or want one. Seems the richer and prettier they are, the more likely they are to have one. I can’t figure it. A vehicle that’s almost as big and bulky as a Chevy Tahoe on the outside, with the interior room of a Chevy Trax. The one thing a Wrangler does better than a Highlander – namely, go off-road – is the one thing these moms will never do.

      It’s really fun to be behind a Wrangler “Unlimited” that slows down to walking pace to drive over a speed bump.

      • 0 avatar
        Super555

        Or a JK Rubicon with 20″ chrome rims and street tires smh! I see so many Rubicons with women driving them to the mall. I also remember the Teen Mom cast having a couple. When one of them got rear ended in Chattanooga the spare tire made the Jeep ricochet into a front flip landing on its roof!

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I’ve seen young men driving Rubicon models that are obviously on their second set of tires and have been fitted with Michelin LTX tires. Nothing wrong with that per se just that it goes against the image of the vehicle. (Great street LT tire that happens to have a M/S rating.)

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Barbie had a Jeep, and she loved it.

      • 0 avatar
        Pete Zaitcev

        Wrangler is nowhere near Chevy Tahoe. It’s just a bogus misconception that can easily be corrected with a measuring tape. Tahoe only looks short because Suburban is obscenely long, but it’s longer than Wrangler by a foot and a half, wider by half a foot. But that’s nothing! Tahoe is 75% heavier than Wrangler. Did you say “bulky”?

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          It’s okay, things get exaggerated here. Did you know a new F-150 is 500% larger than an F-150 from 20 years ago? Reading some of the comments on here, you’d be forgiven for thinking so. Its actually about 8 inches longer. BUT ITS GIGANTIC! So, of course the Wranger is the same as a Tahoe, duh!

          • 0 avatar
            Pete Zaitcev

            Well, to be fair, Wrangler keeps growing. The JL is 2 inches longer than JK (in both 2-D and 4-D versions), and it’s half an inch wider now. Fractions, yes, but… It was enough to get me looking at Renegade. Fortunately or unfortunately, Renge is not much smaller (in fact it’s longer than 2-D). My solution for now is to buy a shed and evacuate things from the garage, so I can stuff a bigger Jeep inside. Thank you Sergio for making me deal with HOA’s Architectural Committee.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      It’s about tires and wheels, as I noted in the review.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I have one of the final JK Rubicon Recons made earlier this year. Let me summarize.

    Bad:
    -Terrible wind noise and sloppy handling on the freeway
    -Pretty lousy fuel mileage, 17.2 avg mpg probably 70/30 split hwy/city
    -The soft top is a pain in the a$$
    -Any stone chip in the flat windshield will spider crack all over within days

    Good:
    -Super excellent in off-road conditions – I have many mountain trails within and hour from my house from mild to challenging and it eats everything and drives home.
    -Super fun to cruise with the top down and tunes blaring
    -The Recon has a good stereo to make sure everyone knows what kind of music you like
    -Chicks dig it. Seriously.


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