My personal long-term review
After a rather long hiatus, Iím back on the forums! I figured Iíd come back and write a long-term review after owning the TH for about a year and a half and just turned over 15,000 miles. Of course, your experiences may vary and please don't turn this thread into a p***ing contest.
Iíve got a 2015 TH with cold weather, towing and V6. Bought new in February 2015.
A little about me, for some perspective: I live in Denver and commute roughly 30 miles a day roundtrip, in mostly city driving. I also make regular trips to various places close and far Ė Black Forest, Ft. Collins, Idaho Springs, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, etc. I've only ever owned front wheel drive, 4 cylinder econo-boxes, and most of them were manual transmission.
Comfort: This is the most comfy car Iíve owned. The seats are supportive (I would like a bit more lumbar support on the ďbasicĒ seats, though). The ride is great, too, and Iím sure if I got non-all terrain tires the ride would smooth out even more. The A/C (manual, single-zone) and heat work great, and the heated seats/steering wheel comes in handy on those cold Colorado days. The ride height is great, too, and since Iím only 5í8Ē itís a perfect fit. The only ďgripeĒ I have in this regard is the steering wheel doesnít adjust as much as Iíd like. The back seat is roomy enough for 2 adult friends, and my dog loves it back there. Road noise is definitely there, but again Iím pretty sure itís mostly due to the tires (which are still the stock Firestone ATís). I wonít be changing tire types; Iíll always have ATís on here. If the road noise becomes an issue, I will look into Dynamat.
Technology: While I donít have the tech package, I like that this car has lots of cool gizmos (and because of that I have the Mopar Maximum Care warranty). Iíve got the 8.4A Uconnect, but got an upgrade to the navigation for $100. It works fine, a bit slow and sometimes unresponsive, but so is my **** phone. The important thing to remember is the 8.4AN has double the RAM, so if you do have the 8.4A and upgrade, keep this in mind. Itís never locked up or stopped responding entirely, though. The voice control feature for navigation is a little clunky and sometimes doesnít work right, but I rarely input directions while driving. Iíd never use HD Radio, but it wouldíve been nice to get the traffic and weather alerts, but I can live without. I use an 8GB SD card for music, complete with album art and copied directly from iTunes. Iíve got over 700 songs on it and it only takes the Uconnect system a minute (or two) to fully index the library and allow use of voice control to switch songs. I also love the amount of customization you can do, both with and through the Uconnect and the EVIC.
Capability: Iíve only been on two medium/easy difficulty trails so far, but the TH blew through them with ease. Iíve experimented with the hill decent control, rear locker, Rock mode and 4-LO, and everything switched back and forth as designed, with no clunks or issues. The one thing I have noticed is when in 4-Lo and Rear Locker on, the transmission temp gets pretty high (210 is the highest Iíve seen before the cooler fans kicked on), but it performed fine. On-road capability is great too. We had a few significant snow storms this past winter, and the TH was a beast. The heated wipers and mirrors were a God send. It felt secure, safe, and controlled, especially in Snow mode. In normal driving conditions, Iíve found that I do leave it in Auto more often than not, but have been experimenting with Sport mode in traffic, and have found that while the shift points are higher, itís not constantly swapping gears (more on the transmission later) which makes it a bit easier to speed up or slow down at a momentís notice; itís much more responsive at the cost of fuel economy. Body roll and lean is there, for sure, but itís a 4500 lb. vehicle, so thatís going to happen.
Style: I like it, I know itís polarizing to some in the Jeep community, but I imagine that most of the complainers have largely gone silent, especially seeing that the TH is capable off-road (but no, itís not a lifted Wrangler).
Safety: Like all other high-profile vehicles, the risk of flipping over is greater (duh). The safety features in my car are the basic standard stuff; I donít have park assist, lane departure or emergency braking, which is fine by me. However, the crash test ratings were pretty good overall, which is piece of mind for sure. The envelope of air bags is pretty standard anymore, but still, nice to have.
Storage: Maybe itís because my past vehicles were tiny, but my God the storage in this thing. I was finding nooks and crannies for weeks after purchase. I especially like the giant glove box and under-seat storage. I donít use the dash board cubby, because I feel like whatever I put in there would promptly melt. The easter eggs are cute too.
ESS: Engine Start Stop is one of the most complained about features on this forum, second only to the transmission. Iíve learned to live with it, but I do turn it off occasionally, especially since Colorado drivers have this habit of stopping 500 feet before they have to, then coasting up. The threshold braking trick works well (press the brake pedal just enough to stop the car but not engage ESS), but itís clear the brakes arenít fully engaged so if I get rear ended while doing this Ö bad news bears. I have noticed almost no gain in gas mileage with it on, but Denver has AWFUL air quality so I feel a bit better about not idling. Iím not worried about the wear and tear either; I have a full warranty and ESS isnít brand new technology to either FCA or the industry as a whole. The part(s) wear out before theyíre supposed to? Warranty replacement.
Gas mileage/MPGS: The other vehicle I was seriously considering before I got the TH (after narrowing down from a few Subies and a 4Runner) was the XTerra Pro-4X, and that was rated 15/20 mpgs (from a 4.0L V6, as opposed to Pentastar 3.2L). I average about 20 overall, with mostly gridlocked city driving, so all things considered, thatís not bad. I wasnít expecting to get 40 mpg out of a 2 ton, four wheel drive vehicle driving in a city with 3 million people.
Headlights: They suck. No surprise there. I will consider upgrading to the LEDís, but donít have the time or money, and still not convinced itís fully compatible. Every single vehicle Iíve attempted to add LEDs to, even those that say they are CANBUS compliant, arenít. So we shall see, but Jeep really needs to improve these headlights. They make driving at night interesting. The high beams are a joke, too, since all the car does is put some diffuser in front of the bulbs to expand and change the beam direction. Fogs are OK but basically useless too. Sure looks cool though!
Reliability (outside of the transmission): Overall the reliability has been OK, but again, Jeepís donít have a great reliability history overall, so I made sure to get the extended warranty, even though this MY still had the 5/100,000 factory warranty. Iíve had some weird issues, like one of the door handleís plastic ďcover piecesĒ flew off when I opened the door, and thereís one LED ďbulbĒ out in my tail lights.
Rattles and squeaks: Thereís a few of them, most notably something squeaking from the back seat, although Iíve pinned it down to either the cargo cover or the seats themselves (thanks to others on this forum!) Other rattles include from somewhere in the dash board and the sunglasses holder. Not a big deal, but still a bit annoying, especially when I drive over wash-boarded roads on my way to my parents in Black Forest, or when Iím driving on any number of poorly maintained roads in this city.
Transmission: Yes, for those that have seen me around this board, Iíve defended Jeep and to a lesser extent, ZF with these transmissions. I am a software/web developer, so I understand that not all software is perfect and bugs happen. HOWEVER, I do believe Jeep and ZF didnít really know what the **** they were doing when they implemented the over-kill 9 speed. At 550 miles, I went in because I was told I needed the R01 update for the C snap ring failure issue. The dealership botched the flash, which fried the PCM, TCM and ECM. All three, plus the transmission itself, were replaced, before I had even made my first car payment. I was without my brand new Jeep for 10 days while they fixed it (this is how I got the nav upgrade for $100; I called Chrysler and threw a fit, and that was their ďcustomer serviceĒ fix for me, which I accepted). Iíve had them do another flash, the ďRev CĒ flash, and the transmission is much improved. I still get a few clunky shifts occasionally, but not nearly as bad as before, and Iíve learned to accept that this transmission is just Ö finicky and different. Iíve also seen 9th gear once, coming down I-70 before Denver, going 85 downhill. Otherwise on the highway I usually see 7th and sometimes 8th, depending on conditions. Rolling stops (which are illegal, by the way) seem to be improved as well, although thatís largely depending on how fast Iím going. Since I stop fully at stop signs, itís not usually a problem. I do notice a bit of hesitation occasionally, but again, Iíve tailored my driving habits accordingly. I donít dart out in front of oncoming traffic unless Iím sure I have plenty of time to get up to speed. The lunging doesnít happen anymore, either.
I will say again, and again and again, that other vehicles using the ZF9 had issues too (Acura TLX V6 and the Evoque). So it wasnít 100% FCAís fault; ZF may claim otherwise, but it was clearly a team failure. It sounds like most of the kinks have been worked out though. No amount of software will make this transmission, itself an engineering marvel, behave like a ďstandardĒ 6 speed auto, especially when considering the use of dog clutches and the compact nature of the trans itself.
Cost to own: My car insurance actually went down a bit, but the biggest shock was the registration costs. In Colorado, registration is based on a percentage of taxable value and what county you reside in, and we register yearly. When I first registered it, it was about $700. This past year, it was $500. It will continue to go down but that was a bit of a shock. I spend roughly $250/mo on gas, which I had already budgeted for, but is more than I spent previously. Oil changes have been free so far, so I imagine those will run into the low $100ís, and Iím definitely not looking forward to the cost new tires.
I knew when purchasing that the transmission might be an issue, and I also figured that this will be the last car I buy for a while (trying to save for a mortgage), so I opted for the extended warranty. Additionally, my servicing dealership, after the transmission debacle, treats me like royalty, and they are less than 2 miles from my house.
I am happy with my purchase overall. I got a great deal on it, my insurance is reasonable, and the 4x4 system works great (for me and my uses). The transmission issues have been a pain, but not nearly as bad as some others have experienced here.
I know some of you have NOT had good luck with your KL, which makes me sad. Even with the issues Iíve experienced, I am still glad I made the jump. Maybe itís because my dealership is close and if anything goes wrong theyíve got my back. Maybe it's because I haven't had to deal with being without my car for very long.
If something does go wrong, it will be rectified.
So that's my story. See everyone around :-)
2015 Trailhawk | V6 | Cold Weather | Towing | 8.4A w/ Nav | Brilliant Black | Black Interior | Built: 10/2014
2003 Acura 3.2 TL Type-S | V6 | Nav | 5 speed auto | Pearl White | Brown Leather