New Gear: 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited X, or, How I Joined Another Cult!

I’ve been talking about putting a Jeep Wrangler under (around?) me for quite some time. Twice, I’ve almost pulled the trigger, and instead, purchased something different. Call it a mid-life crisis, call it a desire to make some changes to how my weekends are spent, or just call it feeding my inner child, but I’ve been doing some real hard looking at an ’08 Wrangler, and trying to find the vehicle I might wanna pick up.

Wednesday, Becky and I took a look at a couple of Wranglers, and test drove a Jeep Green colored Wrangler Unlimited X. After an hour or so, we left, and started trying to figure out if this was something we were gonna do. Our salesman was off on Thursday, so we knew we had a couple of days to think about it.

Friday, Becky and I returned to Lou Fusz, and starting making the deal happen. After four hours in the dealership, I was driving home in our new ’08 Wrangler. 🙂

So why was it four hours? Well, our salesman was busy with someone else for an hour of that. Then it took another hour and a half to get the deal looking the way I wanted, mostly having to do with the trade-in value of my ’04 Trailblazer LT. Trade-in on that vehicle was horrible, and it took some doing to get the combination of the sales price, trade-in, owner loyalty rebate and a discount we got through our employer to look the way we wanted. We spent another hour waiting for the finance guy to do his thing, and endure his extremely high pressure sales tactics for add-ons after the deal. We dodged the mines, and were able to leave shortly after 8pm with everything signed, sealed and delivered. I couldn’t be happier!

Features-wise, this is a middle-of-the-road Jeep, with a 4-door body, dual top (hard and soft tops), AM/FM/CD/Satellite radio, power windows/locks, and some suspension/tires for running off-road. It’s a beautiful vehicle, and is definitely a different kind of drive than was the Trailblazer. The cab’s a little less wide, and the nose looks much longer. Add to that the sense that you’re riding even higher up, and you have a completely different kind of SUV ride.

This morning I took some photos, and tried to capture the essence of this new vehicle. It’s a hoot to drive, especially with the front hard tops removed, and there’s just no way to capture that in a photograph.

During the evening, I decided to switch from the hard top to the soft top. This was absolutely a tough thing to do, and is not designed to be done without a partner. Admittedly, this was the first time Beck and I had been through this conversion, but it still took us almost two hours, and was extraordinarily frustrating. I’m hoping that with the soft top installed on the Jeep, it’ll “stretch out”, and become easier to deal with next time. For this week though, it’s soft top city, and maybe some running around with it all the way down.

I don’t wanna make it sound like I regret the new vehicle — I absolutely don’t! — but I really thought that working with the tops would’ve been easier. Given the complexity of putting on the soft top, I’m surprised there wasn’t a DVD or some other training for dealing with it. No matter — I’ll get used to it, I’m sure!

My neighbors on both sides have been by to see the Jeep, and they both love the vehicle and color. While that wasn’t the point, I guess I’m happy they aren’t embarrassed to have it in the driveway next to them. The thing I am really ready to do is get it out on a trail somewhere and start playing. That was the point!