Rover72

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I drove a Rubicon Gladiator a while back out of curiosity and was able to take a short ride with the dealer salesperson and feel that it drove ok compared to what I expected. The driving manners were ok for the road as far as my short ride could reveal. Ride was smooth and steering was fine.
Didn't jam on it so can't talk engine performance other than it seemed ok just around town normal driving.

The jeep feels smaller inside than the Bronco. Jeep ride can't compare to the Bronco with IFS although if the bronco didn't exist and I wanted to go with a top & door off vehicle there would be no other choice. With the Bronco IFS & the packages they offer vs Jeep - I'll go Bronco.

If you don't need the bed why go gladiator, why go Jeep at all, unless your patience has run out?
After driving the and studying Jeep offerings, then going to Bronco Off-Rodeo, my patience got rejuvenated.

Was going Badlands w/ 33's until I drove a Squatch at Off-Rodeo and then a mannequin Wildtrak w/35's on the local roads & highway being surprised how good the on road manners are with the 35's. I feel the upgrade is worth the money even if driving on the road 90% of the time.

I'm all on board with the 35's & SAS.
Sorry Jeep, the Base Bronco with SAS tires & suspension is the best thing to happen to off-roading in the entire history of off-roading!
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Calicorks

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I had a few moment of temptation and frustration with all of the things going on.
I found a dealer offering 6% below invoice on the Gladiator, so I went to test drive one to see if I liked it as much as I thought I might.

Gladi drove very well. No hint of wandering or wobble, or any of the urban legends out there. It was smooth, had a good stance (It was the Mojave with 33's and Fox 2.5 shocks). Hard top panels were substantial and super easy to remove. Good fit and finish. I own an 01 Jeep, and was somewhat surprised at the tight quarters inside. I mean, I know it hasn't grown to full size truck proportions, but was still a bit surprised that it felt just as small.
My son rode in the back seat. At 6-0 his knees were in the molle panels in the back of my seat, and my seat was almost uncomfortably forward.
He said, once asked, "I would absolutely not want to ride back here for a week-long trip, or even the 3.5 hours to the beach. This sucks."
Power was very lacking. Surprisingly so. I did not expect a Z06-level feeling. But I did expect a bit more than it had. The 3.6 is a smooth, quiet engine. But severely underpowered for the vehicle, for road use. Drove it for an hour and was not in love with it, other than the lure of a shiny, brand new 4X4 truck I could remove the tops and doors from.

Now, The WT 4 door was a completely different vehicle. I've ridden in one with Shelby at Supercel, so I had a feeling already from a passenger perspective, how it felt and rode.
Driving it is SO much different and better.
It felt like it had twice the power. We were doing 75 on the highway and it felt like we were doing 50. SO smooth, responsive.
Son in the back had a good several inches of room between his knees and the seat, and I didn't have it as forward as I normally would.
Lots more head room.
Superb open-air feeling with no crossbar.
Seats. Oh man, the seats. They felt like Lazyboy recliners compared the the Gladi. And the WT camo inserts look a LOT better in person than they do in pics, as do the dash colors.
If I did not want the MGV and washout floor, I would switch to WT and never look back.

I drove the first half, my wife drove the 2nd half.

She has been overly supportive and understanding (and patient) during this whole ordeal.
Once we got back to the dealer she was as much a rabid fan of the Bronco as I have been, said "Ok, when we get home, email the dealer, get it out of 99 status, change to a Soft top and let's get this thing home ASAP."

And she was right. No comparison. It's a whole 'nother level of ride, comfort, room, feeling vs. the Gladi.

So promptly emailed, changed to a Soft top, added Squatch, and the anxious wait now begins to see if it hits soon in schedule land.
It’s definitely a whole other level as one is a truck, and the other an SUV.

I do agree that a 2.7 with Sport mode Bronco spanks the Gladiator. But, the Gladiator spanks the 2.3.

When I drove the Bronco, it was a nice ride, but felt cheap. It feels like my skin is getting sanded by the rough material. Ford’s thing is “it’s meant to be that way since it’s water resistant.” The Gladiator is also “water resistant” but the feeling inside makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

You really can’t compare the two vehicles, and my rationalization on getting my Gladiator was the bed, and towing. Also, steering “wobble” is not really a thing, unless you got a defective Gladiator with it.

To point this out, you didn’t drive apples to apples. A Mojave Gladi is the competitor to a Raptor. What level was your Bronco? A Rubicon and a Mojave are very different just like a Big Bend and Badlands are different.
The Bronco is overall a cool SUV, and I’d like to ALSO have one along with my Gladiator. BUT, if I were to only have one, the Jeep takes my $$ any day.
 

Calicorks

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I saw the post and had to read it and respond. Just this past weekend I went to look at the local Ford dealer and see if they had any Broncos, then to look and test drive a Gladiator. The Gladiator (Mojave) is very high on the list as an option to the Bronco mainly due to it's unavailability.

The Ford dealer had a 4 door WT with Sas that I was able to drive. Wow I was very impressed. The ride, comfort, view were awesome. I especially liked the road feel and the steering with the 35" tires. But what impressed me most was the power with the 2.7. Reading some of the posts it seems like the 2.3 and 2.7 are just adequate and I was really concerned. It had power right off the line, to me. My current rides could be slugs though- my 97 Wrangler for sure is and my 2019 Silverado LD with 5.3 sure felt like one too versus the Bronco. My GF commented how fast it shifted too. I also popped the hood and the engine bay was not as disorganized and messy as the photos I have seen. The spark plugs were pretty much accessible and I could see the valve covers and also the turbos. So I did like the engine bay. I was not able to go for a very long ride but liked it enough to at least find out more information to re-order a 2022 since I was bumped into 2022. The dealer was going to get back to me. Hopefully they will as they have not been very informative. I expect a long wait since I have a 2 door reservation. One guy hinted that they may not even continue with the 2 door and after driving the 4 door I would for sure go with a 4 door if the 2 door was discontinued.

I went to test drive a used 2020 Gladiator immediately after right in town and by the time I got there it was already sold. So, I aborted after that.

After reading your post on the Gladiator I am concerned on power now and may not even pursue on anymore. I for sure don't want a slug- and especially with these type of vehicles not being that fuel efficient to boot. Might as well at least have something powerful enough and to be able to keep up with traffic if you are going to get 17 MPG.
The 2.7 Bronco is faster, but the 2.3 is slower than the Gladiator. Also, keep in mind turbo lag is a B***h.
 

Rick Astley

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I drove a Rubicon Gladiator a while back out of curiosity and was able to take a short ride with the dealer salesperson and feel that it drove ok compared to what I expected. The driving manners were ok for the road as far as my short ride could reveal. Ride was smooth and steering was fine.
Didn't jam on it so can't talk engine performance other than it seemed ok just around town normal driving.

The jeep feels smaller inside than the Bronco. Jeep ride can't compare to the Bronco with IFS although if the bronco didn't exist and I wanted to go with a top & door off vehicle there would be no other choice. With the Bronco IFS & the packages they offer vs Jeep - I'll go Bronco.

If you don't need the bed why go gladiator, why go Jeep at all, unless your patience has run out?
After driving the and studying Jeep offerings, then going to Bronco Off-Rodeo, my patience got rejuvenated.

Was going Badlands w/ 33's until I drove a Squatch at Off-Rodeo and then a mannequin Wildtrak w/35's on the local roads & highway being surprised how good the on road manners are with the 35's. I feel the upgrade is worth the money even if driving on the road 90% of the time.

I'm all on board with the 35's & SAS.
Sorry Jeep, the Base Bronco with SAS tires & suspension is the best thing to happen to off-roading in the entire history of off-roading!
One small tangent point in this is that the 35" tires which come on the sasquatch package are not exactly the most robust, effective or desirable off-road tires. They are really more of an "on-road 35" tire".

Tires can make a world of difference in driving feel in the various areas they are designed to operate, and have a massive impact on the vehicle capabilities.

Having seen bone stock RX-8's on race slicks run down and pass 911 turbos and Corvette Z06's which were on Super Sports, it can be quite profound. (driver mod was in full effect, that guy and his wife were both monsters who could humble most at the track, but those cars are a stretch for any stock-powered RX-8)

I would wager a guess that having off-road focused 35" tires on Bronco would reduce the on-road compliance quite a bit and come up with a LOT of different reactions on here from folks who haven't driven on-road with off-road tires before.

As you mention you were going Badlands w/33's, i'll share where i've gotten in that same line of questioning: I'm still going Badlands with the non-upgrade 33" tires which will be the daily drivers, and then purchase a set of dedicated off-road focused tires on steelies for off-road use. Given my build (BL, 2.3, MT, 2-door), sasquatch is quite literally just the 35" tires and microscopically better suspension for $2,500, I will be out close to $2,500 and have a drastically better set of off-road wheels along with a regular driven set of on-road wheels. As always, the build you're going for impacts where the cost savings are.... But it seems nobody is touting the Sasquatch tires as actual off-road tires. Just the bare minimum to get somebody outdoors.
 

Mdsuits

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The gladiator interior way outshines the cheap bronco interior.....it’s definitely smaller/narrower but has enough room. The tow rating on the gladiator is much better. The 3.6 is right in between the 2.3 and 2.7 as far as power (the diesel is pretty awesome) it nice that it has a real front axle and can be had with a 4-1 tcase in the rubicon. Don’t get me wrong I love the new Broncos but the gladiator is a pretty excellent choice.
 

mjohnso3

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It’s definitely a whole other level as one is a truck, and the other an SUV.

I do agree that a 2.7 with Sport mode Bronco spanks the Gladiator. But, the Gladiator spanks the 2.3.

When I drove the Bronco, it was a nice ride, but felt cheap. It feels like my skin is getting sanded by the rough material. Ford’s thing is “it’s meant to be that way since it’s water resistant.” The Gladiator is also “water resistant” but the feeling inside makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

You really can’t compare the two vehicles, and my rationalization on getting my Gladiator was the bed, and towing. Also, steering “wobble” is not really a thing, unless you got a defective Gladiator with it.

To point this out, you didn’t drive apples to apples. A Mojave Gladi is the competitor to a Raptor. What level was your Bronco? A Rubicon and a Mojave are very different just like a Big Bend and Badlands are different.
The Bronco is overall a cool SUV, and I’d like to ALSO have one along with my Gladiator. BUT, if I were to only have one, the Jeep takes my $$ any day.
Good comparison, people make the biggest deal about the steering on the new Wranglers, while it's true the sfa can and is prone to the death wobble quality parts with good engineering will eliminate that problem. And FCA finally got a handle on this after years of sloppy engineering and cheap parts.May not drive quite as nice as an IFS but they drive and handle just fine.

Interestingly, my experience with death wobble all occurred with my first gen Broncos.
 
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broadicustomworks

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It’s definitely a whole other level as one is a truck, and the other an SUV.

I do agree that a 2.7 with Sport mode Bronco spanks the Gladiator. But, the Gladiator spanks the 2.3.

When I drove the Bronco, it was a nice ride, but felt cheap. It feels like my skin is getting sanded by the rough material. Ford’s thing is “it’s meant to be that way since it’s water resistant.” The Gladiator is also “water resistant” but the feeling inside makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

You really can’t compare the two vehicles, and my rationalization on getting my Gladiator was the bed, and towing. Also, steering “wobble” is not really a thing, unless you got a defective Gladiator with it.

To point this out, you didn’t drive apples to apples. A Mojave Gladi is the competitor to a Raptor. What level was your Bronco? A Rubicon and a Mojave are very different just like a Big Bend and Badlands are different.
The Bronco is overall a cool SUV, and I’d like to ALSO have one along with my Gladiator. BUT, if I were to only have one, the Jeep takes my $$ any day.
I can compare them, and I did.
to each his own.
I’m not bashing your gladiator, or them in general. I was all in on getting one.
Actual seat time in the Mojave vs. WT less than 30 minutes apart is what I based my opinion on. Heavy emphasis on the “opinion” part.

Your experiences are yours and they work for you, no skin off my teeth.
what I compared is Mojave-WT (not even in sport mode).

Sat in both, put both in Drive with the AC on, and drive each for an hour.

I wasn’t comparing Rubi vs Mojave or BL vs Big bend, or either vs either in any configuration.
I know the difference in them as I’ve done countless hours of research 🔬 prior to going on both the Jeep and Ford derivatives test drives.

My goal was Mojave vs either a BL or WT.
Being as the Mojave and the WT are the respective “desert runners”, I feel it was a fair assessment. For me.

I went in ready to pull the trigger on one or the other and needed some seat time and not reviews and internet data.

To me, the inside appears a bit better fit and finish in the Mojave, but generally feels smaller than the actual physical differences.

To me, the engines were considerably different in powerband, time to reach highway speed, and reaction to pressing the skinny pedal.

I had no interest in the diesel nor the 2.3 so I didn’t test drive them.

To me, the seating position and comfort were worlds better in the Bronco.

However any of y’all are free to feel, believe, and stand by whatever you want. Perceive and support whatever you want.
This was my take on it and my thoughts after driving the two I chose to drive.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with my opinions and that’s ok too.
Neither one are a “bad” choice.
If I could get the Bronco interior space, seats, and engine in the Gladiator…it would be my delight.
A truck that I can haul some gear in easily that allows me to take the top and doors off is the perfect vehicle for me and my persona.
I just kinda wish the Gladi hit me in the feels as much as the Bronco does. I would have loved to get one and get those Oracle flush tail lights and a rack. Just wasn’t what I expected vs the Bronco, so I did what made sense for me.
No anger or hurt feelings here, even though it comes across that way. Hard to express or depress emotion or intent with only the typed words to go by! 👍
And only one good hand at the moment on an iPhone makes it even more difficult! 😂
 
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Lakelife36

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I can compare them, and I did.
to each his own.
I’m not bashing your gladiator, or them in general. I was all in on getting one.
Actual seat time in the Mojave vs. WT less than 30 minutes apart is what I based my opinion on. Heavy emphasis on the “opinion” part.

Your experiences are yours and they work for you, no skin off my teeth.
what I compared is Mojave-WT (not even in sport mode).

Sat in both, put both in Drive with the AC on, and drive each for an hour.

I wasn’t comparing Rubi vs Mojave or BL vs Big bend, or either vs either in any configuration.
I know the difference in them as I’ve done countless hours of research 🔬 prior to going on both the Jeep and Ford derivatives test drives.

My goal was Mojave vs either a BL or WT.
Being as the Mojave and the WT are the respective “desert runners”, I feel it was a fair assessment. For me.

I went in ready to pull the trigger on one or the other and needed some seat time and not reviews and internet data.

To me, the inside appears a bit better fit and finish in the Mojave, but generally feels smaller than the actual physical differences.

To me, the engines were considerably different in powerband, time to reach highway speed, and reaction to pressing the skinny pedal.

I had no interest in the diesel nor the 2.3 so I didn’t test drive them.

To me, the seating position and comfort were worlds better in the Bronco.

However any of y’all are free to feel, believe, and stand by whatever you want. Perceive and support whatever you want.
This was my take on it and my thoughts after driving the two I chose to drive.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with my opinions and that’s ok too.
Neither one are a “bad” choice.
If I could get the Bronco interior space, seats, and engine in the Gladiator…it would be my delight.
A truck that I can haul some gear in easily that allows me to take the top and doors off is the perfect vehicle for me and my persona.
I just kinda wish the Gladi hit me in the feels as much as the Bronco does. I would have loved to get one and get those Oracle flush tail lights and a rack. Just wasn’t what I expected vs the Bronco, so I did what made sense for me.
No anger or hurt feelings here, even though it comes across that way. Hard to express or depress emotion or intent with only the typed words to go by! 👍
And only one good hand at the moment on an iPhone makes it even more difficult! 😂
This right here is what the internet needs more of.
 

4avor8ntfair

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It’s definitely a whole other level as one is a truck, and the other an SUV.

I do agree that a 2.7 with Sport mode Bronco spanks the Gladiator. But, the Gladiator spanks the 2.3.

When I drove the Bronco, it was a nice ride, but felt cheap. It feels like my skin is getting sanded by the rough material. Ford’s thing is “it’s meant to be that way since it’s water resistant.” The Gladiator is also “water resistant” but the feeling inside makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

You really can’t compare the two vehicles, and my rationalization on getting my Gladiator was the bed, and towing. Also, steering “wobble” is not really a thing, unless you got a defective Gladiator with it.

To point this out, you didn’t drive apples to apples. A Mojave Gladi is the competitor to a Raptor. What level was your Bronco? A Rubicon and a Mojave are very different just like a Big Bend and Badlands are different.
The Bronco is overall a cool SUV, and I’d like to ALSO have one along with my Gladiator. BUT, if I were to only have one, the Jeep takes my $$ any day.
I’m confused about “the Gladiator spanks the 2.3”. I just pulled up the specs on both sites. The 3.6L Pentastar has 285hp and 260lb-ft of torque. The Bronco’s 2.3L on regular is rated for 270hp and 310lb-ft torque…and Ford has been advertising on the premium fuel rating of 300/325. I guess I’m failing to see how a much smaller engine making similar horsepower and more torque equals “getting spanked”🤷🏻‍♂️
I got to drive a 2.3 Badlands mannequin on a dirt/gravel country road in Baja mode. I was only going 70…but the speed limit was 35 on a residential road and it was the first time I’d driven down there, so I kept it reasonable. It was a complete blast and sold me on the 2.3. I’m sure one of the professionals would find turbo lag pushing it to the limits, and I’ve definitely seen it on my 2016 Explorer with the 2.3L, but I didn’t experience ANY lag with the 2.3L Bronco.
 

NoDoorsNoProblem

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The Gladiator was my original plan before the Bronco reveal and lately I find myself drawn back to it. It's hard to beat the usability and towing ability of a truck. I love the mid-size truck segment, its perfect for me. I test drove 6 different gladiators in the last few weeks: a new 21 Rubicon, new 21 High Altitude, used 20 Rubicon, 2 different Mojaves, and a Sport S with the Ecodiesel.

Hands down, I would get an Ecodiesel. Not even close. Even with some scattered problems with cooling, the Ecodiesel drove so much better, smoother, got up to speed easier (without revving to 6k RPM every on ramp), and just had amazing character. The gasser screamed in a bad way every time I put my foot down, and went nowhere. I know that's a subjective description but the ecodiesel felt that much better to me. I like my 2.8 Duramax in my Canyon, but with 180hp/369tq, it's just too slow. (And the doors and roof don't come off, but that's a different conversation.)

If the Mojave came with the diesel I would be much much more tempted to get the Gladiator. This is where the Bronco shines - the ability to get Sasquatch in any trim is fantastic. To get a diesel Gladiator, its either get a lower trim with an LSD, or spend $$$ to get the Rubicon for both lockers. And either lower trim or Rubicon, you're still gonna have to do some suspension mods to flex on 35s or 37s, and dial in the ride quality. You can save that $$$ getting a lower trim, but then add that $$$ back in, and add complexity if you want to to a locker down the road...which requires air....

The Bronco packaging actually is really straightforward and nice compared to the Gladiator, and it allows the best engine (2.7) and suspension (Sas) on any trim, along with F/R lockers. If you want at least a rear locker in the Jeep, Mojave or Rubicon, no lower. If you want the best engine (Ecodiesel), lower trim with no locker or Rubicon, but not the best ride. You want the best ride (Mojave), you can't get the best engine (ecodiesel). It's really dumb how Jeep structures things.
 

Rover72

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One small tangent point in this is that the 35" tires which come on the sasquatch package are not exactly the most robust, effective or desirable off-road tires. They are really more of an "on-road 35" tire".

Tires can make a world of difference in driving feel in the various areas they are designed to operate, and have a massive impact on the vehicle capabilities.

Having seen bone stock RX-8's on race slicks run down and pass 911 turbos and Corvette Z06's which were on Super Sports, it can be quite profound. (driver mod was in full effect, that guy and his wife were both monsters who could humble most at the track, but those cars are a stretch for any stock-powered RX-8)

I would wager a guess that having off-road focused 35" tires on Bronco would reduce the on-road compliance quite a bit and come up with a LOT of different reactions on here from folks who haven't driven on-road with off-road tires before.

As you mention you were going Badlands w/33's, i'll share where i've gotten in that same line of questioning: I'm still going Badlands with the non-upgrade 33" tires which will be the daily drivers, and then purchase a set of dedicated off-road focused tires on steelies for off-road use. Given my build (BL, 2.3, MT, 2-door), sasquatch is quite literally just the 35" tires and microscopically better suspension for $2,500, I will be out close to $2,500 and have a drastically better set of off-road wheels along with a regular driven set of on-road wheels. As always, the build you're going for impacts where the cost savings are.... But it seems nobody is touting the Sasquatch tires as actual off-road tires. Just the bare minimum to get somebody outdoors.
I agree with your assessment. I like the stock 35's because they have good on road manners. and you make a great & valid point about putting the extra $2500. to better use than gaining just an inch or so of clearance rather than getting better off road capability via better off road tires.

What would you recommend for off road tires & secondary set of rims?

Thanks for idea!
 

Laminar

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If you want to experience power try one with the Diesel, I seriously doubt that the 2.7 will be able to keep up....
Diesels aren't fast. The 2.7 in the F150 is a full 1.5 seconds faster to 60 than the diesel Gladiator, and it's faster in the quarter, too. Diesels have a very narrow, torquey powerband, but they don't produce power. Power is speed.

I’m confused about “the Gladiator spanks the 2.3”. I just pulled up the specs on both sites. The 3.6L Pentastar has 285hp and 260lb-ft of torque.
The numbers belie the performance. The Bronco is extremely heavy and we also assume Ford softened the performance to save the drivetrain from big tires and shock loading, because the 2.3 is not as fast as it "should be" based on the numbers. All of the reviews I've seen have said the Jeep 2.0 is much more responsive and quicker than the Bronco 2.3, even though the 2.3 has more displacement and better numbers on paper.
 

Rick Astley

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I agree with your assessment. I like the stock 35's because they have good on road manners. and you make a great & valid point about putting the extra $2500. to better use than gaining just an inch or so of clearance rather than getting better off road capability via better off road tires.

What would you recommend for off road tires & secondary set of rims?

Thanks for idea!
That extra inch (inch and a half, compared to Sasquatch!) of 35" tires is important. But not on the road. Many guys would kill for that extra inch (and a half)!

All my previous experience with track tires is that new models come out frequently enough to not purchase until you need them!

So for my offroad setup, I don't have any solid tire decision made yet as something new might come out before I actually get the Bronco next year.

Pretty sure i'm going with a simple set of white smoothie steel wheels though. Easy to re-set the lip with a hammer on the trail if something happens, and they are cheap enough you can get a few dozen of them for the price of a set of beadlock (capable) wheels.
 

gizmohd

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I'm a tall guy (6'6"), but most of my height is waist up oddly enough... I sat in a friends Gladiator a few weeks ago because I was having a moment where I considered buying one instead... Once I sat in it, I immediately knew I would never be able to drive it comfortably.. even with the seat adjusted, my head was hitting/touching the roof panels.. the back of my head was hitting the cross bar, in order to safely drive it I'd have to lean the seat forward enough to keep me from worrying about damage in a rear-ender.. and of course leaning it forward that much meant to sit in it, my head had to twist in a very unnatural angle.... Conversely, sitting in the Bronco (4d), I was comfortable, was able to sit up in the seat and not feel like I was in a low-rider... I had at least a fist worth of clearance between my head and the soft-top...

That reason alone has been what's kept me out of Jeeps most my life. I've always wanted the ability to go off the beaten path, but have always been limited to full sized trucks... the last truly capable rig I've had was probably 25yrs ago when I had my 79 bronco that was set up for desert running in order to chase Hot-Air balloon's in New Mexico. My buddy even convinced me to run it with him at Baja one year.... we finished.. LOL.. barely (many hours after most everyone else) ... but by the time we got in, we only had front wheel drive due to snapping the rear drive shaft on something.... So, looking forward to getting something again, capable enough, small enough for the trails, yet big enough for me in order to get back out there and not worry about how much extra I'd have to do to it in order to do what I want it to do.
 
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Lethal Performance
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