Blue Ridge Parkway Driveabout - Vehicle Report

I had to go check it out the new JK so went for coffee at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington DC. From there it was back to Chicago via the Shenandoah National Park, The Blue Ridge Parkway and The Great Smoky National Park.

First stop was the relatively new Smithsonian Air & Space Museum at Dallas Airport. They closed the restoration facility on the outskirts of Washington DC so this was the next best thing. I really did not have much interest in the space section but as it turned out it was the space shuttle that impressed me the most.

Vehicle report as follows:

2,028 miles in 4 days, average 16.8 mpg. (City driving is 12.6 mpg)

Ride: Yes, it is as good as stock provided you are in a straight line on a smooth road. Holding 75-80 mph was easy on the several hundred straight, flat road miles on a windless highway. Handling is a different story!! Compared to my last JK with a Teraflex 4-1/2" suspension with 37" BFG MTs it was far, far better, but hitting road ruts on a curve in the mountains the suspension was as sloppy as a French hooker on Bastille Day. This is a vehicle that needs to be driven every second you are behind the wheel when on busy, winding highways, keeping up with traffic and passing semis. It is aerodynamic as a building although having said that there are several buildings I know of that have a more efficient wind coefficient. The ride comfort is night and day different compared to my 2008 JK. The 2014 is a vast improvement.

Driving the very smooth roads of the Blue Ridge Parkway with its thousands of curves and hair pin bends was fantastic. The JK handled as well as the video showed on the race track. The Parkway in a past year had 450 accidents but after installing very effective signs this was reduced to 250 accidents per year. The Parkway is the most visited park in the USA but fortunately it was a very quite week allowing me to maintain a very good average speed for the entire 469 miles but now I have arms like Popeye the sailer man.

The interior noise level is about the same as the 08 but the Hemi did have a nice sound to it. I will install Hothead Headliners before the next trip so the noise level should be greatly reduced.

I was curious as to what my JK weighed so I popped down to the local gravel yard and had it weighed. 5,214 lbs empty but with a full tank of gas.

The brakes are absolute crap and worst I have ever experienced in a new vehicle. They are better than my old JK with a big brake kit but I also have smaller tires now. MY LJ has far better brakes. In fact I did not break a sweat on Black Bear Pass in the LJ but I would hesitate to take this JK on it. They are adequate for most street driving but it doesn't take a lot to push the pedal to the floor which will mean low range first will over power the brakes when you are about to go down obstacles like Nose Dive on Behind The Rocks Trail in Moab.

The new V6 is far, far better than the old 3.8. It doesn't compare to a 5.7 Hemi but the new engine did very well in the Appalachians. I will have to wait and see how it does in the Rockies but for now I am looking for absolute reliability so will keep as much stock as possible.

sudden curve ahead

©  McNeill/Jeepingoffroad 2023