How Loud Is the Jeep JL Wrangler Sky One-Touch Power Soft Top on the Road?
No matter if the weather is nice or naughty, running down the trail, back roads, or highway in an open-top Jeep is a life rite of passage. You gotta do it once, and chances are if you do it once you’ll be hooked and want to do it almost every time you’re driving anywhere. But while open-air Jeep wheeling is rad, constantly putting a soft top up and down every time you park isn’t. Nor is unbolting and removing a hard top. Sure, if you’ve got the factory full soft top you can flip the forward section over the front passenger’s head back for fresh air and upward visibility, but once you’re under way you’re not able to open or close it on the fly to take a phone call or if the sun gets a bit too strong on your noggin. Then there’s the Freedom Hard Top that conveniently allows you to remove the driver- or passenger-side front roof section, but then you’ve gotta store the panels somewhere…and then there’s that same issue of having to pull over to take a call or put the top back on.
Enter the Sky One-Touch Power Soft Top, which is essentially a blending of Jeep’s hard top with flip-up tailgate glass, hard rear side windows, and fiberglass rails with a power soft top center section that slides open or shut with a single press of a button. You can slide the roof section completely open in a few seconds and close it as quickly no matter if you’re sitting still, rolling down the trail, or traversing roadways. But that’s not to say the convenience isn’t without its drawbacks.
For one, despite the major added cost over a traditional Jeep Wrangler hard top, the Sky fabric section absorbs a ton of heat from the sun and radiates that downward at the interior passengers’ heads. You’ve gotta keep the A/C on almost full tilt on a hot summer day if you don’t wanna sweat through your clothes. Additionally, the Sky top isn’t exactly as quiet as the full hard top. In fact, having just stepped out of driving a JL Rubicon Wrangler for a year with a full factory soft top, we feel the Sky top is every bit as loud on the freeway.
Using an uncalibrated decibel meter app we downloaded on our iPhone, we took readings going down the highway with the cruise set at 70 mph on a day that had calm winds. Granted, the Falken WildPeak M/T tires on our Rubicon Unlimited EcoDiesel test model add to the overall numbers, we tried to hold the phone at head level and took several readings, the average of which came in at 79 decibels. To put it in perspective, 79 decibels is just about as loud as your average household garbage disposal at 80 dB and much louder than your average vacuum cleaner at 70 dB. So for what it’s worth, driving a Jeep JL Wrangler Rubicon with mud tires and a Sky One-Touch Power Soft Top down the highway at 70 mph is a bit louder than vacuuming your living room and a touch quieter than cleaning up after dinner.