Can't decide ... Sahara or Rubicon??

Woodynj

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So I am about to order a JL, but can not decide on Rubicon or Sahara. Love the look of both, except not sure i am sold on the red interior of rubicon (if you have pics please share)

  • I will be off road a little, but dont have plans to do any serious crawling or mudding. More like rough fire/dirt roads and trails and general snow driving in the North East.
  • I will be towing a boat fairly often (about 3200 lbs total)
  • I do plan to put larger tires/wheels on either, but no lift (so 33 on Sahara maybe 35 on Rubicon)

What should i be thinking about? All thoughts welcome! Thanks!!!
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Thrive

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IMO as a JKUR owner (previous) and a soon to be picked up JL Sahara you can guess what I say.

Same requirements/uses as you except no boat but 2500lb loaded trailer. Northeast with heavy rains and winters. I think I disconnected sway bar and locked axles 2 times in 2 years, once just for fun to flex on a fallen tree and the other to drive down into and out of a ditch to pull a van out in a heavy snow. Sahara probably could have done it with the anti slip differential. I chose full time AWD as the shifting to 4H throughout bad weather driving to be safer was cumbersome as I didn’t want it on where traction was decent to not stress the differentials.

Rubicon may have better resale but I’m sure that is location dependent. Out west I wouldn’t even consider a Sahara, it would be Rubicon I wouldn’t screw with or sport that I would build up with lockers and such.

I learned my lesson the hard way. Do it “right” the first time and don’t pay for features you will never use and instead pay for options that will mean something for your lifestyle.

LOVE the way Rubicon’s look (mine was 2013 10th Anniversary, the first time this Lou reed hood and steel bumpers made their debut) but made no sense given my lifestyle and location.
 

Vipersnake

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Easiest decision ever. Rubicon. I thought I wanted a Sahara at first cause thats what I had before but a Rubicon is so much better. I dont even drive offroad at all so its not like that influenced my choice. The Steel bumper looks way better than the Sahara default. Hood on the Rubicon is much nicer...there are a few more minor things but I'd say if you can afford it go for the Rubicon, dont think youll regret it.
 

JeepJL18

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IMO as a JKUR owner (previous) and a soon to be picked up JL Sahara you can guess what I say.

Same requirements/uses as you except no boat but 2500lb loaded trailer. Northeast with heavy rains and winters. I think I disconnected sway bar and locked axles 2 times in 2 years, once just for fun to flex on a fallen tree and the other to drive down into and out of a ditch to pull a van out in a heavy snow. Sahara probably could have done it with the anti slip differential. I chose full time AWD as the shifting to 4H throughout bad weather driving to be safer was cumbersome as I didn’t want it on where traction was decent to not stress the differentials.

Rubicon may have better resale but I’m sure that is location dependent. Out west I wouldn’t even consider a Sahara, it would be Rubicon I wouldn’t screw with or sport that I would build up with lockers and such.

I learned my lesson the hard way. Do it “right” the first time and don’t pay for features you will never use and instead pay for options that will mean something for your lifestyle.

LOVE the way Rubicon’s look (mine was 2013 10th Anniversary, the first time this Lou reed hood and steel bumpers made their debut) but made no sense given my lifestyle and location.

So basically you just answers the question on why you bought yours, but nothing to do with his question, lol. He doesn't plan to off-road. Dirt roads are still roads, lol.

"I learned my lesson the hard way. Do it “right” the first time and don’t pay for features you will never use and instead pay for options that will mean something for your lifestyle." Rubicon's are built for SERIOUS off-roaders. Yes the hood looks nice and the stickers on the side of that hood, but I have the rubi take off wheels, suspension, rock rails and LED package and paid considerably less with a loaded Sport S. I don't need the low gears, and upgraded axles so I, like you say didn't need to pay for something I am not going to use.

I have a neighbor who has a new rubicon and mine has more than his. He actually asked me if mine was a rubicon that i toook the hood sticker off of, lol. He has roll up windows and regular halogens. But he bought it for off-road and actually goes seriously off-roading.

@Woodynj , go with your gut and get what YOU want. The first mistake is getting what someone else thinks you should have, which is probably the same reason why they got theirs.
 

S2k Chris

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I am getting a loaded Sport S, and unless you specifically need something only available on the Sahara or Rubi, it's a no brainer to me to skip both. The Rubi looks bad-ass, and in a world where I was offroad a lot I'd go with it in a heartbeat, but knowing I'll offroad infrequently I elected to skip the Rubi since it is worse onroad (98% of my usage) than the Sport S. The Sahara is great if you want something only available on that trim, like color-matching, leather, native nav (I'll use Carplay) or AWD, but otherwise it's a big price premium for no reason. The $5k or more you save can pay for a lot of aftermarket goodies (like hopefully a decent LED kit...)
 

mwilk012

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Well, what does a Sahara offer that a Rubicon does not? "All-time" 4WD and a leather trimmed dash panel, and the slightly lower sticker price. It is up to you in the end OP, but realize that the Rubicon is basically perfect stock, and the sahara will need new tires and likely wheels immediately. Luckily, rubicon takeoffs are cheap.
 

JeepJL18

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I am getting a loaded Sport S, and unless you specifically need something only available on the Sahara or Rubi, it's a no brainer to me to skip both. The Rubi looks bad-ass, and in a world where I was offroad a lot I'd go with it in a heartbeat, but knowing I'll offroad infrequently I elected to skip the Rubi since it is worse onroad (98% of my usage) than the Sport S. The Sahara is great if you want something only available on that trim, like color-matching, leather, native nav (I'll use Carplay) or AWD, but otherwise it's a big price premium for no reason. The $5k or more you save can pay for a lot of aftermarket goodies (like hopefully a decent LED kit...)
Finally, a reasonable answer. Actually one of the smartest posts I've read on this site today. Well done.
 

Tex117

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OP, I am in the exact same boat as you. I've been back and forth over the decision countless times. I do a little off-roading, but nothing that would require a Rubicon. I also, very much dislike the Red Dash (I would be getting a black jeep with black leather). I am praying that Jeep takes mercy on us and allows us to get a different color dash in 2019. Even if they don't, aftermarket, Im sure I will have some options...so its just a waiting game.

That said, here were my considerations and maybe they can help you.

What is the price when you build both out? For me, I didn't want many features on either, so when it was all said and done. There was only a 2,000 difference between the two trims. Sahara's interior is slick , and overall it is a sleaker package. Rubicon (for me not nearly as slick both outside and inside), but there is no question its a tougher more mechanically advanced jeep. The mechanical upgrades will hold value much better than comfort upgrades on resale. To me, it makes more sense to spend a little more money and get the mechanical upgrades rather than just spend slightly less and get the more plush interior without the mechanical upgrade. I also thought, I can easily make a Rubicon look more like a Sahara, but it will cost some $ to get a Sahara to act like a Rubicon. (I will be taking off the Rubicon sticker, and replacing the redish badges with the Sahara silver ones...will probably plasti-dip the tow hooks as well). That all can be done for just a few bucks. If I can find a grey dash replacement (or something else cool, then I'll be in business).

Also, the major feature on the Sahara is the select-trac but it only comes in the automatic. As such, I wouldn't even be getting that. The Rubicon makes a little more sense (even though I will never use it to its full potential).

The ride quality is something you are just going to have to feel. If you drive both and one is a clear winner, then that is all you need.

In the end, just go drive both and see which one sings to you and then check that against your wallet.

Honestly, there is alot to be said by just getting a Sport S, limited slip differential, and that's it for options. (I don't know what you want on your jeep, but I did this with my JK, and I loved it).
 
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Woodynj

Woodynj

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Thanks for all the responses so far. Couple comments/more detail on my choices.
  • I would consider the sport, but I want Leather and the 8in screen and upgraded audio so this means Sahara or Rubicon.
  • Prices are about 2K different based on how I equipped them, but I would HAVE to add new tires to the Sahara so the gap closes pretty fast, but i could hold off on new tires for a bit on the rubicon.
  • Unfortunately i won't have the opportunity to drive the Rubicon before I order.
I know I will be happy with either, but would love to hear other reason why you bought one over the other. Maybe you had a reason i have not thought of yet.
 

S2k Chris

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Not trying to push the Sport, but you can get the upgraded audio, plus it can have the 7" carplay compatible screen instead of the 8.4", not as good but close. And you can do aftermarket leather.

Do what you want, just making sure you know all your options. :)
 

OldGuyNewJeep

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Thanks for all the responses so far. Couple comments/more detail on my choices.
  • I would consider the sport, but I want Leather and the 8in screen and upgraded audio so this means Sahara or Rubicon.
  • Prices are about 2K different based on how I equipped them, but I would HAVE to add new tires to the Sahara so the gap closes pretty fast, but i could hold off on new tires for a bit on the rubicon.
  • Unfortunately i won't have the opportunity to drive the Rubicon before I order.
I know I will be happy with either, but would love to hear other reason why you bought one over the other. Maybe you had a reason i have not thought of yet.
I love my Rubicon. You have to see the red to understand it. Pictures don’t help.
 

VolCntry73

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Thanks for all the responses so far. Couple comments/more detail on my choices.
  • I would consider the sport, but I want Leather and the 8in screen and upgraded audio so this means Sahara or Rubicon.
  • Prices are about 2K different based on how I equipped them, but I would HAVE to add new tires to the Sahara so the gap closes pretty fast, but i could hold off on new tires for a bit on the rubicon.
  • Unfortunately i won't have the opportunity to drive the Rubicon before I order.
I know I will be happy with either, but would love to hear other reason why you bought one over the other. Maybe you had a reason i have not thought of yet.
It'd be a "no-brainer" for me...Rubicon. But just my opinion. The Sahara will serve you well and wouldn't be a bad decision...but I'd go Rubi.
 

@OUTDOORTREE

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The only problem I see for you in the future is when you get the Sahara and got done the forest service roads you will eventually meet other jeeps and want to follow and then you will wish you had locker and swing arm disconnect. I don't rock crawl hard but a little and just last week was messing around in a rocky creek I found with some rocks you had to climb to get our and 4H was just spinning, 4low and lockers made me crawl out with out the slightest slip. Its nice to have for the times you need it. Plus it looks bad ass.

The longer you have your Jeep the more you will likely want to go off roading and you will wish you had the Rubicon. Just my optimistic thoughts that we will gain a new off roader.

Pic was of a detour off a forest service road to a river bed and did some crawling out of it that needed lockers - otherwise I would have had to winch myself out.

DSC_0065.JPG
 

ShaunTheJeep

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Heh It's obvious you should get the cheaper model unless you want something on the more expensive one isn't it? The trick is deciding which options are worth it to you. It's going to come down to cost and what you want. Technology is important to me so I totally get starting at the Sahara -- Rubi level. Having the smaller screen with the bezel that fills in the extra inch would look awkward to me... Even tho I can use a cell phone, I have the cool computer with awesome screen. So Sport was not an option. I've heard "unless you're going to do serious rock crawling you shouldn't touch a Rubi" but I think that's bogus. Almost all -- and I'm guessing that's around 99% of Jeep buyers -- will never see rocks the likes of what we watch in Youtube videos. So that's not really a factor. Some people buy a racer but never intend to go over 90mph which any car can do. With a Rubi you can go over any obstacle. Maybe you will, maybe you won't. But you can.

If you may add larger tires, start with the Rubi (axles!). Sahara seems like a cruiser to me. We were looking for adventurous and fun not low and smooth. The hood is awesome, love the styling. Also the steel bumper -- which I almost talked myself out of, but am glad I didn't -- is not an option on the Sahara. Eventually I'll install some lights and a winch. I will probably never be pulling myself out of mud, but if I use it for something random, that's cool. Love the red interior! Selec-Trac would be nice... But in the end I'll be in 2WD most of the time anyways for the mileage so as great as AWD is, I don't mind switching to 4WD for the snows. Then if I'm gonna hit the freeway I should be back in 2WD anyways. I get no use out of 4L. Tried it, too low -- I find this useless on the Rubi. I'm not going to be taking rocks that require that low of a creep. There are features like the better axles, brakes and differentials that are solid improvements even if you don't need them. All this plus the Rubi costing only marginally more than the Sahara made the Rubi the choice for me. Whichever you buy between the two, you'll like the tech. It's very current. Love that it reads my texts while I'm driving. The buttons and dials are comfortable and the touch screen is responsive. Little things. Hope it gives you some to think about!
 
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Tex117

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Thanks for all the responses so far. Couple comments/more detail on my choices.
  • I would consider the sport, but I want Leather and the 8in screen and upgraded audio so this means Sahara or Rubicon.
  • Prices are about 2K different based on how I equipped them, but I would HAVE to add new tires to the Sahara so the gap closes pretty fast, but i could hold off on new tires for a bit on the rubicon.
  • Unfortunately i won't have the opportunity to drive the Rubicon before I order.
I know I will be happy with either, but would love to hear other reason why you bought one over the other. Maybe you had a reason i have not thought of yet.
With these details, I would go Rubicon. You are simply getting more Jeep for your money (and when you factor in new tires...I mean...its what? 1000 apart?)

The other option is S2Ks suggestion. 7in info screen with aftermarket leather on a Sport S. You aren't getting the heavier brakes or the gas shocks on the Sahara, but you will save about 5 grand or more.
 
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