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

JeepJL18

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I think it absolutely disputable. The only things that a Sahara offers that the rubicon doesn't is the leather lined dash panel, chrome grille and bumper accents and 4H auto transfer case with cv joints on the front axle.
The 'top of the line' means the most options that isn't available on any other model. You just made my point. (bigger axle and lower gears wouldn't classify as top of the line). The rubicon is however the best offroad vehicle for sure! Just not top of the Wrangler line.
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WranglerMan

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I looked at both the Rubicon and Sahara and honestly went with the Sahara because I just liked the way it looked, it is I also slightly longer than the Rubicon I think and it felt like it rode smoother
 

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OK, there are two key points that keep coming up in this thread.

1) Tires

2) Towing

I'd like to point out a couple of things relating to these points. First of all, the Rubicon has BETTER tires, but not necessarily significantly BIGGER tires. The BFG KO2 does have those nice 3-ply sidewalls, and is ever so slightly more aggressive than the A/T tire options for the Sport/Sahara, but, it measures about 32.25" tall while on the Jeep. I know this because I've put a tape measure on them. The Sport/Sahara tires measure 32.00" tall. At least, mine do. So, the point to all this is that the Rubicon tires are only marginally better than the other tires offered on JL. I would NOT base my decision on which model to buy on the tires. You'll want to upgrade either way, which is what I did.

Secondly, if you are towing a boat, the Rubicon has that nice 4.10 axle ratio which will be great for you. Currently, you cannot get the 4.10 ratio on any other model. I'm sure that will change in the future. But for 2018 you cannot. So, the 8-speed auto with the 4.10s of the Rubicon will tow your boat with more ease. I'm shocked that in 4 pages of thread nobody mentioned that.
I think I may have mentioned the 4.10 gears will be better for the planned larger tires. Good point on the towing, though the 3500lb rating stays the same.

And whatever the actual size difference on the tires, the BFG's on the Rubi LOOK much larger than the stock Sport or Sahara tires.
 

StuntmanMike

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LOL, man i've given up hope. And honestly, i truly believe in my heart, from the bottom of my soul, that there are people are there that buy the Rubicon for the name on the side of the hood, absolutely no other reason. If you are buying a Rubicon, you should know atleast 90% of everything that comes on it and why it is there, which is why you buy it in the first place. Most wrangler people that have had atleast 1 in their life, know that the sahara is the absolute top of the line wrangler. (I don't even have a Sahara either). The sport is the most customizable, and the rubicon is loaded on the underneath. For a high level overview, that cannot be disputed.

Oh of course. I'm sure a lot of people bought it because it was the most expensive an therefore "best", or they liked the wheel/tire package the best (I have a friend who bought a Winter Edition JKU last year specifically because she thought the BFG's looked better than the "wimpy" tires on the other models), or maybe the Rubi was the only one on the lot with a color matched top or some other option that was desired to the buyer. I
d even wager that there are even owners of them who do not realize it's a "special" model, or what "Rubicon" means or refers to.

Case in point: I see a LOT of JK and now JL Rubicons where I live, and there is next to NO legal wheeling in the whole state, and even surrounding states (RI). And the trails I DO see pics of club runs in the state, the trails look too nasty for a stock Rubi, unless you don't care about damage and/or scratching the crap out of it. Seems like most of the rigs they run are built TJ's and XJ's.

I disagree with you about the Sahara being the top of the line though. The Rubicon is the flagship Wrangler, end of story. Whether it fits the needs of all people is debatable, but Jeep has positioned it at the top.

Sahara and Rubicon are just for different buyers. Mild wheeling and street comfort = Sahara, maximum out of the box capability = Rubicon.

TO the OP: Just get what you want and don't worry what anyone else thinks. Have you spent any significant time driving them both? There has got to be something that stands out for you on one or the other.

Color wise, you can't go wrong on either, but I think the Granite Crystal is a little more fitting on the Sahara.
 

StuntmanMike

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I looked at both the Rubicon and Sahara and honestly went with the Sahara because I just liked the way it looked, it is I also slightly longer than the Rubicon I think and it felt like it rode smoother

No, they all have the same wheelbase based on 2 or 4 doors.

The ride difference is most likely from the street based tires on the Sahara, as well as softer shock and spring tuning. Also could be the Rubi was running with over inflated tires, as a lot of people have been reporting.
 

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There really isn't a huge disparity in off-road performance between the Sahara and the Rubicon. A lot of people mistakenly think that because of the price difference and the substantial mechanical offerings you get with the Rubicon that the Sahara (and even the Sport) can't keep up with a Rubi. That simply isn't true. The Sport and the Sahara are both extremely capable vehicles, regardless of how many creature comforts and technology are built into them.

One of the big downsides of the Sport and the Sahara on the JK was the weak front axle. That isn't the case anymore. All three JL trims get very solid, beefy axles.

The Sahara sounds like the ideal choice as it'll easily take you and/or your boat wherever you need it to go and save you a few bucks in the process. You mentioned your trail adventures will generally be "rough fire/dirt roads and trails and general snow driving." A base model Sport will handle that just fine, so going to a Sahara will give you way beyond what you're asking for in the capability department.

For all the features the Rubi comes with, the lockers are the one thing I actually use the least. The Sahara will do everything you need it to without breaking a sweat.
 

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There really isn't a huge disparity in off-road performance between the Sahara and the Rubicon. A lot of people mistakenly think that because of the price difference and the substantial mechanical offerings you get with the Rubicon that the Sahara (and even the Sport) can't keep up with a Rubi. That simply isn't true. The Sport and the Sahara are both extremely capable vehicles, regardless of how many creature comforts and technology are built into them.

One of the big downsides of the Sport and the Sahara on the JK was the weak front axle. That isn't the case anymore. All three JL trims get very solid, beefy axles.

The Sahara sounds like the ideal choice as it'll easily take you and/or your boat wherever you need it to go and save you a few bucks in the process. You mentioned your trail adventures will generally be "rough fire/dirt roads and trails and general snow driving." A base model Sport will handle that just fine, so going to a Sahara will give you way beyond what you're asking for in the capability department.

For all the features the Rubi comes with, the lockers are the one thing I actually use the least. The Sahara will do everything you need it to without breaking a sweat.
Well said @Spank. I couldn't agree more.
 

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Even though my Sahara is not loaded as in it’s pretty much a base model I like it a lot, sure it would have been nice to get like the LED package, aux switches, sway bar disconnect and a host of other options but those all come at a price and we all know most dealers don’t budge much on pricing so I picked the one I liked the most that my wallet told me I could afford and if my Sahara is anything like the 1997 Cherokee I had it will do anything, I drove that thing to death pretty much thru anything and it just kept going.
 

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I think it absolutely disputable. The only things that a Sahara offers that the rubicon doesn't is the leather lined dash panel, chrome grille and bumper accents and 4H auto transfer case with cv joints on the front axle.
There is more, but you’d be arguing the weight of each option by assigning it a value. The point is that if you aren’t using the beefed up off-road options, you are paying more for the same vehicle. At least with the Sahara, the items you pay for are what you are typically using it for - driving. And beyond all that, it’s a completely capable off-roader.

I have done it all and have pictures to prove it. The best advice I got was from a guide we met in Vegas. He had a Sport he loved. Old school. He said “You can spend a lot on parts, but it doesn’t make your Jeep a better off-roader. It just makes the skill of the driver less of a factor”. I honestly believe that.
 

JeepJL18

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There is more, but you’d be arguing the weight of each option by assigning it a value. The point is that if you aren’t using the beefed up off-road options, you are paying more for the same vehicle. At least with the Sahara, the items you pay for are what you are typically using it for - driving. And beyond all that, it’s a completely capable off-roader.

I have done it all and have pictures to prove it. The best advice I got was from a guide we met in Vegas. He had a Sport he loved. Old school. He said “You can spend a lot on parts, but it doesn’t make your Jeep a better off-roader. It just makes the skill of the driver less of a factor”. I honestly believe that.
We have a winner :)

In addition to your post, if you aren't using those parts, sometime in the future you are going to have to spend money to fix parts you're not even using. For instance that full time transfer case (MP3022 Selec-Trac). I am sure that isn't going to be awesome on repairs as far as cost.
 

RussJeep1

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Justin, I think this should go without saying on your dealer's part, but it's good for you to know.

While you shouldn't even have to ask, make sure any and all recalls, for whatever trim level and options/packages you ultimately pick, have been done before you drive it away from the dealer: not the least of which being the cruise control one.

Happy trails!
 

mwilk012

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The 'top of the line' means the most options that isn't available on any other model. You just made my point. (bigger axle and lower gears wouldn't classify as top of the line). The rubicon is however the best offroad vehicle for sure! Just not top of the Wrangler line.
Your opinion of what 'top of the line' means when referring to a vehicle designed for off road travel doesn't mean much. You want to claim that the almost unnoticeable change in front axle joints is relevant but the rubicon's stronger front and rear axles aren't; that the Sahara transfer case is unique but the rubicon rock-trac case isn't; that chrome accents are unique but black aren't; that the Sahara has a LSD but the rubicon's lockers don't count; it's just incorrect. The Sahara is an excellent jeep, but you can't claim it's some luxury vehicle. It's going to suffer from the same door leaks, roof leaks, wind noise, and bumpy ride that we have all come to love.
 

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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!!!
The sahara with good tires (tires make a huge difference!) will out wheel a stock rubicon on the ko2s, so given your use description I wouldn't get the rubicon. Get the awd sahara, it'll be better in the north east snow, better as a daily and still have no trouble with fire roads. Get the tow package so you're pre wired for a brake controller as you'll want to use one towing that weight.

Do make sure to get either the sahara or rubicon as they have heavy duty brakes, you'll want that for towing. I like cooper at3s for a good all terrain that does lot of on road and winter driving.
 

Joe Paul

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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!!!
I chose a Sahara, for a couple of reasons; I doubt if I would use all the off road features and the price for them. I'll go off road but not like I did with my '81 CJ-7, and tow a trailer with less than 3500lb. It all depends on what you like, want and use. Good Luck.
 
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The sahara with good tires (tires make a huge difference!) will out wheel a stock rubicon on the ko2s, so given your use description I wouldn't get the rubicon. Get the awd sahara, it'll be better in the north east snow, better as a daily and still have no trouble with fire roads. Get the tow package so you're pre wired for a brake controller as you'll want to use one towing that weight.

Do make sure to get either the sahara or rubicon as they have heavy duty brakes, you'll want that for towing. I like cooper at3s for a good all terrain that does lot of on road and winter driving.
I am planning on getting the LSD option but not Selec-trac. I have driven a pathfinder for 10 years that was rear wheel drive and never had issues. Seems like one more thing to break. Any reason I should reconsider?
 
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