Help me decide: Sahara or Rubicon

STL J-Hawk

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I am a Jeep newbie, and I absolutely love all the great information available here on this forum!

I will be purchasing my first ever Jeep in January as a 50th birthday gift to myself, and I cannot decide between the Sahara and the Rubicon. As far as I can tell, the main difference between the two is the gear ratios. I am sure there are other trim/option items that are different, but I cannot figure them all out.

My dilemma is this vehicle will be my daily driver, and for running around on weekends, but it will not get a lot of off road use other than the occasional dirt road, or light trail. I love the Rubicon look, but it seems like a waste to get all the trial related items and never use them. I welcome any and all opinions on this...I need help.

Should also mention that I will want upgraded wheels/tires as I dont like the stock versions...if that helps with some of your opinions.

Help a guy decide!!!!
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JaybearWL

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The Sarah sounds like an interesting model. What's she got under the hood?
 
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STL J-Hawk

STL J-Hawk

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The Sarah sounds like an interesting model. What's she got under the hood?
hahaha!! Thats what I get for posting before finishing my coffee!!
 

digitalbliss

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I am a Jeep newbie, and I absolutely love all the great information available here on this forum!

I will be purchasing my first ever Jeep in January as a 50th birthday gift to myself, and I cannot decide between the Sarah and the Rubicon. As far as I can tell, the main difference between the two is the gear ratios. I am sure there are other trim/option items that are different, but I cannot figure them all out.

My dilemma is this vehicle will be my daily driver, and for running around on weekends, but it will not get a lot of off road use other than the occasional dirt road, or light trail. I love the Rubicon look, but it seems like a waste to get all the trial related items and never use them. I welcome any and all opinions on this...I need help.

Should also mention that I will want upgraded wheels/tires as I dont like the stock versions...if that helps with some of your opinions.

Help a guy decide!!!!
Sounds like you are a perfect candidate for the Sahara. The things in a Rubicon that would be the hardest to add to a Sahara later would be, axles, front/rear diff lock, sway bar disconnect, and transfer case. However, it seems like you would not benefit from any of these things anyway and in your case, the only thing a Rubicon has got going over a Sahara is the more rugged look. Changing wheels and tires will help that part.
 
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STL J-Hawk

STL J-Hawk

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Sounds like you are a perfect candidate for the Sahara. The things in a Rubicon that would be the hardest to add to a Sahara later would be, axles, front/rear diff lock, sway bar disconnect, and transfer case. However, it seems like you would not benefit from any of these things anyway and in your case, the only thing a Rubicon has got going over a Sahara is the more rugged look. Changing wheels and tires will help that part.
Thats kind of what I was thinking....I like the rugged look as well, but thought I could take the savings from going with a Sahara vs a Rubicon, and put that cash into some great looking wheels, and add a few other upgrades like a better bumper, etc.
 

JaybearWL

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In any event, I'm in the same boat as you. Mine is going to be a daily driver, client carter sometimes. Will be a lot of toting family around, probably driving on road trips when the destination has Jeep fun in store (minivan for comfort, if no Jeep fun expected or trip super-long). Mine is fulfillment of a fantasy nearly two decades in the making, and I expect it will help continue a lifestyle growth for more outdoor activity (camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing). I doubt I'll see truly heavy wheeling, at least for a while (though there are some nice parks very closeby and I have some friends who I'll want to tag along with), so the Sahara is basically designed for me. Live the fantasy, have the capability, but still have the comfort and sharp look for a daily driver for a professional who has to tote clients.
 

wesbowhunts

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when i got my first jeep back in 2011 i thought the same as you. dd with a little "light off road". then i joined our local jeep club and went on my first new guys run. something about climbing those rocks makes you want to keep going back and making your jeep conquer new obstacles.
 

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Thats kind of what I was thinking....I like the rugged look as well, but thought I could take the savings from going with a Sahara vs a Rubicon, and put that cash into some great looking wheels, and add a few other upgrades like a better bumper, etc.
I agree, but I sure would like an official list of std items in both trim levels plus a base cost of each trim level. Once you have that, you can compare prices by adding the things you want to each trim level and getting a true cost of each.
 

Matt The Hammer

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I daily drove my 2013 JKU Rubi for 5 years and 125k miles. I didn't take off road much. I work in construction and have two kids that play sports, so I drove everywhere daily. When it was time to get a new one, I went with the Sahara (Chief Edition). For the reasons above, I drive it like a rugged car, that's all I needed.

The Rubicon name is valuable. Most non-Jeep folks presume it's the most luxurious model and therefore demand is high for them. I got $20k for trade value on it.

Why I didn't buy another Rubi? I had issues with the electronic sway bar disconnect failing. It's a common issue. The motor and circuitboard are prone to water intrusion and subsequent failure. Beauty is - with the computer system in the JK - the truck would shut down randomly and drain the battery if it sat too long. It was mayhem at the end.

Replacement of the ESD circuit board and possible motor was a $1200 part. I pulled it apart and tried to get it going with a good scrub and cleaning. Tried two times with no luck.

I figured the electric lockers would fail eventually too. Just mileage alone. They worked fine the few times I used them.

I also went with the higher gearing with the Chief for highway cruising. I sometimes miss the lower gearing when accelerating. Slightly better on gas so far. Lower gearing upgrade on a Sahara was a few hundred bucks I used elsewhere.

The Sahara change allowed me to get leather heated seats, remote start and the antiquated uConnect system that I didn't have in the Rubi for a total cost a little less than what I paid for the Rubi without those options.

The Chief has the same Rubicon tires, so it rides the same and has a more aggressive look than the regular Sahara. Since I work on highway construction, getting around the site remains easy with the MT tires. Plus, since I had them before, I know they are cheap ($150) to replace.

I took my Rubicon to several Bantam Jeep festivals, fishing on the beaches in NJ, a few off road areas, snow storms here and there and through job sites. So for those needs, I'm good with the Sahara. Plus I get the creature comfort improvements to boot.
 
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STL J-Hawk

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I agree, but I sure would like an official list of std items in both trim levels plus a base cost of each trim level. Once you have that, you can compare prices by adding the things you want to each trim level and getting a true cost of each.
Thats what I am waiting for....once I have that info, and can see one in person it will be go time!
 
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STL J-Hawk

STL J-Hawk

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Thanks Matt...that is great info!
 

MotorMan

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Reasoning: Rubicon.

All jokes aside though, I’m not impressed with the wheels or chromed out look of the grill and bumper on the Sahara. Rubicon all the way! Plus, you won’t have to do a lift or change wheels/tires and will get a much better looking vehicle.
 

Mattyp1214

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Rubicon has better resale value
If you ever think you may do upgrades in future the rubicon is way to go. Most of the first upgrades you plan to do are what come standard. It will be much more expensive down the line, especially when you consider bigger axles etc.
But if will never wheel it then get a Sahara and use the money on bumpers and uograding wheels etc.
 

GOBOGIE

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Help a guy decide!!!!
I’m in the same boat as you although I’m leaning pretty heavily towards the Sahara at this point. I’m new to the Jeep thing also. I was looking at getting a Wrangler prior to purchasing my FJ back in ‘06 but eventually went with the FJ mostly because of the uniqueness of it and it’s looks. I will use the Jeep’s utility a lot also as I own a bit of property, cut a lot of wood and will use it for related work like that.

One of the downsides of the FJ was the difficulty getting in and out of the back seats (suicide doors) and lack of creature comforts. It’s a daily driver and that’s what my Jeep purchase will be also a DD. I do a lot of driving for work and live in northern climate where we get a lot of snow every winter so a 4x4 is a must.

In my line of work there is no paid time off so you either work or don’t pay your mortgage (blizzard or not). The lack of a winter convenience group on the FJ has been very problematic to deal with over the years. Constantly having to scrap the ice off the outside mirrors several times a day etc. gets old pretty quick. If I heard my wife complains once I heard dozens of times how much she hates driving the FJ whenever she has to because of he horrid visibility/blind spots.

Overall the idea of a nice big UConn screen with Nav etc sounds great. Add leather seats (I have an English Bulldog that likes to go with me on trips and his hair is very difficult to remove from the FJ cloth seats) and a winter convenience group and I’m pretty much sold,

All that being said I bought the FJ for more looks than convenience which is why I am also interested in the Rubicon Edition. Not really knowing much about the different special editions of the Wrangle, hearing about the “Chief” is very interesting and am hoping they have something similar in down the road.

Like you I like the ruggedness but don’t need it but love the looks. Looking forward to seeing more pictures, pricing and details to help us decide.
 
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Thanks Matt, I was wondering about service life on the electronic lockers and sway bar.

Like the look of the new Rubicon but I can't say I'd be doing any hard off roading that would require those parts.

I'd also want to see the full ordering information as I'm looking at a 2 door so basically it would be either the Sport or Rubicon, I'm not after the leather interior so loosing the Sahara isn't a problem in my case. When I was trial building Wranglers on the Jeep site I could order the Rubicon wheels and tires on a Sport S with the 32" tire package which also gave it a suspension upgrade but not the electronic locking diffs or sway bar which also worked for me. If all Wranglers came with the 'Rubicon' hood or the hood that is shown in the photos I think I'd be happy with a Sport but would wind up adding a lot of options such as the wheel package, U-Connect Nav radio with the Pioneer 9 speaker system and the hard top instead of soft top for security reasons.
 
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