On Pavement: Sport, Sahara or Rubicon?

azamani

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Recently purchased a JL Sport S. I test drove a Sahara and Sport back to back at the dealership. Couldn't see any significant difference performance wise between the two. Ultimately went with a Sport as it was closer to my budget and I really didn't need/care for any of the extra amenities the Sahara offered. Didn't even bother with the Rubicon as my off road needs are no where near Rubicon level and that is obviously significantly more expensive.

So after all that, my real question- purely for on pavement/daily driving, which of the 3 perform best as far as comfort/smoothness/handling... if any difference at all? I'm aware of the interior differences and off road capabilities, but it's difficult to find many reviews to differentiate between the three for any needs other than on the trail.

I should add I'm only talking about 4 door- unlimited.
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myfirstjeep

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I drive Houston roads pretty frequently, and judging by your avatar, my experience might help your curiosity. I came from a "normal" car before the Jeep.

I am the opposite of you. I've never driven a Sport/Sahara, but I have a JLU Rubicon and even when it was stock, it was a bumpy ride. Not jostling aggressively, but it felt kinda like driving over a thousand little pebbles. Best way for me to word it. The KO2 tires just didn't have the smoothness of a normal vehicle. Particularly when going slower in the city and over smooth pavement. When I drove faster at highway speeds, the bumpiness would smooth out a bit and it really wouldn't be as noticeable, but there was a slight, very soft hum from the tires because they are a little knobbier than street tires. Hitting potholes is probably just as jarring as in any other Wrangler trim.

I have since lifted my JL and put on big mud tires. The ride is even worse. Bumps are bigger, especially at slow speeds and the humming from the mud tires are much louder than the stock KO2s.

But with all that being said, I actually enjoy the crappy ride quality. To me, it gives the vehicle character like no other and the poor ride quality adds a certain sense of sadomasochistic fun to the daily commute.

If you drive any of the roads surrounding UH in your Jeep, just imagine everything I said to a factor of 10. Them Cullen potholes are no small change....
 
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azamani

azamani

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I drive Houston roads pretty frequently, and judging by your avatar, my experience might help your curiosity. I came from a "normal" car before the Jeep.

I am the opposite of you. I've never driven a Sport/Sahara, but I have a JLU Rubicon and even when it was stock, it was a bumpy ride. Not jostling aggressively, but it felt kinda like driving over a thousand little pebbles. Best way for me to word it. The KO2 tires just didn't have the smoothness of a normal vehicle. Particularly when going slower in the city and over smooth pavement. When I drove faster at highway speeds, the bumpiness would smooth out a bit and it really wouldn't be as noticeable, but there was a slight, very soft hum from the tires because they are a little knobbier than street tires. Hitting potholes is probably just as jarring as in any other Wrangler trim.

I have since lifted my JL and put on big mud tires. The ride is even worse. Bumps are bigger, especially at slow speeds and the humming from the mud tires are much louder than the stock KO2s.

But with all that being said, I actually enjoy the crappy ride quality. To me, it gives the vehicle character like no other and the poor ride quality adds a certain sense of sadomasochistic fun to the daily commute.

If you drive any of the roads surrounding UH in your Jeep, just imagine everything I said to a factor of 10. Them Cullen potholes are no small change....
Thanks for that, that's pretty much what I figured about the Rubicon. A lot of it's features that make it such a beast off road is exactly why it may not have the on road comforts. And yes I live in Houston where the potholes make any ride feel a little more wild.

I definitely enjoy the roughness of Jeeps, even on daily drives along regular road- and that includes some wind noise once I get on the freeway (even with a hard top). I was just more curious as everyone gets so caught up in wheeling we forget the vast majority of us also use our jeeps to get to work every day etc. Thanks again for your input.
 

ar15rifle

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I have a JLUR and like you, drove everything before buying it. We were concerned about the on road characteristics of it, as we're getting older and don't want to be sore after riding/driving. I currently drive an Audi, and the wife did also. My Audi with sport package notices the changes in pavement far more than the Rubicon does. Yes, the Jeep leans and does have a body on frame bounce, but it's not bad at all. We found the Rubicon actually was a bit smoother than the Sport or Sahara. That coupled with the fact that our Jeep will spend lots of time in Alaska, we went with the Rubicon. That being said, we're not considering trading my Audi for a 2dr...and if we do that it's likely it'll be a Sport S.
 
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azamani

azamani

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I have a JLUR and like you, drove everything before buying it. We were concerned about the on road characteristics of it, as we're getting older and don't want to be sore after riding/driving. I currently drive an Audi, and the wife did also. My Audi with sport package notices the changes in pavement far more than the Rubicon does. Yes, the Jeep leans and does have a body on frame bounce, but it's not bad at all. We found the Rubicon actually was a bit smoother than the Sport or Sahara. That coupled with the fact that our Jeep will spend lots of time in Alaska, we went with the Rubicon. That being said, we're not considering trading my Audi for a 2dr...and if we do that it's likely it'll be a Sport S.
Awesome, that's great info. I actually came from a 2015 Audi myself but was fully aware of the realities of switching to a Jeep. My girlfriend has a lifted (I want to say 2.5" or even 3") 2012 JK 2 door that is an extremely rough ride and quite honestly, I would try to avoid freeways in that thing if possible. I wouldn't be able to live with a ride like hers as my daily but a friend happened to get the 2018 JL Sahara. After driving his and seeing the drastic improvements all around (albeit stock), I knew it was time to introduce a Jeep into my life. Ended up with a Sport for the reasons I already mentioned. Regardless, great to know for the future. Thanks.
 

Biscuit

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Sport is the best value. Sahara is more refined, and I guess the Rubicon is in some respects, too. And that's why I bought a Sport.
 

NathanG

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The best way to improve the ride would be to trade it in for a newer Lexus LS 570 long wheel base. They have built in massagers in the seats.
 

Wanderingwheelz

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Recently purchased a JL Sport S. I test drove a Sahara and Sport back to back at the dealership. Couldn't see any significant difference performance wise between the two. Ultimately went with a Sport as it was closer to my budget and I really didn't need/care for any of the extra amenities the Sahara offered. Didn't even bother with the Rubicon as my off road needs are no where near Rubicon level and that is obviously significantly more expensive.

So after all that, my real question- purely for on pavement/daily driving, which of the 3 perform best as far as comfort/smoothness/handling... if any difference at all? I'm aware of the interior differences and off road capabilities, but it's difficult to find many reviews to differentiate between the three for any needs other than on the trail.

I should add I'm only talking about 4 door- unlimited.
The Sahara should have a slightly more sporty feel based on the 18” wheel size, especially on turns. Other than that, you’re really not talking about too much difference.

The 2 door Sport would probably be the most “sporty” choice of all since it’s smaller- even sportier than the Sahara.

My 2 door Sport feels like a little sports car on the road. Albeit with last in class steering. :)
 

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azamani

azamani

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The Sahara should have a slightly more sporty feel based on the 18” wheel size, especially on turns. Other than that, you’re really not talking about too much difference.

The 2 door Sport would probably be the most “sporty” choice of all since it’s smaller- even sportier than the Sahara.

My 2 door Sport feels like a little sports car on the road. Albeit with last in class steering. :)
Haha the salesman actually said something along the same lines with the larger wheel size. I couldn't tell much of a difference based on my test drive, but I'm sure it would be more noticeable as a daily. No denying 2 doors are fun :rock:
 

UrbanRogue

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I have driven my JKU and now my JLUR and the only thing I notice different is the bigger K02 wander a bit more. other than that I have no issues with pavement driving. Its a Jeep. If I wanted luxury smooth driving I would get a vehicle that fits that category :)
 
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azamani

azamani

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I have driven my JKU and now my JLUR and the only thing I notice different is the bigger K02 wander a bit more. other than that I have no issues with pavement driving. Its a Jeep. If I wanted luxury smooth driving I would get a vehicle that fits that category :)
Thanks, don't want a luxury smooth vehicle, I've already had that. Just curious which of the 3 trims tend to be better on road performers and the reasons why that tends to be the case.
 

UrbanRogue

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Imo it's the meatier k02 tires on the rubicon that make it wander more for me over my old JKU Saraha
 

Krondor

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I'm surprised no one mentioned the Sahara's Selec-Trac 4WD system. The biggest improvement for on-road is that it will auto-engage 4WD when needed. I would think this would make it the better choice for road goers.

Based on your "comfort/smoothness/handling" though, I think the 17" wheels would allow for the Sport to have a better ride quality than the Sahara or Rubicon on the roads. Tires will be the best differentiator on comfort at this point. imho
 

ChrispyJL

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Sahara was out of my budget too, and I won't use a Rubicon right now, not to mention way out of my budget.
I did drive all 3 during my research though.
If I went off roading more, and it was in my budget, I would have went Rubicon, and Probably will get a 2dr Rubicon in the future.
I didn't see a $6K+ difference between the sport s and the Sahara TBH, didn't need or want leather, painted fenders, LED or color matched hard top, or the silver accents everywhere.
Sahara is beautiful, just not what I needed or wanted.
 
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