Which is not a bad thing when it comes to the new 2018 Wrangler Unlimited Sahara and Motor Trend certainly like Jeep’s new iteration of a classic model. They had a chance to test drive the new Wrangler JL on California paved roads and around the state’s Hungry Valley off-road recreation area on a rainy day.
Described to be the epitome of duality in the new Wrangler lineup (Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon), this variant is both luxury- and street-oriented.
What sets the Sahara apart form its siblings is not the powertrain because all three trims share the same 3.6-liter V-6 engine, delivering 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. There’s also an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 available and a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 is expected to join the lineup next year. Even the six-speed manual gearbox is shared, though the publication’s test vehicle was equipped with an optional eight-speed automatic.
Perhaps it’s how the Sahara ride, which felt “buttoned-down and forgiving” compared to the older generation JK. Maybe it’s the steady front end that doesn’t wander over bumps or it could be the new steering, which is better weighted and accurate while still maintaining a slow ratio for off-road travelling. Kind of drives like a pickup in their opinion.
Of course a well equipped interior could be what makes it a vehicle of duality. The model tested here features the optional hard top and hard top headliner, leather upholstery, heated seats, soft-touch plastics, updated infotainment system, etc.
Priced at just $38,540 for an entry level model, the Sahara is proclaimed by Motor Trend to be “the first Wrangler to actually be as nice to drive on the road as it is off.”