Wrangler JL Forum banner

Sahara or Rubicon?

8599 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  ajasper6579
Thank you for allowing me to join the forum. I took a ride in a Wrangler event and loved the capabilities of this car. I need some advice on what to get. I drive a car now, and had SUV's in the past. I'm looking for something that will be, in order of priority, 1) daily driver 2)family of 4 car 3) convertible enjoyment at beach 4) winter go anywhere car (snows here). I've never gone off-road (intentionally) but will try some off-roading with a vehicle like a JL that definitely can do it. With that, I'd like some advice on whether to get a Sahara or Rubicon. Here are my thoughts.

Sahara: I assume the street tires and creature comforts like selec-trac will be ideal for on road comfort, which will be what I'll be using the JL for 95+% of the time. It seems to come with body color fenders so I assume it will look funny with the black hard top. That means at minimum it will be a body color hardtop / dual top combo, and add in the headliner for more sound isolation. At that price, it's only a few hundred dollars off the fully powered top, which will give me the convenience of not having to swap tops. Should I get the dual tops or should I go for the power top for convenience? I assume the power top is not as insulating during the winter as a proper hard top.

Rubicon: I like the aggressive hood, fancy steel bumper option, and the red dashboard. It's probably more capacity than what I need given my priorities above. Price is not a huge issue as they appear to be within a few thousand dollars of each other when comparably equipped. I have a garage so storing the hardtop is not an issue during the summer.

I plan to keep it for the longer term.

Also, should I wait for the 4 cylinder for better fuel economy? I'm going with the automatic regardless.

Sahara or Rubicon? Dual top or power top?

Appreciate the advice and thank you
See less See more
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

Welcome to the forum!

I believe there are a lot of consumers stuck in the same situation as you are, as the price difference between the two is relatively negligible. From what you've indicated I would suggest the Sahara for a couple of reasons. As it seems you don't have a lot of interest in serious off-roading, the Sahara is more convenient and pleasant as a daily driver. It might even possibly be more capable, in regular driving with its LSD on the rear axel and the clutch-based transfer case can readily deal with mixed-traction scenarios (ideal for winter driving). It's also important to determine whether or not you plan on swapping to aftermarket tires, because the Sahara will require a lift for anything over 32'. As for the tops that's entirely up to you, but imo the jeep has first and foremost been a utility vehicle that doesn't require a powered roof.
If you're looking for a long term buy then the 4 cylinder might be it because eventually governments will want charge some sort of carbon tax to those running higher displacement engines. Not only that but it might protect resale value.
If you plan on off reading it frequently and can see a use for the things that make a Rubicon a Rubicon then I’d say get the Rubicon. If you’re buying a Wrangler because you like the vehicle, don’t plan on off roading much or at all and only plan on lightly modding it, get the Sahara.

As far as the top option goes, that’s entirely up to you. If you go with the dual top option, you’ve got to deal with removing and reinstalling at least twice a year. Unless you’re tall and strong it’s a two person job to swap tops. I’ve managed swamping tops on my lifted JK on 37’s with wife who’s a short Filipno chick, it’s doable but not easy. Also when the hard top is on, you’ll need a place store the soft top, windows and related hardware. Conversely, when the soft top is on you need a place to store the hard top. If you don’t want to deal with that, the power top option looks **** slick and a nice compromise.
Yeah the storage of various tops is certainly worth keeping in mind as well. I remember I just build a little custom trolley for my hardtop that allowed it to roll around the garage while standing. They certainly aren't easy to install/remove and it wont be possible alone. Power top is certainly worth a look for that reason alone. Do we know what the additional cost is with that feature?
Cloth or Leather?

Hello experienced members,

Thank you for all the replies. I think I'm leaning towards the Sahara as I've never gone (intentionally) off-roading before and it will be initially an on-road vehicle until I try it out (never had a car that can do it and I trust will get me back (all cars can go off-road: not all can come back... )).

Considering all your replies, I think I'll go with the dual top since it will offer more sound and heat insulation in the winter and I like the 'fuller' convertible experience in the summer.

Speaking of summer, which is better for beach/adventure/kids durability: cloth or leather? I've always had leather seats and is the leather in the JL the soft nappa kind or the tougher leatherette kind? I'm thinking the beating it will take from young kids' detritus, beach sand, dirt, salted road grime, etc. Is the leather scorching hot in the summer with the top down? Are the cloth interiors cooler?

Also, I don't know if the black interior, which will hold up better to dirt, will be too hot for top down driving or not. Thoughts? The tan can go with any color and I don't mind tan but it I don't want to clean it often due to heavy traffic either.

Appreciate all your opinions.

Thank you
See less See more
I don't think that either interior will be cooler in the summer, the only difference will be how much the seats heat up when the vehicle is sitting. Both the cloth and leather should be well ventilated enough for top down driving. Regardless of the color you choose, things are still going to heat up in direct sunlight.
Cloth seats will be slightly cooler than leather. Black anything will be hotter than almost any other color. Seat covers are relatively inexpensive.

Unless you're doing more extreme off-road driving, the Sahara or even a Sport may seem to be a better choice. You would be surprised at how capable a stock Wrangler is when off-road.
Cloth seats will be slightly cooler than leather. Black anything will be hotter than almost any other color. Seat covers are relatively inexpensive.

Unless you're doing more extreme off-road driving, the Sahara or even a Sport may seem to be a better choice. You would be surprised at how capable a stock Wrangler is when off-road.
cloth seats also help to keep you in your seat, which will matter to the owners that plan on throwing these around a lot, regular owners should just upgrade to leather. for regular day-to-day use leather will be easier to keep clean
So I had the same dilemma as you with regard to the vehicle. I just couldn't get past the body colored fenders so I went with the Rubicon. Also, I went with the soft top only. The idea of a jeep with a powered top, sounded like a recipe for disaster in about 5 years, where the roof motor was concerned. I have had a soft top before and while it can be a little noisier, you get used to it. I went with the clothe seats because I was told by multiple people that the leather seats get hot in the sunlight. I too intend to use the car as a daily driver.
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.