This will be our 4th jeep. We (my wife and I) have had an 87 yj a 98 5.9l zj and a 01 xj. We have been jeepless for the past 5 years and are looking at a new jk for her. We will take it off road, all though nothing serious for a while. Mostly easy to moderate trials and camp jeeps, our delima is deciding which model to get. The sticker price on rubicon is a little hard to swallow for me just cause I'm not used to wranglers costing that much. But the upgraded axles the dif lock and the auto disconnect sways make it very appealing. But the price of a sport with s pack is appealing but it still only a few grand cheaper. Are the options that come with the rubicon worth that few extra grand for what we plan on doing? This will never see hard core rock trails since we want to buy a cj for that, but I would like to do jeep safari in moab with it.
I know this question is asked a lot and is very opinion based but I'm looking for help clarifying my thoughts.
I think the general consensus is that if you'll use the features the Rubi has, then it's worth the extra it costs. If you won't really ever use them, then paying for them is kind of a waste. Of course you know a stock Wrangler is very capable out of the showroom, even a base model. But the lockers, discos, and lower gears make a Rubi more capable.
I think you should consider the sport because like InfernoGirl said, its more than capable off roading and sounds like a good match for what you have in mind to do with it. If you can say that you are not only going to use the specific features of a Rubi but use them all the time, then you are throwing your money away. It might be just me but trails that require what the Rubi has to offer can easy and often times do damage your Jeep. They make those features for people because they know that people are gonna try everything and even impossible things with there Jeeps. This helps bridge the gap between what some want to do with their Jeeps and what a vehicle is capable of. That being said, the trails that require lockers or sway bars..etc will damage your Jeep 90% of the time. You may just be crawling over rocks or up ledges higher than your front bumper but you are surely going to get hung up, drag over obstacles and bang your skid plates and axels on most of these types of trails. You can certainly do them in a Rubi but not only do you pay more for the Rubi for it's features to do this but you'll also pay more for the damage in the long run.
98 XJ 02 TJ 10 JK 13 JK
You do not have a soul, you are a soul.
You have a body. - C.S. Lewis
If you are like we are what ever you buy will be yours when it's time to purchace the next vehicle. By that time you might be more prone to tackle some of the more challenging trails with the "new" worn off, the heavier drive train will be a great trail rig. If there is no chance of the advance in the "addiction" buy the sport. There are few places that the "other than trailer queens" can go that I can't in my little 4 banger. What ever you decide you know you'll be happy!
I moved up from a 2000 sahara to a 2003 Rubicon and haven't regretted it...yes, I"ve done some damage to it but that was inexperienced driving, and most of what we've replaced/upgraded was from wear and tear on original parts that wore out-not damaged. I would never go backwards-having the lockers and disconnects more than once made it easier to get out of trouble than having to get out, run the winch to a tree, etc. and having the lockers made it much easier to pull the person behind me out of a trouble spot. We've done 3 Killington Vt jamborees and heading to Bethel Maine next month for our 4th-and with the Rubicon we can take the harder trails and have a good challenge. Our own 'local' trails have sections harder than what we've done on the jamborees, and once we got used to the 'lines' we hardly ever even use the lockers now. Just did a night run on the worst one-and only played with the lockers to make sure they worked after some electrical problems. Did some rock faces with ease that the Sahara would have had trouble with.
Yes, we have added skid plates everywhere underneath so we don't worry about anymore damage and we have bounced off them many times on much harder, all boulder trails. So take the recommendation-get a better vehicle now than what you think you need-because as you get experience you will want to try harder stuff!
There was a thread on here a week or so ago comparing the new models. I think the OP figured that if you do the work yourself, the upgraded parts that come with the Rubi will cost you less out of pocket than buying a Rubi with the parts already there.
I guess, if this is true, the next question would be is having the work already done worth the extra cash? This, of course, is assuming you are gonna use the hardware in question.
My other concern is the strength of the axles, and how big of a tire I can put on there before it becomes a concern? I know those new gen d40's are supposed to be nice and strong but are the D35's still a concern?