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Old 10-01-2013, 01:45 PM   #1
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Newbie Jeep buyer..Sahara vs. Rubicon

Hi all. Now that my kids are out of car seats/strollers, etc. I have "permission" to get my dream "car" and trade in the Ford Expedition--I am at my VERY early stages of research. I have wanted a Jeep since my teens and am fairly familiar with the brand by way of friends and rentals. I live in South Florida, so I won't be doing much off roading, but would look to seek it out in the future. I love the timelessness of the Wrangler and am looking forward to holding on to this for years and make it a future hobby. For now, I do not want to "settle" and want to get the best possible version to build on. Would I be wasting time on the Rubicon in Florida? Keep in mind this is my DREAM "car". Also, when you are buying, how much wiggle room is there on price?

Again, considering I am very new to this--who do I go to for bigger tires/raising, light bars, etc? The dealership?

Thank you all for any and all input!

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Old 10-01-2013, 02:17 PM   #2
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So there are several different thoughts on this. A Rubicon is going to make sense if you are just going to throw a lift and tires on it and call it day. But if you are going to go crazy with mods (stong custom axles, lockers, etc), then a Rubicon is not going to make sense if your going to strip the Rubi down of what makes it a Rubi in the first place....simply a waste of money.

Some will buy a Sahara or X, spend $$$ on them and make them more offroad (aka nasty rocks) capable than a Rubicon....and still may be cheaper that the price of a Rubicon.

Just some considerations.

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Old 10-01-2013, 03:01 PM   #3
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Like Dextreme said... If you want a capable rig with a lift and tires out the gate... Get the Rubicon with 4.10 gears. But if u plan on swaping axles etc... Get a sport... Personally Painted Fenders scare me like on the Sahara... Last night someone opened there car door at a concert and hit my fender on my sport... obv nothing happened but if it was painted i almost guarantee it would of been chipped...

Going Crazy with the MOD BUG Axles etc--- Sport

If you want something thats great out of the gate. That just needs bumpers/tires/lift go Rubicon.

I personally think if ur going to spend the money on a Sahara u mine as well get a Rubicon.


And as far as mods go... Alot of people on here do there own. If you got the money and its just not your thing... You can have a good 4x4 shop do it or the dealer can do some of it... It just depends on what your willing to fork out$$$$
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:15 PM   #4
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As with most things, there are advantages and disadvantages to choosing one over the other. If you are only going to do light off-roading and beach driving, a Sahara works great. Its also probably the best daily driver of the bunch as it comes with premium shocks, quieter tires and loads of comfort features. However, if you are going to wheel hard, a Sahara will require some modifications which can make it as good as, or even better than, a Rubicon. Of course, these add-on will likely add some firmness to the ride and larger, more aggressive tires will make more noise.

Unless you are doing some heavy wheeling, a Rubicon's capabilities will shock you. Throw on a lift and larger tires and you have a serious machine. However, it will ride harder and have more tire noise than a stock Sahara.

It is hard to know how you will use your Jeep, but you should think about it and base your purchase decision on how you think you will really will use it. The good thing is that you can always build it up if you are wheeling it harder than you thought (and spending hard earned cash on mods is half the fun of owning a Jeep).

As for where to get the work done, most people here will recommend doing it yourself. If you can, that's great. If not, find a reputible 4x4 shop or fellow Jeeper to help. You can always go to the dealer, but you will pay a lot more and not necessarly get the best parts or the best work. Only thing about going to the dealer is that most work done at the dealer will not void warranty. However, if you get work done elsewhere, dealers often look to blame modifications for the problem and deny warranty claims.

If you want to learn from my personal experience, I bought a Sahara about 8 months ago. Since then, I caught the Jeep bug. I had the dealer install a 2" Morap lift kit, light bar and off road lights. I negotiated hard, but still paid more than I would of if I had a better lift (2.5" AEV) installed elsewhere. I'm now shopping for 17" wheels and larger, more aggressive tires. I love my Jeep, but have to admit that I often look at Rubicons with a bit of envy. If I was buying it today, I would get the Rubicon -- but I live up north and would like lockers. Also, plastic fenders are nice to have when leaving your baby in crowded parking lots and going through brush.

Keep us posted on what you choose.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:55 PM   #5
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Thanks of the input, all! I'm going to check back often. I feel that the Sahara would be the better fit (after all south Florida has ZERO hills, etc.), but like Foxyjeeper said, I don't want to pull next to a Rubicon and get Jeep-Envy
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:57 AM   #6
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:50 PM   #7
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Haha! I was conscious of that, hence the ""s. Point noted
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:57 PM   #8
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I went with the Rubicon because I wanted the locking diffs.
They already bailed me out once, and that was just from some mud on the side of a dirt road.
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:20 PM   #9
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In Florida.....if you pull up next to a Rubi and have Jeep envy.....well don't.....because since there isn't much in the way of rocks and hills, the Rubi uses more fuel, rides a bit rougher, and the driver would probably have "Sahara envy" if he (or she) saw yours.
If it's your DD, and your kids still have to be hauled around, then think of a Sahara JKU as your DD.
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Old 10-02-2013, 06:28 PM   #10
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Since you said not off-road much, in Florida and family car (I hate cats) I'd suggest the Sahara. The Rubicon is really more rock oriented with the lower ratio gearing. I bought the Rubicon and off-road a lot in the rocks and hills and I am glad it is what I bought but it probably isn't what you need for your use. You can always trade or upgrade as your need changes. You will find that the non Rubicon jeeps are very capable without locking differentials and electric sway bar disconnect. In sand or mud you would want higher gear ratio for faster wheel spin than the lower ratio in the Rubicon.

As for the upgrades you can have a lot of satisfaction in doing the work yourself. The only upgrade I didn't perform was the installation of my suspension replacement and I did take it to the dealer that I bought the Jeep from for installation. I did order the kit that I wanted (dealer didn't carry that brand) and didn't buy it through the dealer so I just paid for the installation labor. I found that they were cheaper than the local 4x4 shop and their suspension / alignment specialist has an intimate knowledge of how it is supposed to be set up. The lift kit was a fully adjustable suspension replacement that replaced every piece of the suspension plus shocks, bump stops and longer brake lines, nothing else to replace. I simply didn't have the time or facility to do that myself.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:15 PM   #11
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:43 AM   #12
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Saw a raised 2013 used Wrangler Unlimited Sport at a Ford dealership by my house. I was thinking I'm going to go do my Jeep recon/1st test drive there to get my feet set before going to a Jeep dealership--I want to be able to go in somewhat knowledgeable.
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Old 10-04-2013, 05:10 PM   #13
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My recommendation is test drive both and see what you like best. Maybe also try out an Unlimited Sport. I have a Unlimited Sport, and with all the aftermarket parts you can buy, you can add painted flares at a later time, and probably save a few grand on the initial purchase. There are other features in a Sahara or Rubicon, sure. I too have always wanted a jeep wrangler (since my teenage years) and at 34 finally got one.
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Old 10-04-2013, 05:50 PM   #14
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Really depends on how you are going to use it. The hard part is predicting the future.

I love my Sahara...perfect choice for me, but I don't do much off-roading nor do I plan to.

If you even "think" you are going to get into hard core off-roading.....it is cheaper to get the Rubi up front in the long run. If you are just doing light duty stuff (beaches, occasional dirt trails, ect) and will use is mostly as a daily driver, the Sport or Sahara (with LSD) would be perfect, and will save you money.

Keep in mind, all three models are probably more capable (off road) than you are.
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Old 10-04-2013, 05:57 PM   #15
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The Sahara is all about trim and not performance. Rubi is out of the box performance...
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Old 10-04-2013, 06:19 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Puddlesplasher View Post
Like Dextreme said... If you want a capable rig with a lift and tires out the gate... Get the Rubicon with 4.10 gears. But if u plan on swaping axles etc... Get a sport... Personally Painted Fenders scare me like on the Sahara... Last night someone opened there car door at a concert and hit my fender on my sport... obv nothing happened but if it was painted i almost guarantee it would of been chipped...
Sahara flares chip like a mofo >.>
I personally don't like the stock Sahara trim... At least with the TJs, i think all the "glamorous" trim makes them look too luxurious and prissy. I removed most of mine soon after purchasing my jeep. But aside from my little off-topic rant...

Basically, the X, Sport, and Sahara are trim models. The Rubicon is really the only one that has modifications to enhance off-road experience right off the lot. However, an X, Sport, and Sahara can have the same mods with a similar amount of money put into them. This, of course, depends on how convenient you want it. If you were planning on having a shop install your mods, it *may* be easier to just purchase a rubicon and just need to add a lift and tires instead of also having to add the extra goodies like quick discos, lockers, etc etc. that the rubi comes stock with(that is, if you so choose to).
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:09 PM   #17
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Rubicon!!!
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Old 10-05-2013, 08:31 AM   #18
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So as I understand it;
Sport is the base model.
Sahara is the next step up.
Rubicon is the top of the line. Has dana44 front and rear.
X is just a package.
Is this correct?
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Old 10-05-2013, 09:37 AM   #19
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I have a 2010 Unlimited Mountain edition- my brother in law just lifted is 2014 Rubicon and has offered me all the coils, shocks etc (basically every part the Old Man Emu 4" kits replaces). would this be worth putting on my jeep or will it just worsen the ride? My intentions were to use it as an opportunity to powder coat all the parts Orange and put them on my jeep with out the hassle of taking my parts of and waiting till they are powder coated to re-install- any thoughts? My jeep rides great now-2 inch spacer lift not sure if the rubi components will raise it any
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Old 10-05-2013, 03:11 PM   #20
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So as I understand it;
Sport is the base model.
Sahara is the next step up.
Rubicon is the top of the line. Has dana44 front and rear.
X is just a package.
Is this correct?
For the JK, the "X" became the Sport in 2009 or 2010 or so.
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Old 10-06-2013, 10:06 AM   #21
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The Sahara is all about trim and not performance. Rubi is out of the box performance...
I think this is spot on. I bought the sport loaded and the only thing I really couldn't get that the Sahara had was color matched fenders and heated leather seats. Personally I don't think the Sahara is worth the extra dough unless you really like the look of the color matched top and fenders. The Rubicon is a performance upgrade. Don't they also make a "Moab" edition. I don't know if it's an actual model like the Sahara / Rubicon or if its just an option package. All I know is the Moab was the most expensive jeep I've ever seen!
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Old 10-06-2013, 10:28 AM   #22
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So as I understand it;
Sport is the base model.
Sahara is the next step up.
Rubicon is the top of the line. Has dana44 front and rear.
X is just a package.
Is this correct?
In the world of TJs the trims go like this, (excluding special edititions.)
Se
Sport
X
Sahara
Unlimited
Rubicon

There are differences in opinion, but this is how I've always seen it.

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