From another thread, https://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/c...e-2380603.html
The Rubicon has some extras to make it better off road. But all Jeeps are very capable off road.
The Sahara is geared more towards, dare I say it, luxury. But it is relative. And the Sport is the more basic version, probably the majority of Wrangler sales (but not around here, we probably have more Rubicons than anything else).
There are also a number of special editions, like the Hard Rock and Recon versions of the Rubicon. Plus there are versions of the Sahara like the Back Country, and versions of the Sport like the Willys. Each of these versions has advantages. But figuring out which one is the right one for you depends on what you want.
We looked at a Rubicon and a Sahara Back Country, in the end the Sahara Back Country was the best version for us. To get a Rubicon with the same level of options the Sahara Back Country had (heated leather seats, etc) would have been a fair bit more expensive, and much of what makes the Rubicon what it is would have been wasted on us as we would be replacing that stuff with better stuff (better for us).
Finally, buying a used Jeep is often not as good an investment as buying a new Jeep as they tend to hold their values well. That means people pay near the price of a new Jeep for a used Jeep. This may be more true for the JK / JKU than the JL / JLU. We looked at used, or even leftover new. But there wasn't enough of a difference in price to make the used / leftover Jeep a better option.
You should be able to get a larger discount on a new JL / JLU than you could in the past on a new JK / JKU. But even then you could get a discount off retail of 5% - 10% or more.
There are a number of threads on here covering the different versions. There is no one version that is better, it depends on what you want and what your priorities are. Do you plan on offroading it? How hard? Do you plan on modifying it? How much?
Do you need things like heated leather seats? Or are you good with manual roll up windows? There are Jeeps ranging from very basic to pretty luxurious and pretty much everything in between.
All Jeep Wranglers can do pretty well off road. The Rubicons have a slight advantage there, but nothing that a little money and work can't fix.
The newer versions have a 3.6 liter motor that, in spite of its smaller size, makes more power than the larger 3.8 liter. And if you like automatic transmissions, the newer motor is paired to a much nicer automatic transmission. But either can work well.