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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. I joined a year ago, but this is my first post. I almost bought my first Jeep last year, but held off and now I am definitely ordering one in a couple weeks when 2015's are available to order.

I have spent tons of hours researching and I've looked at hundreds of threads, but I'm still unsure of which model to buy. I've heard that the Sahara with LSD is great for winter driving, but I've also heard many argue that their Rubicon is just as good and even better because the lockers can get you out of deep snow if you're stuck. Whichever one I buy, I will be putting 35" Duratracs on them so the tires will not be an issue between the two. I currently drive an Audi with all wheel drive and want something as good as or preferably better handling in the snow.

I really appreciate any info you can provide on this that can help me decide.
 

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Hi everyone. I joined a year ago, but this is my first post. I almost bought my first Jeep last year, but held off and now I am definitely ordering one in a couple weeks when 2015's are available to order.

I have spent tons of hours researching and I've looked at hundreds of threads, but I'm still unsure of which model to buy. I've heard that the Sahara with LSD is great for winter driving, but I've also heard many argue that their Rubicon is just as good and even better because the lockers can get you out of deep snow if you're stuck. Whichever one I buy, I will be putting 35" Duratracs on them so the tires will not be an issue between the two. I currently drive an Audi with all wheel drive and want something as good as or preferably better handling in the snow.

I really appreciate any info you can provide on this that can help me decide.
:welcome:

For light snow/slick roads....you are probably not going to get anything better than your Audi.

My 4 door Sahara with LSD has been great (I'm in the burbs of Chicago). Tires make a huge difference. If you are going to be changing tires regardless, that narrows the gap between the two models for "on road" driving. It really comes down to LSD vs an open diff. The edge would go to LSD, but all JK's have traction control as well.

For really deep snow (we are talking +10 inches) pure off-roading, the Rubicon would have the advantages with its lockers (and other features). But lockers only work in 4Lo unless you get a chip to make them work in 4H.
 

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A Sport with a LSD and appropriate snow rated tires would work better and cost less. The standard Rubicon Mud Terrain tires aren't great in snow.
 

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I doubt you'll ever use lockers on the street in the snow unless you frequently find yourself traversing streets in 4lo. I think they'd cause more problems than they would help even if you did use them unless you are driving in long straight lines.
 

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Welcome to the Forum!

As Panthermark said for city driving you Audi is probably good enough. Tires will matter more than anything else as long as you have reasonable undercarriage clearance.

If budget is not a problem and you feel like spending it, a Rubi is a good choice. If you are limited on budget then a Sport with just the options you want is a better choice.

Keep in mind the Audi is all wheel drive (full time 4WD) which the Jeep is not. If you are mostly interested in city driving keep the Audi. If you have an SUV, the problem with most Audis ( Q5, Q7) is the tires. Put some smaller AT/MT with sipping as they do often in Europe and its a perfectly good winter vehicle. Some how that seems to violate German vehicle protocol in the US where low profile and high speed tires are the norm.

I'm not trying not to convince not to buy a JK but there are some advantages to full time 4WD on the road. There are a few threads on the subject you should check out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Welcome to the Forum!

As Panthermark said for city driving you Audi is probably good enough. Tires will matter more than anything else as long as you have reasonable undercarriage clearance.

If budget is not a problem and you feel like spending it, a Rubi is a good choice. If you are limited on budget then a Sport with just the options you want is a better choice.

Keep in mind the Audi is all wheel drive (full time 4WD) which the Jeep is not. If you are mostly interested in city driving keep the Audi. If you have an SUV, the problem with most Audis ( Q5, Q7) is the tires. Put some smaller AT/MT with sipping as they do often in Europe and its a perfectly good winter vehicle. Some how that seems to violate German vehicle protocol in the US where low profile and high speed tires are the norm.

I'm not trying not to convince not to buy a JK but there are some advantages to full time 4WD on the road. There are a few threads on the subject you should check out.
I had to read that a few times! Thanks for the info though...I'll definitely look into this more before I decide.
 

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Are winters that bad in Chicago? I live in Western NY, and my Rubi handles it fine. I didn't think Chicago gets more snow than Buffalo
 

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I get a chuckle when I read these sorts of threads (do I need a Rubi for...?). The JK (any of them, even the lowly Sport) is a direct descendant of and far more off-road capable than the little machine that conquered the Hun and overcame everything that European weather could dish out. You don't need a Rubi to do what you ask, but you might want one, and that's okay.
 

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Are winters that bad in Chicago? I live in Western NY, and my Rubi handles it fine. I didn't think Chicago gets more snow than Buffalo
Snow is never the issue (unless you park on the street and get plowed in). It is mostly slick/wet/icy pavement.

The biggest drawback on the Rubi (compared to the Sahara) for on pavement winter driving are the tires (KM's lack sipes)....followed by the open diff vs optional LSD. But if the tires are going to be swapped out anyway....in 2H and 4H, the only real difference between them open diff vs LSD. And in the end, tires make the biggest difference regardless. Plus, it isn't like you can't through winter in a stock Rubi...it is just that "out of the box stock", the Sahara with LSD would be better suited for on pavement winter driving.
 

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Welcome to the Forum!

As Panthermark said for city driving you Audi is probably good enough. Tires will matter more than anything else as long as you have reasonable undercarriage clearance.

If budget is not a problem and you feel like spending it, a Rubi is a good choice. If you are limited on budget then a Sport with just the options you want is a better choice.

Keep in mind the Audi is all wheel drive (full time 4WD) which the Jeep is not. If you are mostly interested in city driving keep the Audi. If you have an SUV, the problem with most Audis ( Q5, Q7) is the tires. Put some smaller AT/MT with sipping as they do often in Europe and its a perfectly good winter vehicle. Some how that seems to violate German vehicle protocol in the US where low profile and high speed tires are the norm.

I'm not trying not to convince not to buy a JK but there are some advantages to full time 4WD on the road. There are a few threads on the subject you should check out.
This, if you're looking only to drive on roads, your best bet is good winter tires and AWD, you might not like a full time 4WD.
 

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Like others said. The lockers in the rubi won't be that useful for on road driving since you need to be in 4 lo to use them.

However, all models - even the rubicon- have the BLD system which essentially simulates lockers. Meaning if one wheel starts spinning it will brake that wheel and send power to the opposite wheel.

The LSD is nice in the snow as it will engage before the BLD thus it keeps you moving more smoothly in less time and without needing the computer to apply the brakes.

I have the Sport S with the LSD and it did great in all kinds of snow last winter.

I've so had a Mitsubishi Outlander AWD and I'd say they were similar in capability on shallow snow but in deep snow the wrangler was better. The higher clearance made a big difference.
 

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I live in Chicago with a 2014 Sport with the LSD and stock tires. I made it through last winter (known as Chiberia) with no issues. I think buying a Rubicon to get you through winters in a metro area is overkill.
 

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For most normal winter driving the Audi with AWD and 4 snow tires will be better than the jeep. I am replacing an A4 quattro with a Jeep because 1) I want to and 2) the Audi top doesn't come off like the Jeep. :)
 

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I live at 8000ft in Colorado where we get more snow in an average winter than Chicago gets in its worst year, and we have actual hills, also. I am from the Chicago area so I know that environment.

There is zero reason to get a Rubicon for snow. A Sport with LSD is better than a Rubicon in snow. The Rubicon diffs are open until locked, and you must be in low range to lock them. Using a locker in snow causes the vehicle to go sideways, which usually puts you in a worse place than you started. Also, as already pointed out, the stock Rubicon tires are not great in the snow.

If it is snow on pavement you are worried about, get a Subaru Outback or Forester and put some Blizzaks on. You can't get much better than that becasue the Outback/Forester have great ground clearance and an AWD system tuned for snow on pavement. The only place any Jeep would do better would be if the snow was over 18 inches deep. I know for a fact that is a rare occurrence in Chicago. A Sport with LSD + Blizzaks would kill a Rubicon with stock tires in the deep snow if you must have a Jeep.

In over 25 years at 8000ft, with snows up to 6ft at a time, the best snow vehicle I ever owned was an AWD Dodge Colt station wagon. It had awesome snow tires on it, great ground clearance, and it had an absolutely magic fully mechanical AWD system. I've had old QuadraTrac Wagoneers (my second choice for snow), Chevy 4x4 pickups, Subarus, 4Runners, two AWD Mazdas, an AWD Ford sedan and the Rubicon. I'd take that Dodge Colt over any of them in snow up to 18 inches. Over 18 inches I'd take a 70's QuadraTrac Wagoneer.

The Rubicon is pretty good, but only in low range when most of the electronic nanny crap is automatically turned off. Ask anyone who drives in really tough snow conditions and they'll tell you that traction control/stability control/anti-lock brakes are your enemy in deep snow. You need turn that crap off to survive big snow, because you *must* spin your way out of deep drifts. Putting the Jeep in low turns off most of the nannies, but not all. Unfortunately, if you have an automatic, it puts a lot of strain on the transmission to be spinning the crap out of it in low range, becasue you need high wheel speed and the trans is banging up and down through the gears. 6-speed manual wins! Another case of manufacturers building vehicles for the 98% and killing they other 2% who need something different.
 

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Sahara with LSD and Duratracs here, and I haven't owned a better vehicle for MN winter use.....
 

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This, if you're looking only to drive on roads, your best bet is good winter tires and AWD, you might not like a full time 4WD.
I assume that possibly you meant to write, "you might not like a part time 4WD", which is all that factory Wranglers offer. Jeep has never offered the Wrangler with SelecTrac or any of its full time variants.

As others have pointed out, focusing on the key words "on road", IMHO, you'll be better off with a vehicle that has AWD or full time 4WD.
 

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I live in Chicago with a 2014 Sport with the LSD and stock tires. I made it through last winter (known as Chiberia) with no issues. I think buying a Rubicon to get you through winters in a metro area is overkill.
I think it would be overkill to buy a Rubicon just for winter.
I have had 5 Wranglers and have never had problems in the snow and I'm in WV.
 

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Having owned both a sahara and now a rubi here in NH I will say buy whatever model you want as they are both great in the snow. As others have said tires are the biggest factor and I agree the MT's are not great in the snow but I swapped them out for a set of duratracs and my jeep was a tank this winter. Not once did I even think of using the lockers on road so if you are not going to do a decent amount of off roading and you are happy with the sahara options then it may be the better choice.

I didn't need the rubi but I liked the options of the X and I just wanted one so I bought it. I have yet to go anywhere off road in my rubi that my sahara would not go but I do not regret the rubi for one second.

So in the end buy the one with the options that you want that falls in your budget as any model (sport,sahara,rubi) are all more than capable.
 
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