The Jeep Wrangler Sahara is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission, but my test vehicle was powered by the upgraded 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 ($4,000) and the 850RE 8-speed automatic transmission ($2,000). It delivers 260 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 442 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,400-2,800 rpm. The engine has Engine Stop/Start (ESS) to conserve fuel, and the resulting fuel economy is rated at 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for a 22 mpg average. However, for my week of driving I netted just a shade over 30 mpg.
The Sahara model includes the Command-Trac 4X4 System with the NV241 part-time, two-speed transfer case that features a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. Off-roading prowess is further ensured with next-generation Dana front and rear axles. In addition, Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential provides torque and grip in low-traction environments, such as sand, mud, or snow.
My Sahara four-door was equipped with an optional package called Sky-One-Touch Powertop, which allows occupants to open and close the Wrangler roof with the push of a button. This power roof can be operated at a speed up to 60 mph. The price for this convenient opening to the blue sky is $3,995.
Outside, the Wrangler’s signature features include iconic round head lamps, seven-slot keystone grille, trapezoid grille flares, removable doors, exposed hinges with the Torx tool-bit size stamped into it, a fold-down windshield, and the innovative removable top. These not only allow the Wrangler to retain the brand’s identity in appearance, but also in function.
Inside, the Sahara trim offers ParkView Rear Backup Camera, and the fourth generation Uconnect system that features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and choice of a 7.0 or 8.4-inch touchscreen with pinch-and-zoom gesture.
For off-road and rough roadways, Wrangler offers standard electronic stability control (ESC), electronic roll mitigation, and trailer sway control. Hill Start Assist and brake traction control are among the more than 75 available safety and security features.
I liked the black leather-trimmed seats with Sahara logo. The color went great with the Sting-Gray Clear-Coat exterior paint.
The base price starts at $38,645 for the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4X4, but there are nearly 15 additional packages to choose from.
The two packages I want to recommend are the $995 Safety Group and the $1,700 Advanced Group. Checking these two check boxes adds Full Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus, Park Sense Rear Park-Assist System, Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection, and Advanced Break Assist, just to name a few.
During the week I drove the Sahara it was terribly hot in Texas, with afternoon temperatures reaching 106 degrees. This offered little incentive to venture outside for long.
In my part of Dallas I found no canyons, forest, hills, or beaches within the close vicinity. However, I do remember that Wrangler has best-in-class approach angle of 44 degrees, breakover angle of 27.8 degrees, and departure angle of 37 degrees. A ground clearance of 10.9-inches also helps the Jeep Wrangler scale the toughest terrain.
Several years ago in the Mountains of Oregon my driving buddy Rick and I drove the Wrangler for the better part of a day. We blazed trails, journeyed where few except Mountain men had ever been. It was one of the most thrilling experiences I ever had.
A photographer handed me a picture he shot as we ascended up a steep mountain. My Jeep was at the top of a tall incline resting, balanced on only one wheel. Distance clouds were viewed underneath the vehicle as well as through the windshield.
Now that is adventure!
3 years/36,000 miles Basic Warranty
5 years/60,000 miles Powertrain Warranty
5 years/unlimited miles Corrosion Perforation Warning
5 years/60,000 miles Roadside Assistance
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or email@example.com.