Smack dab in the middle of the Wrangler lineup is the versatile and capable Sahara trim. For 2012, added luxury and refinement bring a new level of civility to this powerful, trail-taming Jeep icon.
Behind the seven slots, the Wrangler Sahara has changed quite a bit, and also very little, in recent years. That is to say that, under its new enhancements and amenities, the soul of the Sahara remains the same. Though it looks a little sleeker, it still comes standard with removable doors and a folding windshield, it still sits on earth-crushing 18-inch satin silver aluminum wheels, and it still carries the foglamps, tow hooks and hood latches that contribute to it being the most versatile and functional off-road vehicle in the world. This year’s model comes with either a standard removable Sunrider® soft top or an available black or body-color Freedom Top® hardtop, as well as power heated mirrors and removable tubular side steps.
The soul of the Sahara is, as it’s always been, its unparalleled capability. The 2012 model comes standard with a 3.6-liter, 24-valve V6 engine with variable valve timing and either a six-speed manual transmission or an available five-speed automatic. The Jeep V6 makes 280 hp and 260 lb/ft of torque, and the Sahara comesstandard with the company’s Trail Rated®
capability (shown by the exclusive badging), which means it’s been designed, abused and put to the ultimate test to ensure exceptional off-road performance across five categories (ground clearance, traction, maneuverability, articulation and water fording). In fact, this year’s Jeep boasts best-in-class turning diameter, water fording, ground clearance and departure angles, and sports more traction than any Wrangler ever built.
In addition to Next-Generation Dana® solid front and heavy-duty rear axles, the newest Sahara is available with the second-generation Command-Trac® 4-Wheel Drive system, which delivers equal power to all four wheels when called upon and ensures commanding, confident footing and slogging on slippery surfaces and rough terrain. On dry asphalt, the advanced system stays off, allowing for responsive, comfortable everyday steering and enhanced efficiency. Monotube shock absorbers, Hill Start Assist, traction control, fuel tank and transfer case skid plates, electronic stability control and Electronic Roll Mitigation also come standard on the Wrangler Sahara.
The interior of the 2012 Sahara is a nice blend of rugged and refined. It features soft-touch surfaces, chrome accents, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and available heated leather seats, along with the standard removable carpets, power outlets, grab handles and hose-washable floor (with drain plugs) that any Wrangler worth its weight should feature. It is spacious and nicely appointed, balancing the decidedly un-luxurious nature of the vehicle with the sophistication and refinement called for by a daily driver. A seven-speaker Infinity® CD/MP3 audio system comes standard, and the available Uconnect® system integrates Bluetooth communication, streaming audio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The Sahara also gets a specially reinforced safety cage along with multi-stage front and side supplemental airbags.
The 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sahara features a starting MSRP of $27,970, a small price to pay for near limitless capability.