The Jeep brand is an American icon and has been going from strength to strength since its inceptions over 66 years ago. The latest version to come my way was the 2015 Jeep Wrangler Sahara in the four-door version. Our gleaming “Firecracker Red” tester features a body color Freedom Top with deep tint window and nice “Carbon” rims on the 18 inch tires. The interior also receives the “Sahara” treatment with a unique interior comprising nice heated, dark charcoal cloth bucket seats with the Sahara logo embroidered on the backrests. The leather-wrapped steering also features contrasting detail. On the floor, thick, heavy-duty tread-pattern slush mats complete the macho theme.
The power for the Sahara is Chrysler’s proven and award-winning Pentastar 3.6-litre V6 engine. Producing a healthy 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet, the transmission on our tester was the optional five-speed automatic. A six-speed manual transmission, by the way is standard equipment. Jeep’s Command-Trac four-wheel-drive system was also featured on our vehicle.
In terms of equipment the Sahara arrives with automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated controls, heated front seats, height-adjustable driver seat, an Electronic Vehicle Information Centre (EVIC) and cruise control. Command-Trac 4WD system remote keyless entry, trailer sway damping, alarm, tire pressure monitor, engine oil cooler, 3.21 axle ratio, heavy duty suspension, transfer case skid plate, fuel tank skid plate, heavy duty axles, cruise control, air conditioning, automatic headlights, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, leather wrapped steering wheel, chrome and leather shifter.
Other options include: Connectivity Group, Body color Dual Top Group — ($800), Trailer Tow Package ($475); Supplemental Front Seat Side Air Bags- $400; five-speed automatic transmission, $1,495, which includes hill descent control; Uconnect media center ($1,225) including 40-GB hard drive, Alpine audio system ($695), USB port; Sirius Satellite Radio, ($350) and remote start system, ($395). Base price starts the Jeep Sahara starts at $35,395 whilst our tester with Destination charge $1,695 tire tax and $25; federal A/C excise tax $100 came out to $45,250.
On the road, the e superb frontal visibility through the flat windshield and the high driving position means the Jeep feels great in any road condition. There is some wind noise at high speed on the highway- probably due to the chunky aerodynamics, but it not tiresome to drive. Equipped with heavy-duty springs and shock absorbers can make for some bounce in hard braking. However, the V6 engine is smooth quiet, and has a broad power band to make use of the torque. Generally the Jeep has no vices in everyday driving and returns a Natural Resources Canada fuel economy figure of (L/100 km) 14.8 city, 11.7 highway. Bear in mind, the Jeep does carry a lot of four-wheel drive hardware and is fairly heavy, so the fuel economy reflects this.
The Jeep is absolutely outstanding off-road with its amazing Jeep Command-Trac four-wheel-drive system and makes light work of slippery roads and light, medium off-road trails. The Command-Trac features a part-time, two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio for trail conditions.
To sum up the Wrangler is a very desirable package and really looks and drives the part. Hopping in, even for a short drive to the corner store will make you feel you are on an exciting adventure! And this is what Jeeps excel at, knowing you have the ability should you choose to go anywhere on the planet in any terrain. However with four –doors, a proper back seat, cargo space and all the creature comforts you want and the option to take the roof its is one of the most fun ways to drive ever.
2015 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited 4×4: Base price starts at $35,395. Price as tested $45,250.