The Jeep Wrangler Sahara Altitude answered the prayers of fans and aficionados who have always dreamed of a Wrangler with a V8 engine. Finally, in 2021, the Wrangler has a V8 engine. The 2021 Jeep Wrangler, whether the Sahara Altitude or the Rubicon model, offers a delightful blend of classic Jeep design, superior off-road capabilities and advanced vehicle technologies, amenities and safety features.
Jeep has been building Wrangler compact mid-size 4WD off-road SUVs since 1986. The nameplate is de facto direct descendants of the World War II Jeep (Willys MB/AMC) produced from the mid-1940s through the 1980s. The solid shoulders and topless design are classic Willys MB. The Wrangler was introduced as the Wrangler JL at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show and is currently in its fourth generation. Despite the uncanny cosmetic similarities, the JL is larger than the previous JK, offering increased rear passenger legroom and a larger trunk volume.
2021 was the Wrangler’s third birthday as the JL and was offered as a 2-door or the more popular and roomier 4-door Wrangler Unlimited. We love the Unlimited Sahara Altitude because it’s a satisfying blend of Wrangler Unlimited and Wrangler Sahara, and then some. Here’s why.
What is the Sahara Altitude Package?
It is important to first set the record straight; there are no critical differences between Jeep Sahara and Sahara Altitude. The suspension system would have topped our list of “critical” differences worth focusing on, but there aren’t any. Both Sahara and Sahara Altitude ride on the same suspension system. The wheels and tire sizes are also the same, although the Altitude’s Bridgestone all-terrain tires should provide superior off-road performance.
The primary difference between the two is basically cosmetic. That’s pretty much why people struggle to decide between the two Unlimited variants; both share many similarities. Along with the suspension system and tire sizes, both have the same 21.5-gallon fuel tank capacity, both are 4WD, both are five-seaters, and they even have the same mileage. However, the trim package can make a world of difference, enough to make us love the Altitude more. So what is it that we love about Sahara Altitude?
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The gloss black 18-inch wheels, Bridgestone Duelers AT tires, body color hardtop, Mopar hardtop headliner, black badging, leather-wrapped dash, black Napa leather interior, and black inserts/frames in the grill, lights, and other areas around the vehicle that otherwise would be silver/chrome on a Sahara. These are enough extras to make the Altitude the better option when it comes to trim packages.
So, are we saying that the Sahara and Sahara Altitude are basically the same, except for the trim package? Yes, that’s about it. Again, they’re enough to make us love the Altitude more. Don’t forget that the driving experience that the Altitude updates bring may very well affect the Jeep’s overall performance. The icing on the cake is that both have the same MSRP, which basically makes the Altitude the better cost-effective option than having to add all the extra features to the base Sahara itself.
What else? Gone is the “SAHARA” logo embossed on the seats, which is a big plus for many owners who didn’t like it in the regular Sahara, based on feedback from Jeep forums. For us, the Altitude’s leather-wrapped dashboard versus the regular Sahara’s gloss black trim speaks volumes.
The Sahara and Sahara Altitude are powered by the same turbocharged 2.0L inline-4 that makes 270 horsepower at 5,250 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm, and an available 3.0L turbodiesel V6 engine that makes 285 horsepower at 00 rpm and 6,420 rpm. -ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and both return a combined fuel economy of 22 MPG; 21 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway. Other critical differences would have been towing capacity and curb weight. Well, both the Sahara and Altitude have the same curb weight of 4,406 lbs and 3,500 maximum towing capacity.
The blind spot monitoring sensor is located in the taillights while the parking sensors are in the bumper, although we think they would have been better in the taillights as many customers upgraded theirs to beefier aftermarket bumpers. If you’re one of those unhappy with the “Sahara” logo on the seats, you’re in luck because it’s gone in the height.
How much is the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara Altitude?
The 2021 Altitude comes with a starting MSRP of $44,340, a $4,500 down payment for qualified customers, and an estimated payment of $761/month, based on the Kelley Blue Book® Fair Purchase Price of $43,204 at 3.19% APR during 60 months.
Bottom line, the Sahara Altitude Pkg is a better value option compared to sprucing up a stock Sahara with Rubicon shocks and wheels. There’s also the leather-trimmed interior and painted hardtop and fenders, not to mention the more aggressive Bridgestone tires and beautiful black badging and gloss black rims.
Even if you’re a prospective first-time Wrangler owner, the Altitude is a great 4WD to introduce you to the Wrangler global community, and it’s an excellent daily driver and off-roader.