What Is the Jeep Sahara Package?by Christopher Jackson
Jeep's iconic Wrangler has a long and varied history. Over the years, it has offered a wide range of trim levels and special editions, usually with names that conjure exotic locales and invoke the spirit of adventure that the Jeep has come to embody. One of the most recognizable of these is the Jeep Sahara.
Wrangler YJ Sahara
Most recently seen as a movie tie-in on the latest Jeep, the Sahara package was actually first introduced in 1988. Offered as a trim level on the square-headlight "YJ" Wrangler a year after its 1987 redesign, the Sahara package featured special paint colors and seat covers. As a premium trim level, most of the options available on the Wrangler at the time were standard issue. Body-colored side trim and wheels further distinguished the Sahara. The YJ Sahara was offered until the end of the model run in 1995.
Wrangler TJ Sahara
The Sahara package returned on the next-generation "TJ" Wrangler after the 1997 redesign. The Wrangler Sahara offered similar trim and appointments on the upgraded version.
Movie Tie-In Limited Edition
In 2005 the Sahara package was dropped from the regular lineup, but there was a limited run of vehicles designed as a tie-in with the movie "Sahara." A limited number of long-wheelbase Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon models received special trim, including Light Khaki paint, color-matched tops and wheels, unique interior trim and special decals. The Wrangler Rubicon's array of upgraded off-road equipment was also standard. Jeep produced about 1000 Wrangler Unlimiteds with the Sahara package in 2005.
Wrangler JK Sahara
The current Wrangler, introduced in 2007, is available with a Sahara trim package, as well. The current Sahara package features body-colored fender flares, power windows and an upgraded sound system.
Christopher "Emmy" Jackson has been an automotive writer since 1999. His self-syndicated auto column appears weekly in print and online, and his work has appeared in "Grassroots Motorsports," "AutoWeek" and "African-Americans on Wheels." He is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with degrees in English and creative writing, and spends most of his free time reviewing new cars and working on new automotive projects.