Jeep Wrangler Models Explained

The Jeep Wrangler has been the world’s leading off-roading vehicle for over a decade. One of the various reasons why Wranglers are so popular is that they offer the ultimate selection of trail-equipped jeeps just for you. Keep reading for Jeep Wrangler models explained in more detail.

There are three main classes of Jeep Wranglers: Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon. The Rubicon is the top dog on the financial scale, while the Sport is the cheapest model. There are also special limited edition Jeep wrangler models that are produced every year.

In addition, the JK production line boasts nine wrangler models explained in this article, either a two-door or four-door version. In this article, I will also help you understand all Jeep Wrangler models and hopefully guide you to the right model choice. I’ll also give hints on which Jeep Wrangler models to avoid.

All Models Of Jeep Wrangler JK


The main models of Jeep Wrangler are the Sport, Rubicon, and the Sahara. The limited edition Jeep Wranglers include; Sport S, Willy Wheeler, Willys Wheeler W, Freedom Edition, Altitude, and Rubicon Recon. In as much as these models have several similarities, there are subtle differences both in features and price range. Obviously, there is not one model that has it all. Each model was built with a specific purpose and distinct advantages.

Let’s dive right into the models.

1.     Jeep Wrangler Sport

We’ll be starting from the most affordable model. It was called the X model from 2007-2010 and was renamed the Sports model in 2011. This is the entry-level Wrangler. It’s a nice jeep but lacks the goods for hardcore wheeling. The sports model is recommended for those who want to look like they go off-road and live the life. It has large wheels with small diameter tires, which would look cool on the street but are not great for off-roading.

It comes with a basic stereo system and an optional air conditioning unit. It is also equipped with the Command-Trac HD Part Time 4WD System to help your rough terrain navigation.

It is powered by a 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine that can produce up to 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft of torque. Other features include manual windows and locks, a basic steering wheel, and 16-inch wheels. The Sports model comes with a soft top from the factory, but you can swap it for a hard top.

While this Wrangler model may not be the most comfortable, it is a great and cost-efficient place to start. If you opt for the cheapest Wrangler, you will have some spare change to put in for those upgrades you have your eye on.

2.     Jeep Wrangler Sport S

This is the next step up from the entry model with a 2.0L Direct-Injection Turbo Engine with eTorque. The Sport S has a more comfortable leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and speed controls. It also boasts 17-inch aluminum wheels and air conditioning.

You’ll definitely appreciate the side steps, deep tint sunscreen windows, and heated seats which are not available in the Wrangler Sport model. A bonus is the automatic headlights and mirrors that have power control.

The cherry on the cake is the optional package like Cold Weather packages and Remote Start ability available with the Sport S. For enhanced safety, you can buy the Active Safety Group package that includes a Blind Spot Monitoring feature. Even though these options will cost extra, the Sport S allows you to enjoy quite a few creature comforts without breaking the bank.

3.     Jeep Wrangler Sahara

Released during the first generation YJ Wrangler lineup, the Sahara is a staple of the Jeep Wrangler. Even though it used to be famous for its forest green tones and tan interior, these can still be found in newer models.

It features a standard 6-speed manual transmission and a 3.21 axle ratio are standard, but the five-speed automatic transmission and a 3.72 gear ratio are more common.It boasts a 3.6L V6 24-Valve VVT Engine, featuring the same running gear as the Sport model with a Dana 30 axle and a 44 axle.

The Sahara was built to cater to the comforts of the drivers and passengers. It is factory-fitted with everything on the Sport S model plus 18-inch polished aluminum wheels with granite crystal-painted pockets, color-matched hardtops, fender flares, front and rear bumper accents, automatic headlights, and LED fog lights and reflector headlamps, and heavy-duty suspension with gas shocks.

There is also an upgraded stereo system and leather-trimmed bucket seats inside.These features may not amount to much when off-roading, but the Sahara model is recommended for a daily driver. The Sahara is the top of the line as far as road comforts are concerned.

4.     Willys Wheeler

The original Willys CJ inspired the limited Willys Wheeler model. It features the same components as the sport model with some extra features, including Willy’s emblem on the hood, 17-inch black wheels with mud terrain tires, and off-road rock rails. It is also equipped with the same front and rear axles as the Sport and Sport S models but with 3.73 gears for better off-roading abilities.

The Willys Wheeler style is impeccable as it pays homage to older Jeep models. Additionally, it can tow a weight of up to 3500 pounds. Because it utilizes the same larger springs and suspension as the Rubicon, it has more lift. Even though it has more credibility off-roading than the Sport model, it does not compare to the Rubicon.

5.     Willys Wheeler W

Like the Sport S model, this model is a spin-off from Willys wheeler. It has the same features as the previous wheeler but with more features like power lock packages and heating packages.

6.     Freedom Edition

This edition was made in honor of service members. A portion of this edition’s income from sales goes to the USO and other events for military veterans. The USO is an organization that helps service members after they arrive back from deployment. The Freedom model is basically a Sport S model that has a military-like appearance plus rock rails, a power convenience package, cast rear differential cover, and a 115V auxiliary power outlet.

But the real difference can be seen on the exterior; the attention to detail in the design of this model is second to none. The most obvious markers that can help you tell this model apart from its counterparts are the military-style designs; a prominent star on the Jeep hood, body-color fender flares, black tail lamp guards, an ” Oscar Mike” fender badge, and a Pantone ”Trail Rated” badge. We also have an embroidered ”Oscar Mike” logo on the front seats. This military phrase means ”On The Move’’ befitting this powerful vehicle.

So, if you’ve been searching for a way to pay homage to the brave troops or if you’re a military veteran yourself, this model is right up your alley. It is also relatively cheap, and the price range falls somewhere between that of the Sport and Wheeler models.

7.     Altitude

This is a step up from the Sahara model but slightly more expensive and much cooler in the looks department. The altitude is here to impress with its 18-inch polished black wheels, black exterior accents, leather-trimmed heated seats, and dark overall look. Its power bulge hood makes it easier to differentiate it from other models.

This model is perfect for Jeep owners who want to make a bold statement right off the bat.

8.     Rubicon and Rubicon Recon

Here comes the top dog! The Rubicon and Rubicon Recon are the best and most popular Wrangler models out there (and obviously, the most expensive). These two models are well-known for their off-roading capabilities. They are not such good daily drivers but are beasts in rough terrain. It comes with everything in the Sahara model plus a wide range of off-roading goodies.

It proudly features a Rock-Trac Part-Time 4WD System and a heavy-duty two-speed transfer case with an 84.1:1 crawl ratio and 4:1 low range with the manual transmission. It also has a front sway bar disconnect that allows your front wheels to be compressed and dropped for bolstered suspension and rock rails for off-roading reliability. The front axles are taken up a notch from the normal 30 front axles to a Dana 44 heavy-duty front axle. Also, both front and rear axles come equipped with Tru-Lock air lockers.

The springs in this model are also upgraded with a better spring rate allowing the Jeep to have better ground clearance and larger tires. It also comes factory-fitted with the Sky One-Touch Power Top that opens in less than 30 seconds at the touch of a button.  The interior is not left behind with a premium sound system, a touch screen head unit, a two-tone interior, and leather seats.

The Recon model is a slight upgrade on the original Rubicon. It has bigger 17-inch granite crystal wheels finished with Goodrich Mud-Terrain tires and also heated seats. It also features winch-capable steel bumpers, heated leather-trimmed seats, cast differential covers, and premium off-road rock rails with tread plates.

A power dome hood, half-inch suspension lift, and premium black soft top are also included in the Rubicon Recon package. In addition, the Recon has made improvements to the interior and exterior, making it the most capable model for off-roading.

Jeep Wrangler JL Models

jeep wrangler jl

Even though the three main models of Jeep wranglers are Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon, other trims provide happy mediums between the three main trims. The JL Wrangler models include Sport, Sport S, Willys Sport, Willys, Black and Tan, Sports Altitude, Freedom, Sahara, Rubicon, Sahara Altitude, North Edition, Rubicon Recon, High Altitude, and Moab.

These models are the same as their JK counterparts, excluding Black and Tan, Sports and Sahara Altitude, North Edition, High Altitude, and Moab.

1.     Black and Tan

Even though the name of this Jeep makes you imagine a black colored jeep with a tan top and interior, this Jeep comes in various colors. But the one thing that doesn’t change is the tan soft top. This soft top has a zipper-less design and a spring-assisted opening and closing. It also has black badging and side steps.

2.    Sports Altitude and Sahara Altitude

They are very similar to the sports S and Sahara models, but the major difference is the color theme. Altitude Jeeps are built to make an impression with black grille throats, black fender badging, black headlamp inserts, black instrument panels, 18-inch black aluminum alloy wheels, black seats, and a black hard top. Talk about a black package!

These models are built to add an air of mystery and style to your everyday life.

3.    North Edition

The North Edition is basically a Sahara model but for colder climates. This model doesn’t have a great engine or transmission option as it only comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder and 8-speed automatic transmission. But where it lacks engine power, it makes up with lots of luxury features that make colder states feel like Summer. It includes heated seats, a heated steering wheel, a remote start, and the Selec-Trac system- perfect for dealing with snow and ice.

4.     High Altitude Model

This is by far one of the most expensive models of the Jeep Wrangler series. It has a long list of luxury features, including Nappa Leather seats, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, 2.0L Turbocharged 4-cylinder that can be upgraded to either a Pentastar or Turbo Diesel. This model also includes the Safety Group, which has blind-spot monitoring. Unfortunately, it is only available in five colors since it’s a super luxury trim.

5.     Moab

The Moab was only available in 2019 and did not have a two-door model. It combined both luxury and off-roading features for a better driving experience. It had a Selec-Trac four-wheel drive, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, a gloss black exterior, a steel front bumper, 32-inch mud terrain tires, and rock rails. Because it was a one-year-only model, it featured exclusive details like a MOAB decal and McKinley leather-trimmed seats.

Final Thoughts

The awesome thing about Jeep Wranglers is that there is always something for every type of Jeep lover. There are budget-friendly options, more stable daily driving options, and flat-out off-roading champs. No matter which trims level you pick, the Jeep Wrangler is sure to over-deliver.