Jeep is a company that has led the field when it comes to off-road vehicles for years and years.
The Jeep Wrangler JK is one of the most popular Jeep models in this field. They were produced for 11 years starting in 2007 and are still one of the best models that you can find out in the marketplace today.
What Are the Different Jeep Wrangler JK Models?
There are 3 types of JK Jeep Wranglers. You have the Sport, the Sahara, and the Rubicon in ascending price order. While all models are great for off-road enthusiasts, the Rubicon models are at the top end of the financial scale while the Sport was the least expensive JK Wranglers.
When you look at the different Jeep Wrangler models, you will also see some editions that varied depending on the year. By the end of their production run, there were 9 kinds of Jeep Wrangler models for consumers to buy, each with their varying costs and benefits to the buyer.
Today, we’re breaking down each model and helping you learn a bit more about each of the different Jeep Wrangler JK models. You’ll learn what each model was known for and some of the perks and differences between each of the models. It’s all about the Jeep life!
Types of Jeep Wranglers
While the main types of JK Wranglers available were the Sport, Sahara, and the Rubicon, there were also some limited edition Jeep Wranglers that you should take note of.
These models were:
- Sport S
- Willys Wheeler
- Willys Wheeler W
- Freedom Edition
- Rubicon Recon
Again, those models are generally listed from cheapest to most expensive and represent everything that Jeep was putting out for the JK Wranglers.
It’s also important to note the availability of some specs and features as we move forward. Many options here were able to be customized so that you could order a vehicle that would fit your exact tastes.
Obviously, not everything would be available with every model and it really wouldn’t make sense to take certain features and point them on different models because it would defeat the point of the pricing structure.
Regardless, there are a lot of Wrangler models to go over. If you’re asking, “What is the best Jeep Wrangler for me?”, we’re about to take the deep dive.
So let’s get into some of the similarities and differences that define these models and show you what models would be the best fit for your specific needs.
Sport & Sport S
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sport has a 3.6L V6 engine. It’s the most cost-efficent Wrangler JK model on the marketplace so it is looked at often for that reason.
It’s not the most convenient model on the marketplace though. The Sport features manual windows and locks which is a deal-breaker for many consumers.
The simple convenience that most take for granted would be a fairly significant pain if their vehicle didn’t have it; and for that reason alone some people are not a great fit for the Sport.
You do have 17-inch steel wheels that provide a comfortable ride with the Sport.
On the inside, unfortunately the Sport maintains a basic steering wheel, but it does come with cloth-trimmed seating.
Most people use the Sport as a first Wrangler purchase because they are on a controlled budget, and for those looking to take the Sport on adventures, it definitely does the trick. It’s got the patented Command-Trac part-time 4WD system that will keep you confident on the road and off-roading as much as you can as well.
One positive with the Sport model is that you may be able to save money for specific modifications that you want to make to the vehicle later on.
That’s a popular strategy among many Jeep owners who have different visions than Jeep does about what’s really important.
There are many people who would rather spend money on driving performance or exterior models than having power door locks.
The Sport S is obviously a step up from the Wrangler Sport; however you will pay a bit more money for the luxuries that are offered.
Starting on the inside; the Sport S has a leather-wrapped steering wheel which will add a lot of comfort when taking your vehicle on longer trips.
Also for your convenience you get power locks and power windows that make it a bit more convenient to control all aspects of the car from the driver’s seat.
On the outside of the car, you get the added benefit of automatic headlights and mirrors that have power control. Those features are often worth the payment for owners who are looking more convenience out of a vehicle that they plan to own for a long time.
Another feature that Sport S owners will appreciate is the tint on the back door windows and rear windows.
On top of those features already included, there are a lot of packages that are optional purchases available with the Sport S.
These include things like Cold Weather packages and Remote Start capabilities. While owners won’t purchase all of those optional packages, they’re unable to buy any of them with the Sport model.
The Sport S offers some extra comfort without putting your price tag of your purchase out of control.
Willys Wheeler & Willys Wheeler W
The Willys Wheeler takes another slight price increase up from the Sport S model. The off-road rock rails are an awesome feature for those looking to get their Jeep a bit dirty.
The 285 horsepower engine has plenty of power and the 3:73 gear ratio is an impressive spec that will give you better performance when combined with the same front axle and rear axle as seen in the Sport and Sport S model.
The style is impeccable as it harkens back to older Jeep models while having many of the comforts and safety features of newer models. It doesn’t quite measure up to the Rubicon model; however it is able to hold its own in off-road performance.
It’s got a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds, so keep that in mind if you are looking for the ability to two.
Similar to how the Sport S model was an increased version of the Sport model, the Wheeler W is a slightly modified version of the S. You’ll get some increased convenience in features like the power lock packages and heating packages, however you will pay more for the opportunity.
Either way you look at it, you’ve got a nice vehicle here that is a slight improve over the Sport models and looks especially sharp.
The Freedom Edition Jeep Wrangler actually falls between the Wheeler and the Wheeler W as far as prices.
The Freedom Edition honors U.S. service members which is commendable on its own merit. Portions of sales of Freedom Edition Wranglers go to the USO, which is an organization that helps military members after they come home from deployment.
Those funds also go to events that help entertain soldiers stationed overseas. For those who love our military members, that can make this model alone a no-brainer.
This is basically a souped-up Sport S model. The Freedom Edition adds a lot though, with rock rails and the power convenience package.
The real differences come when you look at the exterior and you notice the detailing and attention to detail that comes with the design of the Freedom Edition. It’s a beautiful version of a Jeep that pays tribute to the military and the country at large.
If you’re looking to support the troops and are looking for a model in the Sport S / Wheeler kind of price range; it’s an absolute must-see to check if the amenities and design speak to you.
The Sahara is a well known version of the Jeep brand. Known for a long time for the green tones of the models; the Sahara still retains design details from its past models.
It’s got a 3.6 Liter V6 24-Valve VVT Engine that provides plenty of power where you’re on the road or off-roading.
It’s got a 6-speed manual transmission that appeals to a lot of serious drivers – beginners be aware. While the Sahara is passable when going off-road, the increased price tag from the lower-priced models generally comes from the interior additions and some improvements in that area.
If you are truly looking for an off-road beast; you’re probably better off looking at the Rubicon models.
For daily life, the Sahara gets 17 miles per gallon in city driving and 21 on the highway – certainly passable for a Jeep model.
The Altitude is basically a model of the Sahara line. Similar to some of the upgrades we’ve looked at here, it is slightly more expensive and has a bit to add to the basic Sahara model.
The Altitude model has an aggressive look with its black wheels and dark look overall. This Jeep is ready to impress when it rolls off the lot, and is really focused on its looks.
That will turn off some owners who are all about performance; however if that’s the case for you, you’ve probably already ruled out the Altitude model.
Rubicon & Rubicon Recon
The Rubicon and Rubicon Recon are the top of the line when it comes to Jeep Wrangler JK models.
These two vehicles are famous for being popular among off-road fans and the reputation is well earned. The Rubicon is truly built to be the off-roading vehicle that you need to tackle any terrain.
The Rubicon vehicles aren’t generally interested in everyday life. These are beasts meant for taking adventures – so if you’re looking for a trendy commute to work this won’t be for you.
If you want the best of the best for the outdoors, you’re in the right place.
The off-road performance is boosted by electronic front sway bar disconnect and rock rails. It’s got a 4:1 Rock-Trac Part Time 4WD System as is the Jeep standard.
The front axle takes a step up with the Dana 44 heavy duty front axle. The 4.10 gears combined with the rest of the hardware means that you are in a vehicle that can handle any kind of terrain in front of it.
The Rubicon is designed to be the perfect solution for those who want to buy a Jeep and don’t want to spend money trying to buy different packages or additions to their vehicle to get it in warrior shape.
While some may find that necessary due to budgetary constraints; there is also a population that simply wants the best Jeep money can buy, and when it comes to off-roading that is the Rubicon model.
The Recon is actually a slight boost over the regular Rubicon model. The wheels get an upgrade as well as the Goodrich tires. There are heated seats for those in cold climates as well a power dome hood.
The hood also gets a decal that will stand out even to other Jeep owners. The Recon adds both exterior and interior improvements that make it the most expensive Wrangler JK model on the market.
The great thing about the fact that there are so many different types of JK models is that there is truly a Jeep model for everyone. If you’re looking to own a vehicle from this iconic brand; you can probably find the model that makes the best personal sense.
Whether you are looking for the budget-friendly Sport models or you’re interested in buying the Rubicon models that own the off-road, or the Sahara that fits the middle range; you are able to scale up or down appropriately.
When you add in all of the “special edition” Jeep models that get released and the different packages available; it would be hard to believe that you cannot find a model that fits you.
With all of the different jeep wrangler models; be sure to get the one that matches exactly what you are looking for!