Types of JK WranglersLast Updated February 16, 2024 | Andrew Boyle
In production from 2007-2018, the Jeep Wrangler JK has been the leading off-road vehicle for over a decade. There are three main types of Jeep Wranglers: the Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon. In addition to these models, there are also special editions available that vary from year to year. At the end of the JK's production, there were nine Wrangler models to choose from, either in a two-door version or a four-door version called the JK Unlimited. The next generation of Wrangler, the JL Wrangler shares several of the same model types with the JK, although there are quite a few still exclusive to the older Wrangler.
Different Jeep Wrangler Models
Along with the three main types of Jeep Wranglers, there are also several limited editions offered each year. Here are all the 2018 JK Wrangler models:
- Sport S
- Willys Wheeler
- Freedom Edition
- Willys Wheeler W
- Rubicon Recon
All post-2012 Wrangler JK models come equipped with a 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine that produces 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, as well as a standard 6-speed manual transmission. However, there are many different customizations and optional add-ons that allow you to build your Wrangler specifically to suit your tastes.
Sport & Sport S
As the most basic model, the Sport Wrangler JK is also the most cost-efficient. The main features of the Sport edition include manual windows and locks, 16-inch steel wheels, a High Pinion Dana 30 front axle, and a Low Pinion Dana 44 heavy-duty rear axle. For the exterior, the Sport Wrangler has black fender flares and a Sunrider Soft Top. While this model may not have all the creature comforts, this is a great place to start for your very first Wrangler!
If you plan on doing any modifications, there’s no need to spend extra money for a more expensive model. By opting for the cheapest Wrangler model, you can have extra cash to put toward aftermarket additions for your rig. Also, rather than spending more money up front, you can save up over time and upgrade components as you see fit. If you are on a budget, then the Wrangler Sport is the perfect starting model!
The next step up from the Sport model is the Sport S. With a few more creature comforts than the Sport, the Sport S offers a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and speed controls, 17-inch aluminum wheels, and air conditioning. There are also more additional options available for the Sport S that aren’t available for the Sport such as side steps, deep tint sunscreen windows, a Power Convenience Group, and more. While those options will cost extra, it’s nice to have the ability to add them if you so please. This model is perfect for those who want a few extra comfort items without breaking the bank.
Willys Wheeler & Willys Wheeler W
Paying homage to Jeep history, the Willys Wheeler model is inspired by the original Willys CJ. The limited edition Willys Wheeler features all the same components of the Sport model, with a few additions including a Willys emblem on the hood of the Jeep, off-road rock rails, and 17-inch high-gloss black Rubicon wheels with BFGoodrich mud-terrain tires. While the Willys Wheeler has the same Dana 30 front axle and Dana 44 heavy-duty rear axle as the Sport and Sport S, the 3.73 gears will give you better performance both off-roading and on the highway. Utilizing the same larger springs and performance suspension that can be found on the Rubicon, the Willys Wheeler has about an inch of lift right out of the factory. Along with the gloss black wheels, the Willys Wheeler has a gloss black grille and a glossy black finish in the center of both the front and rear bumpers, which add a nice touch to the exterior of the Wrangler. There’s also a new optional Tru-Lok Rear Locker that can be added to the Willys model.
Though the Willys Wheeler definitely has more off-roading prowess than its Sport and Sport S siblings, when you compare the Willys to the Rubicon the winner is fairly decisive.
While the Willys Wheeler contains all the elements from the Sport edition, the Willys Wheeler W is the Sport S equivalent. Including all the components of the Willys Wheeler, the Willys Wheeler W also has air conditioning. The Power Convenience Group, which contains power door locks, heated and auto-dimming mirrors, power windows, remote keyless entry, and a security alarm, is standard for the four-door Willys Wheeler W. Both the Willys Wheeler and Willys Wheeler W contain a Trail Rated Kit that includes heavy-duty gloves, a tow strap, and a D-ring. So the Willys Wheeler and Willys Wheeler W are basically the same, with the exception of a few creature comforts. If you want a Wrangler model that isn’t as expensive as the Rubicon but still offers extra convenience features and enhanced off-roading performance, then the Willys Wheeler and Willys Wheeler W are two great options.
There’s no denying that Jeeps and patriotism go hand-in-hand. Not only does the Freedom Edition Wrangler contain details and badging that pay respect to our nation’s heroes, but a percentage of each sale is donated to the United Service Organizations, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping our service men and women. The Freedom Edition Wrangler includes all the same features as the Sport S, with a bunch of additional items such as off-road steel bumpers, leather-trimmed seats with an embossed Oscar Mike logo, premium off-road rock rails, cast rear differential cover, body-color fender flares, a premium black soft top, and a 115V auxiliary power outlet. The Power Convenience Group is also standard on the Freedom Edition, as well as a heavy-duty suspension with gas shocks. The Freedom Edition Wrangler shares many similarities with the previous models listed, but it’s the differences in detailing that really set it apart from the rest.
Introduced within the first-generation YJ Wrangler lineup, the Sahara model is a staple of the Jeep brand. While the Sahara used to contain forest green and tan interiors, body-color fender flares, and limited-edition decals, many of the same features can still be found in present-day models. More commonly, the Sahara will feature a five-speed automatic transmission with a 3.73 gear ratio, but a manual transmission and 3.21 axle ratio are standard. Featuring the same running gear as a Sport model with a Dana 30 axle in the front and a Dana 44 axle in the rear, the Sahara is known for its appearance.
With more luxurious features than the base Wrangler models, the Sahara features the Power Convenience Group, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels with Granite Crystal painted pockets, body-colored fender flares, front and rear painted bumper accents, heavy-duty suspension with gas shocks, automatic headlights, LED fog lights and reflector headlamps, and deep-tint sunscreen windows. For those that are true off-road enthusiasts, perhaps some of the interior enhancements aren’t worth the price. However, those that plan on using their Wrangler as a daily driver can definitely appreciate the additional creature comforts.
Containing all the elements of the Sahara, the Altitude limited edition model also has a few extra features up its sleeve. Featuring a power bulge hood, it is easy to differentiate from the other Jeep Wrangler models. With 18-inch polished black wheels, gloss black exterior accents, leather-trimmed heated seats, and a body-color hardtop, the Wrangler JK Altitude looks as aggressive as it performs. The Altitude is perfect for those who want their Jeep to make a statement right off the bat without having to invest in a lot of aftermarket parts.
Rubicon & Rubicon Recon
If you’re an off-roading enthusiast looking for the most capable Wrangler straight from the factory, then the Wrangler JK Rubicon is the model for you! Because the Rubicon got its name from the Rubicon Trail in California, it only makes sense that the Rubicon is built ready to tackle any terrain. The Rubicon is equipped with the Rock-Trac 4x4 system, 4.10 gears, Tru-Lok front and rear locking differentials, an electronic front sway bar disconnect system, Dana 44 heavy-duty front and rear axles, and a performance suspension system with high-pressure monotube shocks and tunable valves. These features enhance the Wrangler’s off-roading performance and allow you to crawl over rocks better than ever. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time or money replacing suspension components or adding aftermarket Wrangler parts, then the Rubicon is a great option for those who want to go off-roading with little to no modifications. Make sure to check out our Resource Center article on the Rubicon vs Sahara for a more in-depth comparison of two of the most popular types of Jeep Wranglers!
Last but not least, the Rubicon Recon has all the same components as the Rubicon but includes additional features such as 17-inch Granite Crystal wheels, BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM tires, winch-capable steel bumpers, premium off-road rock rails with tread plate, cast differential covers, heated leather-trimmed seats, and an upgraded Dana 44 front axle. A power dome hood, premium black soft top, and a half-inch suspension lift are also included standard on the Rubicon Recon as well as a special hood decal. So not only does the interior and exterior of the Rubicon Recon look amazing, but it also boasts enhanced off-roading performance.
2018 JK Wrangler Colors
There are several different color options available for the 2018 Wrangler JK. Most models do offer every color, but there are some exceptions. Both Xtreme Purple Pearl Coat and Chief Clear Coat are not offered for the Rubicon Recon, Freedom Edition, Willys Wheeler, or Willys Wheeler W models. Here are all the color options for the JK Wrangler:
- Black Clear Coat
- Xtreme Purple Pearl Coat
- Firecracker Red Clear Coat
- Chief Clear Coat
- Billet Silver Metallic Clear Coat
- Rhino Clear Coat
- Granite Crystal Metallic Clear Coat
- Bright White Clear Coat
- Gobi Clear Coat
2018 JK Wrangler Prices
When it comes to the prices for the Wrangler JK, there’s a model available for every price range! Whether you are on a budget or willing to splurge on the top model, there’s sure to be a Wrangler to fit your needs. Compare all the prices for the different Jeep Wrangler models below!
|Unlimited MSRP (4-door)
|Willys Wheeler W
Source: 2018 Jeep Wrangler Brochure, Jeep | Image Credit: Jeep.com