Fueled by the popularity of the Wrangler Unlimited, Jeep continues its dominance of the off-road SUV segment -- and while the four-door model has gotten pricier, it's known for retaining its value and being relatively inexpensive to insure.
What's New for 2015
There are new eight-speaker and nine-speaker audio systems; a newly standard Torx toolkit that aides in removing the top, doors and bumper caps; and a 31-inch Dueler Tire Package for the base model. The Wrangler Rubicon also gains a special-edition Hard Rock version that cranks up its off-road capabilities.
Choosing Your Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
With an array of trim levels, sub-trims, and option packages, choosing the right Wrangler Unlimited can seem overwhelming. Jeep does offer the simplicity of a single engine: a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Additionally, every Wrangler comes standard with four-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission -- a five-speed automatic is optional.
To help make clearer separations between driving styles and varying needs, Jeep split the Wrangler into three main levels. Keep in mind that some models also have sub-trims.
The entry-level Sport starts at $26,595, and is a bare-bones off-roader with exterior features like black fender flares, fog lights, tow hooks, a fold-down windshield, and P225/75R16 tires on steel wheels.
You'll get more standard and optional features in these Sport sub-trims:
- At $29,695, the Sport S adds niceties most buyers take for granted -- power windows and locks, for example -- and is the lowest level at which you can get options like leather upholstery.
- The $30,595 Willys Wheeler Edition adds in a Dana 44 rear axle with a Trac-Loc rear differential, a 3.73-to-1 gear ratio, LT255/75R17 BF Goodrich KM Mud Terrain tires, rock rails, a D-ring, a tow strap, a gloss-black grille, and 17-inch aluminum wheels.
- The $32,490 Freedom Edition adds "Oscar Mike" badges and decals, and Mineral Grey paint for 17-inch wheels, the front grille, and front and rear bumper inserts. Inside, it gets tectonic fabric, "Oscar Mike" logos on the seatbacks, silver accents and stitching, power windows and door locks, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and UConnect Voice Command.
There are also no less than nine option packages:
- The Trail Kit (no MSRP given) adds features like two clevis D-rings, a tow strap, gloves, and a storage bag.
- The $995 Black Steel and 31-inch Dueler Package comes with 16-inch low-gloss black-painted steel wheels with 245/75R16 Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo2 tires.
- The Trailer Tow Group costs $395, and it includes a class II receiver hitch, trailer-sway control, and a four-pin wiring harness.
- The Connectivity Group adds $570 to the MSRP, and it has a tire pressure monitoring display, the UConnect Voice Command system with Bluetooth connectivity, and an electronic vehicle information system.
- The Power Convenience Group (no MSRP given) adds in popular options like power door locks, power side-mirrors with heat, power windows with one-touch capabilities, remote keyless entry, and a security system.
- The Black Appearance Group by Mopar gives the Wrangler a darker look by way of a black fuel-filler door with chrome screws, black taillight guards, and black tubular side steps. This package adds $795 to the Wrangler Sport's MSRP.
- The Max Tow Package cjo,es om at $845 and brings 3.73-to-1 axle ratios, a class II receiver hitch, and a four-pin trailer wiring harness.
- The $1,295 Chrome Edition Group by Mopar does as its name implies and chrome-plates the fuel-filler door, the exhaust tip, the taillight guards, and tubular side steps.
- The $3,100 Sport S Package adds air conditioning and 17-inch Silver Sparkle wheels.
The comfort-oriented Sahara starts at $32,395, and comes with standard features like 18-inch silver-painted wheels, a 115-volt power outlet, air conditioning, power door locks, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, keyless entry and a tire pressure monitoring screen.
The Sahara shares many of the Sport's option packages, including the Connectivity Group, the Trail Kit, the Trailer-Tow Package, the Premium Chrome Group, the Max Tow Package, and the Chrome Edition Group.
It also has two exclusive packages:
- The Dual Top Group ($2,185) adds a three-piece hard top with a storage bag, a rear-window defroster, and a rear window wiper. It also includes the premium black Sunrider top.
- The Premium Sound and Leather by Mopar Package adds $2,000 to the price and features an Alpine nine-speaker audio system with an all-weather subwoofer, a 552-watt amplifier, leather seating and seat heaters.
The $35,495 Rubicon is outfitted for serious off-road enthusiasts. While most range-topping models have an abundance of premium features that make them more expensive, the Rubicon's extra cost is derived from functional features like heavy-duty rock rails, BF Goodrich Mud Terrain LT255/75R17 tires wrapped around 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels, Dana 44 axles with a 4.10-to-1 ratio and an electric-locking front axle, and an electronic sway-bar disconnect system.
The Rubicon also has two sub-trims:
- The Rubicon X runs $37,095 and adds items like an all-weather nine-speaker Alpine audio system, a power dome hood with functional air vents, gloss-black headlight rings, 17-inch gloss-black aluminum wheels with Goodyear Silent Armor tires, black McKinley leather seating with heat, and automatic climate control.
- Next is the $39,895 Hard Rock Edition with a low-gloss-black front grille with gloss-black inserts, 17-inch gloss-black wheels, winch-ready front and rear steel bumpers with removable end caps, a power dome hood, red tow hooks, Mopar rock rails, red Rubicon hood decals, black leather seating, and more.
Option packages the Rubicon shares with the Sahara includes:
- The $495 Max Tow Package
- The Connectivity Group for $495
- The $2,000 Premium Sound and Leather by Mopar
- The $2,185 Dual Top Package
The Wrangler Unlimited you choose depends on your needs and budget. If you don't plan to do much actual off-roading, we'd suggest the relative comforts of a Sport S or Sahara. For 4x4 enthusiasts, the Rubicon is a cost-effective way to load a Wrangler Unlimited with aftermarket-level capability straight from the factory.