Here’s an almost amazing fact: If you go on the Jeep website and navigate over to the configurator for the Jeep Wrangler, you will discover that there are fourteen different versions of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited currently in production. Fourteen. Different. Versions.
Allow me to guide you through it.
At the base end, you have the Wrangler Sport. OK, that one I get. It starts at $27,895. Then, next, you have the Wrangler Sport S. This has alloys, and bigger wheels, and probably some other features you might want. This one costs $31,095. These two make sense. Things get worse from here.
Next up is the Wrangler Willys Wheeler, which has an old "WILLYS" logo on the hood, special wheels and a black-painted grille. $32,195. Then you have the "Big Bear," which adds a flat black paint to the hood and different wheels. $32,595. Yes, that’s right: There are two versions of the Wrangler so close in equipment that they’re separated by just $400. It keeps going from here.
Next up, you have the Freedom Edition, which has a giant star on its hood and yet another different wheel design. $33,595. After that, there’s the $34,245 Wrangler Sahara, which ditches the hood star and adds body-color wheel arches. Then there’s the Willys Wheeler W. This is completely true. It just adds a "W" to the earlier Willys Wheeler, and probably a few extra features, though I have no idea what they are. The price is $34,295, which makes it precisely $50 different from the Sahara.
Let me repeat that for effect: the Jeep Wrangler has two trim levels that are separated by FIFTY DOLLARS.
Next up, there’s the Wrangler Rubicon, which adds more off-roading stuff and starts at $37,445. Then there’s the Wrangler Smoky Mountain, which is $38,145. This one doesn’t even have an image on Jeep’s website. I can only guess what’s different about it from other Wrangler models, though I would suspect — this is a crazy guess, I know — the wheels and the color. Then there’s the Wrangler Chief, which costs $38,245 (just $100 more than the phantom Smoky Mountain), and includes a painted top and painted stripes down the side.
We are still four trim levels from the end of the line.
Next, there’s the Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition, which adds another set of special wheels, and another unique bumper. It’s $38,925. The next one is the Wrangler Winter (seriously), which keeps the Anniversary Edition’s wheels but changes the bumper and adds — I am not kidding — a giant graphic of a snowflake on the hood. It’s $40,245. Then there’s the Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock, which must have more off-road stuff, or possibly is painted like a Hard Rock Cafe. It costs $42,245. Then there’s my favorite: the Wrangler Rubicon Recon, the crown jewel of the Wrangler lineup, the very top of the heap, which costs $42,945.
Jeep does not have a picture of the Rubicon Recon available.
Back when I worked for Porsche, we got made fun of for offering six versions of the 911: Carrera, Carrera S, Carrera GTS, Turbo, Turbo S and GT3. This … this is the next level of "versions." It’s as if Jeep has decided every single paint color needs to be a new trim level with a new price — with price differences occasionally as low as fifty bucks. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen — and if you’re buying a new Wrangler, good luck. I have no idea how you’ll do it. But I hope you enjoy your new Wrangler Belt Buckle Edition — which is, of course, $75 more than the Wrangler Thomas Edison Commemorative Edition. Find a Jeep Wrangler for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.