Saying you “own a Jeep Wrangler” is practically like saying you “own a vehicle.” There have been many different versions of the iconic compact SUV over the years, including this year. Focusing specifically on models, buyers can opt for the Wrangler Sport, Sport S, Willys Wheeler, Black Bear, and Freedom Edition.
Several of these special models, trims, and packages have stood out from the pack because of their various amenities and capabilities. In fact, several of these unique Wranglers are highly sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts.
We’ve compiled our favorite Jeep Wrangler models and trims below. Who knows? If you’re shopping for a Jeep Wrangler, you may even come across one of these special versions…
YJ Wrangler Islander
This exclusive options package was available for a brief window between 1988 and 1993. The additions presumably helped give the Wrangler as “island” feel due to the inclusion of several unique colors, including Bright Red, Pacific Blue, Sunset Yellow, Teal, and White.
The vehicle also included several additional exterior complements, like the body-color wheel flares and side steps. Drivers could even add sunset graphics on the lower body and hood, as well as an Islander logo on the front fenders and spare tire covers.
Other features offered in the package included an optional 20-gallon fuel tank, a gray interior, highback seats, optional five-spoke Alloy Wheels, carpeting, a center console (with cupholders), and full or half doors.
YJ Wrangler Renegade
Jeep offered a “Renegade Decor Group” options package from 1990 until 1994, and the vehicle certainly had to go through quite the journey to be equipped with the accompanying features. The Wranglers were initially shipped to American Specialty Cars in Detroit, where the package was installed. The vehicle was then shipped back to Jeep, where it was subsequently sent to dealerships and then (ideally) to customers. The visit to the ASC was recognized via a small sticker on the driver’s side door.
Costing $4,266, the Renegade package offered a number of amenities. The 4.0-liter I-6 engine was the big inclusion, as were the 30×9.5 R15 LT OWL Wrangler A/T Tires and the one-of-a-kind five-hole aluminum wheels. In regards to mechanics, this package also included power steering and off-road gas shock absorbers.
The inside of the Renegade featured highback seats covered in the soft Trailcloth Fabric, as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and full-width floor carpeting. Exterior features included fog lamps (which were cleverly included in the design of the front fenders), plastic front and rear bumperettes, and interval wipers.
60th Anniversary Edition
To celebrate the 60th birthday of the iconic Jeep, the brand released a special edition Wrangler in 2001 that recognized this accomplishment.
This special trim essentially added to the standard features on the Sahara, which was available between 1997 and 2004. The Wrangler Sahara came standard with a 4.0-liter engine, and owners could also opt for the stylish 30-inch wheel and tires. The exterior featured body colored fender flares and rocker sills, as well as several exclusive decals. The AM-FM radio was accompanied by a four-speaker sound system (this was eventually upgraded to seven speakers and a console-mounted subwoofer).
The 60th Anniversary Edition featured those amenities and a whole lot more. The engineers added fog lights up front, and the back of the Wrangler included better towing features. Decals and badges were added to recognize the anniversary, complementing the black or silverstone metallic exteriors. There were just over 4,000 of these exclusive vehicles produced.
Five years later, the company unveiled their 65th Anniversary Edition. This time, the interior featured Sirius Satellite Radio and a seven-speaker sound system. A SunRider soft top was included in the design, as were 30-inch wheels (with 15-inch Alcoa aluminum wheels). This Wrangler was available in either light khaki, dark khaki, bright silver, black, or Jeep Green, and only 1,600 units were ultimately produced.
It probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Jeep also released a 70th Anniversary Edition in 2011. This version included leather seats and Chestnut accent stitching, as well as Berber floor mats, Mopar brushed aluminum sill plates, a unique set of 18-inch polished wheels, and (of course) several badges recognizing the vehicle’s 70th birthday. Considering this trend, we can probably guarantee that we’ll see a 75th Anniversary Edition in 2016.
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon may be the most popular version of the nameplate ever produced. The trim, which was named after the Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, was unveiled in 2002, and it instantly took off.
The popularity isn’t particularly surprising considering all of the various amenities included on the vehicle. The mechanics were revised, with engineers adding locking Dana 44 axles to the Rock-Trac NC241 4:1 ratio transfer case. In simpler terms, this transformed the vehicle into an absolute off-roading monster.
A number of transmissions were included in the trim during its five-year run, including the New Venture Gear NV3550 five-speed manual transmission, a Mercedes-based six-speed transmission, and the 42RLE four-speed automatic transmission.
Tomb Raider Edition
I wasn’t a huge fan of Tomb Raider, whether it was the video game or the movie (although I am an Angelina Jolie fan). However, Jeep’s special edition Wrangler is starting to make me rethink that sentiment.
To help promote the release of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life in 2003, Jeep produced a reported 1,001 special edition Wrangler Rubicons. Besides the Tomb Raider badges found throughout the exterior, there were plenty of amenities added to this version of the nameplate.
Forged aluminum wheels were among the main additions to the exterior, as well as a variety of Mopar accessories (including a light bar, grille guard, and a diamond-plated bumper guard). The interior included Dark Slate fabric seats (with red stitching), as well as a silver instrument panel and red seat belts.
This trim ended up being an absolute hit, as the Limited Edition Tomb Raider Wrangler Rubicon is generally regarded as one of the most popular vehicles in the nameplate’s history. Interested in buying one? You’ll probably have some issues even finding it, but if you do, expect to pay more than $20,000 for a high-mileage version.
Sahara Edition Unlimited Rubicon
This is another example of the brand teaming up with a movie studio to help promote their new blockbuster. Similar to the Tomb Raider Wrangler, this version of the SUV was also very successful.
To help boost the hype for the upcoming release of the movie “Sahara” in 2005, Jeep released a limited number of Sahara Edition Unlimited Rubicon Wranglers. Only 1,000 hit dealership lots, and each is branded with a specific number identifying the SUV. While the movie wasn’t necessarily embraced, the Sahara Wrangler certainly made a name for itself during its brief run.
Offered as either an automatic or manual, all of the vehicles were covered in a Light Khaki Unlimited paint job. A chrome grille was included on the exterior, as were color matching flares, a khaki hard or soft top, graphite Moab wheels, and two-tone premium seating.
Many of these trims or models were produced in a limited quantity, meaning it won’t be easy to come across one of these Wranglers at a Jeep dealership. Each of these SUVs has separated themselves from the pack, establishing themselves as some of the most beloved Wranglers of all time. Considering the capabilities of Jeep’s current Wrangler options, we’re sure one of the current offerings will join those ranks very soon…