Best Wrangler Trim for Jeep Purists isn’t the Rubicon
The title of 2023’s best Jeep Wrangler trim remains up for grabs depending on whether you prefer style, performance, comfort, or all three. But look past the popular Rubicon or plush Sahara and you’ll find a hidden gem in the Wrangler trim lineup – the Willys Sport. This simple yet capable configuration might just be the best Wrangler trim of them all.
Wrangler Willys Sport has great off-road features, no fluff
If you’re looking for a purer Jeep experience, the Wrangler Willys Sport is where to find it. It comes with some of the best off-road features of the Wrangler Rubicon with the simplicity and value of the base Wrangler Sport.
A particular type of satisfaction comes from driving a car with all the necessities and nothing more. That kind of purpose-driven elegance is part of what made the Jeep Wrangler famous in the first place. Now, shoppers can get Wranglers loaded with everything from heated seats to disconnecting sway bars. On the other end of the spectrum, the base Wrangler Sport hardly has more than four wheels and an engine. While many Jeep enthusiasts like its old-school simplicity, the Wrangler Sport lacks some features that could make it a more serious off-roader.
The Wrangler Willys Sport sits in the sweet spot, offering the spartan simplicity of the Wrangler Sport with some off-road upgrades you would find in the Rubicon. You get all the all-terrain goodies you want without any of the fluff. The result is a trim that barely costs more than a base model with far superior off-road hardware.
The guys at TFL off-road do a great job illustrating the strengths of the Wrangler Willys Sport in one of their many off-roading videos.
Why is the Willys Sport the best Wrangler trim?
Let’s get down to brass tacks.
The Wrangler Willys Sport is a contender for the best Wrangler trim crown because of its specific group of standard off-road features. This hardware gives it a leg up on base models without the price tag of higher trims.
- Standard Firestone off-road tires outperform the street rubber found on base Wranglers.
- Rock rails protect the underside of the Wrangler Willys Sport from rocks and other trail debris.
- Upgraded off-road suspension is tuned for articulation and all-terrain stability.
- A standard limited-slip differential prevents excess slippage when traction is scarce.
These features are among the first upgrades that Wrangler Sport buyers look toward for better off-road performance, and they aren’t cheap. You get the good stuff out of the box with the Wrangler Willys Sport. However, the trim isn’t bogged down with unnecessary hardware and features that drive up the price. It’s the best value and capability middle ground in the Wrangler trim lineup.
Wrangler Rubicon goes overboard with features, price
The Wrangler Rubicon is certainly the most hardcore trim for off-roading, with its disconnecting sway bars, locking differentials, and enormous off-road tires. It’s arguably the most capable all-terrain vehicle on the market today. But those extra features come at a steep price. According to Kelley Blue Book, Two-door models start at around $43,000, while four-door models start at over $47,000. Is it all worth it?
Unless you’re tackling Hell’s Revenge in Utah or the Rubicon Trail itself, you’ll unlikely ever need to use all the Wrangler Rubicon’s off-road features simultaneously. The Wrangler platform itself is capable enough for most off-road trails. The Rubicon trim has all the bells and whistles – some may argue it’s overkill.
How much is a 2023 Wrangler Willys Sport?
The 2023 Jeep Wrangler Willys Sport offers one of the best value propositions of all the Wrangler trim levels. According to Kelley Blue Book, two-door models start at just over $34,000, while four-door models start at a bit more. For only a little more than the price of a base Wrangler, you can get an off-road package that hangs with the best of them.