Jeep Wrangler Sport vs Sport S: Which Should You Choose? – 2021 Guide

Cory
| Last Updated: March 26, 2021

The sun is shining, it’s been one heck of a week at the office and that trail is beckoning you to come out and enjoy a day of wheeling with friends and family. Sounds great, right? We couldn’t agree more! 

If you’re looking to join the Jeep family, or upgrade your old rig, you may be wondering if the 2021 Wrangler Sport or Sport S models are a good choice for your needs. Maybe you don’t have the budget to step up to the Rubicon or maybe you want to build the ultimate rig but don’t need all that fancy equipment that you’re just going to rip out anyways. 

Either way, the Sport and Sport S models are fantastic choices for Wrangler buyers on a budget who still want to enjoy all the timeless fun that Wranglers are famous for. 

Photo credit: greenbriermotors.com

TL;DR: Wrangler Sport vs Sport S

When it comes right down to it, the Wrangler Sport is a fantastic budget off-roader for those looking for a low entry point into the world of Jeep or those looking to build a custom, trail-crushing rig. 

The Sport S offers additional standard power and convenience features while also opening the option book to desirable Wrangler options like the Premium Sunrider Soft Top and SelecTrac 4 wheel drive system. 

Wrangler Sport

Sport S

Pros

Pros

Cheapest entry point to the Wrangler lineup (Sub $30k)

Standard 4 wheel drive and stout V-6

High level of standard equipment 

Easily modifiable platform for a custom rig 


High level of standard equipment and upgraded infotainment set up

Only a few thousand more than the Sport

Access to desirable options and option package

Cons

Cons


Lack of basic features like power windows and doors

Lack of access to desirable options and option packages


Potentially unnecessary equipment included 

Expensive options and packages 

More expensive

Best For

Best For

The Wrangler buyer on a budget or the hardcore off-roader who’s looking for a great base to built their rig.

The Wrangler buyer wants a great all-around offroader that has some additional, daily driver-friendly creature comforts and options.

What is Standard On a Wrangler Sport? 

There is a surprisingly generous supply of useful, standard features on the bare-bones Wrangler Sport that even the most hardcore Jeep lover will appreciate. 

Mechanical:

  • Engine:  3.6L V6 24V VVT Engine Upg I With Start-Stop
  • Transmission: 6 - Speed Manual 
  • Jeep CommandTrac Part Time 4 Wheel Drive System
  • Dana M186 Front Axle
  • Dana M220 Rear Axle
  • 4 Wheel Disc Brakes

Exterior:

  • 2 or 4 Doors
  • Standard Operating (Non-Automatic) Halogen Headlights /Incandescent Bulbs (Rear)
  • 17-Inch x 7.5-Inch Black Steel Styled Wheels w /245/75R17 All-Season Tires
  • Standard and Half Doors 
  • Black Sunrider Soft Top (Standard)
  • Outside Tire Carrier

Photo credit: autoblog.com

Interior:

  • Manual Black Cloth Seats with 2 Way Lumbar 
  • Uconnect System with 5 Inch Touchscreen and 8 Speakers 
  • Push Button Start
  • Full-Length Floor Console 
  • Cargo Tie-Down Hooks
  • Urethane Steering Wheel
  • Roll-Up Windows
  • Manual Door Locks
  • Manual Air Climate Control
  • Tilt / Telescoping Steering Wheel

Safety: 

  • Back-Up Camera 
  • Tire Pressure Monitor Display 
  • Traction Control 
  • Electronic Stability Control 
  • Hill Start Assist 
  • Electronic Roll Mitigation
  • Advanced Front and Side Airbags

What is Standard On a Wrangler Sport S? 

The Sport S trim keeps all the basic Wrangler goodness from the Sport and bumps up the feature content for the Jeep driver who’s looking for a few more technology and convenience features to help them out on the road or the trail: 

Photo credit: walser.com

Mechanical:

  • Engine:  3.6L V6 24V VVT Engine Upg I With Start-Stop
  • Transmission: 6 - Speed Manual 
  • Jeep CommandTrac Part Time 4 Wheel Drive System
  • Available 2.72:1 Selec-Trac® Full-Time 4WD System
  • Dana M186 Front Axle
  • Dana M220 Rear Axle
  • 4 Wheel Disc Brakes

Exterior:

  • 2 or 4 Doors
  • Automatic Halogen Headlights /Incandescent Bulbs (Rear)
  • 7-Inch x 7.5-Inch Tech Silver Aluminum Wheels w /245/75R17 All-Season Tires
  • Standard and Half Doors 
  • Black Sunrider Soft Top (Standard) 
  • Available Premium Sunrider Top
  • Outside Tire Carrier

Interior:

  • Manual Black Cloth Seats with 2 Way Lumbar 
  • Uconnect System with 7 Inch Touchscreen and 8 Speakers 
  • Available SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
  • Available Apple CarPlay® support and Android Auto™ integration
  • Push Button Start with Proximity Key
  • Full-Length Floor Console 
  • Cargo Tie-Down Hooks
  • Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel
  • Power Windows
  • Power Door Locks
  • Automatic Air Climate Control
  • Tilt / Telescoping Steering Wheel
  • Available Remote Start 

Safety:

  • Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection
  • Back-Up Camera 
  • Tire Pressure Monitor Display 
  • Traction Control 
  • Electronic Stability Control 
  • Hill Start Assist 
  • Electronic Roll Mitigation
  • Advanced Front and Side Airbags

Relevant Characteristics Between Wrangler Sport and Sport S

These two trim levels are at the bottom of the Wrangler’s trim structure and offer a very similar experience for the Wrangler buyer on a budget. Differences exist in the availability of certain key features, more standard technology/convenience items, and cosmetic changes as well. 

Specs

Wrangler Sport

Wrangler Sport S

2021 MSRP

$31,815

$35,955

Engine(s)

3.6L V-6 w / 285 HP & 260 LB.FT of Torque


3.0L Diesel V-6 w / 260 HP & 480 LB. FT. of Torque


2.0L I4 Turbo w / 270 HP & 290 LB. FT. of Torque


Hybrid 2.0L I4 w / 375 HP & 470 LB. FT. of Torque

3.6L V-6 w / 285 HP & 260 LB.FT of Torque


3.0L Diesel V-6 w / 260 HP & 480 LB. FT. of Torque


2.0L I4 Turbo w / 270 HP & 290 LB. FT. of Torque


Hybrid 2.0L I4 w / 375 HP & 470 LB. FT. of Torque

Transmission(s)

6 Speed Manual (V-6 Only)

8 Speed Automatic

6 Speed Manual (V-6 Only)

8 Speed Automatic

4x4 System

Command-Trac Part-Time 4WD System

Command-TracPart-Time 4WD System (Standard)


2.72:1 Selec-Trac® Full-Time 4WD System (Available)

Wheels

17-Inch x 7.5-Inch Black Steel Styled Wheels

17-Inch x 7.5-Inch Tech Silver Aluminum Wheels


17-Inch x 7.5-Inch Machined Granite Crystal Wheels


17X7.5 Inch Machined/Painted Black Wheels

Window and Door Locks

Manual

Power

Entertainment

5 Inch UConnect w/ 8 Speakers

7 Inch UConnect w/ 8 Speakers


Sirius Satellite Radio (Available)


Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (Available)

Similarities and Differences 

First off, let’s keep in mind that no matter which one you choose, there is plenty of that unique Jeep goodness we all know and love on either of these trims! You just need to decide if certain comfort and convenience items offered in the Sport S are worth the additional price of admission over the base Sport.  

Wrangler Sport and Sport S Differences 

Mechanical: 

If you order either of these vehicles in their standard form, they will be identical. The main difference here is the availability of the 2.72:1 Selec-Trac® Full-Time 4WD System on the Sport S, which is not available on the Sport

Exterior:

Outside, the main difference comes down to the wheel styles and tops available on each trim. The Sport ONLY comes with the black, steel style wheel while the Sport S comes standard with a silver finished wheel. Other wheel styles are also available on the Sport S that are not available on the Sport. Also, 2021 Sport S trims have the option of an LED headlight and foglight package. 

The Black Sunrider Top is standard on both the Sport and Sport S but the Sport S trims have the option of adding in upgraded tops like the Premium Sunrider, Dual Top, and SkyView. These additional top options are not available on Sport models. 

Photo credit: jcofontario.com

Interior:

Inside, the story between these two trims is quite different with the Sport trim going for a back-to-basics approach while the Sport S throws in a few more comfort and convenience goodies. Sport models do away with basics like power windows, power door locks, while Sport S models add these basics back in, along with automatic headlights, automatic air conditioning, a larger infotainment screen with smartphone mirroring capability, and a leather steering wheel. Heated seats and a heated steering wheel are also available on the Sport S. 

Safety: 

Both Wrangler trims come with commendable levels of safety equipment but the availability of blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert dial up the safety factor on the Sport S. 

Wrangler Sport and Sport S Similarities

Exterior:

The exterior look, configurations, and style are basically the same between these two trims. They retain the black door handles, molded bumpers, removable doors, fold-down windshield, and soft top configurations. The Black Sunrider Top is standard on both the Sport and Sport S. 17 inch wheels are standard on both trims. 

Photo credit: youtube.com

Interior: 

Aesthetics and looks only vary in the larger touchscreen that is standard on the Sport S. Black, manually adjustable cloth seats, and other interior trim pieces are identical between these two trims but the similarities end there. 

Safety:

Sport and Sport S trims both carry identical standard safety features like traction control, a backup camera, rollover protection, a bevy of airbags, and stability control. 

Advantages of Wrangler Sport 

  • It’s the only Wrangler that can be nabbed for under $30k brand new (2 Door).

  • Still comes with all the things that Wrangler so timeless and fun to own like a fold-down windshield, soft top, and removable doors. Also comes with standard 4 wheel drive and a beefy V-6.

  • Jeep throws in a few extras like an 8 speaker stereo, lots of standard safety equipment, and air conditioning. 

  • For those that are looking to custom build their perfect Wrangler, the Sport is an ideal starting point because commonly upgraded items like audio equipment, lighting, wheels, suspension, and tops are absent from the MSRP; leaving you more room to build your perfect Jeep. 

If you’re on a strict budget or looking to custom build a Jeep for your unique needs, then the Sport trim is an ideal option for you. 

Photo credit: ccarprice.com

Advantages of Wrangler Sport S 

  • Additional standard comfort and convenience equipment like power windows, power door locks, and an upgraded head unit that make the Wrangler easier to live with daily.

  • Availability of desirable Wrangler options like an LED package, Premium Sunrider Top and additional wheel choices.

  • Availability of additional safety equipment that can make the Wrangler safer to drive daily.

  • Availability of the Selec-Trac 4 wheel drive system for those looking for a more “set it and forget” 4 wheel drive experience along with the addition of low range capability. 

If you’re looking for a heaping helping of Jeep attitude, capability, and fun but still want some daily driver creature comforts; stepping up to the Sport S is a wise decision. 

What About the Sahara?

For those looking for a Jeep that is more focused on around town driving and luxurious appointments but still retains a lot of off-road capabilities, the Sahara is a great choice. Outside, body color matching bumpers, side steps, and access steps set off the exterior along with a set of shiny wheels shod in street-focused tires. Inside, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, available leather seats, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen bring the luxury. This is the cheapest trim that carries the Selec Trac system standard, which allows drivers to leave the system to automatically engage when needed. If you want a high-end Jeep and don’t plan to get it dirty too often, check out the Sahara over the Sport or Sport S. 

Photo credit: carprousa.com

What About the Rubicon?

The Rubicon is the most off-road capable trim in the Wranglers’ entire lineup. This is a perfect vehicle for someone who wants to drive right off the lot and hit up their favorite off-road trail. Giant tires, ultra-low range Crawl Trac 4 wheel drive, locking front and rear diffs, electronic sway bar disconnect, and Dana 44 axles round out the off-road bits. This vehicle has been specifically engineered by Jeep to be an incredible off-roader and you’ll pay more for that privilege but if you can afford it, it doesn’t get much better than the Rubicon. 

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the best budget off-road vehicle for sale today, the Wrangler Sport and Sport S fill that need. For under $30k, the Sport is a one-of-a-kind, 4 wheel drive vehicle that is nearly unstoppable off-road and provides the open air, wind in your air experience Jeeps are known for. 

Step up to the Sport S and enjoy additional creature comforts for a few more of your hard-earned dollars. Whether or not you need these features is entirely up to you. 

There’s no wrong decision here, just whatever fits your needs and your budget best! 

People Also Ask

How Do I Know If My Wrangler Sport Is A Sport S?

Wheel design and standard equipment are a dead giveaway here. If you’re rolling on black, steelie style wheels and have manual windows, you’re definitely in a Sport and not a Sport S. 

What Size Tires Come On The Wrangler Sport S?

Sport S models come standard with a P245/75SR17 BSW AS tire. 

What Does The S Stand For In Jeep Wrangler Sport S?

The "S" refers to the internal trim codes (24s 4 Door and 23s 2 Door) for the Sport S trim. On previous Wranglers, Sport S was an option package vs. a trim. 

Cory

Cory epitomizes the 'function over form' debate. His XJ Cherokee has taken many a beating due to his lust for climbing the tallest ledges he can find and is armored to the max. Welded on sliders, tube fenders, and no bumpers allow him to achieve some pretty crazy approaches. We regularly tease him that there's more rust than paint on his rig, but that’s his style. Cory's favorite new mod is a larger winch he bought off a buddy after his Smitty cooked itself, trying to yank his buddy out of a ravine.