Are you shopping for a Jeep Wrangler and trying to decide between the Sahara and Altitude trim levels? You’ve come to the right place!
The Wrangler Sahara and the new-for-2022 Wrangler Altitude are both well-equipped, off-road ready trim levels of Jeep’s iconic 4×4 SUV. But besides having similar names, they actually have some key differences.
So which one is better for you? Keep reading as we compare the Jeep Wrangler Sahara and Altitude trims head-to-head. We’ll cover:
- Engine, transmission, capability
- Interior features
- Exterior styling
- Packages and options
- Performance on- and off-road
- Pricing and value
- Pros and cons of each
By the end you’ll know exactly how the Wrangler Sahara and Altitude compare and which trim we recommend buying in 2024.
Table of Contents
Overview of the Jeep Wrangler Sahara and Altitude
The Jeep Wrangler Sahara debuted back in 2007 as a well-equipped trim between the Sport and Rubicon models. The new-for-2022 Wrangler Altitude is essentially a blacked-out appearance package version of the Sahara trim.
Both the Sahara and Altitude come standard with Jeep’s excellent Command-Trac 4×4 system, Dana axles, skid plates, tow hooks, and impressive off-road credentials.
Here we’ll overview the key specs and features of each Wrangler trim:
Jeep Wrangler Sahara Specs and Features
The Sahara builds off the base Wrangler Sport with additional luxury and convenience features. Key specs include:
- Engine – 3.6L V6 or 2.0L turbo-4
- Transmission – 8-speed auto or 6-speed manual
- Drivetrain – 4×4 with Command-Trac and Selec-Trac systems
- Interior – Premium cloth or leather seats, 7″ infotainment, dual zone climate control
- Exterior – 18″ alloy wheels, side steps, body color fender flares
- Capability – Heavy duty Dana axles, limited slip differential, 10.8″ ground clearance
Notable standard features on the Wrangler Sahara:
- LED headlights, fog lights
- Power heated side mirrors
- Keyless entry with push button start
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Premium Alpine audio system
- Blind spot monitoring
- Rear backup camera
The Sahara also comes well equipped for off-roading with:
- Heavy duty Dana 44 axles front and rear
- Tru-Lok limited slip differential
- Heavy duty suspension and skid plates
- Tow hooks and rock rails
In terms of customization, the Sahara has a wide range of factory options and aftermarket upgrades available. You can outfit it as a luxury urban cruiser or serious rock crawler.
Jeep Wrangler Altitude Specs and Features
The Altitude trim debuted for the 2022 model year as a new appearance package with blacked-out exterior styling. Key specs:
- Engine – Same 3.6L V6 or 2.0L turbo-4
- Transmission/Drivetrain – Same 8-speed auto or 6-speed manual 4×4 system
- Interior – Black leather seats, auto dim mirror
- Exterior – 20″ gloss black wheels, black grille, badges, and accents
- Off-Road Capability – Same as Sahara; Command-Trac 4×4, Dana 44 axles, etc.
Unique Altitude features:
- 20″ gloss black aluminum wheels
- Black 7-slot grille and badging
- Black fuel door and door handles
- Black leather seats with silver accent stitching
- Gloss black interior accents
- Auto-dimming rearview mirror
The Altitude offers the same off-road hardware and capability as the Sahara:
- Heavy duty Dana 44 axles
- Tru-Lok limited slip differential
- Command-Trac and Selec-Trac 4×4 systems
- 10.8″ minimum ground clearance
So besides appearance, the Sahara and Altitude trims share the same impressive off-road credentials and performance.
Now let’s look at how they differ in terms of styling, options, and pricing.
Sahara vs Altitude: Key Differences
While the Wrangler Sahara and Altitude share much in terms of mechanicals, their exterior and interior styling differs quite a bit.
Here are the key differences between the two trims:
- Exterior styling – Altitude has blacked-out accents vs Sahara’s chrome
- Wheels – 18″ Sahara vs 20″ black Altitude wheels
- Interior details – Black leather seats in Altitude vs tan leather in Sahara
- Optional equipment – Sahara has more factory customization options
Next we’ll go over the exterior, interior, and options for each trim in more detail.
Exterior Styling and Design
The Altitude model delivers a unique blacked-out appearance compared to the Sahara’s brightwork and body-color styling.
- Sahara – 18″ Mid-Gloss Black aluminum wheels
- Altitude – 20″ gloss black aluminum wheels
- Sahara – Chrome seven-slot grille
- Altitude – Gloss black seven-slot grille
- Sahara – Body color fender flares and chrome badging
- Altitude – Gloss black grille rings, bezels, handles, badges, and fuel door
- Both come standard with the black soft top. The optional body-color hard top is available on both models.
So if you like the blacked-out look, the Wrangler Altitude delivers with its dark 20″ wheels, aggressive grille, and blacked-out accents from front to rear.
Inside, the Sahara and Altitude Wranglers differ mainly in their color schemes:
- Sahara – Tan leather seat upholstery with embroidered Sahara logos
- Altitude – Black leather seats with silver accent stitching
- Sahara – Silver dash vents, door handles, and trim bezel accents
- Altitude – Gloss black vent surrounds, handles, and trim accents
Both models come well equipped with leather upholstery, an 8.4″ infotainment display, premium audio, and more. But the Altitude’s blacked-out interior styling is more eye-catching.
One of the biggest differences between the Sahara and Altitude is in optional equipment and customization availability.
The Altitude comes pre-configured with the blacked out appearance package. So you can’t mix and match options as much.
The Sahara offers more flexibility:
Sahara Factory Options
- Power top options
- Technology packages – safety, LED, towing
- Cold weather package – heated seats and steering wheel
- Exterior upgrade packages – bumpers, rock rails, wheels
- Auxiliary switch bank – for aftermarket accessories
- Dual top group – hard top and soft top
With the Sahara you can really customize your Wrangler’s interior and exterior equipment.
The Altitude doesn’t have as many factory options. But you can still upgrade the wheels, lights, top, and audio system.
So if you want more freedom to option-out your Wrangler, the Sahara is the way to go. The Altitude offers less flexibility but comes pre-configured with the popular black styling upgrades.
How They Drive: Performance and Capability
Since the Wrangler Sahara and Altitude share the same powertrain and drivetrain options, their on- and off-road performance is very similar.
Both models come standard with Jeep’s 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 engine producing 285 horsepower. You can also opt for the 2.0 liter turbo-4 with 270 hp on either trim.
The engines pair with an 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission and Command-Trac or Selec-Trac 4×4 transfer case. This delivers excellent acceleration and off-road capability.
Tow ratings are the same at 3,500 pounds with the V6. Fuel economy is 17/25 mpg city/highway with the V6 – not great but expected for a boxy 4×4.
In terms of off-road performance, the Sahara and Altitude models are evenly matched:
- 4×4 Systems – Command-Trac on base models. Optional Selec-Trac adds full-time 4WD.
- Axles – Heavy duty Dana 44 front and rear axles with Tru-Lok LSD
- Ground Clearance – 10.8 inches minimum
- Approach/Departure Angles – Excellent due to boxy design and tall ride height
- Articulation – Exceptional suspension travel for climbing obstacles
With their robust 4×4 hardware, the Wrangler Sahara and Altitude can handle serious off-road terrain, including rocks, mud, and hills.
The Altitude simply takes the Sahara’s proven off-road capability and adds unique styling flair. Performance remains equal.
In summary, you can’t go wrong with either trim if you prioritize performance – both on-road and off.
Price and Value Comparison
MSRP pricing for the 2024 Jeep Wrangler:
- Sahara 2-Door – Starts at $40,040
- Sahara 4-Door – Starts at $43,540
- Altitude 2-Door – Starts at $45,035
- Altitude 4-Door – Starts at $48,535
With options expect to pay around:
- Sahara – $45,000 – $55,000
- Altitude – $48,000 – $58,000
The Altitude commands about a $3k premium over an equivalently-equipped Sahara. You’re paying for the upgraded wheels, black styling, and extra standard equipment.
Given its unique appearance package and generous standard features, the Altitude offers good value if you’re attracted to the blacked-out styling.
The Sahara gives you more flexibility to stay at the lower end of the price range by limiting options. Or you can add everything and still customize the look.
Both Wrangler models hold their value incredibly well if you ever want to sell or trade-in. The special edition Altitude may have a slight edge.
Which Should You Buy? Sahara vs Altitude
So which of these capable and eye-catching Wrangler models is right for you? Here are the pros and cons of each trim:
Jeep Wrangler Sahara Pros and Cons
- Iconic Sahara styling since 2007
- Highly customizable with many factory options
- Tan leather interior gives classic Jeep character
- Large price range to meet budgets
- Can get expensive with all options added
- Fewer standard features than Altitude
- Exterior styling not as unique
Jeep Wrangler Altitude Pros and Cons
- Blacked-out exterior styling looks awesome
- Ride height suits larger 20″ wheels
- Save money on options – comes well equipped
- More unique and eye-catching than Sahara
- Less flexibility to customize look
- Slightly more expensive base price
- Wrangler purists may not like blacked-out look
Verdict: Which Wrangler Trim is Better?
So which of these special edition Wranglers comes out on top?
Based on our comparison, we think the Jeep Wrangler Altitude is the best choice for most buyers.
The blacked-out exterior gives this Wrangler an aggressive, eye-catching look that’s less common than the classic Sahara. The larger 20″ black wheels nicely fill out the flared fenders too.
Inside, the black leather with silver accent stitching feels both premium and aligned with the blacked-out styling.
You still get the Sahara’s proven performance and off-road capability – just wrapped in a more stylish package.
The Altitude’s bigger value is that it comes pre-configured with the appearance upgrades. So you save money compared to customizing a Sahara piece by piece.
The Sahara is still an excellent choice however, especially if you want more freedom to pick and choose options. Go with the Sahara if you want to accentuate the chrome and body color elements rather than black everything out.
Both are great choices that retain everything we love about the Wrangler – and customize it to your style.
Hopefully this detailed comparison of the Jeep Wrangler Sahara and Altitude has helped you decide which trim to buy. Let me know if you have any other questions!