When you think off-roading you probably think Jeep Wrangler.
Consumers often use the term Jeep to describe the entire category of off-road vehicles and know the Jeep brand without needing to see the letters that spell it — the iconic Jeep grill image will do the trick.
THE JEEP WRANGLER: THE FIRST REALITY SHOW ON WHEELS
The Jeep Wrangler, the brand’s best-selling model, remains the ideal mid-size (Wrangler Unlimited) and compact SUV for many consumers enamored with the authentic, rugged history the Jeep brand represents. First built for use in 1941 for World War II, many modern SUVs can trace their roots back to the Jeep military vehicle, originally known as the Willys MB and the Jeep CJ (civilian Jeep).
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE JEEP WRANGLER?
The Jeep Wrangler, which debuted in 1986 as the replacement for the Jeep CJ, went through a significant revision in 1996 and a complete redesign in 2006. All versions of the Wrangler (like its predecessors) feature separate body/frame construction, rigid live-action front and rear axles and flat windshields. An ongoing feature of Jeep Wranglers is their ability to be driven with or without doors. Despite its longstanding commercial appeal, a military version of the Wrangler (called the CJ8) still is in demand, as well.
WHO IS BUYING JEEP WRANGLERS?
The Wrangler buyer is looking for fun and freedom, with a good helping of mud. Wranglers are truly off-road vehicles adapted for the street. Wranglers are not for the luxury SUV set. Jeeps promises and delivers rugged off-road capabilities, with concessions to make them more palatable on paved roads — not the other way around. Consumers looking for a Wrangler can expect open air (less quiet), stiff and rugged suspension and enough torque to get them both into and out of trouble.
The vehicle has matured over the years, for certain. The Wrangler buyer, on the other hand, not so much. Jeep’s enduring appeal remains: adventure, outdoors, tough, reliable … nuthin’ fancy. Compared to the other international off-road king, Land Rover (which first debuted in 1948), Jeep is revered for its single-mindedness over the decades. As a comparison, the most “Jeep-like” offering you can get from Land Rover is the old-school Defender series, which hasn’t been sold in the U.S. for 15 years. The Johnny-come-lately Land Rover has morphed more into luxury SUV territory while the Jeep Wrangler remains the rough-and-tumble, less uppity, more stable-in-tough-spots leader in off-road transportation—at a far more attractive price point.
In other words, you’ll probably want to finish your latte before you get in.
The Jeep TJ rumbled onto the floor of the Detroit Auto Show in 1996. Shortly after, it was leaving dealership floors for mud-covered trails, as a 1997 model. The updated wrangler featured a coil-spring suspension and round headlamps. The drivetrain, however, remained virtually unchanged.
In 2004, the TJ got an AM/FM/CD stereo and a tilt steering wheel as standard equipment. Right-hand-drive models also became available for fleet service (think postal). Model year 2005 marketed the introduction of the Rubicon version of the Unlimited joins the lineup. A new 6-speed manual transmission was also introduced. The final year of the TJ, 2006, introduced the new Golden Eagle edition package with a Dana 44 heavy-duty rear axle, gold-colored 15-inch Ravine alloy wheels, 30-inch tires, and exterior decals.
The Wrangler was completely redesigned for 2007, and reintroduced as the JK platform. The JK was more powerful, more refined and more comfortable than the previous generation. Outside, the new JK got a more contemporary appearance, along with bigger tires and more ground clearance to make it look more aggressive. The JK also got a brand new power plant in the form of a 3.6L Penstar 6-cylinder engine with electronic throttle control.
In 2008, the Wrangler received only minor changes: a new Sahara appearance package and optional remote ignition. For 2009, hill start assist, trailer sway control and a small storage net under the center stack were added. Model year 2010 brought about standard fog lamps, tow hooks and a compass. Two limited edition models were also introduced: the Islander and Mountain. In 2011, larger rear windows and new option features were added like power mirrors, automatic climate control, heated seats, a USB audio port, Bluetooth and steering wheel controls. A more powerful version of the 3.6L, along with a 5-speed automatic transmission was added in 2012. For 2013, new seats with larger side bolsters, additional interior lighting and an available Alpine speaker system were added. The JK was unchanged for 2014 and a Rubicon Hard Rock edition was released in 2015.
Thanks giphy for the .gifs!