If one were ever to make a list of the ten most successful, the most admired and the most persevering vehicles of all time, the Jeep Wrangler would easily make it in the top five. Known all over the world for its iconic structure, its abilities to handle rough terrains, and its gradually advancing features, the Jeep Wrangler has stood the test of time as dozens of its variants are in use all across the globe, and are highly appreciated by their admirers and users alike.
Considered a successor to the Willys MB, manufactured and used extensively during the Second World War, this compact, mid-sized, four-wheel drive off-road SUV has come across a long way since its inception and boasts a splendid legacy. Currently, in its 3rd generation, the Jeep Wrangler is regarded as the evolved form of the Jeep CJ (Civilian Jeep) that was introduced at the end of WWII and was manufactured by Kaiser-Jeep and American Motors Corporation (AMC).
The first ever Wrangler was unveiled at the 1986 Chicago Auto Show. The vehicle’s architecture and features were constantly upgraded with time. The structure was revised for the second generation Wrangler in 1996, whereas it was completely redesigned for the third generation of the vehicle that was introduced in 2006.
First generation Jeep Wrangler
The first generation of the Wrangler, known as the Jeep YJ or the YJ Wrangler, spanned from 1986 to 1996. The prominent features of the Wranglers introduced during this time included square headlights, leaf spring suspension system, anti-lock brakes, and, later on, automatic transmission. The three engines used for the YJ Wranglers upgraded with time and included: the 2.5L AMC 150 I4, the 4.0L AMC 242 I6, and the 4.2 AMC 258 I6. YJ Wrangler Islander and YJ Renegade are two of the most famous models of the first generation of the Jeep Wrangler.
Second generation Jeep Wrangler
1996 saw the unveiling of the second generation of the Wrangler after Chrysler took over production in 1991. The vehicles introduced during this era are commonly known as the Jeep TJ or the TJ Wrangler, and their production lasted till 2006. Further upgrades were introduced in the vehicles during this era, prominently including coil spring suspensions, transmission system going up from 3-speed automatic to 6-speed manual on certain models. A whole new series of engines were introduced for the new kind of the Wrangler, including the 2.4L PowerTech I4, the 2.5L PowerTech I4, and the 4.0L PowerTech I6. Many trim levels were made available of the TJ Wrangler, mainly including SE, X, Sport, Sahara, Rubicon, Apex Edition, Columbia Edition, Freedom Edition, and many others.
TJU Unlimited models were manufactured from 2004 to 2006. Apart from structural differences or upgrades, the Unlimited version of the second generation of the Wrangler had a longer wheelbase, four marker lights in front of the fenders, and slightly bent grilles. Also, the vehicle now had round headlights and turn signal in the fenders at the front.
Third generation Jeep Wrangler
The third generation of the Jeep Wrangler was introduced in 2006, and its production continues even in 2017. Major changes in the third generation, or JK Wrangler, includes switching from a two-door vehicle to a four-door model, bigger axles, and the optional switch from a 4-cylinder or inline 6-cylinder to a standard V6. The engines introduced for the JK are the 2.8L VM Motori RA 428 Diesel I4, the 3.6L Pentastar V6, and the 3.8L EGH V6. JK Unlimited edition comes with a larger wheelbase, and an optional 4×2 rear-wheel drive made available for a few models. Like its predecessor, the JK is also available with multiple trim levels, such as Sport, Sahara, Rubicon, X-S model, Rocky Mountain Edition, Islander Edition, 2013 Moab Edition, and lots of others.
The fourth edition of the Jeep Wrangler is expected to be introduced in late 2017 or early 2018 and constitutes of upgraded engines and several other changes. Keeping in view its glorious past, it can be stated with utmost surety that the upcoming Wrangler editions shall further add to the legacy of this much-regarded vehicle, lifting it to newer heights of success.