Based on the infamous CJ that premiered during the peak of World War II, the Jeep Wrangler hit US roadways in 1986 full of off-road prowess. Underneath the hood was the choice of either a 2.5L four-cylinder engine or a 4.2L six-cylinder. Engines could be geared to either a five-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic. Like the CJ before it, the Wrangler was referred to as the YJ. It differed from the CJ in that it had a wider wheelbase, a leaf-spring suspension with larger springs, a wider windshield, and a different front-end grille. There were not a bevy of changes made to the model during its first few years on the road, however, in 1991 a 4.0L inline six-cylinder entered the lineup. Capable of up to 180 horsepower, the 4.0L inline six stepped in and replaced the older and less-powerful 4.2L configuration. Trim levels during the Wrangler's first generation included the base S, Islander, Sahara, Renegade, and Laredo.
After a one-year absence, the Jeep Wrangler's second generation was introduced in 1997. Known as the TJ, the Wrangler featured round headlights, which promoted a reference to the CJ models of old. At launch, the second-generation Wrangler displayed a new and improved interior which was centered on a revised layout and upgraded materials. And as with the previous generation, a coil-spring suspension was used. Initially, trim levels were the base SE, Sport, and Sahara. The SE was equipped with a 2.5L inline four-cylinder engine good for 120 horsepower. The Sport and the top-level Sahara were powered by the 4.0L inline six (190 hp). Engines were directed through either a five-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic. In 2003, the Wrangler "X" debuted and placed above the SE in the lineup. The Wrangler Rubicon was released, as well, featuring an off-road profile which included 31" tires, locking front/rear Dana axles, and a transfer case. Also that year, the three-speed automatic transmission was upgraded to a four-speed. Similarly, 2004 saw a six-speed manual transmission taking over for the previous five-speed gearbox.
The third generation of the Jeep Wrangler was introduced for the 2007 model year. When it rolled off the line, it was slightly larger than the previous generation and featured improvements in just about all Wrangler parts. A substantial amount of insulation was added for a quieter ride while the suspension was stiffened. Three main trim levels were offered: X, Sahara, and Rubicon. All three could be had with one of two body styles - standard two-door (shorter wheelbase) or Unlimited, which is the Wrangler's four-door variant. All versions of the Jeep Wrangler were given a 3.8L V6 engine rated at 202 horsepower and 237 pounds-per-foot of torque geared to a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. Two limited edition Wranglers, the Mountain and Islander, were released for the 2010 model year.
What more can you say about an American institution? The Jeep Wrangler has been an iconic presence since the days of WWII, taking from its forefathers and producing reliable results to this day. Sure, some improvements and additions have made their way onto the Wrangler since then, but it still has that bold and versatile appearance that made Jeep famous. Some drivers like to modernize their Wrangler with stylish accessories while others like to trim it enough to stay in the game for extra innings. Either way, it is capable of handling just about anything. Isn't that what it was designed for?
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