Jeep Wrangler Generations
  • Generations

Jeep Wrangler Generations

By Autolist Staff | June 19, 2019

2018 - Present Jeep Wrangler (JL 4th Generation)

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While retaining the overall appearance of prior Jeep Wranglers, the JL features improved aerodynamics, greater fuel-efficiency and upgraded technology throughout. New engine options, including a turbo-charged four cylinder and a diesel version, headline the fourth generation updates to the Wrangler.

The 3.6L Pentastar V6 gas engine carries over from the previous generation but it’s been revised for improved fuel economy, and a new option is the eight-speed automatic transmission. The diesel will be a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel. This new engine, which produces approximately 260 hp and 442 lb-ft. of torque, is the same one that's available in the Jeep Grand Cherokee (WK2) and the Dodge Ram 1500.

Numerous improvements also make it easier to convert both hard and soft top versions for travel without doors or a roof, including lighter doors, a fold down windshield and storage compartments for removed parts. The JL continues to use the UConnect infotainment system, with several different touchscreen displays available and satellite radio standard on most trims.

Some upgrades include retro styling that recalls earlier Wrangler and CJ models, such as the steering wheel and instrument panel. Improved side-impact airbags and strengthened pillars make the JL safer than earlier generations, as does a blind spot monitor built into the taillight housing. As with its predecessor, the JL comes in two- and four-door configurations with a variety of trim and option packages.

View 4th Generation Listings

2007 - 2017 Jeep Wrangler (JK 3rd Generation)

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Among the significant changes introduced with the third generation Wrangler was the introduction of a four-door Unlimited model, which provided a longer wheelbase and increased interior space for passengers. Other new features included power windows, remote entry and optional navigation. As with prior generations, soft and hard top versions were available, including both options on the four-door model.

The JK was the first Wrangler designed and manufactured under the ownership of DaimlerChrysler. Several new features were also introduced with the 2009 and 2010 model years, including Hill Start Assist, which improved performance on hills; Trailer Sway Control and Electronic Stability Program, which improved towing control; and UConnect entertainment systems.

Minor changes and updates continued through 2015, such as the introduction of new body colors, a new touchscreen for the UConnect system, new tire options and an eight-speaker stereo system.

The JK retained prominent features of earlier Wrangler models, such as part-time four-wheel drive and a separate body and frame. A 3.8-liter EGH V6 engine was introduced as the base engine on the 2007 model and was replaced on the 2012 model by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine. Both engines came with a six-speed manual transmission, with a four-speed automatic transmission available through 2011 and a five-speed automatic transmission available starting in 2012.

Numerous editions, trims and option packages were available, including the Islander, Rocky Mountain, Mountain, Moab and Overland editions. The JK was manufactured in Toledo, Ohio.

View 3rd Generation Listings

1997 - 2006 Jeep Wrangler (TJ 2nd Generation)

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The TJ was the second generation of Wrangler and it was introduced in 1996 for the 1997 model year. The most noticeable exterior change was the reintroduction of circle headlights, which were a distinctive feature of classic Jeeps.

Engines available on the TJ included the 2.5 liter straight-four, the 2.4 liter PowerTech and the 4.0 liter AMC straight-six. The latter was initially paired with a three-speed automatic and five-speed manual transmission, but later in the generation offered a four-speed automatic and six-speed manual.

In the latter part of the generation, the Wrangler Unlimited was introduced, which featured a wheelbase 10 inches longer than standard. This was essentially a preview of the eventual four-door Wrangler that debuted in the next generation.

The TJ came in a variety of trim and option editions, including the SE, X, Golden Eagle, Apex and Sahara. In 2001 a limited 60th Anniversary Edition was released, while a 65th Anniversary Edition was released in 2006.

Numerous technological advances were first introduced during the TJ's production run, including upgrading the sound system options to include first a CD player and then satellite radio. A seven speaker sound system was first introduced on higher end trim lines before becoming standard.

A right-hand driving edition with an automatic transmission was produced for use by United States Postal Service employees. A minor redesign of the TJ occurred for the 2003 model year, which included substitution of a four-speed transmission for the earlier three-speed version. Other cosmetic changes included new fabric colors, transitioning parts from metal to plastic, and the introduction of rounder seats.

View 2nd Generation Listings

1987 - 1996 Jeep Wrangler (YJ 1st Generation)

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The original Wrangler looked similar to its predecessor, the Jeep CJ-7, which was first built in 1976. Chuck Mashigan worked as the lead designer on the initial model, and YJ models were manufactured in Brampton, Ontario until 1992. For the remainder of its run, the YJ was built in Toledo, Ohio.

Built for more driver comfort and wider appeal than earlier Jeep models, the YJ featured less ground clearance and improved handling compared to the CJ-7. A leaf spring suspension with trackbar suspension links, a wider base and anti-roll bars improved safety over the CJ-7. The YJ came with standard with a 2.5-liter AMC 150 straight-4 engine. Drivers could choose a 4.2-liter AMC 258 straight-6 engine through 1990. The optional engine from 1991 was the fuel-injected 4.0-liter AMC 242. Part-time 4WD came standard on all engine models.

Several optional changes were introduced during the YJ's manufacturing life. In 1992, for example anti-lock brakes were introduced, and starting in 1994 a three-speed automatic transmission complemented the traditional manual transmission. Jeep offered hard and soft tops in black, white, tan and gray off and on throughout the YJ's run, with rollbar padding matching the top.

Several trim and options packages were available, including the Wrangler Islander package from 1988 to 1993, which feathered bright colors, sunset graphics on the hood. The Wrangler Renegade Decor Package, available from 1991 to 1994, included upgraded wheels and tires, the 4.0-liter engine, fog lamps, a leather steering wheel and an extra fuel tank. Other trims available were the base S and SE trims, Laredo, Sport, Sahara and Rio Grande.

View 1st Generation Listings