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Jeep Wrangler: An American Icon

Ah, the Jeep Wrangler. One of the most recognizable brands on the planet. Somewhere, as we speak, is someone vying with one off road, rhapsodizing anew at the wonders of it all.

The Jeep Wrangler. And don’t forget its mystique. Whole sonnets have likely been written, or should be, that toss hosannas at this legend, a vehicle that served during WWII, no less.

Here is the Jeep Wrangler: An American icon.

The Beginning

Way back in 1941, the Willys MB was produced by the Willys-Overland Motor Company for use by the US military. On the battlefield, the Jeep was quick, agile, and rugged, and could handle any terrain with aplomb. The thing toted anti-tank weaponry, propped up machine guns, and ferried wounded soldiers to shelter.

To this day, some eight decades after its first design, the Wrangler’s timeless seven-slot grille pays homage to those military roots.

The Civilian Version

The first Wrangler, the YJ, came to market in 1986 as a 1987 model, and was an instant hit. While it borrowed heavily from the Jeep Cherokee – same interior, drivetrain, suspension – it also had distinct stuff, such as broader springs and anti-roll bars. The wide-track ride also boasted trackball suspension links.

There were three powertrain options for the YJ, including a 2.5-liter I-4, a 4.0-liter I-6, and a 4.2-liter I-6, each mated to an automatic or manual tranny with three or five speeds.

The Second Gen

After production ended for the YJ in 1995, the TJ models came on the scene in 1996 and lasted a decade. The most notable change was the swapping out of the vaunted rectangular headlights for the old round ones.

While some bemoaned the switch, afficionados, and military historians, recognized the new shape as a CJ-7 throwback.

Another big change was with the leaf springs, which were supplanted for this iteration with coil suspension to smooth out the ride. There were additional powertrain options, and a six-speed transmission was added.

Two years before introduction of the third-generation Wrangler, the Unlimited Wrangler hit the dealerships. This vehicle was roomier and could tow more. Note that during this generation, a myriad of trims and special editions were in the offing. There was something for everyone.

The Third Gen

Produced from 2006 to 2018, these Wranglers are equipped with, for its time, advanced technology, and are offered in a variety of trims so that you can have a truly bespoke experience.

They come with three engine and transmission options and offer full-power accessories plus other fun stuff including electronically detachable sway bars.

Today’s Jeep Wrangler

The more things change, the more they stay the same, sort of, and to our benefit. The 2022 Jeep Wrangler offers quaint retro styling – a nod to its WWII service – in addition to nonpareil off-roading capabilities.

However, creature comforts do abound, including touchscreen infotainment, an eight-speaker stereo, and cruise control. It’s the best of all worlds.

If you opt for one of the top-shelf trims, you’ll be on the tonier side of the street, with ambient interior lighting, leather upholstery, navigation, a power-operated soft top, and WiFi.

Oh, and four-wheel drive is standard. You have a variety of powertrains to choose from, including a plug-in hybrid and a 6.4-liter V8. New for the 2022 model year is a Willys model with the Xtreme Recon package. With that, a 3.6-liter V6, which makes a robust 285 horses, comes standard.

Lore aside, the Jeep Wrangler, that American icon, has been, and still is, a superior compact sport-utility vehicle that holds its value well.

You could never go wrong with a Wrangler.

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