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The Jeep Wrangler has provided off-road enthusiasts with decades of pleasure and has earned a special place in the hearts and minds of Jeep enthusiasts. But precisely what makes the Wrangler such a unique vehicle? To help answer the question, we had our Jeep experts take a look back through the Wrangler’s history so we could share its humble origins, some standout editions, and what you can expect from the latest model year. Whether you’re interested in city driving or an off-roading adventure, this is a great compact crossover SUV. You can take advantage of its exciting features, including remote start, keyless entry, and a backup camera. It has an EPA estimated combined fuel rating of 25 mpg, with 22 mpg for city driving and 29 mpg for highway driving.
In 1940, the United States government commissioned Willys-Overland Motors, an American automobile company, to produce a general-purpose vehicle for military use. The result, the Willys MB, was widely used in World War II from 1941 to 1945. It was rugged and capable, yet simple and cheap. During this time, the vehicle earned the nickname “Jeep,” although how this came about remains widely debated.
Most historians believe the Jeep name derived from military slang for GP or general purposes. You can almost hear a grizzled commander order his man to get the Jeep for an urgent trip into hostile territory. However, some believe the name traces back to a comic strip character named Eugene the Jeep in the popular Popeye cartoon. No matter your preference, we may never unravel the mystery.
After the war, surplus Willys MB vehicles were snatched up by veterans around the country as inexpensive and reliable modes of transportation. Seeing this popularity, in 1945, Willys-Overland produced the Jeep CJ-2A, which was modified for civilian use. In 1949, Willys-Overland introduced the Jeep CJ-3A, which historians almost universally agree was the father of recreational vehicles.
The American Motors Company (AMC) took over Jeep brand production in 1970, but it wasn’t until 1987 that the first Wrangler appeared as the Jeep YJ model. Chrysler purchased AMC and continued manufacturing the YJ model through 1996. Then, Chrysler began the next generation Wrangler as the TJ model, which ran through 2006. The current Wrangler JK model began production in 2007 under Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Too often, we toss around the word iconic when describing vehicles. In this case, Jeep has remained true to its original design dating back to 1941. The modern Jeep Wrangler still features the fold-down windshield, removable doors and top, wide flat fenders, rear-mounted spare, seven-slot grille, and round headlights of its forebears. You instantly recognize the Wrangler from any angle when it appears. That’s an icon.
The Wrangler’s design includes a short wheelbase and short overhangs on the front and rear, which make off-roading easier than in pickup trucks and off-road-inspired SUVs with larger dimensions. You get an off-road masterpiece when you add the Wrangler’s solid axles, rugged suspension, and 4×4 powertrain. When Chrysler put its Pentastar V-6 engine in the Wrangler, its on-road performance caught up with the rest of the industry.
Jeep offers the Wrangler in 11 trim levels, each tailored in design and performance for a specific use, yet all remain unmistakably Jeep. The Wrangler Sport, Willys Sport, Sport S, and Willys models come in two-door configurations. True to the Wrangler heritage, these models offer the 4×4 capability and iconic style in inexpensive packages.
Moving to the Sport Altitude, you find four doors and a design tailored to enjoy and conquer mountainous terrain. The Wrangler Sahara also comes with four doors and was engineered with sandy beaches and desert dunes in mind.
In the Wrangler Rubicon, you have two options. The first is the base Rubicon with two doors and the impressive off-road prowess you expect from Jeep. The second is an all-new Rubicon 392 Wrangler model that features 4×4 capabilities with the exceptional power of a 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine. This power plant produces 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, making it fast on the road and fun when you leave the pavement behind.
Jeep has also introduced an all-electric Wrangler 4XE model for those looking to lower their carbon footprint. We understand many Jeep owners want to customize their Wrangler. So, if that sounds like you, we can custom-build a Wrangler to your specifications.
Jeep has taken the Wrangler’s interior to new heights in the last 10 years. Among the many comforts and convenience upgrades in most late-model Wranglers, you can find leather upholstery, the latest touch-screen infotainment technology, and heated and ventilated seats. You have multiple top and door options to match your open-air driving preferences. Plus, you can opt for a premium Alpine audio system with nine speakers, an all-weather subwoofer, an overhead sound bar, and a 552-watt amplifier.
Other interior options include the Trail Rail and Jeep Utility Grid storage systems and an under-floor storage space to hide items from prying eyes. Of course, every Wrangler has removable floor carpeting that reveals one-way drains for easy cleanup after a day in the mud. Dual-zone climate control, heated seats, and a heated steering wheel keep everyone comfortable, and when the weather turns chilly, heated side-view mirrors improve visibility.
No matter which model you select, every Wrangler since 2004 has earned the coveted Trail Rated badge, hard-earned with continuous success in a series of rugged off-road tests in five categories — Traction, Water Fording, Maneuverability, Articulation, and Ground Clearance. You can count on Wrangler’s 4×4 system to conquer the harshest conditions on and off the road.
Jeep designed the Wrangler with more ground clearance, sealed electrical connections and body openings, and positioned the air-intake higher to traverse bodies of water other vehicles wouldn’t dare. In addition, a precision steering system enables the optimized wheelbase to maneuver around obstacles and through narrow trails. Combined with the Wrangler’s increased articulation that keeps all four wheels on the ground, you can confidently take on the most challenging terrain.
At Bill Volz Westchester, we know what off-road enthusiasts want in a vehicle. That’s why we stock an expansive inventory of new and late-model Jeep Wranglers. If you’re ready to enjoy the open-air driving and off-road capability of a Jeep Wrangler, we invite you to browse our inventory online. After selecting a few vehicles that pique your interest, you can give us a call or stop by our Crompond Road dealership for an all-important test drive. One of our friendly, knowledgeable staff members will answer all your questions and let you take your preferred vehicle for a spin.