In all its decades of production, the Jeep Wrangler – and earlier CJ, or “Civilian Jeep” – hasn’t evolved all that drastically in an aesthetic sense. Sure, the proportions are different, and drastic changes have come to the cabin, but the new-for-2018 Jeep Wrangler JL, unveiled at the 2017 Los Angeles International Auto Show last November, still wears the traditional seven-slot grille and round headlamps of its ancestors. Like every Jeep Wrangler of yesteryear, it’s also rather boxy, and has similarly well-defined, angular fender arches.
So, while identifying what’s what in the world of Wrangler takes little more than a cursory glance for the seasoned Jeep aficionado, for the rest of us, aftermarket parts retailer Sam’s 4×4 has put together this handy Jeep Wrangler Spotter’s Guide. The graphic runs through five different generations of Jeep – from the CJ7, right through the brand-new JL – and points out telltale cues that can help one accurately identify the rugged 4x4s in the wild.
Some highlights: the Jeep Wrangler YJ, sold from 1987 to 1995, debuted the same “bent” grille shape that’s reemerged on the 2018 Wrangler. The front end was a tad unusual for a Wrangler, however, in that it wore rectangular headlamps, as opposed to the familiar circular lights. The TJ, sold from 1997 to 2006, had a slighter bend in its grille, which was done away with by the time of the JK’s emergence for 2007. Both of those models had circular headlamps, but of the two, only the latter offered a four-door model and optional foglights integrated into the plastic front bumper cover.
If you could use a bit of guidance with regard to picking out which Jeep Wrangler iteration is which, check out the handy Spotter’s Guide below, and be sure to stop by Sam’s 4×4 for all your aftermarket 4×4 parts needs.