Evo India - - COLUMNS -

MEANT TO RE­PLACE THE ICONIC CJ-7, the Wran­gler is per­haps one of the most revered ve­hi­cles to have come out of Jeep’s sta­ble. The Wran­gler (YJ) was first shown to the world at the 1986 Chicago Auto Show and one could clearly see the distinct sim­i­lar­i­ties with the CJ-7. The separate body and lad­der frame con­struct, rigid axles at both ends, a fold-flat wind­shield and the ab­sence of doors was some­thing peo­ple were ac­cus­tomed to from the Willys, and the Wran­gler sim­ply con­tin­ued with the tra­di­tion. How­ever, it now came with sus­pen­sion setup, pow­er­train and in­te­ri­ors bor­rowed from the Chero­kee, which was launched along­side the Wran­gler back then.

Jeep wanted to at­tract more cus­tomers and the Wran­gler was de­signed to be your best com­pan­ion any­where you go. Thus Wran­gler had a wider track and slightly pli­ant sus­pen­sion. On the down­side, ground clear­ance was a smidge less. They even in­tro­duced a five-door ver­sion of the Wran­gler, named the Wran­gler Un­lim­ited. Pow­er­ing the first line of Wran­glers was a 2.5-litre in-line four-cylin­der mo­tor and a large 4.2-litre in-line six­cylin­der en­gine. The lat­ter was how­ever re­placed the same year, by a 4-litre fuel in­jected six-cylin­der en­gine.

It be­came Amer­ica’s sweet­heart for tak­ing on the harsh­est of ter­rain. Amer­i­cans have a deep rooted love for ex­plor­ing un­charted ter­ri­to­ries and mak­ing lit­tle of any ob­sta­cle. The Wran­gler worked as one of the most favoured ve­hi­cle for them to spec out for their choice of off-road­ing.

Even Jeep started mak­ing trims and ver­sions of which the most iconic is the Ru­bi­con. Al­though it wasn’t un­til the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion ‘TJ’ mod­els that the Wran­gler Ru­bi­con was in­tro­duced, it be­came a highly sought af­ter ver­sion of the Wran­gler. Launched in 2002, it was a trib­ute spe­cial to the Ru­bi­con Trails in the Sierra Nevada moun­tains. It fea­tured Dana 44 axles with a Rock-Track trans­fer case, di­a­mond rocker pan­els and 16-inch rims. Over the years the gear­box has seen changes. It came with a New Ven­ture Gear five-speed man­ual ini­tially and come 2004, the Wran­gler Ru­bi­con was spec-ed out with a Mercedes-sourced six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion. There was a four-speed auto trans­mis­sion as well.

The cur­rent gen JK model went on sale in In­dia last year, al­beit in the ‘Un­lim­ited’ avatar. You get the choice of two pow­er­plants – ei­ther the 2.8-litre CRD turbo-diesel in-line four or the more ad­ven­tur­ous 3.6-litre Pen­tas­tar V6 petrol mo­tor. Un­for­tu­nately, we only get the five-speed au­to­matic and not the six-speed man­ual ’box that off-road­ers would have loved to have. ⌧

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