A Jeep is not just a car — it’s a lifestyle! And for many, the best years for jeeps are the ones from the 1990s and 2000s. Whether you’re a fan of off-road adventures or want to take your driving experience to the next level, these jeeps will have you covered.
In this blog post, we’ll be taking a look at the best year jeeps for each generation, starting with the early beginnings of the civilian Jeep and moving on to the latest and greatest models.
We also have an article about the key reason why Jeep Wrangler is the best on our blog.
So whether you’re in the market for a new car or just want to know more about jeeps in general, read on!
Read more of our guide about the Jeep Wrangler here: Best Year for Jeep Wrangler – Everything You Need To Know
The Best Year Jeeps
The Civilian Jeep’s Early Beginnings
The CJ, or Civilian Jeep, was the first automobile to bear the Jeep moniker. The CJ was in production immediately following the war and lasted until 1986. Only 1.5 million CJs were made in more than 40 years, making them incredibly uncommon.
The CJ was distinguished by having a separate body and chassis, leaf springs on the rigid live axles up front and back, a tapering nose design with flared fenders, a fold-flat windshield, and of course the ability to operate without doors.
By 1987, the Jeep name had been owned by a number of different parties. These companies, which would take over in 1987, included Willys-Overland, Kaiser Jeep, AMC, and Chrysler. The CJ also came in a number of versions over the years.
The CJ insignia was worn by over 15 different cars. These vehicles not only resembled the classic battle Jeeps that come to mind, but they also donned a variety of other headgear.
Some were used by the Japanese regional forest office, and the Alaskan mail service, as aircraft tugs, and some even had ditch diggers. The first Wrangler, the YJ, would take the place of the CJ-7 in 1987.
Trims for the first-generation Jeep Wrangler
On the YJ Base, Laredo, Islander, Sport, Sahara, Renegade, and the Rio Grande, various trim levels were available.
S/SE (Base): It did not come with a lot of equipment, as is common for the base model. It did include a heater and fan, an AM radio, two speakers, vinyl bucket seats, and other accessories.
Laredo: The Laredo would come with chrome bumpers, trim, and a grille. Hardtop tinted windows, cloth seats, faux leather inside trim, body-color fender flares, alloy wheels, AM/FM stereo with a cassette player and speaker, and air conditioning is further features.
Islander: It has a similar set of features to the Laredo but added styling elements.
Sport: The 4.0L I6 engine and the bulk of Laredo’s features were available in this grade. Everything in the Sport was standard, with the exception of the cassette player, rear speaker sound bar, cloth seats, and optional air conditioning.
Sahara: The Sahara included the majority of the extra features available on the Laredo as well as steel wheels, body-color fender flares, front bumper-mounted fog lights, and a unique Sahara interior.
Rio Grande: Only the S base model’s base trim was available in 1995. Laredo’s equipment was included, but it also had various additional aesthetic elements.
YJ Yearly Updates
1988 – The Sahara model was added to the YJ lineup.
1991 – A soundbar option was added, the seats could now recline, the 4.0L I6 was replaced with the 4.2L I6, the I4 engine received a power boost, and the Renegade trim took the place of the Laredo.
1992 saw the addition of beige and military green hues to the palette for the YJ. Additionally, to increase safety, seatbelts were now fastened to the roll bar.
1993 – ABS became an option, the Sport trim was introduced, and the Islander and Renegade trims were dropped.
1994 – The base model was renamed the SE, the I4 engine could be purchased with an automatic transmission, and top-mounted brake light was introduced.
1995: The Renegade trim was discontinued, and the Rio Grande trim was added.
Trims of a second generation
SE: The I4 engine was standard equipment on this Wrangler, which was the entry-level model. Additionally, a right-hand-drive (RHD) rural mail carrier version of this type was offered. A hardtop, a Dana 44 rear axle, and a 4.0L I6 with an automatic transmission were all included in the rural postal shipment.
X: The 4.0L I6 engine was standard on these versions. Four speakers, an AM/FM stereo, and a full-length center console were supplied as standard equipment.
Sport: The 4.0L I6 engine and the Dana 35 rear axle were standard equipment for these versions.
Six-cylinder engines, body-colored fender flares, rocker sills, and steel doors were all standards on the Sahara. Alloy wheels and quality fabric seats were featured as standard features.
TJ Yearly Updates
All Jeeps got a new torsion bar in 1998, and those with the 4.0L I6 engine got an improved axle ratio. The Wrangler’s off-road performance was enhanced by both changes.
1999 saw the installation of new internal HVAC controls. The outdated “slide” style controls would be replaced by a knob.
The 4.0L I4 engine was redesigned in 2000, making it ecologically efficient and quieter. The Wrangler now comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission that is more responsive.
All Wranglers were equipped with an improved four-ply soft top and intermittent windshield wipers starting in 2001. Additionally, the 4.0L I6 engine complied with low-emission vehicle (LEV) norms in all 50 states, and the ABS system was improved.
2002 saw the addition of a new “X” trim that sits comfortably between the SE and Sport trims.
2003 saw the introduction of the Rubicon trim, the replacement of the three-speed automatic transmission with a four-speed transmission, and the addition of four-wheel disc brakes to the Wrangler lineup.
In 2004, all Wrangler models came standard with tilt steering.
2005 saw the introduction of the Rubicon Unlimited and the removal of the Sahara. A brand-new six-speed manual transmission took the place of the previous five-speed model.
A heavy-duty rear axle, gold 15-inch alloy wheels, 30-inch tires, and of course cosmetic improvements were all included in the 2006 Golden Eagle edition Wrangler.
Trims of a third generation
X/Sport: The Sport trim, later renamed the base model X, had few standard features. A theft-deterrent system, 16-inch steel wheels, a locking glove box, a tilt steering wheel, and a six-speaker audio system with an AUX input were all included in this kit.
Sunrider top, stability control, roll mitigation sensors, 17-inch aluminum wheels, body-colored fender flares, tubular side steps, heavy-duty suspension, cruise control, fog lamps, tow hooks, and the top-of-the-line Infinity sound system were added to the Sahara.
The Rubicon model, which is appropriately called the Rubicon Trail, adds a detachable front sway bar, a Rock-Trac part-time transfer case with 4:1 gearing, Dana 44 front and rear axles, a 4.10 axle ratio, rock rails, and enormous 32-inch tires on 17-inch aluminum rims.
JK Yearly Updates
Standard hill start assist (HSA) was added to the Wrangler lineup in 2009. TSC, or trailer sway control, was now a choice. Finally, Wranglers with manual transmissions are now classified as ULEV IIs or ultra-low emission vehicles.
2010 – A more user-friendly soft top was added to Wranglers this year. Additionally, a compass, tow hooks, and fog lights were now standard. Jeep also launched a new Mountain trim and brought back the Islander trim.
2011 – The interior of the Wrangler was updated for 2011. Additionally, the Wrangler now comes standard with trailer stability control.
2012 – The outdated 3.8L V6 engine, which was 20 years old, was finally changed. Wranglers would now include a 3.6L V6 as standard equipment. All Wrangler vehicles now come standard with four-wheel drive. Additionally, the four-speed automatic transmission was replaced by a five-speed automatic.
2013 – The Wrangler received more supportive seats and, at long last, a second windshield washer nozzle for 2013.
2015 – The standard stereo in the 2015 Jeep Wrangler will include eight speakers, up from the previous system’s six speakers. Now the doors and roof may be removed using a Torx tool kit. The Rubicon Hard Rock trim took the place of the Rubicon X. The Altitude trim was also unveiled.
Trims of the fourth generation
Sport: The Sport model comes with 17-inch steel wheels, a full-size spare tire, skid plates, tow hooks, fog lights, keyless entry, and a fold-down windscreen as standard exterior features. The Sport’s interior features manual mirrors, windows, and locks, cruise control, air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, cloth seating, a rearview camera, and an eight-speaker audio system. The steering wheel also has a tilt and telescoping feature.
Alloy wheels, automated headlights, heated power mirrors, power accessories, and a theft alarm are included with the Sport S specification.
Sahara: The four-door layout is the only one eligible for the Sahara trim. In addition to automatic temperature control, painted exterior body panels and trim, 18-inch wheels, and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, this model adds these features.
Rubicon: The Rubicon receives off-roading improvements in addition to the items offered on the base model Sport trim. This consists of 17-inch alloy wheels, off-road tires, an M220 rear axle, shorter 4.10 axle gearing, 4:1 low-range gearing, electronic front and rear locking differentials, an electronically detachable front roll bar, and rock rails.
JL Yearly Updates
Forward-collision warning and adaptive cruise control were added to the Advanced Safety Group package in 2019.
2020 – The lineup now includes a new 3.0L V6 diesel engine.
2021 – A new plug-in hybrid option and the Rubicon 392 with a 470 hp 6.4L V8 HEMI engine are two new powertrain options that have been added to the roster.
So The Best year Jeeps
A 1991–1995 YJ or a 2001–2004 TJ would be the greatest of the older generations because they addressed the issues that plagued the former.
So long as it isn’t a 2018 model year, we would suggest the most recent generation (2019-Present) for individuals who only wish to put the top down and stay on the beaten route.
Read more on our blog: Jeep Wrangler Best Year: The Issues in 4 Generation
Jeeps have been a part of American culture for over 50 years now and for good reason. They are versatile off-road vehicles that are perfect for any outdoor activity. In this blog, we have covered the different generations of jeeps and outlined their respective features and upgrades. Make sure to check out our blog for more information on jeeps and the latest models!
At last, you can check out this article: The 5 Best Jeep Wrangler Years and Jeep Wranglers That Could Be Improved