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Jeep Wrangler JK Buying Guide

Discussion in 'Wrangler JK' started by Evan, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. Evan

    Evan Administrator
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    Jeep Wrangler JK Buying Guide


    Introduced in 2007, the Jeep Wrangler JK is the most popular Wrangler ever produced. In addition, the JK lineup consists of the most capable and family friendly open top Jeeps on both the streets and the trails. If you are considering a new or used Wrangler JK, be an educated shopper. To help get you up to speed, we have compiled this summary of specifications, features and benefits between the different Wrangler JK body styles, trim levels and model years.

    2 Door or 4 Door (Unlimited)

    This is usually the easiest decision to make. Unlike the older TJ Unlimited, the 2007+ Wrangler JK Unlimited offers something never before available in an open top Jeep, 4 doors. The addition of rear doors has opened up a whole new demographic of Wrangler owners. The JK Unlimited is now a viable SUV alternative in scenarios where a 2 door Wrangler just wouldn’t be ideal. Getting in and out of the rear seat in a 2 door Jeep is not very easy. Getting a child out of a car seat is completely different challenge. Even for Jeepers without children, the Unlimited is much more practical when bringing a few friends for a day on the trails or a night on the town.

    Cargo Space with Rear Seats in Use Wrangler JK - 12.8 cubic feet; JK Unlimited - 31.5 cubic feet

    Fold the rear seats down and the two-door Jeep Wrangler has 56.5 cubic feet of space. In comparison, the Unlimited has 70.6 cubic feet with them folded down. Obviously, neither Wrangler has the cargo capabilities of a mini-van or Suburban, but if you need a little extra, the Unlimited is the way to go.

    Wrangler JK Wheelbase 95.4”, Wrangler JK Unlimited Wheelbase 116”

    Besides the improvement in rear seat access and cargo space, the extended wheelbase (+10.6”) of the Unlimited also offers other advantages on and off-road. Keep in mind that most JK owners will spend well over 90% of their time on paved roads. On road, the Unlimited’s longer wheelbase is noticeably more stable. The higher the speed, the more pronounced the difference. Think road trip!

    Off road, the Unlimited JK has a few other distinct advantages. When ascending or descending steep grades, longer wheelbase vehicles are considerably more stable. When traversing mud or water, the longer wheelbase increases the likelihood that the front wheels will be able to get traction before the rear wheels lose it.



    The 2 door JK does have a few advantages. Being smaller, it can sometimes get into places where the Unlimited can’t both on and off-road. The shorter wheelbase also decreases the turning radius to 34.3 feet, compared to the Unlimited at 40.1 feet. Off-road, the shorter wheelbase provides a superior breakover angle, 25.8 degrees vs 21 degrees and better RTI (Ramp Travel Index) scores.

    In reality, most Wrangler owners will never get their vehicle in an off-road situation where the two door’s advantages will come into play.



    Towing Capacities


    Neither the 2 nor 4 door Wranglers are designed to tow very much, but the Unlimited can handle almost double the load with a tow package.

    Wrangler JK – Up to 2,000 pounds

    Wrangler JK Unlimited – Up to 3,500 pounds


    Fuel Capacity and Efficiency


    If you are looking to get 30+ MPG, you are looking at the wrong vehicle. We have been building JK’s since they were introduced, so these numbers are from our experience. Both 2 and 4 door JK’s generally average well under 20 MPG, and that is with stock tires. Because of the weight difference (about 250lbs) you can expect less than an extra 1 MPG from the 2 door in most circumstances. However, the Unlimited has a larger tank (22.5 gallon vs 18.6 gallon), so it will still go further between fill ups.


    Differences in Model Years

    Although there were changes every year, the most important changes came in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, the Wrangler JK got a greatly updated interior. In 2012, the 202 horsepower 3.8L was replaced with the 285 horsepower 3.6L “Pentastar” engine. With the upgraded power plant, automatic JK’s also received the stout Mercedes W5A580 five speed transmission. This is the same transmission used in SRT8 Grand Cherokees, Chargers and Challengers with 6.4L HEMI’s producing 470 horsepower!


    2 Wheel Drive Wranglers!

    2007 to 2009 Wrangler Unlimiteds (4-door) were available in two wheel drive. Be careful when you are shopping around for a used Wrangler. There is no easy way to convert a 2WD to 4WD.
     
  2. Evan

    Evan Administrator
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    Major differences in model years

    2007 3.8L engine, first generation interior
    -Dana 30/Dana 35 (Optional 44) – Rare
    -Dana 30/Dana 44 Axles
    -Dana 44 Front and Rear (Rubicon)
    -TracLock optional on Dana-44 (non-Rubicon)
    -4 Speed Automatic, 6 Speed Manual
    -2 Wheel Drive Optional for X and Sahara Unlimited (2007-2009)
    -Trim Packages: X, Sahara, Rubicon

    X:

    -Base Model
    -A/C Optional
    -AM/FM Stereo w/CD Player
    -Full Size Spare

    X-S:

    -A/C
    -Fog Lights
    -Cruise Control
    -Optional Power Windows/Door Locks
    -Optional Premium Sound System
    -Optional Touch Screen Radio

    Sahara:

    -Luxury Model
    -Body Colored Fenders
    -Power Windows/Locks
    -Premium Sound System
    -Sahara Decal Package

    Rubicon:

    -32" BFG M/T Tires
    -Unique Wheels
    -Rubicon Decal Package
    -Dana 44 Axles, Front and Rear
    -4:1 Low Range Transfer Case
    -Rock Rails
    -Electric Sway Bar Release



    2008 3.8L engine, first generation interior

    -Dana 30/Dana 44 Axles
    -Dana 44 Front and Rear (Rubicon)
    -4 Speed Automatic, 6 Speed Manual
    -TracLock optional on Dana-44 (non-Rubicon)
    -Trim Packages: X, Sahara, Rubicon


    2009 3.8L engine, first generation interior

    -Dana 30/Dana 44 Axles
    -Dana 44 Front and Rear (Rubicon)
    -4 Speed Automatic, 6 Speed Manual
    -TracLock optional on Dana-44 (non-Rubicon)
    -Hill Start Assist New
    -Trailer Sway Control New
    -Electronic Stability Program New
    -Larger Sun Visor
    -New Center Dome Lamp
    -Trim Packages: X, Sahara, Rubicon
    -Special Editions: Rocky Mountain (Canada)

    Rocky Mountain:

    -32" Tires and 18-inch wheels
    -Black Tube Steps
    -Optional Body Colored Fenders
    -Optional In-Dash CD Changer



    2010 3.8L engine, first generation interior, new style soft top

    -Dana 30/Dana 44 Axles
    -Dana 44 Front and Rear (Rubicon)
    -4 Speed Automatic, 6 Speed Manual
    -TracLock option removed on Dana-44 (non-Rubicon)
    -Sport replaces X
    -2 Wheel Drive Discontinued for 2010 Model Year, 4WD Becomes Standard
    -Trim Packages: Sport, Sahara, Rubicon
    -Special Editions: Islander, Mountain Edition

    Islander:

    -32" Tires
    -Islander Seats
    -Islander Decal Package
    -Rubber Floor Mats
    -Blue Interior Accents
    -Black Tube Side Steps

    Mountain:

    -32" Tires
    -17" Wheels
    -Black Tube Steps
    -Black Taillight Guards
    -Mountain Edition Seats
    -Black Grille
    -Black Fuel Filler Door
    -Mountain Decal Package


    2011 3.8L engine, new interior

    -Dana 30/Dana 44 Axles
    -Dana 44 Front and Rear (Rubicon)
    -4 Speed Automatic, 6 Speed Manual
    -Color Matched Hardtop Option New
    -Trim Packages: Sport, Sahara, Rubicon
    -Special Editions: 70th Anniversary, Mojave Edition

    70th Anniversary:

    -Special Edition Leather Seats
    -Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel
    -70th Anniversary Floor Mats
    -Interior Accents
    -Unique Dash Instrument Cluster
    -70th Anniversary Decal and Badge Set

    Mojave Edition:

    -Mojave Edition Decal Package
    -Graphite 17" Wheels
    -32" Tires
    -Interior Accents
    -Mojave Edition Leather Seats with Accents
     
  3. Evan

    Evan Administrator
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    2012 3.6L Pentastar engine, new interior

    -Dana 30/Dana 44 Axles
    -Dana 44 Front and Rear (Rubicon)
    -5 Speed Automatic, 6 Speed Manual
    -Trim Packages: Sport, Sahara, Rubicon
    -Special Editions: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Edition, Arctic, Altitude

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3:

    -Rubicon Package
    -Call of Duty Decal Package
    -PowerDome Hood
    -AEV Front Bumper
    -AEV Rear Bumper
    -Rock Rails
    -Unique Spare Tire Cover

    Arctic Edition:

    -Unique Frost Blue Color
    -Arctic Edition Decals and Badging
    -Black 17" Wheels
    -32" Tires
    -Unique Instrument Cluster and Interior Accents
    -Arctic Edition Seats

    Altitude Edition:

    -Black 18" Wheels
    -Black Grille
    -Hood Blackout Decal
    -Black Bumper Cover


    2013 3.6L Pentastar engine, new interior

    -Dana 30/Dana 44 Axles
    -Dana 44 Front and Rear (Rubicon)
    -5 Speed Automatic, 6 Speed Manual
    -Dual Windshield Washer Nozzles
    -Spring Assist for Soft Top
    -Revised Seats
    -LED Map Light Added to Rearview Mirror
    -New Wheels for Rubicon Package
    -Trim Packages: Sport, Sahara, Rubicon
    -Special Editions: Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition, Moab, and Oscar Mike Edition

    Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition:

    -10th Anniversary Badging
    -10th Anniversary Bumpers
    -Rock Rails with side steps
    -Rubicon 10th Anniversary Decal Group
    -Red Tow Hooks (Dual Front and Rear)

    Moab:

    -Front and Rear AEV Bumpers
    -Rock Sliders
    -Taillight Guards
    -Front Skid Plate
    -AEV Hood
    -Limited Slip Rear Optional
    -Black Fuel Door

    Oscar Mike Edition:

    -Oscar Mike Badging and Decals
    -Unique Wheel and Tire Group
    -Graphite Grille
    -Graphite Bumper Covers

    2014 3.6L Pentastar engine, new interior

    -Dana 30/Dana 44 Axles
    -Dana 44 Front and Rear (Rubicon)
    -5 Speed Automatic, 6 Speed Manual
    -Turn Signals/Side Markers became Clear with Amber Bulbs
    -Trim Packages: Sport, Sahara, Rubicon
    -Special Editions: Rubicon X (10th Anniversary), Polar, Dragon, Freedom, X Edition

    Rubicon X:

    -See 10th Anniversary

    Polar:

    -Unique Hydro Blue Exterior Color
    -Polar Decal and Badge Kit
    -Rock Rails
    -Polar Edition Wheels
    -Interior Trim Accents
    -Trac-Lok Limited Slip Rear Differential
    -Optional Locking Rear Differential

    Dragon:

    -Gold Exterior Accents
    -Gold Interior Accents
    -Dragon Decals and Badging
    -Dragon Edition Leather Seats
    -Body Colored Fender Flares
    -Body Colored Hard Top
    -Unique Spare Tire Cover
    -Black Bumper Covers

    NOTE: Some were rebadged by dealers as the "Golden Eagle", due to the low sales of this model. Dragon accents removed, replaced with Golden Eagle decals and trim.

    Freedom:

    -Freedom Badging and Stickers
    -Bumper Covers
    -Graphite Grille
    -Graphite 17" Wheels
    -Taillight Guards

    X Edition:

    -Power Dome Hood
    -X Edition Decals
    -Grille Inserts
    -Rock Rails
    -Black 17" Wheels



    2015 3.6L Pentastar engine, new interior

    -Dana 30/Dana 44 Axles
    -Dana 44 Front and Rear (Rubicon)
    -5 Speed Automatic, 6 Speed Manual
    -New 8-Speaker Audio System (Standard)
    -New 9-Speaker Audio System with Subwoofer (Upgrade)
    -Torx Tool Set for Windshield and Doors Included with Each JK/U
    -Trim Packages: Sport, Sahara, Rubicon
    -Special Editions: Willys Wheeler, Rubicon Hard Rock

    Willys Wheeler:

    -Unique Black Rubicon Wheels
    -Black Bumper Covers
    -Black Grille
    -Willys Wheeler Decals

    Rubicon Hard Rock:

    -See Rubicon 10th Anniversary



    2016 3.6L Pentastar engine, new interior, Rubicon Hard Rock

    -Dana 30/Dana 44 Axles
    -Dana 44 Front and Rear (Rubicon)
    -5 Speed Automatic, 6 Speed Manual
    -Trim Packages: Sport, Sport S, Sahara, Rubicon
    -Special Editions: Willys Wheeler, Black Bear, Freedom, 75th Anniversary, Backcountry, Rubicon Hard Rock

    Willys Wheeler:

    -See 2015 Willys Wheeler

    Black Bear:

    -Black Bear Trail Hood Decal
    -Rock Rails
    -Black Grille
    -Black Bumper Covers
    -Black 17" Wheels
    -"Wrangler" Side Hood Decals
    -Black Fuel Filler Door

    Freedom:

    -See 2014 Freedom
    -Updated Decal Package

    75th Anniversary:

    -Unique Color Option, Sarge Green
    -75th Anniversary MOPAR Front and Rear Bumpers
    -Unique 75th Annviversary Wheels
    -75th Anniversary Decals and Badging
    -Power Dome Hood
    -Bronze Exterior Accents

    Backcountry:

    -Unique Color Option, Xtreme Purple
    -Backcountry Decal and Badge Kit
    -AEV Front and Rear Bumpers
    -32" BFGoodrich KO2 Tires
    -Unique Rubicon Wheels
    -Black Fuel Filler Door

    Rubicon Hard Rock:

    -See 10th Anniversary Rubicon
     

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