Jeep’s are incredibly popular all over North America, and that’s largely due to their reputation. They’ve been around for decades, they’ve fought in wars, and they’ve always been the toughest off-roaders out there. Driving a Jeep elevates you to a status that other vehicle brands simply cannot reach. Not only can the average jeep go anywhere, but they’re ridiculously reliable. They’re low on maintenance and hold their value really well. With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the five greatest and most iconic Jeeps of all time. This article is brought to you by Just Jeep Canada!
Jeep Wrangler YJ (1986 – 1995)
The Jeep Wrangler YJ was essentially the original Jeep Wrangler. Every Wrangler you see on the road today descended from this masterpiece. The YJ’s design was based on the CJ series of the previous decade. However, a lot of changes were introduced. Changes that many argue paved the way for the success that Jeep maintains today.
First of all, the designers behind the YJ hardened a lot of the soft corners found among the CJ series. Every feature was pushed towards a more aggressive look rather than the elegant look of the CJ series. The headlights became a lot boxier. The hood lines became sharp and sleek, rather than smooth and round. Although the YJ was designed to look aggressive and angry, Jeep was actually intent upon making them comfortable enough to daily drive. A task that they arguably accomplished.
When it comes to the YJ, a lot of Jeep fans and analysts title it as separate from the Wrangler line we see today. They claim the YJ is truly in a class of its own and trying to replicate its success would be foolish. Some even argue that the YJ is simply the second generation of the CJ series, but others disagree. The YJ brought together comfort and off-road ability and effectively paved the way for modern offroad vehicles.
CJ-6 and CJ-5 (1972 – 1975)
When the CJ series was initially introduced, it had become the first-ever passenger vehicle to feature four-wheel drive. The CJ-5 and 6 in particular were based highly upon the models used in the actual Korean War. The owner behind Jeep wanted to bring that military toughness and utility to the passenger vehicle market. A goal that was of course accomplished.
Both the CJ-5 and CJ-6 were released together, separated by only a few days. The CJ-5 featured everything from four-cylinder engines to powerful V6 engines and was everything that an offroader could ever want. However, because of seating limitations, the CJ-5 fell somewhat short as a daily driver. This is where the CJ-6 came in. With a slightly longer frame, Jeep actually managed to retain the off-road abilities, and add another set of seats! Customers could now go rock crawling and bring their entire family!
This particular Jeep era saw the introduction of modern features that hardly any other vehicle had at the time. Effective air conditioning, radios and speakers, ignitions that would run electronically, and a variety of other features.
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 (2019)
This particular Jeep was an inhumanly large step forward for Jeep. The Jeep Grand Cherokee was originally introduced back in the 90s and was designed to do what the CJ-5 and 6 could do. Daily drive and offroad! The SRT8 on the other hand had other ideas. The entire concept behind a Jeep changed, and despite the dynamic overhaul, it became beloved to Jeep owners.
It all started with the frame! Rather than the typical body on solid frame design, Jeep became the first to introduce a unibody SUV. Yes, that’s right! The Grand Cherokee was actually a unibody! Something that was typically only seen in smaller passenger vehicles like coupes and sedans! But this design differed. It was reinforced and strengthened. Tough enough to do anything you really wanted it to, yet still comfortable (as the body on the frame is notoriously uncomfortable).
With respect to the SRT8, the dynamic of offroading comfortably changed. Rather than utility and offroad, the Grand Cherokee became all about performance. 2019 featured a massive Hemi V8 which in turn boasted over 475 horsepower. A tremendous amount of power! In its class, the SRT8 would have been fastest if not for the Trackhawk model (sibling of the SRT8)
Jeep Wagoneer (1963 – 1991)
This particular Jeep strayed from the likes of the CJ-5 and 6 and was actually known for its luxurious features. Not to worry though, it was tougher than nails and stronger than steel. The Wagoneer was actually built upon the frame of a pickup truck, yet drove as nimbly and smoothly as a sedan!
The Wagoneer showcased dozens of features. Air conditioning, power steering, a variety of radio options, and even an automatic transmission! The Wagoneer even came with a fully independent front suspension which was practically unheard of in this particular class.
For the fans of this particular Jeep, there are plans to reboot it in mid-2021! Keep an eye out!
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4×4 (Unlimited) (2018)
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited model was given the title of the most capable vehicle to ever be built by Jeep. This particular model brought together the best parts of both the Rubicon and the Unlimited models. Not only could it do practically anything offroad, but it was also actually very performance-heavy. The Rubicon model brought performance and offroad ability, while the Unlimited model brought passenger room and features, high towing capacity and so much more. Mix it all together and you have one hell of a Jeep.