The Jeep that was most famous was the Jeep CJ, unfortunately, due to newer technology and stricter safety standards; its production was stopped in 1986. Being an iconic vehicle, Jeep couldn't just let it fade away so they introduced a new, safer and more efficient Jeep in 1987. This Jeep would be called the Wrangler or designated as a Jeep YJ.
The YJ's most noticed feature was square headlights. Not many people liked the change. On top of a new facelift, the new Wrangler received a new stronger frame, wider leaf springs for stability, an updated interior, and in 1991 received fuel injection. This vehicle was still all Jeep, with a removable top, leaf springs, and a full frame, keeping true to its heritage. The YJ lasted until 1995, then, as time progressed, it also became out dated and people still wanted more comfort and safety from the Wrangler. In 1996 it would step down and make room for the new Wrangler model, the 1997 Jeep TJ.
The TJ was a game changer; it ditched the standard leaf springs and moved to a new link style suspension. Just like the CJ-YJ update, not many owners liked this new suspension, claiming it wasn't durable or functional for off-road use. The only thing they did like was the fact Jeep ditched the square headlights and went back to a more traditional look of round headlights. Little did we know that the TJ would become one of the most capable and comfortable Jeeps out there with its newly designed suspension. Especially when in 2003, Jeep introduced the Rubicon model which came standard with Dana-44 axles, selectable lockers front & rear and a 4:1 transfer case. As if it couldn't get any better, in 2004-2006 the Wrangler was offered in a stretched model of the TJ with more cargo room and wheelbase called the Jeep LJ. Again, Jeep had a 10 year run with this Wrangler and just like the previous Wranglers, people wanted more room, comforts and safety. To keep up with changing times and demands Jeep introduced the 2007 Jeep Wrangler JK.
The Jeep JK was a huge change compared to the previous Wranglers that we were used to. It had a much larger body, wider stance and a family friendly 4-door version called the Unlimited. Now Jeep was offering 2 & 4-door models to accommodate people with families that wanted to enjoy the Jeep experience and still have room for groceries and the kids. The JK also ditched the inline-6 that Jeep had been using for decades and moved to a V-6 engine instead. The new Wrangler still had the removable top and round headlights, which gave it the feel of driving a Jeep even though it was much larger and had an option to have 4 doors. Just like the TJ, the JK is also available with the Rubicon trim package to give it Dana-44 axles with lockers and a 4:1 transfer case from the factory, still making it one of the most capable production vehicles right out of the box.
With the new JK Wrangler nearing its halfway mark of the production run it will be interesting to see what Jeep has up its sleeve for the new 2017 models. Hopefully they will be just as capable as the older Wranglers and keep the old 7-slot grill that has been Jeeps trademark throughout the years.