Retro Cars Wiki

The Wrangler was a true dyed-in-the-wool off-road vehicle. Its roots stretch back to World War II when pioneer Willys Jeeps transported thousands of GIs across Europe and the islands of the Pacific theater. Over these days, the sport/utility world was crowded with a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but the Wrangler remained true to the original concept of a go-anywhere, rugged and dependable 4-wheel-drive. As such, this American icon remained a part of the Jeep lineup.

Positioned toward the less-expensive end of the sport/utility market since its introduction in 1986 as a 1987 model, the Wrangler was designed for younger buyers who wanted the fun and adventure of a 4wd vehicle in an affordable package. The ride was bouncy and creature comforts were few, a canvas top and side curtains are standard. Key competitors for the Jeep Wrangler included the Suzuki Sidekick, Geo/Chevrolet Tracker, Isuzu Amigo, Kia Sportage and Toyota RAV4.

Year-to-year changes[]


The 2-door 4-passenger Wrangler was available in two trim levels: base, S, Sahara, and an optional Renegade package.


Another trim level, the SE, was introduced.


The Renegade trim package has been dropped, but new this year was the Rio Grande package. It added southwestern theme accents to the base level S.

The base engine was a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder. The optional engine was a 4.0-liter inline Six. The base transmission was a 5-speed manual; a 3-speed automatic is optional. A 2-speed transfer case and automatic locking hubs were available throughout the line.

Major options included air conditioning, full locking doors (with roll-up windows and a hardtop), a locking glovebox, intermittent wipers and "Add-A-Trunk", a lockable carpeted storage area.


The Jeep Wrangler concluded its 9-year run for 1996 and was preparing to enter the 4-wheel-drive equivalent of Valhalla. Although there was a one-year model-year gap in the Wrangler nameplate, there was only a small gap in production. The old Wrangler was built until December 1995 and was only available as long as dealer supplies lasted.


The Toledo, Ohio, assembly plant was now in the midst of a retooling process that prepared it for building the new model. The new Wrangler had a softer coil-spring suspension, dual airbags and an easily removable top with little price increase. It first went on sale halfway through the 1996 model year, in March 1996.

The Jeep Wrangler continued to be the company's entry-level SUV until 2006.

Retail prices[]

  • $11,530 (1994 Jeep Wrangler S)
  • $14,594 (1994 Jeep Wrangler SE and other trim levels besides the S)

As of late 1994:

  • $11,918 (1995 Jeep Wrangler S)
  • $15,537 (1995 Jeep Wrangler SE and other trim levels besides the S)

As of March 17, 1995:

  • $11,995 (1995 Jeep Wrangler S)
  • $15,688 (1995 Jeep Wrangler SE)
  • $17,713 (1995 Jeep Wrangler Sahara)

As of September 22, 1995:

  • $12,290 (1996 Jeep Wrangler S)
  • $15,983 (1996 Jeep Wrangler SE)