Jeep Wranglers May Be Headed for Retirement After Next Year

After 75 years, it is still the most instantly recognized sportsman’s off- road/trail vehicle in the world.
By Andy Lightbody
AmmoLand Auto Editor

When it comes time to tackle the “real off road trails,” Jeep’s Rubicon series is factory outfitted to tackle just about any terrain, and it’s been doing it for 75 years!
When it comes time to tackle the “real off road trails,” Jeep’s Rubicon series is factory outfitted to tackle just about any terrain, and it’s been doing it for 75 years!
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

United States -(AmmoLand.com)- Say “Jeep Wrangler” to any backcountry traveling outdoorsman, off-roader, camper, angler or hunter, and everyone knows what kind of vehicle you are talking about.

After all, with roots that date back to WWII with the military Willys (1941), then the CJ series (which stands for Civilian Jeep) and now the Wrangler, they are instantly recognizable with their large round headlamps, short wheelbase, distinctive grille, separate fenders, removable doors and the always popular fold-flat windshield.

Today and for 2016, sportsmen everywhere know it’s a proven design that has evolved over the years, but without giving up the hardcore nature of being a back roads, trail, rock, snow/ice traveler that is always happiest when the pavement comes to an end. If you think these vehicles are sports cars, you have entirely missed the point! They are not. They will travel in the city and on the highways with a little civility and a host of nice driver/passenger creature comforts, but at 65-80 mph on pavement, they are described best as “being out of their true element!”

Willy's Wheeler
The venerable Jeep Wrangler and all its predecessors now celebrate 75 years of history! For 2016, Jeep is even offering a limited-edition Willy’s Wheeler that is reminiscent of the original WWII version… but with all the modern features.

All that said, the Wrangler line-up for 2016 remains strong with lots of different designs and models to choose from for your ongoing Outdoor Adventures.

Willy's Wheeler hood
With the limited-edition Willy’s Wheeler model, Jeep even has the name painted on the hood. After 75 years, this Jeep is still the most recognized off-roader in the world!

A word of note however, is that many in the auto industry are saying that the Wranglers are going to cease production as early as 2017.

What the folks at Jeep have planned for that year or the 2018 model year is “rampant with speculation,” but it is a good guess that they are going to hear loud howls of disbelief that the legendary series is actually going to disappear.

Two-door and four-door Wranglers are carried over, and while not as traditional “Jeepy” looking as the “ruggedized two-door models, the four-door versions do add additional passenger and cargo room, and actually remain the only four-door 4×4 off roader that is a convertible with a soft top. Here is where on several models, the hard top is actually an option!

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the venerable Willy’s model, Jeep has actually come out with a 2 and 4-door Limited Edition “Willys Wheeler,” which is mechanically identical to new Wranglers, but has that more “military look,” colors and even a WILLY logo/paint scheme on the hood.

All of the Wrangler models will carryover with the Chrysler Pentastar 3.6 liter V6 powerplant that is mated to a new five-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is rated to 285 horsepower and 260 pound/feet of torque. The older six-speed manual is still offered, but the new combo is quick, responsive and can run from 0-60 in four-door Wrangler Unlimited versions in 8.4 seconds and a fast 7.7 seconds with the two-door models. While the long-through manual shifter may be more reminiscent of the older Jeep Wranglers, the newer combo is a better choice for anyone but the absolute purist!

Depending on how often and how hard you are going to travel to the back country for your outdoor adventures, the vehicles come with a variety of tire/wheel, suspension and gearing packages designed for everything from weekend hunting excursions to back country wilderness trips.
Depending on how often and how hard you are going to travel to the back country for your outdoor adventures, the vehicles come with a variety of tire/wheel, suspension and gearing packages designed for everything from weekend hunting excursions to back country wilderness trips.

Gearing for when the Wranglers are “in the dirt and where they belong,” again offers three choices when it comes to backcountry/trail performance in the front and rear axle ratios. Most tame is the standard 3.21:1 that is a good choice for most city/highway use and light off-roading. With this base package, the Wrangler only has to shift once to get up to 60mph. Stepping up is the taller 3.73:1 gearing, which will be the standard offering on the Willys Wheeler edition for this year. At the top of hill is the slow-crawling, max off road performance with the “tall gear” package that features 4:10:1 ratios that are available for the Rubicon models.

Head to the exterior and a walk-around, and the Wrangler for 2016 is all “Jeep.” If you are into really, really, heading to the back country and areas, where few would ever follow or challenge you, the Rubicon is the top-of-the-line Off Roader, and with good reason. It is lean, mean, unchanged and ready to hit the dirt and trails. It has a suspension system that is built for the rough stuff. It is geared for the dirt, has skid plates to protect you when you are rock crawling, and gear/axle ratios designed to get you in…. and out of trouble.

Now that you are ready for the rough stuff, crawl into the Wrangler, and even the Rubicon… and it becomes a whole new world. Instead of WWII basics, you are met with a luxury and opulence that is hard to imagine. Imagine if you can, but you can enjoy….

Depending on how you want your Rubicon or any Wrangler, you have plush seating, and more electronics than you can imagine. Plush… if you want it, or hardcore Jeep… if you do not.

2016 Jeep Wrangler Backcountry
One look at the Wrangler’s dashboard and you can see that it is not your Grandpa’s Jeep. Full instrumentation with stereo, GPS, display screen and even heated leather seats are offered.

Hardcore? You want the Rubicon series, for it maintains the true off-road Jeep. Want to tame it down? Jeep gives you a host of options for the Wrangler models for civilized on-road and off-road driving options.

As the oldest, most recognizable 4×4 and off road vehicle in the world, what else can you want or what else can you say?

It’s the Jeep. It started as a Willys for the military, evolved to a CJ for decades, and is going to finish off its linage as the Wrangler that we all know and love

About the Author:

Andy Lightbody is a lifelong outdoorsman, sportsman, writer, author, and broadcaster. He has served as the managing editor for Western Outdoors magazine; senior editor at Petersen’s Hunting magazine, and editor for the Guns & Ammo book division. Lightbody has authored countless game and fishing cooking articles, spent the last twenty years collecting jerky recipes from around the world, and was cohost of the TV/web show Cooking on the Wild Side.

  • 43 thoughts on “Jeep Wranglers May Be Headed for Retirement After Next Year

    1. Heated leather seats don’t do you a lot of good when your doors are half an inch wide along with a fabric top. Consumer Reports states OWNERS OF WRANGLERS give them very poor reliability ratings across the board. Time for it to go to the auto graveyard.

      1. Clark, you sound like a Subaru kind of guy. As for me, I prefer a real off road vehicle and have owned everything from a 1951 Willy’s Wagon to several Wranglers and a few Cherokees. Not sure which Jeep owners are saying this, I can tell you without hesitation that I have taken them to places where any other vehicle short of an actual military HUMVEE would fear to go and never once had to worry about getting back home again. I wouldn’t trade any one of them for some effeminate and cloned AWD Crossover.

      2. As someone who drove a 2000 TJ for 15 years and over 300k miles, I completely disagree. While I didn’t get the 390k with minimal issues that my dad got out of his XJ Cherokee, I would never describe that Jeep as “unreliable”. In fact, the worst issue I had with the thing was RUST… I would dare you to find ANY engine that is as die-hard and bulletproof as the 4.0L I6… the 16 year old, 300k+ 4L engine in my TJ to this day fires up and runs smoother than my late-model corolla did at 40k.

        I would agree with the other posters here and suggest that you may be more comfortable in a Subaru.

    2. I think the biggest mistake they made was NOT putting a small turbo deisel engine in the Jeep. Had it had the deisel option I would already have one. As it is the mileage sucks so bad with the Wrangler I can drive a 4WD pickup for the same mileage and be more versatile.

      1. I Agree, I own a 2014 Wrangler and a 2015 Cherokee. I would trade one of them in a minute for a like vehicle with a turbo diesel. I read somewhere that Jeep is working with the military to bring Jeeps back into service for light duty work using a turbo diesel as the power plant.

      2. What??? Diesel??? DITCH DIRTY DIESEL!!! We don’t need anymore vehicles on our roads running off that toxic dirty sickening smelling fuel than we already have with all these trucks and buses and now with so many owning these huge pick up trucks to pollute our air even more! And all for what? To race and get ahead of everyone with their fast engines? I’ll stick to my gasoline guzzling Jeep Wrangler; I would never drive diesel even if they did switch Jeeps to diesel. If you prefer diesel, you must have no sense of smell or couldn’t care less about the air you (or the people stuck behind you) are breathing!

    3. Having had a brand new one for a couple of years, I can say that I seriously doubt they will cease production. The Jeep has got to be the most marked up vehicle on the sales floor. The price is now totally absurd as compared to when I purchased mine (it was only absurd then).

    4. I wish GM would bring back the H2. My favorite vehicle of all time. Luxurious but tough as a bucket of nails. The ones I had over the years never let me down….not once!

      1. You can have one now if you don’t care about the look… the H2’s were nothing more than a Chevy Suburban dressed up with Humvee-esque body panels…

    5. A couple of years ago Jeep came out with a pickup version of the Wrangler called the Raptor Killer…that’s what I am goping to still see…

    6. Jose. I too hope they keep and maybe expand on the pickup bed version. There is a beautiful somewhat customized CJ7 pickup version out on Pine Island in SouthWest Florida that might make you drool. Don’t know how to include pictures in this comment but if you get down here lookup Captain Jacks Boat Tours, it’s his rig. Rugged and sharp looking.

    7. Either you are a Jeep person or not there is no inbetween I am a Jeep Driver and a Jeep Lover I live a Jeep lifestyle that is just who I am I don’t think Jeep will stop making the Wrangler however they will always be one in my driveway new or old

      1. People tell me I need to wash mine. I had a late 60’s CJ5 with Mudgrip tires. I tried to wash it and nuts and bolts and other parts started falling from under it. I stopped really quick before the whole thing fell apart.
        Now I have a 2000 TJ with a high lift kit and 33″tires. In case you haven’t driven a lifted big tired jeep, there seems to be a learning curve. It was like riding a LCAT in bad conditions. That mushy rolling feeling.
        If you can’t drive a Jeep, get a Escalade and cruise around 285. Lol

    8. This is completely different article than I read the other day, which said Fiat was going to expand on Jeeps and move all small car production overseas. They said Toledo was running 24/7 to meet Jeep demand and Cherokees would be moved to make room for more Wranglers. They said future Jeep Wranglers will have diesel and hybrid options with 30mpg. The article I read said Jeeps including Wranglers and Ram trucks were their money-makers. I liked everything I read in the other article, this one is a downer.

      1. Based on the number of Jeeps on the road today, and they are everywhere, I would say the chances of them stopping production in pretty much nil.

    9. From USA TODAY:
      Fiat Chrysler to shift focus and build more Jeeps, Rams
      Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said today it will shift its production emphasis toward building more Jeep SUVs, Ram pickups and hybrid or electric vehicles.

      http://usat.ly/1RNB8Iu

    10. Jeeps are the one and only b=vehicle of their kind. period. Lots of other copies, but nothing else is a Jeep. Whether it be Williys, CJs, Wranglers or whatever model of true Jeep you choose. They are everywhere and have tremendous retained value because they are a unique and amazing vehicle. People from other ideals of ORVs have been predicting the demise of the Jeep for years, but everything else has come and gone but the jeep remains.

      1. Funny jeeps are 75 years strong they still build them people want them folks the jeep well only improve because of the demand but gI’ve the engineers time to work the bugs out rust inclusive

    11. We have his and hers 2014 Rubicon X’s with AEV 2.5″ lifts and 35″ K-2 tires running on Fuel rims. Got the AEV tire carrier as well and have extra gas cans that we can strap to each. We take them to Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park and have a blast year in and year out. We’ve smoked the clutches in a couple of situations (our fault, not the Jeep’s) and I’ve made a couple of foolish runs through too deep ditches that left me wincing afterwards. Through it all we’ve got nearly 30,000 miles on each of them and we’ve had only one small issue that was covered under warranty (my turn signal developed a short). They don’t get the best gas mileage to be sure but it is the only vehicle I know of that makes me feel like a kid in a toy store. My wife feels the same. My daily driver is a Grand Cherokee Overland with four wheel drive and as many options as I could add to make it a “real” off roader. It does ok but cannot remotely compare to the the Wranglers. Long live the Jeep. Love them love them love them.

    12. Clark Kent, basing your argument on Consumer Reports is really stupid. Consumer Reports has never made a positive review of Jeep Wrangler because it does not meet their idea of an environmental friendly vehicle. Consumer Reports’ idea of a great SUV are those imports that you would never take off of paved roads. I do not recommend anyone use Consumer Report as a reference for research on off road vehicles because of their bias against Jeep Wranglers.

    13. Look here every one, I’ve had at less one 4×4 in the driveway all my life. Sorry to say only 5 jeeps in my 46 year’s of life so fare. Lol. Have a (91 yj ) I’m redoing it’s a driver in deed. My problem is with all this is THEY DON’T MAKE IT ,SO THE RAGLER GUY CAN BUY ONE. It’s insane on the coast of this vehicle. You wish to make you even bigger. Then make it more affordable to ANYONE to buy. I don’t get much to live on ,only S.S.I and disability. Yea I’m a old USMC ‘er . I can get a m989er (humV) cheeper. Look in short DROP THE DAM PRICE DOWN. Thanks for reading my bicth…

    14. All the more reason you need heated seats. We love our Jeeps and the versatility they give us. They are meant for a completely different type of use. I grew up in Colorado. Try taking a ‘sissified’ Nissan Murano or or some other 4-wheeler over Engineer Mountain. Actually, don’t. It would take a Jeep to pull you off the rock you are high centered on.

    15. Seems like this article has some hidden agenda of drama. For Fiat Chrysler to stop production of the Wrangler would be a huge loss of investment as the Jeep Wrangler is very popular and they don’t lose their value.

    16. CLARK KENT!?! I assume your a journalist for the Daily Planet of course… Ok, I must ask you have you removed the door from any Jeep especially a JK Wrangler… besides ripping it off with your bare hands without using a torx ratchet? I have a JK Wrangler Unlimited 2013 and I assure you that the heated seats work awesome! I am in Upstate NY and Jeep is the only way for me, I could explain further but you must be one of those types when it’s gorgeous out, you have windows fully up and air conditioning on. It’s a Jeep thing and I am 4X4 for life! Later Clarkie

    17. Chuck, I can promise you (from working in jeep dealerships) that the Wrangler is the Least marked up vehicle, dealerships do not make very much on them. As the grand Cherokees are greatly marked up. And I can also say, that I’ve owned a wrangler for many years, currently in a 2015 JKU, that I would drive nothing else. Yes the ride may be rough, the amenities may not all be there. But it’s an adventure, it’s freedom, it’s AMERICA! If I wasn’t about all that, then I would not buy a Wrangler.

    18. Jeep was allways a 4/wd hardcore, until they went cityboy. It was never meant to be a comfortable city ride. Jeep has went downhill since the late wrangler series (rubicon). The entire concept of the Jeep was a rugged short wheel base,tough as nails, go anywhere 4/wd you could count on to get you there. You want a fancy city car buy a range rover or a hummer.

    19. We had a 2008 Wrangler 3.8L/auto JKU X built from Jeep.com and delivered to our dealer in October of 2007. The first set of tires lasted us 96,000 miles. We constantly got 20-21mpg on the highway at 70mph and 23-24 at 60mph. I lifted it 3.5 inches, added 315/75R17 tires to the stock wheels with 1.5″ wheel spacers, and (without re-gearing the 4.10 ratios) get 19mpg on the highway at 70mpg (what it was factory rated for stock). I have performed all of the maintenance on it including replacement of a faulty EGR valve, installation of a K&N air filter directly after purchase in 2008, and preventative replacement of the water pump and thermostat before a road trip last year.
      To say that they are going to kill the Wrangler is nothing short of ludicrous. To say that they are unreliable gas hogs is insane when you take into account that you are driving a solid axle 4wd system that is capable of getting you nearly anywhere.
      Long Live the Wrangler!

    20. Jeep is one of the more troublesome vehicle according to consumer anything magazine. It is only a unique, convertible, off road capable, fun in the sun go anywhere, highest resale, poor handling, puddle jumping, light tow capacity only 1500 lbs. to 3500 max. It is not going away unlrss Fiat is nuts. So far Fiat has done well with Jeep. As to mark up, not nearly enough.

    21. Uh, numbnuts author, the Wrangler is already confirmed for a new generation, with a Wrangler pickup to be introduced the year after. You might wanna do some reading beyond your own ill-informed twaddle.

    22. I have a restored (almost) M38A1 military surplus Jeep, the immediate ancestor of the CJ-5, CJ-6, and CJ-7 models. Look at one and the relationship between these vehicles is obvious. It has the F-head 134 c.i.d. engine, and everything works (almost). If you want a REAL Jeep, try one of these. In May 1963, we motor-convoyed 2 brigades of the 5th Inf Div from Fort Carson, CO, to Fort Lewis, WA, Yakima Firing Center for a live-fire exercise. We had a good many M38A1s and a good many MUTT M151 jeeps (they were new then), and all of them did the trip in good shape. Jeeps are not the fastest SUVs, but they are, in my experience, very reliable and fairly economical. If you want a luxury SUV, buy a Land Rover. If you want the best all-round SUV, get a Jeep! (ex-MAJ INF USAR)

    23. My wife works at the north Toledo assembly plant where they Build the jeep wranglers… They are 100% not getting rid of them. They are in fact completely redesigning them. The new ones are terrible looking and might as well not even be a Jeep Wrangler at all anymore.

    24. Clark you started an unnecessary argument! The jeep is awesome, I only wish I owned one. I am a pickup guy, because I need the bed. If I didn’t have two kids in college id have a jeep as a toy! As an avid Consumer Reports reader, it is a liberal magazine but I do think they have some spot on reporting. Once consumer reports is down on something though, their opinion doesn’t waver no matter if the product is improved. One of these days I will own a jeep and the older the better. It’s original design was basic vehicle easy to work on and then the pussification of America had to add all the other crap to the vehicle. Should’ve left it alone!

    25. This article sounds like a press release that came out of a PR firm trying to sell more Wranglers for Jeep. . PR is getting people to spread a story for free that otherwise would require expensive advertising. Is the author just being a stooge for Jeep.
      I bet they are looking at the CAFE mileage issue. Jeep has been struggling with this for some time. Maybe a turbo diesel will help with the mileage issue. Good ole government intervention into the market place always results in bad outcomes.
      Plus, they have wussified an ‘no wusses’ vehicle. Will Toyota try fill the space ? The original Toyota Land Cruiser V-8 was a Chevy design. Maybe they could claim some American lineage. FJ’s have become quite a revered vehicle.

    26. I have a Dakota today because I need the bed. If Jeep made a pickup, I’d be there especially if it had a V8. I pull a trailer and need the extra power that a six just won’t give you in Colorado. The older Jeep pickups in good condition are almost as expensive as the newer models.
      I enjoy the Jeep as I had a ’46 6 cylinder 4×4 wagon (cut off the top because it was rusted out) when I lived in Hawaii back in the ’60s. It was a blast to drive and ran around Kaena Point on the old Oahu RR bed with no difficulty at all.

    27. I am past 60 now, and Jeeps are now absent from my driveway. But I bought my first Jeep back in 1972 for $2300, a CJ-5 6cyl 232 cid, when Jeep was owned by American Motors. It was a steel dashboard ragtop that you hosed out after a day in the mud. It was meant to work hard, and eat mud. It was as basic as it could be, and the thought of a Jeep with carpeting., air conditioning and leather seats would have never been a dealer or factory option. I mean, Jeeps were meant for work, and play, but not comfort. I outgrew the Jeep CJ and moved up to a Jeep pickup, a 1/2 ton J-10, which I kept running for 26 years before the rust was growing faster than I could chop and weld new steel panels in. But these were true Jeeps, not the plastic cushy girly man things they call Jeeps now days. Overpriced and pimped up with Italian Fix it Again Tony engineering they disgrace the heritage and history of the original Jeep. Remember, the Italians were Fascist pals of Adolf when the first Jeeps rolled in at Anzio carrying ammunition and American soldiers. No, the Italians have crapped all over the meaning and purpose of the Jeep and so has the DOT and EPA with the government mandated controls and interior safety engineering. I bet if a stripped down basic Jeep of the late 60’s were permitted to be made and sold in the US today, in an affordable package of say, under 10 grand they could sell every one they could pump out. As for spending 35 or 40 grand for a Jeep Wrangler of today, a pimped out overpriced plastic and leather street cruiser, not this guy.

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