The Jeep Wrangler JK, that being the ’07-current model, is one of the most capable off-road vehicles you can buy in America today. Where most SUVs have become glorified crossovers, compromising their mudability for on-road dynamics, the Wrangler has remained consistently trail able while gradually becoming a more capable on-road commuter, as well. Yes, the meaning of Jeep ownership has broadened beyond the image of the crazed desert hero wearing nothing above the waist but his beard, to include normal people like you who want an SUV for commuting, but still want it to be a real SUV. But as good as it is stock, and no matter how you use yours, you can still upgrade yours with some simple Jeep JK parts and accessories.
In the old days, it was one or the other. You could either have a vehicle that was great off-road but terrible on the tarmac, or perfect on-road and bending in half out on the dirt. Even Jeeps faced this question back then. The old CJs (before they were even called Wranglers) were legendary on the trail but not so great for highway cruising. The subsequent YJ, which ran from 1987-1995, was lower to the ground with improved steering so it would be better for the road. The following generation, 1997-2006’s TJ, was a better mix of the two, but with today’s technology, Jeep was able to improve both with the current generation, the JK Wrangler, possibly the most versatile Jeep since World War II.
That was helped, in part, by the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited. This development transformed the Wrangler from the thing you didn’t buy because there was no room for the kids to the ultimate in suburban family hauling. It also transformed it from a niche market novelty to a vastly popular, mainstream vehicle, catapulting Jeep to number 6 on the best selling badges in America. More than Hyundai or Kia, more than Dodge and VW combined. Generally when a product is adjusted for a wider audience, it becomes less of itself- it’s diluted. Yet for all this mass market accessibility, the Wrangler 4-door is still every part of a true Jeep Wrangler. It’s still just as tough, trail ready, and convertible as its 2-door brother, but it’s easier to put people in.
Yet for all the Wrangler’s greatness, we would be remiss if we didn’t offer you a few ways to make it better. There are always upgrades to do. In fact, the Wrangler might be the single most upgradable vehicle on the market. Since it has an entire aftermarket for off-road improvements, rather than needing mad volumes of power, the science is there and the range is wide. We’ve structured these upgrade suggestions around 3 stages, based on ease of installation and use. We’ll cover them in three upcoming AutoMods posts.
Stage 1 will include easily installed Jeep JK accessories to improve your JK even if you never take it off-road, such as floor mats and Bushwacker’s excellent body armor. It will also include particularly useful items like Bestop’s heavy-duty soft tops, so you’re not stuck under that annoying hard top all summer.
Stage 2 will include Jeep JK upgrades with moderate installation ease but tons of aesthetic appeal and even some off-road capability improvement. These will include parts like a DiabloSport power programmer, Bushwacker fender flares to support your bigger tires, and some rugged, aggressive Fab Fours bumpers.
Stage 3 will offer some slightly more advanced upgrades so you can feel more comfortable taking your Jeep off-road. We’re talking about a Warn winch, a Borla exhaust, KC Hilites, a Rubicon Express lift kit, and other trail-ready gear.
Since the Wrangler is too awesome to handle in a single month, we’re taking two. It’s going to be #JeepJune and #JeepJuly around here, and we have plenty of awesome stuff to dish out, including a couple of custom Jeep builds, some Jeeping wisdom from a real Moab trail guide, and more.
We’re also proud to announce that we’ve devoted an entire section of our site to the Jeep Wrangler, and we launched it today. So go check it out!
It’s all about helping you get the most out of your Wrangler, no matter what year, and no matter how many doors. So have fun out there, and stay tuned, because a tuned Jeep is always better.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.