2012 Jeep Wrangler - First Drive
And having such a continuous and consistent design heritage are important factors in being so recognizable, so distinctive. As we noted last week in our First Drive of the new 2012 Jeep Wrangler, not a lot has changed this year in the way the Wrangler looks from the outside, or even how it performs off-road—and that's a very good thing. But it's also a good thing that the 2012 Wrangler has been given Chrysler's excellent new Pentastar V-6 and five-speed automatic transmission—resulting in much-improved acceleration and on-the-road pep, as well as a much more refined driving feel, especially out on the highway.
Going back more than 65 years, the appearance of this anchor of the Jeep lineup has changed surprisingly little. In a short but informative video, Motor Trend has summarized the differences between the original 1945 Jeep CJ and the current JK version of the Wrangler.
In 1945, the CJ was powered by a 60-hp in-line four-cylinder engine, hooked up to a three-speed manual gearbox. It was also considerably smaller and lighter, though. That original Jeep was about 128 inches long, versus today's nearly 153 inches—about two feet longer—and its wheelbase has gone from 80 inches to about 95 inches. The 1945 CJ weighed about 2,200 pounds, while the 2012 Wrangler approaches 4,000 pounds.
MT points out that one market-standout feature hasn't changed over all these years: You can still remove the doors and fold down the windshield—to enjoy some open air trail-crawling, for instance, as we did during out test.
Be sure to catch all the latest on the refreshed 2012 Wrangler lineup by reading our First Drive—then follow up with our full review, which has more details on interior appointments, features, safety, gas mileage, and related news.