In 1996 Chrysler introduced the new Wrangler (know as TJ) as a 1997 model. Changes between this new Jeep and earlier models were evident everywhere. To start the TJ had a coil spring suspension, a radical change from the leaf spring suspensions Jeeps had used since the 40s. The front grill was shorter and used round headlamps; the turn signal lights were in the front of the fender rather than beneath the headlamps in the grill. TJ's interior resembled the Jeep Cherokee. The dash panel featured a single instrument cluster (speedometer, voltmeter, etc) grouped together directly in front of the steering wheel. Earlier Jeeps had used individual gauges spread across the dash. And perhaps the biggest interior change, the new Wrangler had dual air bags!

Soon the TJ Wrangler won over Jeep enthusiasts and attracted a record number of new Jeep owners. Ride quality along with offroad maneuverability was greatly enhanced as a result from the coil spring suspension. The soft top design and functionality were improved, and have been improved once again in 2001 with the use of sailcloth fabric to replace the standard vinyl. Wrangler can be purchased in Base (or SE), Sport and Sahara models. Sahara models feature unique seating fabric and painted fender flares to match the vehicle's paint color (flares are matte black on other models). Rumors continue to fly about when the Wrangler will be redesigned, but the best guess is the TJ will be with us for a few years to come.

2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine is standard in the base model and is rated at 120 hp @ 5400 rpm, 140 ft. lb. torque @ 3500 rpm. 4.0 liter in-line 6 cylinder is found in Sport and Sahara models and produces 181 hp @ 4600 rpm, 222 ft. lb. torque @ 2800 rpm. AX5, AX15 and NV3550 (new for 2000) 5 speed manual transmissions or Chrysler 30RH and 32RH automatic transmissions have been used along with New Process/New Venture (NP) model 231 transfer case. Dana Model 30 front axle remains, but without the YJ Wrangler type vacuum disconnect. Standard rear axle is Dana Model 35. Dana Model 44 rear axle can be ordered as an option.

94" wheelbase
153" overall length (with spare tire) and 67" wide
81" length from door hinge to rear of vehicle
55" windshield width

The TJ has gone under a few drivetrain and package changes through the short years it has been in production. Look to the Rubicon model for the better wheeling options