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The Jeep Wrangler has been around for decades. Since its 1980s origins, the Wrangler has evolved four times. However, with codes like TJ, JK, and YJ, it can be tricky to keep them straight. Here are the Jeep Wrangler model codes from YJ to JL.  

Jeep Wrangler generation codes can help you identify and shop for your off-roader

The familiar shape of a Jeep is one that (for the most part) survives today. However, the moniker “Wrangler” hasn’t been around forever. Far from it actually. Prior to the YJ Wrangler, Jeep fans bought “CJ” models, also known as “Civilian Jeeps.” The alternative? You guessed it: the military and agricultural Willys models. 

After the final CJ-7s rolled off the line in 1986, the YJ Wrangler took over. 

Jeep Wrangler generationModel years

To a fan, every Jeep Wrangler generation is distinguishable. However, a few are easier to discern than others. Such is the case with the YJ. In typical 1980s fashion, the YJ chose to shrug rounded-feature design language. Instead, the YJ wears the instantly recognizable square headlamps of its generation. Think of the iconic scene wherein a Tyrannosaurus Rex chases down a square-lamped and topless YJ in the 1993 film “Jurassic Park.”

A blue 1994 Jeep Wrangler YJ shows off its styling and blue paintwork.
1994 YJ | Stellantis

Following the YJ, the Jeep Wrangler TJ ran from 1997 to 2006. Gone were some of the hard-angle features, and in their place, a more familiar Jeep shape. Fans could have the TJ with a 4.0L AMC inline six or, depending on the year, a 2.5 or 2.4L four-cylinder mill.

The JK Wrangler took over in 2007. With the changing of the guard, the Wrangler gained size and weight. What’s more, consumers could opt for a mass-produced four-door Jeep. Engines changed as well, with later models adopting Chrysler’s popular Pentastar V6 as a standard mill.

Finally, the Jeep Wrangler JL replaced the JK in 2018. For many fans, the JL was a welcome update, working in aluminum components for weight savings. What’s more, the JL worked in more substantial fender flares. That means more space for big, knobby, noisy off-road tires. Beyond the initial JL update, the model got a facelift in 2024, suggesting the JL will be around for a few more years.