What is a Jeep JK & Why Jeep Purists Hate it?

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Most Old-school Jeep Purists will tell you that the last true Jeep came and went with the Jeep Wrangler TJ, introduction of the Jeep JK in the year 2006 introduced a lot of cosmetic upgrades such as a new soft top, tweaks under the hood for responsive handling and a four-door version that was suitable for families.

What is a Jeep JK

The Jeep JK quickly gained the name the mall crawler Jeep, Jeep Purists could not understand why people would buy a Jeep and not use it for its intended purpose which was off-roading, the Jeep JK had all the features you will need for off-roading such as ground clearance, big chunky tires, and heavy-duty suspensions but was marketed for people who just needed a Jeep for aesthetic purposes and would just use the Jeep for daily driving.

The Jeep JK was so big and chunky compared to the outgoing Jeep TJ, and this made a lot of Jeep Purists hate the new styling, The Jeep JK looked like a Jeep but didn’t feel like a Jeep.

What is a Jeep JK?

The Jeep Wrangler JK is the fourth generation of the Jeep Wrangler and was introduced in the year 2006-2018 as the first four-door variant of the Jeep, The Jeep JK was a succession of the Jeep TJ introduced in the years 1996-2006.

The abbreviation JK is just an engineering code to distinguish between the Jeep generations, unlike the CJ which meant the Civilian Jeep.

The Jeep JK was introduced by Chrysler group CEO Tom Lasorda in the International Auto show driving the Jeep JK in a plate glass window, the Jeep JK’s target market of the Jeep JK was families who needed an SUV for family duties than serious off-roading, so the practicability and functionality of the Jeep had to be Paramount.

The Jeep JK was offered in two versions the two-door version which had a short wheelbase, and the four-door version which had a long wheelbase. The two-door version included the Sahara and the Rubicon Trim models while the 4 door versions included the Jeep Wrangler X, Sahara, and Rubicon Trim, models.

The Jeep JK is available in six trim packages, and three special editions; they include the X Model, the Rocky Mountain Editions, Islander Edition, Mountain edition, 70th Anniversary edition, X-S Model, Sahara Model, Rubicon Model, and the JK Wrangler Unlimited model.

Why do Jeep Purists Hate the Jeep JK?

The Jeep JK is one of the best-selling Jeep Wranglers models, With more than 2.1 million Jeep JK sold since its production started in the year 2006, it’s the second most popular model that Jeep has ever sold.

Yet, the Jeep JK is one of the most hated Jeeps by Jeep Purists, however, the same reasons why the Jeep JK is hated are the same reasons why the Jeep JK was so successful. The reasons why old school Jeepers hate the Jeep JK is mainly on the engine specification of the Jeep JK which came equipped with the EGH 3.8L pushrod V6, which was a bored and stroked version of the TJ 2.5L 4 Cylinder, with a legendary 4.0L option and driving the two Jeeps you will feel the power difference.

The Jeep JK quickly claimed the spot for the worst gas mileage, true to our testing, we tested a 2001 Jeep TJ gas mileage on the highway and the legendary Jeep consumed 17 mpg, while a 2013 Jeep JK consumed 21 MPG.

The Jeep JK was a huge change for the Jeep Family who was used to a tough smaller Jeep TJ that was reliable for off-roading due to its small size, and the ability to fit it to small spaces, other features that were available on the TJ included a narrow Dana 30/35 with the Rubicon having narrow Dana 40 factory air lockers, and a 4:1 transfer case which made the Jeep TJ the most loved Jeep by Jeep Purists and off-roaders.

The introduction of the Jeep JK, which was meant to capture the growing Civilian auto market, meant the introduction of the Jeep JK which was the first four-door version of the Jeep and this meant an elongated body. To capture the civilian market Jeep introduced comfortability features such as computer control, stability control, and plastic fenders which annoyed its hardcore fans.

Another feature that annoyed Jeep purists was the increased sizes of the axles, although the Jeep JK had the Dana 30 and 35s, they were much wider at 4-5” than the Jeep TJ axles.

Since the Jeep was one of the most modified SUVs, the Jeep JK was built with an aftermarket upgrade in mind, it was built with less expensive components knowing that Jeep owners would customize their Jeep JK based on their needs.

Other overall reasons why the Jeep JK is hated by everyone include poor handling, and limited comfort compared to other SUVs in the auto market, compared to other SUVs the Jeep JK’s dependability is also down because its noisy and lots of problems with the suspension, such as Jeep Death Wobble which is common with the Jeep JK, and transmission problems.

Final Thoughts.

The Jeep JK is one of the most popular SUVs in the United States, whether you are into off-roading or just want the experience of the Jeep but use the Jeep as your daily driver, the Jeep JK offers it all.

The demand for an older generation Jeep is quite high at the moment, with older models of the TJ being sold at a higher price than the new Jeeps in the market, the demand has been due to the high demand by Jeep Purists who prefer the TJ more than the JK.

If you are looking for an off-roading Jeep, the Jeep JK is easily worth the money, we understand why Jeep Purists would hate the Jeep JK, and we also believe that no one should buy a Jeep if they don’t intend to use it off-roading, and using it as engineers designed it to be.

James Ndungu - Jeep Runner Writer

Author: James Ndungu

James is an Automotive Service Writer, I4WDA certified trainer, Jeep enthusiast, and shop owner specializing in Jeep parts, accessories, and Electric Vehicles Charging Station Installation services. His interest and first-hand experience in electric vehicle charging technology motivated him to achieve certification through the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP).

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