Jeep Wrangler JK Buying Guide Introduced in 2007, the Jeep Wrangler JK is the most popular Wrangler ever produced. In addition, the JK lineup consists of the most capable and family friendly open top Jeeps on both the streets and the trails. If you are considering a new or used Wrangler JK, be an educated shopper. To help get you up to speed, we have compiled this summary of specifications, features and benefits between the different Wrangler JK body styles, trim levels and model years. 2 Door or 4 Door (Unlimited) This is usually the easiest decision to make. Unlike the older TJ Unlimited, the 2007+ Wrangler JK Unlimited offers something never before available in an open top Jeep, 4 doors. The addition of rear doors has opened up a whole new demographic of Wrangler owners. The JK Unlimited is now a viable SUV alternative in scenarios where a 2 door Wrangler just wouldn’t be ideal. Getting in and out of the rear seat in a 2 door Jeep is not very easy. Getting a child out of a car seat is completely different challenge. Even for Jeepers without children, the Unlimited is much more practical when bringing a few friends for a day on the trails or a night on the town. Cargo Space with Rear Seats in Use Wrangler JK - 12.8 cubic feet; JK Unlimited - 31.5 cubic feet Fold the rear seats down and the two-door Jeep Wrangler has 56.5 cubic feet of space. In comparison, the Unlimited has 70.6 cubic feet with them folded down. Obviously, neither Wrangler has the cargo capabilities of a mini-van or Suburban, but if you need a little extra, the Unlimited is the way to go. Wrangler JK Wheelbase 95.4”, Wrangler JK Unlimited Wheelbase 116” Besides the improvement in rear seat access and cargo space, the extended wheelbase (+10.6”) of the Unlimited also offers other advantages on and off-road. Keep in mind that most JK owners will spend well over 90% of their time on paved roads. On road, the Unlimited’s longer wheelbase is noticeably more stable. The higher the speed, the more pronounced the difference. Think road trip! Off road, the Unlimited JK has a few other distinct advantages. When ascending or descending steep grades, longer wheelbase vehicles are considerably more stable. When traversing mud or water, the longer wheelbase increases the likelihood that the front wheels will be able to get traction before the rear wheels lose it. The 2 door JK does have a few advantages. Being smaller, it can sometimes get into places where the Unlimited can’t both on and off-road. The shorter wheelbase also decreases the turning radius to 34.3 feet, compared to the Unlimited at 40.1 feet. Off-road, the shorter wheelbase provides a superior breakover angle, 25.8 degrees vs 21 degrees and better RTI (Ramp Travel Index) scores. In reality, most Wrangler owners will never get their vehicle in an off-road situation where the two door’s advantages will come into play. Towing Capacities Neither the 2 nor 4 door Wranglers are designed to tow very much, but the Unlimited can handle almost double the load with a tow package. Wrangler JK – Up to 2,000 pounds Wrangler JK Unlimited – Up to 3,500 pounds Fuel Capacity and Efficiency If you are looking to get 30+ MPG, you are looking at the wrong vehicle. We have been building JK’s since they were introduced, so these numbers are from our experience. Both 2 and 4 door JK’s generally average well under 20 MPG, and that is with stock tires. Because of the weight difference (about 250lbs) you can expect less than an extra 1 MPG from the 2 door in most circumstances. However, the Unlimited has a larger tank (22.5 gallon vs 18.6 gallon), so it will still go further between fill ups. Differences in Model Years Although there were changes every year, the most important changes came in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, the Wrangler JK got a greatly updated interior. In 2012, the 202 horsepower 3.8L was replaced with the 285 horsepower 3.6L “Pentastar” engine. With the upgraded power plant, automatic JK’s also received the stout Mercedes W5A580 five speed transmission. This is the same transmission used in SRT8 Grand Cherokees, Chargers and Challengers with 6.4L HEMI’s producing 470 horsepower! 2 Wheel Drive Wranglers! 2007 to 2009 Wrangler Unlimiteds (4-door) were available in two wheel drive. Be careful when you are shopping around for a used Wrangler. There is no easy way to convert a 2WD to 4WD.