Jeep will build its millionth “JK” series Wrangler today at the Toledo Assembly Plant, just after 11 am. The JK series started up in 2007, boasting, compared with prior Wranglers, better ground clearance, larger wheels and tires, enhanced Dana front and rear solid axles, optional next-generation Command-Trac® and Rock-Trac™ transfer cases, new electric axle lockers, and an electronic disconnecting front sway bar to increase wheel travel.
Meanwhile, on-road performance was improved with a 100% stiffer frame (in bending), a wider track, lower spring rates, advanced shock tuning, and increased jounce and rebound travel. The interior was larger, with 4.6 inches more hip and 5.1 inches more shoulder room combined with additional 2 inches in couple, 1 inch in rear-seat leg room and 2 inches behind rear seat. There were also more open-air options, with dozens of different door, top and windshield combinations; new three-piece modular hardtop and innovative Sunrider™ soft top.
Amid screams from Jeep purists, the ancient and beloved 190 horsepower straight-six was replaced with a 3.8 liter V6 with 202 horsepower and 237 lb.-ft. of torque, and slightly better gas mileage (up to 17 city, 19 highway). This engine was later replaced by a much more powerful Pentastar V6; at the same time, the four-speed automatic was replaced by a five-speed.