SUVs

The last ever Jeep JK Wrangler has rolled off the line in Ohio

The first truly modern, easy-to-live-with Wrangler has officially passed the torch to what may be the best Jeep ever.

Jeep

With the advent of the redesigned 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL, the time has come to say goodbye to the previous-generation Wrangler, the JK, the last of which rolled off the assembly line in Toledo, Ohio, last week. It was a white Unlimited Rubicon model, and we'll (literally) never see its like again. Now, normally the transition of one generation of a product to another very similar generation wouldn't be that newsworthy, but in the case of the JK it is.

People love their Jeeps, and that is proven at countless gatherings and drives around the world. Jeepers are rabid, and in the past that meant making some sacrifices for the vehicle, particularly if it was to be used as an everyday driver.

Over the course of 10 years of production, Jeep built over 2,000,000 JK Wranglers.

Jeep

The Wrangler was never very large, nor did it have much of a back seat so, for families, it was a challenge to use as a normal car. Most had to either be super hard-core or trade up to a Cherokee. The Jeep also had a reputation for a spine-ruining ride, one designed to be amazingly capable off-road with little consideration for the pavement in between trails.

That all changed with the launch of the JK-series Wrangler in 2006. In addition to being more modern-looking, it had a real interior that you could spend time in without hating life. The ride got better (though to be fair, it was never going to be a Range Rover) and more importantly, the Wrangler got four real doors and actual back seats. The JK asked for very little in terms of compromise, and that's the chief reason it became so important.

The four-door Unlimited model, introduced with the JK generation, transformed the Jeep Wrangler from something to use on the weekend to something to be used every day.

Jeep

The aftermarket also embraced the JK in a way that made making your Jeep unlike everyone else's Jeep simple, if not inexpensive. All of a sudden, it was easy to fit light bars and burly, tubular steel bumpers and gigantic tires without having to develop a ton of fabrication skills. Now we're seeing JK-based overland adventure vehicles, crazy rock crawlers and desert racers alongside daily drivers.

Will the new JL Wrangler be as widely adopted, loved and accepted as the JK? Jeep sure hopes so, and with the planned diversity in powertrain options and body styles, the odds are that it will. If reviews (and Roadshow's Emme Hall) are to be believed, the JL might be the best Wrangler yet.