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What Does Jeep YJ Stand For? The Beginners Guide

Very few activities spark adventure or thrill, as going on a tour with your off-roader does. Indeed, jeeps or sports utility vehicles are not just means of transportation. Especially, the Jeep YJ has become an American way of life. But what does jeep YJ stand for? 

YJ is the initials for Yuppie Jeep. Automobile manufacturers have their distinct way of differentiating between the style of vehicles. It’s done so cars can easily be classified. Following the convention, jeep wranglers brought the first generations of their popular cars under the model name YJ. Automobile enthusiasts associate the YJ with the distinct square headlights.

You have to keep in mind the price, mileage, and serviceability of your vehicle. It could be a daunting decision to make a definitive choice. That’s where the Jeep YJ can stand out as an all-rounder.

History of Jeep YJ

The history of the Jeep YJ began in 1985 with the production of the first model year for this particular car. It was built by AMC, which had been purchased by Chrysler one year prior to the assembly of the first model year of this car. 

Chrysler had previously been experiencing problems with the Jeep CJ. The three previous models of this car were all made by American Motors. This is why Chrysler didn’t have any luck creating a successful model of their own design.

The first YJ was a dramatic departure from the previous models that AMC had created. This new version featured a coil-spring suspension instead of the leaf-spring suspensions used in previous models. Adding this feature made it much more capable for off-road use.

In 1986, a “Wrangler” version of this car was also produced. This model featured a hood and fenders similar to those found on the original Jeep CJ models. Additionally, the Wrangler came with a removable hardtop and fold-down windshield. These features helped make it an attractive choice for those who were interested in convertibles.

In 1987, Chrysler decided to start producing two different models of the YJ. This car has been created in three distinct body styles: hatchback, convertible, and wrangler. 

The Wrangler was an off-road version of the YJ. This model came with numerous features that allowed it to closely resemble the original Jeep CJ, including a removable hardtop and a fold-down windshield.

Another convertible version of the YJ was introduced in 1993. The design of this model was very similar to that of the Wrangler. But it didn’t include any additional off-road features. One unique feature found on the convertible version was its ability to fold down the entire roof and rear window to create an open-air driving experience. 

The Jeep YJ continued to be produced until 1995 when the Jeep Wrangler TJ eventually replaced it.

Are YJ Jeeps Any Good?

In short, yes, they are. Sure, YJ jeeps faced some early hiccups, but they got better and better with each subsequent edition. These legendary off-roaders indeed have stood the test of time and continue to roll on the roads and off as well. 

There is a multitude of reasons making Jeep YJ an excellent choice for jeep enthusiasts. Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Easy Restoration & Serviceability

The simple reason behind this is the effortless restoration process it needs. The jeep part’s serviceability is unmatched and tough enough to deal with any rugged terrain. 

  • Comfort Features

One of the most notable differences between YJ with its predecessors is the cabin comfort and induction of a new center console system. But this increased emphasis on comfort meant that some of the off-road features were disregarded. 

One significant change is the wider track. There was less ground clearance on YJ models. Larger U-axle joints were also used. 

  • Smoother Driving Experience

In the 1994 editions of YJ, an automatic gearbox was installed in place of the standard manual gearbox. A brand new throttle body injection system was introduced as well. Such switches made sure the jeep had better handling. 

  • Built For Off-roading

Plying the bitumen road became much more enjoyable. Tweaks in the suspension roll bars and spring meant you wouldn’t even feel any speed bump. For a car that can go off-road, the YJ has ample interior face and then some! 

  • Popular Cult Classic

In America, it’s known as simply the YJ. It was pretty popular in other parts of the world, too, particularly in the gulf and middle east. 

The YJ made quite a name for itself due to its durability and toughness in that desert terrain. It was commonly known as jeep Sahara over there. China also had its own version of the YJ, called BJ (Beijing Jeep).

Functions Of A YJ Jeep

The jeep comes in 3 different forms of an engine. They are 2.5 liters, 4 liters, and 4.6-liter AMC straight 4 and 6 engines. All of the automatic cars had 3-speed gearboxes. In contrast, the manual ones had 5-speed gearboxes.

Some of the basic features of a typical YJ jeep are as follows:

  • Interval wipers 
  • Off-road gas shock absorbers 
  • Leather cover steering wheel (power) 
  • Fog lights installed at the front fenders 
  • 20-gallon capacity of the fuel tank
  • Cup holders in the center console 
  • Tail cloth fabrics in the seat cover 
  • Striping’s on the door 
  • Integrated bodyside steps on the fenders 
  • Floor carpeting 
  • Spare tires 
  • Exclusive alloy 8-inch-wide wheels
  • Front and rear plastic bumpers 

Should You Get a YJ Jeep? 

Well, just as with any other vehicle, there are going to be some pros and cons. It’s up to you to decide whether you can manage the cons and determine whether they outweigh the pros. 

The Definite Pros

There’s that all so familiar customizable look with the option of mods and customization in the YJ. It’s as tough as a nail SUV! 

The YJ gives you a better height advantage, and therefore, gives you greater visibility, too. As mentioned before, YJ is easy to repair, and parts are readily available. 

They are cheap too. One thing to note is that the YJ price is affordable and has an excellent resale value.

It’s lightweight and small in size. Therefore, it easily can be delt in tight spots. The jeep lasts for a lot of years and many miles. It has excellent handling and is an utter joy to drive on the pavements! 

The Apparent Cons

The YJ has small doors and very little trunk space for hauling goods and groceries. Its acceleration is pretty average. The top speed is nominal, and the rear sight view is a problem. It has some blind spots while driving as well. 

There’s no high safety rating either. The trunk doesn’t have locks. So, it can be an uncomfortable commute in the YJ. The engine has very poor milage.

Inside the car, the seating is awkward to get into and out of too. The front seats require higher step-in, which can be difficult for older people. Taller passengers may find the position uncomfortable as well. 

The engine can be noisy at times. As the steering wheel is a  bit slow, the car’s aerodynamics might feel a bit off. That means there is higher wind resistance. 

YJ Jeep Vs. Other Models

Jeep YJ cuts through being an all-rounder choice, no matter what. But still, you might want to put the car against some other contemporary models and see how it stands out. 

So, here’s a nifty comparison table of the YJ and some other models to help you visualize the specs better.

Launch year198719972007
Engine4.0 liter AMC Straight Shooter4.0 liter AMC Straight Shooter3.8 liter V6
Front lampsSquareRoundRound

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What year was the YJ launched? 

The YJ was launched in the year 1987. Before this model, it was just known as CJ. Its lineage can be traced back to world war era vehicles used by senior military leadership.  

Why was the name YJ chosen? 

The manufacturers of Jeep YJ shoes this name because such initiatives help with logistics and support. It also allows users and manufacturers to keep track of the specific type of chassis. 

Is the YJ expensive? 

Jeep YJ wranglers are very affordable. They are actually cheaper than used 2nd hand sedan cars. They also boast a great resale value.  

Does the YJ have automatic transmission? 

The YJ has both automatic and manual transmission. The automatic ones have 3-speed gearboxes, while the manual ones have 5-speed gearboxes. A 2005 edition had a 6-speed manual gearbox too. 


In the year 1987, AMC launched an American icon. The Wrangler YJ is genuinely an iconic vehicle that has stood the test of time. It continues to take people off-road and provides a lot of fun while doing so. They are a piece of automotive history. Having said that., they are not without their fair share of cons. Perhaps that’s what makes them more unique. Hope this overview of “what does the YJ stand for” has helped you know more about the legendary Jeep legacy!

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