The Jeep TJ, the “original SUV”, has undergone a few changes. The “new-for-2005” long-wheelbase Unlimited was actually brought to market early in 2004, but for this calendar year, there’s a new go-anywhere Rubicon Unlimited. The TJ drops to three trim lines with the elimination of the Sahara. All receive a new six-speed manual to replace 2004’s five-speed. On the TJ, a seven-speaker system is standard on the TJ Rubicon and both Unlimiteds, and a six-disc CD changer is available on all models.

The short-wheelbase TJ comes in SE, Sport and Unlimited. The base model includes vinyl front bucket seats, removable folding rear bench seat, CD player with four speakers, 15-inch steel wheels with all-terrain tires, and Command-Trac part-time four-wheel-drive. On the TJ, standard full doors with roll-up windows can be optioned to half-doors with zip-out soft windows; on all models, a standard soft top can be optioned to a hard top.

The mid-line TJ Sport package adds a full centre console, cloth seats, aluminum wheels, and 3.07:1 rear axle. The TJ Rubicon includes the new premium speaker system, fog lamps, diamond plate steel sill guards, on/off-road tires on 16-inch aluminum wheels, tow hooks, heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles with 4.11:1 ratio, four-wheel disc brakes, electronically-controlled locking front and rear differential with rear limited-slip unit, and Rock-Trac heavy-duty part-time four-wheel-drive.

The long-wheelbase Unlimited comes with all of the base TJ features, plus auto-dimming rearview mirror, premium seats, seven speakers, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 15-inch cast aluminum wheels, 3.73:1 rear axle and Command-Trac. The Unlimited Rubicon shares the heavy-duty package with the regular-wheelbase Rubicon.

This is the Jeep that won the war and, save for some creature comforts, its spirit hasn’t changed. It’s still pretty rough-and-tumble, but you can’t expect a luxury ride in a vehicle that can crawl over rocks. There are other manufacturers making small 4×4 SUVs, but if you want to take off the roof and conquer the wilderness in anything other than a Humvee H1, this is the only game in town.

The Jeep TJ is built in Toledo, Ohio.

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