Difference Between CJ and YJ (With Table)

Jeeps are the royalty of the vehicles. When the topic of utility vehicles has come up, two of the known names that remembered are the Civilian Jeep (CJ) and Yuppie Jeep (YJ) models. Occurring one after the other on the calendar, these two are as different as they are similar.

CJ vs YJ

The difference between CJ and YJ is that YJ was a remodel of the CJ with a stiffer frame, more durability, and has more protection options in the rear end. One can tell the two types apart by the headlights. YJ has square headlights while CJ has circle headlights.

A Civilian Jeep or CJ was first seen in the year 1945. The first model was called the CJ-1. At that time, it was being advertised as a vehicle suitable for construction workers and farmers. It had an external fuel cap, side-mounted spare tire, large circular headlights, and a tailgate.

A Yuppie Jeep or a YJ was first seen in the year 1987. It is the result of the evolution of the CJ-7 and is distinguishable by its square headlights. It is often referred to as a Jeep Wrangler. The YJ also offered better stability and supported a lower center of gravity.

Comparison Table Between CJ and YJ

Parameters of ComparisonCJYJ
Production timeIt was produced between 1945-1986.It was produced between 1987-1996.
Leaf spring suspensionThe spring of the CJ is narrower.The YJ has wider springs than the CJ.
HeadlightsIt has circular headlights. The CJ-10 versions might be modified.Its distinct feature is square headlights.
WheelbaseIt has a shorter wheelbase than the YJ.It has a long wheelbase.
Ground clearanceIt has more ground clearance.The YJ does not have the best ground clearance.

What is CJ?

A Civilian Jeep or CJ was designed based on the military jeep models from World War II. The first design seen was in the year of 1945. The CJ was first manufactured by Willys-Overland. Other manufacturers include Willys Motors, Kaiser-Jeep, and American Motors Company.

The CJ has 14 versions ranging from CJ-1 to CJ-10A.  It is an open-bodied vehicle. It also has a tapering nose design and circular headlights. The CJ has a part-time four-wheel drive, rigid live axles, leaf springs on the front and rear end, and it can be driven without doors.

The CJ also had a two-wheel-drive variant called the DJ. CJ is also called one of the most successful utility vehicles ever made. The first model of a CJ, that is the CJ-1 was modified by using the regular military MB as inspiration. It had a tailgate, canvas top to cover the roof of the car, lower gearing, and a drawbar.

The CJ-10 was more like a pick-up truck, equipped to handle a weight of up to 3000 kgs, and gave three different choices of variations of engines. The CJ-10A was mostly an aircraft-pulling vehicle. But, the production of the CJ was stopped in the year 1986. 

What is YJ?

The Jeep Wrangler often called the Yuppie Jeep or YJ is the rebranding of a CJ vehicle.  It is one of the toughest and rugged jeeps and has greater stability and control. Its square headlights provide for a very distinguishable feature from the CJ. The YJ sports a low center of gravity and heavy roller protection on the rear end and side.

Since it offers more stability the body of the passenger tends to roll less during turns. The YJ gives you a choice between two engines; a 4.2-liter inline-6 powerplant and a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder unit. Both the engines come with a standard 5-speed manual transmission. The front seats are foldable; thus, it makes entering the rear seats easy and also helps one transform the space into a cargo hold by folding the back seats.

 Although, the rear cabin did not provide for comfortable legroom. It was one of its disadvantages. The inside of the Wrangler is fashioned with comfortable seats and the dashboard has been attached with 4 gauges as is the standard.

The front seats have short, narrow bottom cushions. Even though the model was exquisite, its manufacturing was stopped in the year 1996 and it was replaced by the Wrangler TJ.

Main Differences Between CJ and YJ

The main difference between the two jeeps is that one is the modification of the other. The YJ came after the CJ as its evolved brother. Other differences between the two include:

  1. The CJ and YJ are manufactured through different time periods. The CJ from 1945 to 1986 and the YJ from 1987 to 1996.
  2. Both the CJ and YJ have different-sized leaf springs.
  3. Their steering knuckles differ from each other.
  4. The CJ has circular headlights while the YJ has rectangular headlights with a wider windshield.
  5. The YJ has a longer wheelbase and lesser ground clearance than the CJ.
  6. YJ vehicles are more customer-friendly and comfortable than CJ.


Jeeps are a heavy vehicle. More suited for the military, jeeps have evolved to being more civilian-friendly and comfortable. The CJ and YJ are both good jeeps but went out of production a long time ago to suit modern times.

Since the YJ came into manufacturing later and was also the more modified version of the CJ, one can say that YJ was a better model than CJ. The CJ version was admirable one of the best utility vehicles ever made, but, the YJ has more facilities and is more consumer-friendly and comfortable.

The YJ provides more engine options, stability, more safety features in the rear end, and a tough and rugged look. It also provides for foldable front and back seats for ease of movement and cargo hold, comfortable seats, and a fashionable dashboard. The CJ has a narrower wheelbase, but a higher ground clearance, and circular headlights. Even though the two models are out of production, they were quite popular in their time.


  1. https://digital.stpetersburg.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1086&context=honorstheses
  2. https://europepmc.org/article/med/2648016
  3. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=615xDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA3&dq=jeep+yj&ots=o6tfBp8d8k&sig=L9vsjRdjWh-ikvOG7fZF9-PTjn0&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=jeep%20yj&f=false
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