The Differences of a Jeep Wrangler Rio Grande and SE


The Jeep Wrangler Rio Grande differed from the Wrangler base trim model SE primarily in color choices, some minor trim options and the choice of engines. Jeep produced the Wrangler Rio Grande only in 1995 to add a few more exterior colors to the base Wrangler SE model. Jeep positioned the Rio Grande below the Sahara and Sport models but above the SE and Laredo trims.

Wrangler in the 1990s

  • The Jeep Wrangler Rio Grande was part of the first generation Wrangler YJs produced from 1987 to 1996. The YJ versions replaced the much-beloved Wrangler CJ models. The Wrangler YJ offered more creature comforts, sat a bit lower than the CJs and had a more on-road sensibility instead of the off-road ruggedness. It shared many of the characteristics of its sibling, the Jeep Cherokee. The Rio Grande reflected this new style Jeep with some very suburban-like trim choices, such as paint colors, that eschewed the off-road no-frills look. The Rio Grande only received the 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder engine while other trim levels could have the optional 4- or 4.2-liter in-line six-cylinders. All Wranglers equipped with the four-cylinder engine had a 2,000-lb. towing capacity and a 93.4-inch wheelbase.

Optional Rio Grande Trim

  • The 1995 Jeep Wrangler Rio Grande featured a desert, or pueblo, motif interior trim package. The exterior came in White, Bright Mango, Moss Green and Champagne Gold. This was an SE model with only the cosmetic changes. Optional equipment included a three-speed automatic transmission, hardtop roof, leather-accented steering wheel, locking differential, center console, tilt steering wheel, air conditioning, alloy wheels and an all-wheel anti-lock brake system. The Wrangler SE did not share the Rio Grande colors. The SE's exterior paint choices were metallic colors in Pearlstone, Aqua, Brilliant Blue, Emerald Green, Flame Red, Bright White and Black.

Standard Features

  • The Rio Grande shared with the Wrangler SE models bucket seats, power brakes, 15-inch steel wheels, a five-speed manual transmission, tachometer, a soft-top, power steering, light bar and AM/FM stereo system with cassette player.

Power Differences

  • The 1995 Wrangler Rio Grande was equipped with an American Motors Corporation 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a 3.8-inch bore and 3.18-inch stroke. Chrysler purchased Jeep from AMC in 1987 and in the 1990s still had a relationship with AMC to use its engines. The four-cylinder featured a cast iron block and head and overhead valves with two valves per cylinder. Its compression ratio was 9.1-to-1 and it had a multi-point fuel injection system. The engine generated 123 horsepower and 139 foot-pounds of torque. The base engine for the SE models was the four-cylinder, but the SE was also available with a 4-liter six-cylinder. The SE six-cylinder had a 3.87-inch bore and 3.41-inch stroke, and an 8.8-to-1 compression ratio. It wielded 180 horsepower and 220 foot-pounds of torque.

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