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Cj5 vs Cj7: Which One’s Best for You?

Cj5 Vs Cj7
Last Updated on Aug 16, 2023 By Paul Lucas

If you’re a hardcore fan of retro cars, you’ll love the CJ5 but be ready to have a tough time finding the parts since this model was discontinued long ago. On the other hand, CJ7’s spacious legroom and storage space, auto transmission, and improved performance will be more appealing to those who can afford it.

Here is our detailed comparison for you so you can easily make up your mind by the time you’re done reading this blog!

What is CJ5

Cj5 Vs Cj7

CJ5, also known as Classic Jaguar 5 Speed, is a jeep manufactured by Kaiser Motors in 1954. It is a part of the CJ jeep series that ruled the market during and after World War II (1945-1986).

The CJ5 was the fifth generation of the series. The jeep is a civil version of the military jeep used during that period. CJ stands for “Civil Jeep”.

A Brief History of the CJ5

Cj5 Vs Cj7

It all started with a competition across the USA to design a combat vehicle in 1940. The winner was Willys-Overland Motors and the result was the final 1941 MB, commonly known as the “Jeep”.

After the war, Willys adapted the design for civilian use and the 1st result was the CJ-2A (Civil Jeep 2A). In 1950, the company was acquired by Henry J. Kaiser and became Kaiser Willys Motors Inc.

CJ-5 came to revolutionize the contemporary market in 1954 and became legendary. The later improvements made the jeep even more popular until it was discontinued in 1984.

What is CJ7

Cj5 Vs Cj7

CJ7, aka Classic Jaguar 5 Speed, is the later and improved version of the CJ5 jeep. It entered the market in 1976 and offered greater interior habitability along with improved stability.

With new innovations and a stylish outlook, the CJ7 took over the market and has been in production ever since.

With significant improvement over the previous models, CJ7 is rocking the automobile world even in the 21st century.

A Brief History of the CJ7

Cj5 Vs Cj7

Photo courtesy: Pinterest

The CJ5 received a backlash after the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) arranged a TV program to showcase the safety issues of driving a CJ5.

The program pointed out that the CJ5 had a tendency to roll over in risky street conditions at relatively low speed.

As a result, the legendary CJ5 was discontinued in 1984, and a newer, improved, and safer version (CJ7) was introduced in 1976 under the ownership of American Motors Corporation (AMC).

Cj5 Vs Cj7: How They Differ

1. Overall size


The CJ5 is wider and compact in design. The narrow dimensions made it easier for the CJ5 to take tight turns. It was the perfect solution for the people who are always on the go.


The CJ7, in terms of overall size, including doors and the engine, is bigger than the CJ5. It is taller and longer, providing more space to accommodate more features. The “U” shaped door panel also made it easier to walk through.

2. The frame


The frame size of the CJ5 is a bit smaller compared to the CJ7. The narrower frame allowed the CJ5 to take tight turns comparatively easily. However, the smaller frame also made the car unstable at low speed.


CJ7, on the other hand, took full advantage of the bigger frame by providing more legroom and introducing revolutionary auto-transmission.

The improved chassis featured twin parallel cesarean lanes and tougher parts that increased handling.

3. Wheelbase


The CJ5 had a shorter wheelbase that made the design compact and lighter. This is one of the reasons the car became unstable on-read.

The jeep offered an 83-inch wheelbase, 139-inches long, and 69-inches wide.


The longer wheelbase of the CJ7 (93 inches – 149 inches long, and 69 inches wide) gave more space to accommodate advanced features and provide extra comfort.

4. Cylinders


One other major difference between the CJ5 and the CJ7 is the cylinders used to power the engine. The CJ5 had 6 cylinders


The CJ7 came with 4 cylinders that provided better performance but consumed a lot of fuel.

5. Under-hood


The CJ5 used a series of engines to provide the necessary torque and horsepower for off-road driving.

It started with a 4 cylinder hurricane engine with a modest 7.4-to-1 compression ratio. In 1965, the manufacturer introduced a 160-horsepower, 225-cubic-inch Dauntless V-6 engine.

The V-6 was replaced by the 150-horsepower, 304-cubic-inch Dauntless V-8 engine that offered more torque.

The CJ5 also offered the 232-cubic-inch base on the six-cylinder line or 258 V-6 and 151 cubic inches inline 4-cylinder Iron Duke.


The CJ7 had all the engines like the CJ5, except the Dauntless V-6. The jeep also offered a 145 cubic inch, inline four-cylinder, and C240 Diesel Isuzu engine.

6. Transmission


The CJ5 only came with a manual transmission. Many people installed a custom transmission system onto their jeep that can change the manual transmission automatically.


The bigger frame and wheelbase allowed the CJ7 to install the auto transmission system and made driving much easier.

7. Storage space


Due to the compact design, the CJ5 had less storage space too. Getting into the car was trickier and you’d have less room for your equipment. The jeep also had to compromise the rear seats to make adequate room.


The CJ7 provided more comfort and storage space than the CJ5. The jeep didn’t have to compromise the rear seats and could accommodate most of your equipment alongside providing better access to the vehicle.

Here is a chart showcasing the key similarities and differences between the CJ5 and CJ7 Jeep:




Production duration 1955 to 1983 1976 to 1986
Passenger limit 4 people 4 people
Door opening type  S-Shaped U-Shaped
Drive train 4WD 4WD
Length  142 inches 153 inches
Width  68 inches 65 inches
Height  66 inches 70 inches
Leg room 37 inches 39 inches
Windshield  59 inches 59 inches
Wheelbase 83.4 inches 93.5 inches
Engines AMC 304, 258, 232, 225, GM 151 AMC304, 258, GM151
Fuel type Gasoline Gasoline
Fuel delivery Carbureted – 1bbl, 2bbl Carbureted – 1bbl, 2bbl
Cylinders  6 4
Fuel tank capacity 15 gallons 15 gallons, 22 gallons
Compression ratio 9:1 9:1
Wheel bolt pattern 5 x 5.5? 5 x 5.5?
Displacement  2,500 cc 2,500 cc
Front axle Dana 30(72-83) Dana 30
Rear-axle AMC20(76-86), Dana 44(72-75) AMC20(82-86), Dana 44(86)
Suspension  Leaf Spring Under Leaf Spring Under
Steering  Manual (early), Power(later) Manual (early), Power(later)
Brakes  Early(4/Drum), Late(Disc/Drum) Front Disc / Rear Drum
Brake options Manual (early), Power(later) Manual (early), Power(later)
Transmissions  T150, 14, 176, 18, SR4 T15/14/5/18, TH400, SR4, TF999/904
Transmission pattern Manual(early), Auto(Later) Manual, Auto
Maximum power 99 PS at 3200 rpm 128 PS at 3600 rpm.
Price  Relatively cheaper Costly
Outlook  Vintage and robust Modern and cool
Curb weight 1209 Kg 1228 Kg

Cj5 Vs Cj7: Pros and cons

Pros of Cj5

  • Comparatively cheaper
  • Better fuel economy
  • Good performance off-road
  • Compact design is perfect for off-road driving
  • Stylish outlook
  • Easier to maneuver through tight trails
  • Lighter body

Cons of Cj5

  • Less legroom and storage space
  • No automatic transmission system
  • Have a tendency to flip over
  • Potentially dangerous driving on-road (flips over easily)
  • Hard to find spare parts
  • Comparatively lower performance

Pros of Cj7

  • Automatic transmission system
  • Larger wheelbase
  • More legroom and storage space
  • Good performance in both off-read and on-read
  • Easier to find parts
  • Wide range of motorization (83-195 hp)
  • Bigger frame can accommodate more features
  • Higher performance
  • Comes with a soft top

Cons of Cj7

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Comparatively expensive

Which One to Choose

At the end of the day, this depends on your personal preference. If you like the retro outlook and compact design of the CJ5, be my guest. However, keep in mind that the jeep was discontinued a long time ago, so you’ll have a harder time finding spare parts.

The CJ5 is great for tight trails and mud holes. We don’t recommend getting a CJ5 because of its tendency to flip over, which is potentially dangerous.

If you want more legroom/storage space, better performance, and auto transmission; and are comfortable with paying the extra money, we recommend you choose the CJ7. They are a better investment due to their stability and readily available aftermarket parts.

The CJ7 is perfect for tall drivers and people who are looking for a smoother ride. The debate over Cj5 Vs Cj7 is going on for quite some time and is not going to settle anytime soon, so get the one that you think is the best fit for you.

About the author

Paul Lucas

I grew up in a classic car-oriented family, and was taught how to differentiate between a Ford and a Chevy by my dad when I was just five years old! With special feelings for anything Italian, I enjoy driving and restoring old cars.

Over the years, I became tired of those cookie-cutter auto blogs that copy content from each other and decided to take matters into my own hands! So, I am here to bring you the latest auto industry news, tech innovations, the hottest cars and their specs, reviews, test drives, tuning, and more.

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