As with any vehicle purchase, there are plenty of things to consider before making a decision. Buying a Jeep
no different. Price, reliability, fuel economy, style, and versatility are all important factors to keep in mind.
see where the Jeep Wrangler falls in those categories.
Why Buy a Jeep Wrangler?
The Wrangler is known for its versatility and ability to go off the beaten path. Unlike most vehicles, Wranglers can
take you nearly anywhere you want to go. Within the limits of the law, of course.
But there are also reasons why it may not be the best fit for you. Wranglers are known to be gas-guzzlers, less
comfortable on the highway, and less reliable than other comparable SUVs.
Are Jeep Wranglers Good Cars?
The Jeep Wrangler was the 2019 MotorTrend SUV of the Year, so it has to be pretty good to beat out all the
As with everything though, whether the Jeep Wrangler will be a good car for you is subjective and dependent on your
Those who want a comfortable vehicle to drive to work every day might be disappointed with the Wrangler. Although
newer models certainly have more creature comforts, they still lack the smooth handling of other vehicles built just
on-road use. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more versatile vehicle than the Wrangler.
Are Jeep Wranglers Reliable?
J.D. Power rated the 2019 JL
Wrangler Sport 4x4 a 65/100 for quality and reliability, which is average. It received an
82/100 in driving experience, 88/100 in resale, and 69/100 for dealership experience. The Wrangler’s total overall
was a 74/100. This ranks it 15th in comparison to competing SUV models.
Reliability also boils down to whether you’re looking for a new or used Wrangler. What model year you’re considering
a key factor. Used Jeeps have a much higher chance of being unreliable as you don’t know the vehicle’s history, what
accidents it’s been in, or what modifications have been done under the hood.
People love to mod their Wranglers, but you may not know everything they’ve done to it. You don’t want to inherit
someone else’s problem by buying an overly modded used Jeep. Older models will also lack the safety features of
Wranglers. But they may be easier to work on as they’re less complicated than modern vehicles.
Jeep Wrangler Pros
Let’s start with the good news first. There are many pros to Wrangler ownership, the most obvious one being off-road
Unrivaled Off-Road Capability
It’s no secret the Wrangler’s off-road performance is unmatched by many SUVs in the same price range. There is no
competition to the Wrangler, although Ford’s
new Bronco might change that.
With a Command-Trac® 4x4 System, Dana® axles, and skid plates, even the most basic Wrangler can tackle the trails
without issue or further modifications.
Although any Wrangler is built to go off-road, Jeep’s most capable model is the Rubicon. Here are a few features
come standard on the Rubicon:
- Locking front and rear Dana 44 heavy-duty axles
- Electronic sway bar disconnect
- Rock-Trac® 4:1 transfer case with a crawl ratio of up to 84:1
- 33-inch all-terrain tires
- Steel off-road rock rails and skid plates
- A vented power dome hood
The Rubicon is great for experienced off-roaders or those who are interested in doing more extreme trail riding. But
don’t have to spend extra on added features or an upgraded model if you want to do some light to moderate
Available as a Two-Door or Four-Door Model
Another unique feature of the Wrangler is that it comes in both two-door and four-door options. The four-door model
known as the Wrangler
Unlimited. It was introduced in 2007 for the release of the third-generation JK Wrangler. Older
Wranglers were only available as a two-door.
If you’re looking to purchase a vehicle for off-roading, then the two-door Wrangler is your best bet. With a shorter
wheelbase, it’s got a better breakover angle, more maneuverability, and a tighter turning radius.
The four-door Wrangler is more suitable for those who are looking for a family vehicle or need extra space. But
fooled. You can still do plenty of off-roading in a four-door model. The increased stability of the longer wheelbase
allows the four-door to climb effortlessly over hills. It just won’t be as nimble on the trails. Plus there’s more
for the kids and your dog!
How many other SUVs have removable doors and tops? Not many. Although Toyota tried to bring back the FJ Cruiser, it
didn’t have a removable roof or doors. That’s probably one of the reasons it had such a short production run, only
lasting from 2006 to 2014.
Jeep knows the market well and has made sure to keep the open-air capability of the Wrangler.
Off-roading with an open-air SUV allows you to connect more with your surroundings. It’s also just really fun and
Good Resale Value
We all know that as soon as you drive a new car off the lot, the value instantly depreciates. For Jeep Wranglers,
depreciation is less than most other new vehicles. This means that a Wrangler will keep its value better over time.
The Wrangler actually topped Road & Track’s list of “New Cars That Depreciate Least” in 2019. Using data from iSeeCars,
they stated that the average car loses around 50% of its value after the first five years. For the Jeep Wrangler,
average is much lower at 30.75%.
Not only will Jeeps hold their value, but the parts are relatively affordable and repairs are usually reasonably
The Jeep Wrangler is a classic, plain and simple. Its roots date back to World War II and the Civilian Jeeps (CJs) that
were sold afterward. The first Wrangler generation was released in 1986 as a successor to the well-loved Jeep CJs. Now,
four decades later, the Wrangler has a history
of its own.
Four-Wheel Drive Capability
For a Wrangler to take you anywhere and everywhere, it’s got to have a good four-wheel-drive system. Jeep actually
offers three different 4WD systems for the Wrangler. First, there’s the Command-Trac® 4x4 System. This part-time,
shift-on-the-fly system can switch easily from 2WD to 4WD at speeds up to 45 mph.
The Selec-Trac® Full-Time 4x4 System features an active 4WD transfer case. This smart system will analyze the road
conditions and send torque to the wheels that are producing the most grip. With continual traction, you can easily
conquer the snow, mud, or rocks. Smart Lock capabilities ensure your 4WD will stay intact when tackling challenging
Finally, there’s the Rock-Trac® 4x4 System. Not surprisingly, this is the most extreme system Jeep offers. A 4:1
low-gear ratio grants an incredible amount of torque and will help you maintain control when crawling over rocks at
Strong Enthusiast Community
When you buy a Wrangler, you aren’t just getting a vehicle. You become part of the Jeep Family. The Jeep community
tight-knit and welcoming to all, especially off-roading beginners.
There are tons of online forums and local Jeep clubs that you could join. You’ll never feel alone on the open road.
don’t forget to do the Jeep wave when you pass by a fellow Jeeper!
Tons of Aftermarket Parts
Jeep Wranglers are easily modifiable, which means aftermarket parts are abundant. You can customize your Wrangler
exactly how you want from suspension
components to off-road LED
lights. There are plenty of aftermarket parts available
for both new and classic Wranglers.
Fun Paint Colors
Over the years, Jeep has come out with a wide variety of paint colors for the Wrangler. From Crush Orange to Xtreme
Purple Pearl, Jeep’s played with every shade of the rainbow. New shades for the JL Wrangler included Punk’n
Hellayella, and Bikini. What’s not to love about cheeky shade names and bright paint colors?
Jeep Wrangler Cons
Although there’s much to love, there are also some drawbacks to buying a Jeep Wrangler. Its poor fuel economy,
price point, and lack of cargo space are the main disadvantages.
Poor Fuel Economy
Jeep Wranglers are notorious for their poor fuel economy. Of course, this has gotten better over the years as Jeep
worked to improve it. Even so, the Wrangler still doesn’t get great gas mileage. The standard 3.6L Pentastar V6
gets up to 17 city and 25 highway mpg.
When Jeep released the JL Wrangler, they added a more fuel-efficient 3.0L EcoDiesel to the engine lineup. The
can get up to 22 city or 29 highway mpg. Jeep has announced plans for a full plug-in hybrid Wrangler, which would
it much more competitive in terms of fuel economy.
Despite maintaining their value, Jeep Wranglers don’t come cheap. People often ask why Jeep Wranglers are so
We already know they maintain their value, so that could be one reason.
Prices tend to increase as vehicles add more modern technology and design features. Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi
functionality, large touch screens, navigation systems, premium audio, and LED lights are just a few things that
the price up.
As one of the few off-road centric SUVs on the market, there’s also not much competition for the Wrangler. Other
the Toyota 4Runner, the main Wrangler alternatives are the pricier Toyota Land Cruiser, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, and
The Wrangler actually has a lower starting cost than any of those vehicles. The price of a Wrangler starts at around
$28,000 for a basic two-door model and can go upwards of nearly $47,000 for a limited edition. Buying used is always
option as well, but even used Wranglers can go for a hefty price.
Lack of Cargo Space
The lack of cargo space is one of the Wrangler’s biggest issues. The two-door, of course, has much less cargo
the four-door Wrangler. The JL offers the best cargo specs of any Wrangler made so far. Previous generations
even less cargo space.
The two-door JL Wrangler has 12.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up and 46.9 cubic feet with the seats
The four-door JL offers a much larger amount of cargo space at 31.7 cubic feet with the seats up and 72.4 cubic
with the seats down.
If you know you’ll need the extra cargo space, the Wrangler Unlimited is the way to go.
Less Comfortable on the Road
Wranglers are not known for their on-road comfort. Expect a bumpier ride in comparison to SUVs with longer
The shorter wheelbase results in less time between the front and rear wheels hitting bumps in the road. This
overall clunkier driving experience. The four-door Wranglers have a longer wheelbase and will ride smoother.
The type of tires you’re running also play a role in ride comfort. A good pair of tires that are
suited for both on- and
off-road use can make a huge difference.
Road noise has always been an issue for Jeeps due to their lack of insulation and boxy design. Wind noise is
loud because of the lack of aerodynamics. There are steps you can take to soundproof a Wrangler that help
noise though. This usually involves installing headliners along with window and door insulation.
Lack of Engine Options
For years, the lone engine option available for the Wrangler was the 3.6L Pentastar V6. When the JL Wrangler
released, Jeep added a few new engine options. Along with the staple Pentastar engine, there’s the four-cylinder
Turbo and 3.0L EcoDiesel V6.
If those choices don’t suit your fancy, you can always do an engine swap on the JL
Wrangler. I mean, what’s cooler than
a Wrangler with a HEMI?
Should You Buy a Jeep Wrangler?
Only you can decide if you should buy a Jeep Wrangler. Talking to other Wrangler owners, doing research, and
going for a test drive can help you make that decision easier. You could even rent a Jeep Wrangler for a few
days before committing fully.
Pros of buying a Wrangler include it’s good resale value, off-road and four-wheel drive capabilities, and the
widespread availability of aftermarket parts. Cons include the road noise, poor fuel economy, and lack of engine
If you do make the decision to buy a Wrangler, half the fun is adding your own personal touches. Subscribe to our newsletter
to get deals on all the newest Jeep Wrangler parts and accessories.
Sources: New Cars that Depreciate Least, Road and Track | 2019 Jeep Wrangler Ranking, J.D. Power | Jeep Wrangler is the 2019 MotorTrend SUV of the Year, MotorTrend
Image Credit: Jeep
This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.