Explore the Best and Worst Features of Jeep Wranglers

Jeep Wrangler
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The Jeep Wrangler is definitely not for everyone. Whether or not you should own one depends largely on your personality (and your sense of adventure).

Sports car enthusiasts and anyone who prefers the luxury of a smooth ride, leather seats, and other plush amenities will be highly disappointed. So too will families with children, who first and foremost desire a safe, roomy SUV.

Young at Heart

The Wrangler is more about attitude than anything else.

With removable doors, a fold-down windshield, removable top, replacement half-doors, holes in the floorboards for hosing out the interior when it's dirty, it's the ultimate outdoor adventurer's vehicle.

A Jeep Wrangler gives you the freedom to drive (almost) anywhere you want to go. Buying a Jeep also admits you into an extremely active and public fraternity. Whether you're young in age or young at heart, it's the youthful sense of adventure that makes a Wrangler a great vehicle to own. And to top it all off, Wranglers hold their value quite well, so you'll get excellent resell value when you're ready to move on.

A Lifestyle Changer

Own a Wrangler and pretty soon you'll want to put its 4x4 capabilities to the test off-road. It was built to go where few passenger vehicles can, so on those beautiful days, take the top and doors off, load up your hiking or bicycling gear, and get ready to feel the wind through your hair as you head off to find adventure.

You might even join up with other Wrangler owners at events known as Jeep Jamborees, which bring Jeep owners together to explore the great outdoors through a variety of off- and on-road weekend adventures. The beauty of the Jeep is that these events, or ones that you craft for yourself, can be held at any time during the year.

Wranglers can go where few vehicles can, and that includes tackling ice and snow.

Buying a Jeep Wrangler

Whatever you do, don't buy a Wrangler on impulse. Instead, do your research and consider the following pros and cons. Then take it for a test drive or two. Drive other vehicles and make notes of their differences. Talk to other Wrangler owners and (especially) ex-owners. Make a list of every vehicular need you have and highlight any that the Wrangler cannot provide. Then test drive it again.

Pros

Here are just a few of the features that make the Wrangler so popular:

  • Classic design, along with a host of accessories to customize its look
  • Mixes the durability and power of an SUV with the cool factor of a convertible
  • Its height advantage over most cars ensures great visibility
  • Good heating system
  • A simply constructed vehicle that's easy to repair—and parts are readily available and inexpensive
  • Its short wheelbase, powerful drivetrain, body size, and tight turning ratios are all great for off-roading
  • Lightweight and small in size, making it a cinch to swing into tight spots
  • Rugged and durable; Jeeps last for many years and many miles
  • Handles well on pavement, mud, sand, snow, water, and more
  • Durable interior made for weathering the elements
  • Relatively low price with excellent resale value
  • Downright fun to drive

Cons

Make no mistake, though, a Wrangler is definitely a "no frills" vehicle. It comes with few extras—even some of the basics (carpet, steel doors, rear seat) are considered options. Neither is it a comfortable city ride. In fact, if comfort, security, and safety are top on your list of vehicle requirements, you should probably think twice about buying a Jeep Wrangler. Here are a few other negatives that could influence your decision to buy a Wrangler—at least as a primary family vehicle:

  • Unnecessary if you don't plan to recreate it in the great outdoors
  • Doesn't boast a high safety rating
  • Because the Wrangler doesn't have a trunk that locks, it's not built for hauling groceries, luggage, etc.
  • Uncomfortable on long commutes
  • Guzzles gas
  • If you (or your passengers) are concerned about how you'll look when you get to your destination, then you might not appreciate the "glow" (aka sweat) or windblown hair you get from riding in a Jeep convertible. 
  • Weak acceleration
  • The seating isn't the most comfortable—it's awkward to get into and out of the rear seats, which are cramped; the front seat requires a high step in, which might be difficult for the elderly or infirm; and the front seat positions are uncomfortable for taller drivers and passengers.
  • Noisy
  • Firm suspension results in a stiff, bumpy ride
  • Rear visibility can be a challenge with the top on
  • Slow steering
  • Tall, boxy profile is not aerodynamic, meaning greater wind resistance and wind noise
  • Outdated appearance of gages and switchgear
  • Even in the summer, the air is cooler than you'd think so you must always bring a jacket
  • Small, flimsy doors
  • The rear-view mirror is out of the line of vision for taller drivers
  • Windshield wipers remain in the upright position when "off"
  • Base sound system is less than adequate
  • If you're riding without the top and/or sides, you must always be prepared for rain
  • Lack of side mirrors when you take off the doors
  • Short wheelbase makes highway driving rougher than in larger vehicles
  • Uninsulated roof
  • Less practical in colder climates
  • It only seats four