Is This 1990 Comanche the Most ‘Jeep’ Truck Ever Built?
So you like the Jeep Wrangler–maybe you’ve driven a friend’s or rented one while traveling–but you are in the market for an older truck to take to the lumber store on weekends and for the occasional camping trip. I present to you the totally rad Jeep Comanche!
Are Jeep Comanches rare?
Jeep built its Cherokee-based “Comanche” truck from 1986-1992. It only built 200,000 Comanches (Vs. 2.8 million Cherokee XJs). Many Comanche’s were driven hard and worn out long ago, so finding one in good condition can be exceedingly difficult.
If you do stumble across a Jeep Comanche, you should know that the truck’s major downside. Its cab section is borrowed from the unibody Cherokee SUV. Without a full-length ladder frame (like you find under a Wrangler or most other trucks), the Comanche is especially prone to irreparable rust. Have a professional inspect one before investing your hard-earned cash in it.
Now that we have that out of the way let’s talk about how awesome the Jeep Comanche is! Not only have most Jeep fans never seen one, but you can modify it to off-road with easily available Cherokee parts. They have a powerful and reliable 4.0-liter I6 and were available in groovy colors like the “Grabber Blue” (pictured). The Comanche is simply one of the raddest old trucks around.
Dig old 1980s and 1990s vehicles? You can some other Radwood-era classics compete in the Dakar Classic off-road 4×4 race.
Why was the Jeep Comanche discontinued?
Conspiracy theory incoming: Put on your tinfoil hat! Comanche enthusiasts say that Dodge killed Jeep’s midsize truck to reduce competition against the D50 Dakota after acquiring Jeep in 1987. But the boring truth is there just wasn’t a market for the Comanche.
Dodge seemed happy to allow Dakota competitors on the market, such as the mechanically identical Mitsubishi Mighty Max. But after Jeep only sold 200,000 Comanche’s over six years, it became apparent that the world was not ready for a unibody midsize Jeep truck.
It may still not be. Jeep was wise to make the Gladiator a full-frame, solid-axle truck based on the Wrangler. The Gladiator even has a 7,650-pound top towing capacity and a diesel engine option. And of course Stellantis doesn’t much care whether this engine and other shared components wear a Ram or Jeep badge, so long as it gets paid.
But even though the Gladiator is an instant classic truck, it just isn’t as cool as driving a retro Comanche. It also starts at an eye-popping $37k. Finally, the new four-door Jeep truck’s 218″ length and 44.5-foot turning radius is enough to cripple it on certain off-road trails the Comanche could tackle with ease.
What is a Jeep Comanche worth?
If you can find a used Jeep Comanche, its owner may be willing to part with it for very little–about as much as a comparable Cherokee ($8k-ish). A top-of-the-line modified Comanche sold on Cars and Bids in March 2023 for just $12,100.
Multiple Jeep Comanche’s have sold on Cars and Bids in the $8k range, with the absolute lowest going for just $5,900 back in 2020. If you sort Ebay by Comanche’s sold in 2022 and 2023 you get similar results: final prices ranging from $6,000 t $8,500.
So is a Jeep Comanche right for you? If you want a vintage midsize truck to drive around on the weekends, you could do much worse. A Comanche offers the repairability of a Cherokee while being a Jeep very few folks have seen in person. Its quirky personality and 4WD capability make it the most “Jeep” truck you can buy. Just be careful of rust, and make sure you know the history of the truck you’re buying.
See a Jeep Comanche for yourself in the video below: