There are Cheaper Jeep Wrangler Alternatives That You Might Want to Consider

Jeep Wranglers are a massive force in the automotive world. The following, the merch, the culture; it’s huge. However, some people might dig doing Jeep things without having to pay for a Jeep. The once-affordable off-roaders have grown some fancy leather seats, touchscreens, and other bits that take them from big, road-legal go-karts to real SUVs with real SUV price tags. Here are some cheaper Jeep Wrangler alternatives that you might want to consider. 

A head on view of a red Jeep Wrangler driving down a road with a mountain scenery in the background.
2023 Jeep Wrangler | Jeep, Stellantis

What is the best Jeep Wrangler for the money? 

Before moving on from the Wrangler, it’s worth mentioning that this nameplate describes one of the most iconic and capable off-roaders ever made. No one can deny that. So, if you want a Wrangler to do Wrangler things, the best way to go is to get a Wrangler. However, this can come at a cost. MSRP for a base-model 2023 Jeep Wrangler 2-door starts at $30,295. If you want four doors, it’s $34,165 to start. That ain’t cheap. 

The only way around this is by going back in the Wrangler catalog and shooting for a used, non-clapped Jeep Wrangler TJ (1997-2006). Due to the nature of Jeeps, finding a used one in decent shape can be tricky. However, this generation of Wrangler is tough. As long as the Jeep hasn’t begun to rust and has fewer than 200,000 miles, you’re probably in good shape. It’s still possible to get one of these for under $15,000. 

What are the best Jeep Wrangler alternatives? 

The Ford Bronco is the Jeep Wrangler’s main rival. However, the Bronco won’t save you any cash, but we’d be remiss if we left it off the list. The Bronco was built to rival the Jeep, and it does. It’s a proper body-on-frame SUV with a real 4×4 driveline and miles of accessories to pick from. 

Is a Land Rover Defender better than a Jeep Wrangler?

This is a tough one to answer. The Defender is every bit as iconic as the Wrangler and also probably as tough an off-roader. However, the older generations are essentially road-legal tractors. These 4×4 are tough, cool, and timeless, but that timelessness is felt by offering you almost nothing in the way of comfort, even in its mildest forms. However, we are talking about Wrangler alternatives, after all. 

What is an Isuzu Amigo? 

The Isuzu Amigo is a proper cheaper alternative to the Jeep Wrangler. Granted, they aren’t all that good-looking, but their style is starting to make it back around to fashionable. 

The Amigo not only has a friendly name, but it also is a friendly 4×4 import that was built using solid parts and all the right construction. The early gens were four-cylinder little compact SUVs that had transfer cases with a real low-range ratio, sturdy independent front suspension, and solid rear axles suspended by either leaf springs for the first-generation or coil springs on the second-generation models. 

Just buy a Suzuki Samurai already 

While there are plenty of Jeep Wrangler alternatives, the Suzuki Samurai is really the only one that fully embodies the spirit of the Wrangler. The Samurai is small, uncomfortable, cheap, has a cool name, and is unstoppable. More to the point, it got simple solid axles, leaf springs at each corner, a body-on-frame design, and a good selection of aftermarket support available. It is the Japanese Jeep Wrangler. 

The only issue with these tends to be finding one in decent shape. Given the activities the Samurai are best at, they are often found rusty and busted. Finding a clean one can be tough, and you’ll have to pay a premium for the pleasure, but they are still far more affordable than a new Wrangler. 

Other alternatives

As we mentioned earlier, there are tons of alternatives to the Jeep Wrangler. The only problem is that finding used off-roaders in good condition can be tough. However, even MotorTrend recommends that if you find a clean example of a Toyota FJ Cruiser, early 4runner, or, if you’re really lucky, a Toyota Land Cruiser, then jump on it. The old Jeep days are over, so if you want an affordable off-roader, you gotta look elsewhere.