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By the numbers, the Jeep Wrangler lags far behind its competition. And its critics are quick to point out that the Jeep Wrangler’s outdated. But the Wrangler, like the Mazda Miata, Dodge Challenger, and certain motorcycles, gives its driver the taste of a bygone era in exchange for sacrificing certain modern comforts. If this is what you want to drive, no one can talk you out of it. But if you are on the fence and considering reading reviews, do yourself a favor and buy something else instead.

The history of the Jeep Wrangler

A Willys Jeep and Dodge truck parked on a mountain road during World War Two.
WWII Jeep Willys in 1944 | Jim Heimann Collection/Getty Images)

The Jeep Wrangler is an objectively outdated SUV. Problems with this vehicle include its full-frame construction, solid-axle design, and inefficient powertrain.

In WWII, the Allied Forces needed a cheap way to transport forces cross-country. The U.S. government put out a call for a tiny, efficient 4WD vehicle with a tight turning radius.

The Allied Generals essentially wanted a modern side-by-side. The best Detroit of the 1940s could muster was the Willys Jeep. With full-frame construction and a part-time 4WD system, it fell short of most metrics the Army had set. But as the best candidate, they greenlit it anyway.

After the little Jeep helped win the war, Willys offered a version to civilians. It sold like crazy. The modern Wrangler is just the product of continual tweaks to this original design.

Problems with the 2022 Jeep Wrangler

Purple Jeep Wrangler 4x4 SUV parked on a mountaintop.
Jeep Wrangler JL | Stellantis

Reviewers will be quick to tell you that the Jeep Wrangler is far from the most fuel-efficient, best handling, or most comfortable SUV. But for the die-hard fans, these are not the reasons they buy a Jeep Wrangler.

Consumer Reports gave the 2022 Wrangler a lackluster 28/100 overall. The reviewers complained about the outdated SUV’s stiff ride, wind noise, and poor fuel efficiency. They even wrote up how, compared to a car, it’s difficult to get in and out of a Jeep. Because, you know, a Jeep Wrangler sits high off the ground.

A very tangible problem with the Jeep Wrangler is its standard powertrain. Jeep offers this SUV with an old-school, naturally aspirated V6. The manual transmission option adds some giddy-up, but it still isn’t a cutting-edge, turbocharged engine like the Bronco’s EcoBoost.

 Next, while the Bronco and other competitors boast road-hugging independent front suspension, the Jeep bounces along on a solid front axle. This is a technology many full-size pickup trucks have long since abandoned. This makes the Wrangler sturdier off-road but gives it the driving characteristics of a classic vehicle.

Finally, the Wrangler features an industry-leading Uconnect system with Bluetooth connectivity. But otherwise, its interior is lacking. Its headroom is limited, its seats simple, and its overall comfort lackluster.

Why in the world would you buy a Jeep?

Man driving his convertible Jeep Wrangler down the road.
Jeep Wrangler JL | Jacob Jolibois via Unsplash

To summarize: the Jeep Wrangler is less comfortable, less fuel-efficient, and less capable on-road than its competitors. By the numbers, it’s a lesser automobile. So why would you buy one, unless to relive the golden age of the automobile?

A modern SUV offers the ground clearance to navigate mild off-road terrain, the style to fit in, and the handling to hold a 90 mph cruise control setting through sweeping interstate curves. Why would you want anything else?

Some drivers feel that today’s cars have gone too far. The incredibly quiet and smooth ride leaves drivers disconnected from the road. The easily ignored acceleration makes us take speed for granted. The overwhelming creature comforts put us to sleep instead of invigorating us the way driving once did.

Some drivers actually seek out something from a bygone era. They are on the hunt for a car from a time when man and machine better complemented one another.

Critics and reviewers just don’t get it. And they don’t need to. Don’t bother reading Jeep Wrangler reviews, they will just confirm what you already know. If you just want to get from point A to point B, your most sensible choice is a gently used Japanese sedan. If you want your drives to be an experience, consider an “outdated” vehicle such as the Jeep Wrangler.


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