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J.D. Power is a legacy name in the automotive world. Every car commercial of all time (it feels like) will cite some J.D. Power award we’ve never heard of, but it makes us feel better. Lately, we have looked at how J.D. Power and other publications rate the same cars. The further in we go, the stranger it gets. The 2022 Jeep Wrangler scoring better than the massively popular 2022 Mustang Mach-E, might be the best example of J.D. Power’s strange taste. 

A 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe plug-in hybrid SUV parked in the mountains
2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Stellantis

The 2022 Jeep Wrangler beat the 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E on J.D. Power

J.D. Power has 10 vehicles rated in the compact SUV category. Of those 10, the 2022 Jeep Wrangler came in last place for many publications – came in 8th place. I know that doesn’t sound all that different from Consumer Reports or any of the other major publications that ranked it poorly, but when you see the scoring, it all gets weirder. Especially considering the 2022 Mustang Mach-E came in last place. 

J.D. Power’s list of the best Compact SUVs of 2022

A white Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV is parked.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E | Ford
  • Buick Envision: 85/100
  • Kia Sportage: 84/100
  • Honda CR-V: 83/100
  • Hyundai Tucson: 82/100
  • Subaru Forester: 82/100
  • GMC Terrain: 82/100
  • Chevy Equinox: 82/100
  • Jeep Wrangler: 80/100
  • Volkswagen Tiguan: 76/100
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E: 73/100

This list is wild. At least, in the sense that most major publications tend to circle around the same handful of models for a top five. This is due to the fact that some models are objectively more reliable, comfortable, and safe than others. The details can vary, but those aspects tend to be graded pretty consistently. 

This list has some of those models, like the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Forester. However, the top 10 is only separated by 12 points. Even stranger, the Buick Envision is ranked first, and the GMC Terrain is 6th, with only three points separating them. 

Is the Jeep Wrangler really a great SUV? 

2022 Jeep Wrangler on a road
2022 Jeep Wrangler Sahara | JEEP

What’s really funny about this list of best compact SUVs is that the Wrangler – a well-loved and very popular model – is widely considered one of the most impractical SUVs ever made. 

The older models were tough, off-road machines; the new ones still serve that purpose for many. However, reliability and safety issues continue to have plagued the model for the entirety of the current generation. So, how could it beat the quiet, comfortable, efficient, and massively popular Mustang Mach-E? 

While J.D. Power’s ranking of compact SUVs feels a little arbitrary compared to Consumer Reports or Car and Driver, the Jeep Wrangler rank might be extra rogue, but it does make sense. JDP made the distinction that the Wrangler should be graded on why people buy them, not what they actually do. 

No one is quite sure why the Wrangler gets so much leniency, but I’m glad it does. Jeeps, unlike any other SUV I can think of, offer customers a chance at a certain kind of lifestyle. Not wearing goofy Porsche gear or a BMW hat, but Jeepers think by having a Jeep, they will begin or continue a more adventurous lifestyle. Whether or not it ever touches dirt doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is that it can, and owners can if the mood takes them. Jeep Wranglers are the SUV for the hopeful. They hope to change their lifestyle or at least their perception of their lifestyle. It’s a beautiful thing. 

J.D. Power’s list may not feel very objective, but it does strike me as honest. Consumer Reports ranked the Wrangler dead last because of what it is; J.D. Power ranked it higher than the Mustang Mach-E because of what it might be, and I like that.