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The Jeep Wrangler is the only Jeep that matters. I believe there are a number of people in the world who might disagree with that sentiment, but unfortunately, they are wrong. The Jeep Wrangler (and Jeep Gladiator by proxy) has to be the only Jeep that matters because, without it, no other Jeep model would be taken as seriously. It has been a long time since the world turned on its axis without a Jeep Wrangler (or proto Wranglers like Willys and CJs) somewhere on its surface. Here’s to hoping we don’t ever have to suffer that again as a species. 

Why do people love Jeep Wranglers so much? 

Special edition Jeep SUV and truck in unique Gobi beige color, a lake visible in the background.
2022 Jeep Gladiator and Wrangler in Gobi | Stellantis

Explaining why car dorks like a certain model can often come with a heavy dose of inside baseball that no one other than the person talking cares about. However, the Jeep Wrangler is special in this way. Unlike some obscure Porsche that only existed as a model for six days or some such, the Wrangler’s popularity comes from a long history of being plentiful and accessible. 

Jeep has a long and fascinating history. You can dig deeper into the history of the Jeep Wrangler here. That said, most Americans understand the connection between WW2 and the Jeep. Its success as a war machine comes from it being cheap to build, simple to work on, easy to drive, and as capable as an angry goat. After the war, AMC brought the Jeep CJ to the consumer. It was a smash hit with civilians for all the same reasons that it worked for the war. 

Decades later, 4×4 enthusiasts still lean on the Wrangler as the option for a cheap, simple, and reliable rig to shuttle us to all manner of outdoor activities. Granted, modern Jeeps are getting more expensive. Although I still dig some of the new Wrangler and Gladiator models, higher pricing and more luxurious upgrades are challenging the long-standing reputation of the Wrangler. But that is the way of the world, and we’d better get comfortable with it. Even still, the Jeep Wrangler has maintained a firm grip on the pulse of off-roading. 

Are Jeep Wranglers good SUVs? 

A skyward 2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 climbs a rocky terrain feature.
2024 Jeep Wrangler 392 | Stellantis

The Wrangler’s specialty isn’t efficiency, gratefulness, or even price (anymore). What makes the Wrangler so special and, in fact, a good SUV is how it inspires us. It’s true that most people who own a Jeep Wrangler aren’t likely to take it off-road. Somehow, this doesn’t matter all that much. People still buy them for their off-roading abilities without ever truly intending to use them that way. 

Thankfully for Jeep, we aren’t very honest with ourselves. The fact is people buy a Jeep Wrangler not for what it can do off-road but for the fact that they can go off-road with it if they want to. These things are subtle but different. Many Jeep owners like the idea of adventure and off-roading, but that doesn’t mean they will ever actually do it. Same with buying a Chevrolet Corvette – you own a race car, and you like race cars, but that doesn’t mean you will race that car. In fact, like a Jeep, most people will never even take their Corvette to a track, much less race it. 

This is all to say that while there are plenty of very legitimate criticisms you could make about the Jeep Wrangler, it is without question the only Jeep model that matters. It matters for the simple reason that people care about the Wrangler – it reaches an emotional place most SUVs only aspire to tap into.