I was on the highway recently and I passed more than 20 Wranglers during my 10-minute drive. I thought nothing of it until a buddy pointed it out. Then I realized — Wranglers are everywhere. They’re super popular. But, why?
Many people find their own reason to love their Wrangler. It’s a lightweight, low-cost, off-roading beast. The vehicle is super customizable and has many different special editions and trim levels to choose from. The community is tight, and the performance is impressive.
In this piece, I’ll explore that question and list 15 reasons why Jeep Wranglers are so popular. If you’re as curious as I am, this will help you out.
Introducing the Jeep Wrangler
A Jeep Wrangler is a 2 or 4-door off-road SUV. The four body styles are YJ, TJ, JK, and JL. Each comes in several different trims options.
Their biggest model is 4,440 pounds, 71 inches tall, 74 inches wide, and 188 inches long with a 118-inch wheelbase. A comparable Nissan Pathfinder is 4 inches wider and 9 inches longer.
I’ll talk more about the history later, but the Wrangler’s ancestor was a vehicle used by Americans in WWII. It became commercially available in America in 1986 and has sold like hotcakes ever since.
Jeep is part of the Stellantis auto family, alongside other American brands Chrysler and Dodge plus a dozen European car brands. They’re sold in a number of different markets, but the American one is the biggest player when it comes to Wranglers.
15 Reasons Why Jeep Wranglers Are So Popular
The best way to explain why Wranglers are so great is to give a list of reasons. These are some of the top reasons why Wrangler owners love their cars, and why they’re so popular.
The Body Styling is Iconic
The Jeep’s body styling is maybe one of the easiest to recognize. Even people who know nothing about cars typically know what a Jeep looks like.
Personally, I think the body styling is iconic. The similarities between the original 1986 model and today’s models are hard to deny. They look nearly identical. This is proof positive that the exterior design is timeless.
If Marty McFly took a Jeep instead of a DeLorean, people might not even suspect him to be a time traveler.
The Community is Tight
Have you heard of the Jeep Wave? This is just one of the many examples of how tight-knit the Jeep community is.
If you didn’t know, when two Jeep owners approach each other on the road, it’s common for them to wave to one another. Hence, the Jeep Wave.
It seems like once you get your keys to a Wrangler, you’re immediately welcomed into the family. The same level of community isn’t shared between other car models.
It Killed Its Competitors
A part of why a Wrangler is so easy to spot is because the car killed all of its competitors. Seriously. Back in the early days, the Suzuki Samurai and Chevy Tracker were around to give Jeep a run for its money.
Today, most people have never heard of these cars. They died with a whisper in the late-90s and mid-2000s.
The reason why the Wrangler came away with the crown is probably a combination of the other reasons on this list.
It’s an American Icon
The Statue of Liberty, a bald eagle, an apple pie. These are three things nearly as American as a Jeep Wrangler.
The Jeep even helped us win a war. During WWII, the Jeep was the response to the Army’s need for a lightweight, 4WD, reliable vehicle. This model was the predecessor to the Wrangler that we know and love today, but the styling was eerily similar.
You might also recognize the Jeep Wrangler from Jurassic Park or The A-Team, two more American icons.
At the end of the day, Jeep just has “America” plastered all over its history.
Today, America outsells the European market by nearly 196,000 Wranglers annually.
The Aftermarket is Hot
Similar to a Honda Civic, a Jeep Wrangler has a really hot aftermarket. It goes beyond just a sports muffler slapped on the back of a vehicle. I’m talking about full body kits, drivetrain adjustments, and accessories that you can easily find.
It seems like every part of your Jeep can be swapped out with an aftermarket part.
It’s Great Off-Road
Wranglers are a great vehicle to take off-roading. Slap some big tires on them and you won’t have to worry about getting stuck in the mud.
The ride is high, it’s lightweight, there’s 4WD, and you can upgrade a few components to improve your off-roading. If you grab the Rubicon trim, you’ll also get Dana-44 axles, locking differentials, and bigger tires.
This car is often found on Top 10 lists when it comes to off-roading. That doesn’t really surprise me since this car was first conceived since the Army needed a lightweight off-roading vehicle.
It seems like every time I drive by a Wrangler, it’s covered in dirt and mud as a symbol of pride.
It’s Fun to Drop the Top (and the Doors)
One of the coolest driving experiences is riding around in a Jeep with the doors and top removed. This is even more fun if you live in an area with nice weather so you can enjoy it more frequently (I’m looking at you, San Diegans).
It’s a convertible that doesn’t come with the “convertible” sticker if that makes sense.
They’re Easy to Work On
If you pop the hood on a Wrangler, you’ll sigh in relief. The engine bay is super roomy, and all the components are simple.
I’d really suggest this car to anyone who wants to learn how to work on vehicles. If you can’t figure it out on your own, you’ll find a million YouTube videos from fellow Jeep owners who are looking to help out a community member.
You Can Tow Them Four-Down
Towing a car “four-down” means that you can hook it right up to your RV without a trailer. Trailers can cost thousands of dollars, so this is a huge deal.
Most cars can’t be towed four-down because it can ruin the transmission. Of course, the Wrangler isn’t like most cars.
You’ll find a ton of Jeeps in RV parks for this very reason. Make sure you stretch your Jeep Wave muscles before getting to the campsite.
The Performance is Sick
When you get a light vehicle like this and slap in a massive V6 engine, you’re left with some insane performance.
Namely, 285 horsepower (which is a lot), a 6.1-second 0-60 time, and a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds. As you climb up the trim packages, you’ll see these numbers get even more impressive.
Not many people buy a Wrangler to go drifting, but it’s got plenty of oomph when you need it.
The Resale is Great
Something that I always talk about is the depreciation and resale values of cars. It’s why I suggest buying a used car for most people.
Somehow, the Wrangler breaks free of this mold. The resale value is so impressive. Kelly Blue Book says that it retains around 70% of its value after 3 years, and nearly 60% after 5 years. Comparatively, the rest of the car market usually only has 40% of its value after 5 years.
That’s why the Wrangler won KBB’s Best Resale Value Award seven times.
If you want to buy a Wrangler, have fun for a few years, then sell it, you won’t take a huge financial hit. In my opinion, this reason alone is good enough to buy a Wrangler.
There’s Something for Everybody
You’ll notice that these 15 different reasons all resonate with different people. There truly is something for everybody as far as the Wrangler is concerned.
If you go to a Wrangler meet-up, you’ll probably find someone from every walk of life. That’s just part of Jeep’s claim to fame. It’s hard not to fall in love with this vehicle, regardless of what you’re looking for.
The whole cast of The Breakfast Club could have driven different Wranglers in the movie and it would have made perfect sense.
Find Plenty of Unique Editions
Wranglers are known for releasing unique editions. Each edition has different tweaks and modifications from the standard version, but they’re all fun to learn about.
At this point, there are dozens of different special edition Wranglers. There’s even a Call of Duty: Black Ops edition Wrangler, which looks as cool as it sounds.
It’s a Jeep
This is one of those cars that just makes sense after you drive them. In the same way that Porsche, Miata, and Mustang owners love their respective cars.
There’s just something about a Jeep that makes it so… Jeep-y. Ride in one and you’ll understand.
It’s Surprisingly Affordable
The thing that surprises a lot of people is how affordable a Wrangler is. You can get a brand-new one today for less than $30,000 for everything.
Other 4WD vehicles can easily cost more than $40,000.
It’s hard to believe that you can get so much extra and still wind up paying less for a Wrangler.
As you can see, there’s a lot to love about Wranglers. It’s one of those cars that won’t go away any time soon. If you want more car news and tips, check out the rest of my blog. Be sure to pick up the products you need so you can treat your Wrangler the way it deserves!