Michigan, the home of; terrible roads, the U.S. auto industry, and harsh winters. So it seems fairly reasonable for Michiganders to get a large american made 4wd SUV? This might explain the fairly recent trend I have seen in my home state, everyone seems to have or want a jeep wrangler. For the life of me I cant crack why this is, its not a terrible car but its not that spectacular especially when it has to go head to head with its counterparts for other manufacurers. So why this car? why now?
Let's look at some stats
The jeep wrangler doesnt have great power or performance numbers especcialy when put up against its 4X4 rivals from Gm, Ford, Mercedes, Toyota, or Even Honda.
It should be noted that I'm using the top of the range model for each comparison
You're also probably wondering why I didn't include DriveTribe's darling Suzuki Jimny. This article Is because of trends I've noticed in the U.S. and as of now unfortunately, we can't buy one.
So what I did was highlight anwhere the Jeep was beat out by its competitors in red and anywhere it has the advantage in green. As you can see, there's a lot of red. Now you're likely saying by now "Wait but aside from the Ford the Jeep is still the cheapest", and you'd be right. As far as the Chevy, Honda, and Toyota go you'll probably see that extra money in terms of reliability, lasting quality and lower depreciation.
Which moves us nicely on to the question of reliability
We all know Honda and Toyota are by words for reliablity matched only by the rising and setting of the sun. As for the Tahoe, it has a reputation for reliability as well as being rated as one of U.S. News and World reports 9 most reliable large suv's as well as a 3.5/5 reliability rating from J.D. Power. The Ford might not be the most reliable car out there but Ford has a decent reputation for relibility however it boasts an almost perfect 4.5/5 J.D. Power reliability rating and its still cheaper than the Jeep.
The Jeep however gets a dismal 2.5/5 reliability score form J.D. Power and is rated as one of Americas least reliable SUV's by U.S. news and world report. As a company jeep is owned and operated by Chrysler-Fiat both of which are not exactly famed for their reliability. As far as the Mercedes goes its hard to say but youll definately see some of that money in performance and features.
The modern wrangler doesnt have anything a modern car sould be without heated electric seats, mp3 compatibility, satilite navingation, etc. But it also it doesnt have anything spactacular, no lane assist, infrared, or blind spot monitering. Its a slightly similar story with the Ford, Honda and Chevy with a couple exeptions.
This is where the Mercedes takes the cake there is a very long list of entertainment features and more creature comforts then there is room for in one article but you can get the list here.
The one thing that the Jeep has is something that it is rather famous for, a removable roof and doors.
photo credit: pixabay
I'll admit the freedom is nice, there are few other if any cars with that much fresh air. There's one issue, at least where I live, it's quite cold for about 4 months of the year and too cold to keep the windows down for about 8 months out of the year so I dont know if thats really worth it if you live in colder climates.
The jeep doesnt exactly fall down on this front but it doesnt exactly shine, most trim is a four seater with no trunk space at all and not much cabin space. In terms of competators I can only really speak for the Chevy and the Ford. I currently own an Explorer and as a big guy I have had no problems with cabin space so unless you are Shaquille O'neal you should be alright. It can come with removable third row seating and as far as trunk space I have never had any problems. I can also say much the same about the Tahoe, third row seating, spacious cabin and large trunk.
In terms of towing capacity the story is clear. The Jeep tops out at 3,500 pounds where as all its competitors weigh in at 5 grand or over.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Off Road ability
Now onfortunately things get quite subjective here so I apologize and will do my best. Their is no denying that the Jeep's offroad capability is unmatched by few competetors likely only the Mercedes, Toyota or a Ford ranger. There's absolutely no denying tht the high clearence, chunky tires, and locking differentials make for a great off roader however many of these features are not diserable on tarmack and roads.
This brings me to the point of modifications. Often times people will put mods on their jeeps to enhance their offroad ability this usually consists of raised suspension and larger afrermarket tires and rims. To me this seems silly you pay to make your car slightly better off road yet for the majority of the time that you're on the road it becomes more lumpent and wayward.
I know many of you might be yelling at me through your screens or you're wondering how nice it would be to push me off a cliff thats ok, I wasnt expecting to win many brownie points with the drivetribe community over this article. However if you're thinking of getting a jeep I'd ask you to keep and open mind and consider the alternatives, but if it's the car for you than it's the car for you.
Do you have a jeep, if so what do you think, do you think I'm an idiot, agree with me? Let me know in the comments.